Mobile Marketing – I was thinking about this even more than usual this week; being involved in a number of meetings that warranted discussion on the subject. While being able to pass messages to customers on their mobile isn’t particularly new, giving it relevancy by location is still novel.
Acuity Mobile’s Aislecaster allows retailers to target customers with messages within 3 feet. I’m not sure that everyone will be comfortable with this right out of the gate. Businesses need to be careful that they establish rules of engagement with customers, or you wouldn’t be able to walk three feet without being bombarded with messages, which will not fly with consumers. The messages also need to be targeted, relevant, and different from what is on the shelf in front of you.
If this technology goes in the right direction it could be a terrific tool for retailers, and benefit for consumers. Both Omnifocus and GPSToDo are iphone apps that will remind you of tasks when you are near a location. Think about not forgetting the milk when you are driving home from work because when you go by the grocery store, as your phone reminds you based on location. The important issue here is that the solution needs to be voluntary and it needs to add value. If it doesn’t do that, it won’t do much.
Google Voice – I tried to sign up for Grand Central a while back, and it’s been in closed beta for some time. I’ve been looking for a tool where I can have ONE number – whether I’m on the road, on my mobile, on a landline phone or on an IP phone on the internet. Why shouldn’t this exist? Why do we need all of these numbers? Google bought Grand Central a couple of years ago, and are finally starting to push it into general use under the Google Voice name. What an awesome tool. One number for life.
Going Digital Continues – Don’t think all of this digital download hype affects you? Think again. The Itunes Store didn’t exist until 2003, and as of 2009 it sells 70% of all digital music online, as well as videos, applications and more. It became the largest seller of music in the US – bigger than Wal-Mart last April (2008). From 0 to largest retailer in 5 years? Bigger than Wal-Mart? Nobody does that. It is unbelievable. “Record Stores” as we knew them are disappearing or re-inventing themselves to sell other media and products. Now look at Amazon with their Kindle Bookstore. They are looking to do the same as apple with e-books, and they have almost 250,000 titles to back it up. Traditional retailers should take notice, but I’ve not seen any of them cornering the market in the same way. These guys have captured the change in medium/format of their product, and have solved the cost of delivery problem by making it effectively 0. Watch for more.