Features Social Media

The Year of the Smart Phone

Experts in the social media, technology, and marketing industries have put their fingers to their temples, rolled their eyes into the back of their heads, and started to mutter quietly to themselves in order to predict what will be the ‘cool’ and ‘hip’ trends in 2011. This year the experts all agree on one thing. They predict that we will all be lucky witnesses to the era when businesses begin to take the smartphone revolution seriously.

They say that businesses concerned with branding, marketing, and, of course, selling will need to stop worrying about building the perfect, old fashioned, 2.0 website and start making apps, mobile stores, and mobile advertising. It’s, the experts cry in unison, the future and it’s in your hands and it’s not going anywhere.

Currently, I’ll never be able to buy anything on my phone. It’s four years old, the keypad sticks, and the only way a business could try to sell me something is if they left a very clear voice mail and mailed me a catalog. But, I know I’m in a snobbish minority. It’s obvious that cool people, people with things to do and people to see, have smart phones and trust them enough to guide them to highly rated burrito restaurants and correctly handle their online banking needs. It makes sense that businesses will start to have more confidence in smartphone platforms to do their branding, advertising, and selling.

Stanley Bing, business author and Fortune magazine blogger, doesn’t agree with the experts . He writes, “Smart phones….can’t go on, really…Future generations will look at pictures of us all, circa 2011, the way we regard those serious men in their fedoras in the 1950s. Don’t they all look silly now in their funny little hats?” Thinking about smartphones from this prescriptive makes them seem comic already, but even if they won’t last–it’s an inevitable trend we’ll have to live with for the next few years.

While Bing writes with humor and a knowing wink, it’s wise to realize that the smartphone revolution will have just as many casualties as any other social media, technology, and marketing uprising. In a few months we’ll start to see articles breathlessly entitled,  “7 Mobile Marketing Mishaps You Need to Avoid” and “4 Companies That Did Mobile Nose Dives.” Sadly, most of us will read these stories on our smartphones paying no attention to the late summer day.

It’s my prediction that 2011 will be the year that blogs and consultants dedicated to ‘mobile business solutions’ will flourish and multiply outrageously. However, the bad news is that the number of mobile experts, the people who actually know how to build apps and design mobile stores and advertisements, won’t expand their rank at the same clip.

Pic Credit: BigPru

BLG Leadership Insights

Media Companies on the Edge: Should Businesses Invest in Social Media Campaigns?

Traditional media companies are turning to online videos in order to attract a new generation of fans and followers.

Media companies from Forbes to Fast Company have their own ‘video’ sections on their websites—as well as their usual article offerings.

That’s right, even the New Yorker has a few videos proudly displayed.

What can their transformation teach the business world and leaders?

What Can We Learn From This Media Revolution?

It’s wise for traditional media companies to realize that they aren’t exactly in the business of selling books or articles, but rather distributing needed/desired information. So, it’s no surprise that some established media companies, knowing their audience is increasingly online and equipped with smart-phones, are trying to produce interesting online video.

Traditional media’s desire to publish online content is similar to companies pushing for an increased social media presence in order to target and talk to a larger audience. However, as we have seen, efforts to use social media have sometimes failed…and badly.

So what does a business do? Risk reinvention in order to target a new generation of fans, but potentially lose focus…and customers? Or, stick to its core business, perfect it, and abandon all efforts to remain cutting edge?

The problem is highlighted best in the media industry. Let’s look at two examples of media firms that have either chosen to embrace the internet or merely accept it.

Successful Online Reinvention:

HarperCollins: You can’t leave your house in the morning without hearing about the ‘death of print’. However, HarperCollins refuses to lay down and collect dust. They have decided to kick their online presence into overdrive and host a series of highly produced videos that revolve around their newest offerings….