Most magazines are still catching up to the Internet, so it is not surprising that few of them make a convincing case on mobile. The Web forced weekly and monthly brands to go real-time in order to compete on the same platform as endemic dot-coms, TV and newspapers. Magazine publishing rhythms never mapped as well against the Internet, and publishers continue to struggle with the disconnect....
While all the big guns of mobile, digital and media make their "game-changing" announcements at CTIA this week, I am more interested in some of the tools I have been finding lately that empower users to make and manage their mobile experiences.
Even at this early stage of mobile advertising, I am suffering eye strain. Some of the banners that I see from the early WAP networks have me squinting to get the details. At least on my Samsung A920 handset, a lot of the creative looks like badly shrunken Web banners or bumper stickers that make me drive too close to read....
A new survey of 15,000 worldwide mobile users from the CMO Council tells us that consumers everywhere are getting more than a little pissed about their over-powered and under-utilized phones. "Feature fatigue" is setting in. The No. 1 complaint among subscribers is that their handsets have too many functions they just don't understand. Along with that gripe is a low level of satisfaction with their retail chain, which is not knowledgeable or instructive enough about the technology.
As mobile developers, major studios, and countless start ups struggle to find just the right video forms for mobile, I have to ask myself -- why bother? Can't we just drill into the mountains of short form, small size content the Web has been generating for nearly a decade? Isn't the vault already full with entertainment content no one ever saw?
Well, in the year or so of writing this column, whining, moaning, bashing and even gushing over mobile marketing and content, nothing sparked reader feedback quite so much as last week's mention of the infamous CueCat.
I admit that I have not been a great cheerleader for mobile video. This strikes even me as strange. I was one of those mediaholic geek kids back in the day of three-network TV who had the entire prime-time grid memorized. "What's on tonight?" my parents would ask me at the dinner table. Like a scary proto-Internet kitchen appliance, I could reel off the schedule -- filtered, of course, to favor "Batman" and "Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In." My parents had no idea that "Petticoat Junction" and "Marcus Welby" even made it past their first season. I owned that TV.
Longtime digerati must be smiling already at the mere mention of the infamous CueCat. For those of you new to the island, the CueCat was a handheld personal scanning device that was supposed to "inter-activate" print. By reading codes in ads, editorials and flyers, it would pop up corresponding Web pages online. The laughter commenced as soon as we saw the thing. It was a stylized cat, with the scanner at its mouth and the CueCat trademark as a kind of lower back tattoo on its butt. It's not everyday that you get computer peripherals giving you a come-hither look.
It's hard to get mobile marketers to disclose raw numbers. With all the talk about hundreds of millions of handsets out there waiting for advertisers to target, the actual response rates on some mobile campaigns can be disarmingly low. "Managing expectations" is still one of the watchwords of the industry. So when youth-oriented operator Boost Mobile and mobile community provider AirG say they garnered 1.5 million contest entries off of a mobile campaign for car customizer West Coast Customs, I had to take the bait.