Posts filed under ‘digital’
At the end of a night out over the bank holiday I called my favourite taxi company Amber Cars to take me home. They’re my favourite as they have a fancy computer system that sends you a text to say your taxi is waiting outside (so no hanging around outside the bar trying to avoid drunk weirdos) and then there’s a screen inside the car showing your name and destination so you know you’ve got into the right vehicle (they have 200+ cars so often have several waiting outside the same bar).
But Amber have taken it to another level. Not only did they text me with the make, model, colour and reg of my waiting taxi, but they also sent this:
Local, needstate specific cross-selling. I love it.
One of the things I’m increasingly finding online is that I’m experiencing stuff that was produced at different times but collides in the same timeframe for me.
Like this video for google mobile (via AdAge and I’m warning you its nine minutes longer than the joke is funny), explaining how cool it is that you can ‘search for things nearby without entering your location’, which is illustrated by searching for pizza in cities all over the world:
Except that this week I also saw this older video from the American Civil Liberties Union (via Neil and Wired) panicking about technology, civil liberties, loss of privacy and its implications for, say, ordering pizza:
The predicted top ten best-selling toys for Christmas 2010 have been announced – and they’re all basically digital (whatever happened to creative play?). The maddest of them all is Barbie Video Girl, who has a video camera lens in her necklace and playback screen embedded in her back:
It looks like we’re going to have a Digital Christmas all ways round. Not only will we be gifting digitally themed gifts, we’ll be buying them online. Depending on which report you read, between a quarter and half of us plan to spend more online this Christmas, reassured by good customer service experiences in Xmas 09.
According to The Centre for Retail Research and Kelkoo, the first Christmas where 50% of festive purchases are made online will be December 2015 (assuming a 24% online growth rate) or 2021 (if growth is slower at 16%). And that doesn’t include purchases that are researched online but bought in a real, live shop.
Internet Retailing’s research suggests that a lot of this growth is going to come from late adopters to online shopping, primary the 45+ age group. But this age group are also particularly prone to researching purchases online before buying offline. In fact, more than 70% of them did so in Christmas 2009.
The challenge for online retailers is going to be differentiating between buyers (who are planning to purchase online) and browsers (who are researching with a view to buying offline at a later date). For example, if you’re an offline retailer with an online presence, how do you provide an easy purchase experience for buyers while catering for browsers and directing them to store. And how on earth do you go about tracking conversions of these online browsers into offline buyers?
At the bottom of the page, there was this great example of online media placement:
From the Lift Conference (via @rooreynolds) comes Russell M* Davies’ talk ‘printing the internet out and squirting it into things’ (can’t embed here, sorry).
Really worth watching, especially for his thoughts on analogue friction, information design, the ubiquity of screens, turning data into physical things, exploring the recently easy and other phrases with which to impress the digital guru in your life.
(*The ‘M’ is presumably because he’s got sick of being confused with the Dr Who bloke…)
photo by Stephanie Booth on flickr, CC applies
Which prompted me to comment on his post that I had a post of my own chuntering about in my head about how the maturation of Digital might have created a bit of a conflict between Account Planning and Channel Planning. So here it is:
Ten or twenty years ago (depending on the size of agency and it’s geographical location), Account Planning was the Best New Business Tool Ever Invented (© Jay Chiat). Every agency that was big enough to afford it bought into Planning and put Insight at the heart of it’s business. Then all the big clientside brands put Insight at the heart of what they did too (Nike even hired W&K’s Head of Planning).
And then, in the last couple of years, Digital finally came of age.
Suddenly, there were media and channel options that were measurable yet also cool and cutting edge. In a recessionary environment, it was the answer to client’s prayers – the ability to do activity that was edgy yet ROI-able.
Every agency with a passing knowledge of HTML proclaimed themselves Digital Specialists. So the agencies that really did get Digital upped their game and put some real rigour into the process, introducing proper Channel Planning for their clients.
It almost becomes a numbers game – work out how much stuff you need to sell / how many people you need to change behaviour and work back from there in terms of conversion rates, click through and so on.
But Digital is still about Conversations. Its all very well identifying what the touchpoints are where you could have these conversations – but you need to know what people are likely to want to talk about too. Which is where Account Planning comes galloping back in, waving qual reports.
As Northern says, “Digital stuff hasn’t changed people, its simply enabled them to be more human…humans are social creatures and can’t help responding to others around them, wanting to belong to a group and acting social.
“In other words, it’s not enough to know the technology, you have to know people. You have to build ideas around how real people behave, be relevant, interesting, know when to show up, how to fit into their lives.”
Its chicken-and-egg. What comes first? – finding out where your target audience are most likely to be hanging out, or working out what messages will engage them?
I just worry that as digital becomes an integral part of everything (rather than simply a channel), we might sometimes forget that it is still all about the conversation.