CMSWire recently published our thoughts on subscriber data ownership as it relates to marketing on Facebook, Twitter, TV, mobile and email. The article, “Want Subscribers? Recognize Who Owns the Channel” discusses recent findings about the declining reach of Facebook and how marketers should adjust their budget allocation going forward. 

Check out CMSWire for the full details. You can follow CMSWire @CMSWire and us @Waterfall.

Business 2 Community recently published our thoughts on mobile marketing using iBeacon. The article, “Understanding iBeacon – And How To Be Successful Now,” walks through a road map of iBeacon’s market potential in order to provide marketers with actionable next steps to address this technology now. 

Head on over to Business 2 Community to read all the details. You can follow Business 2 Community @B2Community and us @Waterfall.

Mobile messaging – SMS, MMS, Voice, Social, Push and Email – is the connective tissue needed to create a seamless mobile marketing experience. Whether using mobile web, apps, wallet, location-based services or any other mobile functionality, marketers need a data-driven messaging strategy to maximize revenue and reduce cost.

This webinar analyzes five strategies marketers can implement right away in order to launch, and increase profit from, an effective mobile messaging strategy. The discussion, led by 15-year mobile industry veterans Michael Ahearn and Michael Becker, focuses on analyzing case studies, best practices and real-world examples to reveal actionable next steps applicable for all marketers looking to achieve mobile success:

  1. Integrate mobile messaging with third party software or database systems.
  2. Modernize messaging for today’s tech-savvy customers.
  3. Personalize content to better engage a target audience.
  4. Drive interactive conversations focused on inciting customer action.
  5. Design mobile messaging analytics to facilitate iteration and improvement.

Listeners of the webinar can learn how to:

  • Develop a mobile messaging strategy that increases customer engagement and profit.
  • Nurture customer relationships through the use of multiple mobile messaging channels, including SMS, MMS, Voice, Social, Push and Email.
  • Position their mobile messaging strategy to best take advantage of the data available today and the technological innovations that will shape messaging in the future.

View the presentation below, on Waterfall’s webinar archive or download the presentation slides directly. Any questions, please let us know by posting to the comments.

5 Ways To Nurture Profitable Customer Relationships Via Mobile Messaging from Waterfall on Vimeo.

Unless you have been in a cave hibernating for the last few years, the fact that mobile is growing should be no surprise – especially for marketers. Keeping in mind those who need stats from reputable third parties to justify budget adjustment and re-allocation to new channels, here are two eMarketer charts that explain share of time and average time spent per day by United States adults consuming various media:

Average Time Share Spent Per Day on Major Media

The full article and eMarketer analysis can be found here: http://goo.gl/iUSoLv. I’ve already tweeted a question out to them and invite them to engage here, but I wanted to get the ball rolling with some dialogue. Let’s dive in.

STAT: eMarketer says we spent 5:14 hours on digital media (2:19–mobile, 2:19–online, 0:36–other) in 2013 and 4:31 hours on TV

I personally am connected to my laptop or phone virtually every minute when I am not sleeping. I start my day scanning emails and newsletters on my phone while I am still half asleep. If I am on a conference call at work, I am probably multi-tasking on my laptop. I work at my desk on my laptop with multiple screens, including mobile, so there is media hitting me simultaneously throughout work time on at least two channels. If I am driving, I have my headset on my phone connected and am trying to make a couple calls to occupy that idle time. At the gym, I use my phone to connect to TVs or listen to music. If I am watching TV at night, I am almost always surfing on my phone or texting someone (work or personal). And yes, I have occasionally surfed on my phone while I was in the bathroom (I am not the only one).

So, here’s my question: how do we parse out the “consuming media” time from the focused work/leisure time? Likely, I am over-thinking the study here and the data reflect aggregate hours spent on a given device or channel regardless of the activity type. If so, advertisers and marketers should consider these hours as the total potential time they can capture customers in a given medium.

I do like the fact that eMarketer is including multitasking time in the study and giving each channel credit (i.e. if you watch TV while multi-tasking on your phone for 1 hour, each channel gets1 hour of credit in the total tally). The challenge for marketers and advertisers, however, is that there is only ONE of ME. My attention is split between mediums and therefore it becomes harder to engage me with an interruptive advertising experience that requires millions of dollars to craft.

STAT: eMarketer says Mobile is the only channel that is growing in share. 3.7% in 2010 and projecting 23.3% by 2014

Since 2007, with the explosion of smartphones, millions of apps launched and unlimited data/texting plans, this should be of no surprise.  We are not simply walking around with a phone anymore, we are walking around with  a supercomputer that instantly connects us to any brand, company or service. And it connects us via whichever channel we prefer–app, web, phone, SMS, MMS, passbook, social media, mobile email, etc. The marketer’s world is an order of magnitude more complex today than it was 5 years ago. In short, you need to immediately get into the mobile game in some real way if you haven’t already. There are a ton of solutions and you’ll need to weigh and prioritize which are the most important for your brand. Avoiding this scary new world is NOT an option anymore.

STAT: eMarketer says TV’s share of media was 40.9% in 2010 and is projecting 36.5% by 2014

Whereas this may be true, the bulk of this research’s readers are deciding where to spend their marketing/advertising dollars. I personally spend at least 95% of my TV time in a given week using my DVR, where the only commercial content I see are the first couple seconds that appear before i can hit fast-forward. I am clearly not alone, as many on-demand shows now block fast forwarding to force me to watch commercials.

Moreover, the projections of the time/share may be true, but the applicability of the data is very different in the DVR-driven world we now live in. TV advertising on anything besides LIVE sporting events needs a drastic overhaul, as it simply has nowhere near the reach it once did. The world has changed, and we must change with it. Bring on product placement, sponsored no commercial airings and multi-screen experiences – otherwise your advertisements are in vain. And, for those folks who buy commercials in the on-demand shows where I am still forced to watch, I am absolutely on my phone ignoring your ads. Plus, I’m probably less apt to choose your brand, as I admittedly get annoyed that I can’t fast forward through this content to watch my shows.

STAT: Every time I typed the word “marketer” or “advertiser” in this post, I was troubled as to which or both I should include

The lines between these two worlds are getting more blurry each day. With the growth of re-targeting, the waters will only get more muddied. Ultimately, you must capture people’s attention and drive them to action in the modern age.

For my money, it’s easy to imagine a not too distant future when companies simply have one massive lead nurturing program. They will deploy their budget at different levels in their customers’ purchasing journey and tweak and improve their conversations to get more activity into the funnel.

What about you? What are your thoughts? Please post to the comments or tweet to @matthewsilk.

Recently, TechCrunch wrote an analysis/commentary about the growing concern with Facebook’s page reach. The article, “Why Is Facebook Page Reach Decreasing? More Competition And Limited Attention,” identifies a decline in the value of Facebook fans as a function of the amount of content posted to the social network.

To paraphrase the article, the decrease in organic reach is natural and, in fact, unavoidable. EdgeRank Checker analyzed 50,000 posts from 1,000 Pages and revealed that Facebook organic reach has actually been on a steady decline for the past two years:

PastedGraphic-3

Simply stated, although the amount of Facebook status updates will continue to climb, the amount of time people spend viewing this content will not.

In my opinion, it’s imperative that marketers understand the implications of this reality. They have spent A LOT of money building Likes so that they could harness Facebook as a channel within an overall marketing or service offering. Going forward, however, Facebook will continue to tweak its filtering algorithm to hide/show content unless marketers pay to promote their posts. Without doing so, brands’ customers may never see the content in their feed.

To be clear, I of course understand the content overload challenge that Facebook has to address. That said, I am not sure I buy it. This smells and feels like a monetization plan for Facebook (FWIW – most of the commenters on the TC article seem to agree).

Furthermore, if you do a quick Google search (“Facebook filtered feed”), you will see that this subject is not exactly a new topic. Leading sites have been discussing and debating this for some time now:

Twitter, on the other hand, right now is not doing any filtering. I’ve heard plenty of complaints that the feed reads like a firehose and people must layer in other tools to filter out the noise. Does that seems like a better approach though? I personally would rather have the tools to customize my feed AS I SEE FIT.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the market. If big brands vote with their feet (…and their wallets) and shift their attention to Vine, Instagram, Twitter or Pinterest, Facebook will have to answer their concerns.

In the meantime, here is my simple piece of advice: Leverage these social channels to build your audience, but make sure you are driving those followers/fans/likes/etc. to a channel where you OWN your data: an email or mobile subscriber database.

The excitement around the Waterfall and mCordis partnership is pretty special, and this comes from someone who might be described as “old timber” in the mobile marketing industry. I’m very excited to be working at Waterfall; there’s an enthusiasm and dynamism here much like my first days at the company I co-founded, iLoop Mobile, with Michael Becker back in 2004. So now we’ve come full circle, as my personal and professional relationship with Michael Becker at mCordis goes back to the dawn of mobile marketing in North America, when we were a company of two guys and laptops in a “ready suite” in SOMA, San Francisco. Those were heady and exciting days, when the idea of engaging with consumers or delivering content via a cell phone was the realm of Star Trek communicators. The word we used for many years as we introduced and educated companies to a new customer engagement channel was “evangelism.” I feel Waterfall’s partnership with mCordis has that same passion, yet in a different, more focused and real way as the industry has matured.

Back in the early days of mobile, we had to approach mobile marketing the same way Vince Lombardi, the legendary football coach, would start every training camp: with a locker room speech that began “Gentlemen, this is a football.” Only for us, it was in boardrooms with the words “Ladies and gentlemen, this is a short code.” How times have changed. Evangelism today is no longer techno-centric; it’s now the excitement around helping companies understand how incredibly effective mobile messaging can be in driving mission critical marketing and business operations objectives—when done with correct strategies and tactics. And when I talk about objectives, I mean objectives that directly affect customer engagement, loyalty and bottom line revenue, in ways never seen before. The data on customer behavior and preferences that can be captured by mobile, when integrated with CRM data from other channels, is even more powerful. Mobile can provide value to both marketers and consumers in a win/win relationship that is nothing short of magic. When done well, there can be altruism to consumer communications that is the new paradigm in marketing. To be blunt, any marketer, publisher, or company that does not understand how essential mobile messaging is to customer communications is losing the plot.  But understanding how to harness the power of mobile devices, in a way that enhances your ability to create that win/win relationship with your target customers/audience, is the million-dollar question. Certainly the tried and true concepts of marketing apply to mobile, yet the channel presents unique challenges and opportunities that require core competence and expertise. That’s where a partnership like Waterfall and mCordis comes in.

Without listing the details of their resumes (which would take another 2,000 words, check them out here here), Michael Becker and Paul Berney at mCordis represent the highest degree of experience and expertise in mobile marketing, worldwide. Before founding mCordis, they were respectively the managing directors for the Mobile Marketing Association North America and EMEA. This means that they worked with, and learned from, the perspective of EVERY industry sector—brands, technology providers, publishers, enterprises and end users themselves. They bring the unique background as both global academic researchers and real-market mobile marketing practitioners. Partnered with Waterfall’s executive team, which brings decades of combined experience in designing and delivering successful mobile campaigns and messaging services, the mobile marketing education and best practices program offered by Waterfall and mCordis is a priceless opportunity to learn from the best. The really cool thing about this program is that all it costs you is the time to participate. The real world price on this kind of strategic learning would make you blanche, so I encourage you to take advantage of this great resource. We have webinars and live events in SF, NYC and Chicago where you can meet the team personally. Learn more about our first event here. We look forward to meeting you.

You can read more about Waterfall’s partnership with mCordis in the press release.

newsletter_sam

Back when I started, Waterfall CEO Matt Sechrest told me, “Waterfall is not seeking growth, but growth on top of growth. We’re focused on the exponential.” Experiencing this first hand has shown me the ideological shift startups go through when scaling. To become a bigger company, all employees have had to shed the belief that “Wearing many hats” is a sustainable option. Focus has to become the name of the game. To be honest, this transition can be a challenge at first, especially for someone like me whose last job started out of a basement and who appreciates an open culture. Nevertheless, as the number of employees, projects, deals, and dollars rise, focus can’t just be a plan. It’s a necessity, where each team member feels the spotlight shine just a little bit brighter on their own work product.

Since I am concurrently pursuing a degree in business, I’ve taken the opportunity to interview a number of people at Waterfall about their jobs, goals, roles, teams and strategy. I noticed something interesting throughout my conversations: raw confidence. Like any small company trying to make a splash, any given day can bring both victories and setbacks. What has been so insightful to see is the ripple effect confidence has throughout an organization, particularly as it relates to celebrating wins and analyzing areas for improvement. Throughout all the highs and lows, from huge deal closes and heartbreaking losses to technological innovation and frustration, I’ve never seen anyone at Waterfall play the blame game. Instead, everyone pulls together, thinks about what to do and how to react, and then confidently decides how to build a stronger company moving forward. No victory or setback is ever viewed as an indicator of a perfect or flawed company. From my perspective, each moment in this stage of our company’s lifecycle is seen as an opportunity for improvement, to take the next step forward. Every event–good and bad–feels like it belongs to everyone.

Throughout school, I have studied the curve of disruptive innovation, the metrics of success, the cases of tragic company downfalls, and countless formulas, plans, strategies and jargon. Confidence and celebration are two that are left out of the curriculum. Building a culture where people believe their work matters, don’t fear failure and strive to evolve both personally and professionally has been one the key takeaways of what it means to work at our company. I’m excited for what’s in store next.

Sam Balter works in Sales out of Waterfall Austin, TX office. He loves Taco Deli’s El Conquistador Special with extra cheese. 

For those not following me on Twitter @matthewsilk and reading my conference updates in real-time, I jotted down some notes on the sessions from the recent AdAge Digital conference. If you missed the show, below I’ve included links to articles published by AdAge with more details on the specifics. 

[X+1] and Empower MediaMarketing 

Kicked off the breakfast session on Tuesday by describing how Rust-Oleum re-invented itself by moving positioning away from products and focusing instead on delivering customers content around DIY Projects. Fascinating to hear the story and transformation of a brand that decided to focus on engagement as a way to rejuvenate customer relationships. In the end, Rust-Oleum figured out that customers weren’t passionate about paint, believe it or not, but were about home improvement projects. By providing a forum to discuss ideas and solicit advice, Rust-oleum captured a ton of data and eventually became a part of their customers (slash prospects) lives. I would have loved to see the brand on stage with the vendors, but the case study set the tone for the day.

Mark Addicks, CMO General Mills

Drove home how marketing for General Mills is changing in this new digital age. He described how to lead with a clear purpose and engage customers in an authentic way. The company’s “Betty Loves All Families” campaign was a great example of how to harness customer pride, as General Mills deployed photo booths and online tools to capture people’s stories and spur more dialogue on diversity in our culture today. The other example that jumped out at me (though not sure as connected to his theme) was taking the 50-year old LuckyCharms brand and matching it with pop culture sensation Pentatonix to remix the theme song.

Clive Sirkin, CMO of Kimberly-Clark

Gave a rousing talk equating today’s marketing professionals to people standing on ice afraid to move. In his words, “Change = more risk is often a flawed assumption.” He challenged the audience to take a leap forward and learn from any mistakes. He argued that even calling the AdAge conference “Digital” is limiting and silo’ing, a mistake of which all organizations are guilty. Above all, customers do not think about traditional vs. digital vs. mobile when they interact with marketers, so organizing around these artificial walls makes little sense. I also like how he encouraged folks to re-think the current creative brief process, arguing that we way too often optimize around getting the best of particular solution before discussing the problem we are actually trying to solve.

Aaron Evanson, ECD at VML

Had a quick sponsored spot that revved the audience’s tastebuds and funny bone as he told the Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger Cheesy Love Songs Case Study. Wendy’s literally took actual tweets and posts and made them into the lyrics for cheesy songs which they then turned into online videos. Hilarious and fun way to engage customers, as you can see for yourself:

Elyssa Gray, Head of Creative & Media, North America Marketing at CITI 

Ended day one recounting the story on how the CitiBike program came to be in NYC. With a $41M six-year sponsorship, CITI launched a program that now has 100K members and boasts millions of miles trekked (Elyssa has received lots of phone calls from other cities that want to launch their programs as soon as possible). She talked through some of financial troubles the program has had, but is confident the the owners and city will figure out how to drive success. When asked about the plan after initial sponsorship, she joked that she has had a tough time imagining the program being referred to as anything besides “CitiBike.” From an advertising perspective, CITI claims earnings of $4.4M in media already, so Elyssa is extremely happy with the success to date.

Gary Vaynerchuk

For me, the highlight of the show (if you haven’t heard him speak, make some time to check him out on YouTube). His stories about everything, from growing up in an immigrant family to starting a baseball card business that made $3K/month at age 12 and growing his father’s liquor store business from $3M/year to $60M, are truly inspiring. Moreover, his brutal honesty and no BS tone/advice to “Market in the year we are f–king living in!” is a breath of fresh air. I wish every media buying agency forced employees to watch many hours of Gary’s videos, as they undoubtedly would question some of their existing practices (one good example: why are we spending $66B on TV ads per year when everyone knows that besides live sporting events a ridiculous percentage of the commercials are DVR’d?). For a quick re-cap of his key points check out this AdAge article.

The Futurist Panel

Of course, no marketing conference can happen without the futurist panelProfessor Galloway in particular captured the audience’s attention with his bold predictions and data to back them up.

Jim Squires from Instagram led an insightful session on being authentic when advertising through his company’s channel. However, it sounds like, unless you are spending $1M, this channel isn’t open to the public just yet. I would advise those of you with such budgets (and deep pockets) to reach out and chat directly.

E*TRADE and T-MOBILE

The last session ended the conference on a high note. Two challenger brands, E*TRADE and T-MOBILE, did a fireside chat and talked through all the recent changes you’ve seen, from T-MOBILE’s positioning as the the UN-CARRIER and E*TRADE’s retirement of the baby in favor of the new “TYPE-E” campaign. Liza, E*TRADE’s CMO, discussed the company’s rationale, as Type-E was set to launch just after the show (I was actually at E*TRADE in 2000 when the $2M monkey commercial launched, as well as when the baby launched, so I loved hearing a great story.) Liza described in detail the maturation of the industry and how E*TRADE decided to focus on those investors who can work the online tools, but also aren’t afraid to admit they need help sometimes. T-MOBILE’S DeLuca talked about the company is going against all of the other carriers and trying to shake up the industry. Tactics include no contracts and agreeing to pay the ETF fees if customers want to switch over.

Summary

There were of course a number of other sessions, but the above were those that made me stop and think. Across all the sessions and key takeaways that I heard, a few common themes emerged:

  • Engage consumers in an authentic fashion that fits with the channel you are addressing.
  • Re-invent/position/change/kill the TV ad spend since no one is watching.
  • Kill the term “digital” when you talk about marketing. Silo’ing traditional vs. digital vs mobile vs <insertChannelhere> just hurts your brand, as you are not organizing around how modern customers communicate.
  • Though this wasn’t a mobile-focused conference, every speaker mentioned mobile engagement as critical to his/her success.

Next, I’m headed to San Francisco for Forrester’s conference and the VentureBeat Mobile Summit, so make sure you follow me @matthewsilk and subscribe here for the skinny.

On March 29 my colleague and I attended the D3 Unconf at GitHub headquarters. You can view this link to get an idea of what people created and submitted using D3 for the event. 

For those outside the engineering world, “D3” describes “Data-Driven Documents.” Topics include visualization design, API design and requesting new features. To get help with D3, you can use the d3.js tag on Stack Overflow or join in on various online conversations.

Overall, the event was really cool and engaging. The organizers managed to recruit knowledgeable experts and GitHub HQ seemed like the ideal location. I thought that the topics were interesting and well-presented, as each session included coding and analysis. In the future, I imagine the event planners will try to improve some organizational specifics, as there was lots of noise and the program seemed unclear at times. I would also encourage organizers to provide more tools for the classes (it was hard to hear the people, which stifled some discussion).

Below is a photo essay I put together highlighting some of my favorite moments from the conference. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to post them to the comments and I will respond right away.

The entrance to the event was a clone of the Oval Office – very presidential. 

oval

I rocked my V2 Waterfall hoodie, which I think paired nicely with the event badge:

badge

I was ecstatic starting off the day with a delicious and fresh breakfast (my colleague Joby felt that these were the best croissants in SF):

breakfast

I tried to take advantage of my free time to explore the grounds. Some furniture items made me feel right at home.

soccerbilliard

tennis

The open space at the event’s entrance was packed with people sharing and discussing data visualization ideas and projects:

openspace

I really enjoyed meeting Stewart Noyce from trunorth.com. He’s got an excellent blog.

noyce-blog

After breakfast we moved to the conference room for the first introduction.

start

Irene Ros started her presentation about D3 and described some of the D3 projects on which she had worked:

ros2

ros1

One of my favorite aspects of the day was that attendees proposed and decided on the discussion to create the final program. Here’s a snapshot of Class #1, which provided an introduction to D3 from Irene Ros

ros-intro

Class #2 was a performance of D3 and canvas presented by Kai Salmon Chang. Here’s some of the code and examples we discussed. I particularly enjoyed chatting with a data scraper who has a portfolio of excellent work available on GitHub.

performance

Had to be sure I didn’t leave the event without souping up my computer with some new schwag. 

github-badge

Lunch was delicious, though not as good as breakfast. 

lunch

In Class #3, we looked at Data Scraping and Storing with Peter Bakkum. Irene Ros came back for Class #4 to look at some D3 examples and challenges. Class #5 involved visualizing neural networks. After staring at this whiteboard and formulas, you’ll get a sense for why a full belly was essential. 

crazy

A special thanks to the event organizers and hosts. It was a wonderful learning experience and I look forward to participating in the future.

A talented, versatile developer and designer, Federico Bucchi was recently brought into Waterfall’s Special Projects team. When not writing poetry, trying to fix our aging Wii, learning about D3 or any other forward thinking technology, Fed enjoys telling everyone he is Italian. 

Destination CRM recently published our advice to marketers about integrating data into a mobile marketing strategy. The article, “Meeting the Mobile Marketing Data Integration Challenge,” walks through three straight-forward tactics marketers can use to augment mobile messaging with segmentation and targeting, including: 

  • Capturing Demographic Data From All Customer Touch Points
  • Creating Individual Experiences Easily Analyzed in Aggregate
  • Integrating Systems Rather Than Maintaining Channels in Silo

Check out CRM Magazine for the full details about switching from a channel-centered approach to one focused on customers. You can follow CRM Mag @CRM and us @Waterfall.