Mobile Me

Each month publishes some great information about changing consumer habits around the globe as well as key trends that either have or will impact business.  We have incorporated some of their facts in our blog before and will do so again today.  Some interesting stuff.

  • A survey of US adult smartphone owners found that 63% of female respondents and 73% of male respondents don’t go an hour without checking their phone (Source: Harris Interactive, June 2012).
  • Cell phone users between 18 and 24 exchange an average of 109.5 messages on an average day, more than 3,200 per month (Source: Pew Research Centre, September 2012).
  • An academic study of Android users’ app-habits revealed that while users spend nearly one hour on their devices a day, the average app session lasted only just over a minute (Source: DFKI, November2011).

And some examples of companies that are changing the game through mobile.

  • Peapod – US-based online grocer announced in October 2012 that it was launching over 100 QR-code based ‘virtual stores’ at train stations in major cities including Boston, New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
  • Walmart-owned Mexican supermarket chain Superama has unveiled QR code-enabled kiosks in a selection of shopping centers in Mexico City.
  • Jana enables cell phone users in the developing world to participate in market research surveys via SMS. The service is able to reward participants with free airtime, and as a result of partnering with mobile operators, reaches nearly 3.5 billion people in over 100 countries.

Really cool ideas and people are engaged in more and more mobile “minutes”.   Thanks again to the folks at Trendwatching.



And yet another new word enters our vernacular.  Use to be we went to the showroon (a noun).  Now we go showrooming (a verb).  Kind of like when Google was a noun (Name of the company) and not a verb, “Just Google it?”

So what exactly is showrooming?  From Wikipedia – Showrooming is when a customer visits a brick and mortar retail location to touch and feel a product and then goes online to buy the product at a lower price. Online stores often offer lower prices than brick and mortar stores because they do not have the overhead cost.

48 million consumers or 20 percent of the U.S. population will use their smartphones to showroom.

The number of shoppers engaging in showrooming during the 2012 holiday season is expected to increase by 134 percent, with mobile behavior influencing between $700 million to $1.7 billion in retail purchases, according to a new report from IDC Retail Insights.

The report reveals some of the ways that retailers can address showrooming, with approximately 70 percent of shoppers planning to showroom this season saying they will be “more likely” to buy from retailers who offer full-featured mobile Web sites, provide omni-channel convenience across stores and Web sites, support smartphone shopping apps and offer price comparisons via QR codes.

  • Big ticket items, in particular those that consumers can easily evaluate by reading descriptions, specifications, ratings, and reviews will be the most showroomed items this year.
  • 7 to 13% of consumer electronics shoppers will use their smartphones at least once in stores this season; showrooming activities will touch 1.4% of consumer electronic sales.
  • Apparel and footwear is the second most heavily showroomed category. Between 4 and 8% of shoppers will showroom this category this year affecting about 1% of its sales.
  • 64% think what they’ll learn in the store with their smartphones will have at least as much influence on their decision as what they’ll learn online before coming into the store
  • 56-60% of shoppers with their smartphones in-hand say that they will be “more likely” or “much more likely” to buy what they find in the store as they shop this season when assisted by trustworthy knowledgeable store associates.
  • 41% of showrooming shoppers say that they will be “more likely” or “much more likely” to rely on their smartphones when they encounter retailers who offer private or exclusive merchandise.

You can check out a bit more on this at

Here is an awesome chart from Accenture:

Retail is getting quite complicated.


Mobile – Muy Importante!

We often talk about what is happening in mobile.  Well, with the holiday shopping season now in full swing, we will cover some of the more recent trends in mobile shopping and the ever increasing impact of how these little hand held devices are changing everything we know about how people shop.

I found a great new web-site, Quartz,, that covers a variety of interesting topics including mobile.  The facts below were provided in an article by Christopher Mims.  He is the science and technology correspondent for Quartz. He believes that the most interesting things about the universe have yet to be discovered, and that technology is the primary driver of cultural change.

  • 55% of mobile users buy products on their devices, but 80% research purchases on them
  • Less than half of top retailers have a mobile site and app
  • 88% of mobile users engage in some kind of mobile commerce
  • 72% of consumers aged 20-40 in US and UK will use mobile devices to compare prices in-store
  • 48 million US shoppers will use their smartphone as an “on-demand aide-de-camp” in stores
  • $43.4 billion is what US holiday shoppers are expected to spend online this season, up 17% from last year
  • 14% of people with mobile phones have used them to make purchases while drunk
  • 23% of holiday shoppers in the US will spend more online than offline
  • 28% of US adults with a mobile device will use them to shop on Thanksgiving, vs. 16% last year
  • 32% of smartphone owners plan to download a shopping app for the holidays
  • 89% of all website traffic from tablets comes from iPads
  • 61% of all website traffic from smartphones comes from iPhones
  • 1 in 3 US consumers is thinking about buying a tablet computer this holiday season
  • 388 million Chinese access the web through their mobile phone, more than do so via PC
  • There are 260 million mobile connections in Brazil, higher than its population

So are these smart devices that we are using really that important?  You bet!

  • 90% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their smartphones
  • 1 in 3 people would rather give up sex than their phone
  • 95% of people use the phone for something just before going to bed
  • Half of people check their phones immediately if they wake up during the night

The game has changed.  What game are you playing?  If you are a retailer without a mobile strategy, time to make a change and get one.


Last Beard Standing

Had the opportunity to participate in one of the most fun company initiatives ever – The Beard Off.

This is an annual event at e-Dialog to raise money for breast cancer.  They have been doing this for many years and it is highly anticipated by all employees. The rules are quite simple – For those that participate, you start growing your beard in late October and the event concludes with beard participant speeches at the company’s annual Thanksgiving luncheon.  The winner is chosen based on the quality/humor/entertainment value of their speeches.

There is incredible creativity involved in both the fund raising and the beard speeches.  As for raising the cash, each participant is given a small jar and all employees are welcome to contribute to the “cause”.  Some of the participants gave away Celtics tickets, gift cards, weekends away, sold jewelry, went around to local pubs (Double the benefit) or just shamelessly groveled to raise cash for this great cause.

The speeches were amazing.  We had powerpoint presentations from Mike S. and Scotty V.  One on the history of family beards from Mike (His mom has a really nice mustache :)) and the other on Scotty’s BBG (Beard Body Guard).  Some prepared lengthy and very entertaining speeches, Brendan R. as an example – He believes he is Bruce Springsteen‘s son (There is a slight resemblance, but I mean ever so slight).

Jonathan P. did a great speech about how only real men grow beards.  Don’t remember what Dan M. talked about but it must have been good.  Bret W. did an awesome Top 10 (His wife is very happy this is over).  Eric S., our Beard Leader, did his best to campaign for winning by just begging for votes.  The Webman actually did the song “My Beard” after the classic Temptations hit. Hey, you just never know.  Eric S. suggested that I stick to blogging.  I agree 🙂

After this epic battle, we used Survey Monkey to vote for the winner.  And our winner this year was Mike “The Beard” Lancaster.  Mike comes from a long line of Beardo’s and can actually grow a full beard in about 12 hours (I may be exaggerating a bit but not by much).  Not only did Mike win, but this unique group of BeardMen raised $4,100 for breast cancer.  Well done indeed.

A great event for a great cause.  Congratulations to all the participants and to the employees of e-Dialog for their support and contributions.  And most importantly, a huge thanks to Anne S. for her passion, commitment and amazing story of strength and perseverance.

And now in honor of Brendan R. we end with a song about Bruce and his Mom:



Five Traits of Successful Teams

Teams are constantly being built and re-built.  Players come and players go.  Co-workers change and just when we thought it was going really well, it starts anew.  Business conditions change – the team was good when we were growing, now not so much.  We have all been on good and bad teams.  Bad teams suck.

What makes a business team work?

  1. Members talk and listen in equal measure, keeping contributions short and sweet
  2. Members face one another and their conversations are energetic
  3. Members connect with each other, not just the leader
  4. Members communicate outside of meetings
  5. Members explore outside the team an bring quality information back

Are you on a team?  Does it work like this?

If so, embrace it.  If not, change it.


Put a Little Led Into Your Marketing!

Led Zeppelin IV – Their fourth album sold 23 million copies, spent more than one year at the top of the charts and produced many classic songs such as “Black Dog”, “Stairway to Heaven” and “Going to California“.

Awesome right?  You know what is even more awesome?  The album does not have a name. We refer to it as Led Zeppelin IV but in fact it has no name.  The album cover does not mention the band or the record label and their is no text.

There are lessons here for today’s marketers:

  1. Substance over style – Emphasis was solely on the music
  2. Passionate dialog – Inside the album, fans found four symbols, each representing one band member.  This has sparked conversation and conjecture among fans that continues to this day. Zep has not released anything in many years but the discussion and the music live on
  3. No unbundling – “Stairway to Heaven” was one of the biggest hits of all times, but was never released as a single

After the sometimes dismissive, critical reaction Led Zeppelin III received in late 1970, Jimmy Page, lead guitarist for the band, decided that the next Led Zeppelin album would not have a title, but would instead feature four hand-drawn symbols on the inner sleeve and record label, each one chosen by the band member it represents.”We decided that on the fourth album, we would deliberately play down the group name, and there wouldn’t be any information whatsoever on the outer jacket”, Page explained. “Names, titles and things like that do not mean a thing.

Page stated that the decision to release the album without any written information on the album sleeve was contrary to strong advice given to him by a press agent, who said that after a year’s absence from both records and touring, the move would be akin to “professional suicide”.In his words: “We just happened to have a lot of faith in what we were doing.

Led Zeppelin – masters of their domain and followers of their own path.


Should mobile devices be allowed in meetings?


When you are in a meeting it is your responsibility to participate.  That is why you are there.

In order to effectively participate, you need to follow the conversation closely and consider every point being made so that you can comment and add value to the meeting.  If you are not prepared to add value, why did you go to the meeting?  If you are multi-tasking your ability to add value drops dramatically.

Always focus on value creation and making a difference.  If you are reading your tiny screen, you are not contributing and it is obvious to everyone else in the meeting that you are not contributing.

When you are juggling e-mails, calls and texts your IQ falls 10 points.  Don’t let your IQ fall 🙂


Have Better Meetings

We all attend too many.  This is a given.

Most communication that occurs in meetings falls into 5 classifications:

But only two types of meeting communications are valuable:

  1. Requests – When you need something from a meeting participant, be clear and precise.  Your request should include full details and a deadline
  2. Promises – These are commitments made by a person to fulfill requests.  That is why specificity is critical.  As the meeting leader, your follow-up is to define the requests, promises and timing. One record for executing against the promises

Here is how Google runs a meeting.  They are a pretty good company –

And a look at Apple’s process.  They make pretty good stuff –

As for the other three communication types, they are still important, but use e-mail, the water cooler or other interactions for them.

Stop accepting mediocrity and wasting time.  Take action now.  You, your calendar and your clients will be much happier.


Getting Gas in NJ – Bad to Worse

Governor Chris Christie has had a busy week.  Sandy has pummeled his state and his residents cannot get gasoline.  Gov. Christie gave an executive order regarding gas rationing – “If your vehicle’s license plate ends in a letter (A,B,C…), you are only permitted to fuel the vehicle on odd-numbered days.” Numbers are allowed on even-numbered days.

The problem: All license plates in New Jersey end in letters, except for vanity plates. So on Saturday, most everyone in the state could buy gas. On Sunday, no one can. Or so it seems.

At an Exxon station on Route 40 in Bayonne, N.J., police officers and people waiting in line for gasoline argued over the meaning of Gov. Chris Christie’s order regarding gas rationing. “It’s an executive order from the governor’s office. We have to follow it,” said Drew Niekrasz, the Bayonne deputy police chief. “Even though it makes no sense.”

Janet Tysh, a Bayonne resident, was waiting in line for fuel for her generator and had planned to get gas for her car on Sunday. When she asked a police officer to explain the new policy, he pulled the governor’s order from his pocket.

“What do you mean?” said Ms. Tysh, 61, who is retired. “Look at all these cars! Every one of their license plates ends in a letter! So the only way I can get gas is if I have vanity plates?”

Just when you think it cannot get worse.