iPhone vs. Blackberry: Touchscreen no substitute for good user experience

iPhone vs. Blackberry Storm data from a href=

A new study of user satisfaction thirty days after purchase confirms what some have been saying all along (see previous post Storm vs. iPhone: Experience not Features).

Touchscreens no substitute for good user experience.

Despite several shortcomings, the iPhone user experience is great for a variety of consumer and smartphone uses. The iPhone UX isn’t a function of the touchscreen (or any other feature) but of overall design.

On the other hand, all but the Blackberry Storm are great purpose-made devices for reading and writing email. Highly recommended if that’s your primary use for a smart phone. RIM optimized the Blackberry UX

The Storm, on the other hand, just blows.

The Tale of Despereaux: World's First Live-Twitter Movie Review?

In the middle of a press screening for the movie The Tale of Despereaux last Saturday morning, Ken Twittered me:

I replied:

dalelarson: @kyeung808 Yes, live tweeted the press screening, but not new. Did something similar in 90s with Star Wars: Episode 1, fax and web. 11:47 AM Dec 13th from Twittelator in reply to kyeung808

In other words, while I was in the theater seeing the movie a week early, I was Twittering whatever lines I found interesting. Ken asked if that was really what I was doing. And what it meant.

I’d done the same thing with an AC/DC concert the week before. Actually, there I tried to work song titles into witty sentences. Last year, I was asked to speak on Twitter to a conference at Stanford after live-tweeting Barry Bond’s record-breaking home run (from the fence, with the Sports Illustrated photographer who captured the moment).

All my unedited Tweets of The Tale of Despereaux are after the jump, and feel free to skip to the end for the actual one-tweet review. Since I’ve done mobile marketing for films from many studios, I have to wonder: what, if anything, does this change about how we share our experiences with each other and what movie marketers may need to consider in the future? Continue reading

One Best Business Strategy for Facebook, Twitter, Digg or LinkedIn

In Twitter isn’t the point, Holly Ross of NTEN comments on a study showing that influence and word of mouth are becoming more important than ever to consumer behavior, and more of it is happening online. She goes on:

I think we’re missing the mark, though.  It’s not really about Twitter.  It’s not about Facebook.  It’s not about whatever the next buzzword is.

It’s about friends.

It’s about building real relationships that inspire people to act on your behalf.  That’s the skill we should focus on building. Whether it’s Twitter or Digg or Facebook or LinkedIn, it’s about those relationships.

We have to teach ourselves to operate that way again.

We commonly use phrases like “Facebook Strategy” or “Mobile Strategy,” but we’d never talking about building a house in terms of “Hammer Strategy.”   The technologies are just tools and our language is tricking us.

When we’re wowed by case-studies showing off the power and effectiveness of these tools, we’re really being impressed the underlying strategy, a powerful one that we can all take advantage of.

It’s easy to forget that it has always been one of the best business and marketing strategies to make friends. We do that by focusing on others, on listening to them and meeting their needs. How will your business be making friends and thriving in 2009?

WSJ: Respond strategically to Web 2.0 or be left behind

If you haven’t already, read what the Wall Street Journal has to say about: The Secrets of Marketing in a Web 2.0 World.

It’s short, well-written, and says again what we need to keep hearing about how companies need respond strategically to Web 2.0. It’s not just implementing promotional marketing programs there as if it were a new media channel to add to the mix.

Remember how companies were left behind in the nineties. It wasn’t because they didn’t develop a web site or an email list quickly enough, it was because they didn’t have a good response to the changing environment and competition. They needed to add offerings and/or change positioning to carve out a new niche in the new world. Mobile and social media are causing even bigger shifts.

Consumers are flocking to blogs, social-networking sites and virtual worlds. And they are leaving a lot of marketers behind.

  • A New Approach: Marketing these days is more about building a two-way relationship with consumers. Web 2.0 tools are a powerful way to do that.
  • The Pioneers: A growing number of companies are learning how to collaborate with consumers online on product development, service enhancement and promotion.
  • The Lessons: From these early efforts, a set of marketing principles have emerged. Among them: get consumers involved in all aspects of marketing, listen to and join the online conversation about your products outside your site, and give the consumers you work with plenty of leeway to express their opinions.

Six Alternatives to the Same Old Holiday Cards

What to do? Paper Christmas cards seem eco-unfriendly. Ecards just seem unfriendly. Thoughts/alternatives?

What to do? Paper Christmas cards seem eco-unfriendly. Ecards just seem unfriendly. Thoughts/alternatives?

Looking for the best way to connect during the holidays? Me too.

At one time, I mailed cards each December as part of maintaining important relationships personal and professional. But I’d fallen out of the habit.

Wanting to restart or create a new habit in line with my values, I turned to the collective wisdom of Twitter (and Facebook) to ask “What to do? Paper Christmas cards seem eco-unfriendly. Ecards just seem unfriendly. Thoughts/alternatives?”

I was surprised by the instant response with so many wonderful ideas to share! Read on for the best so far, and add your ideas to the comments. Continue reading

San Francisco Mobile Marketing Meetup

There are plenty of Mobile Marketing providers and agencies and other interested parties in the Bay Area. It’s time to have our own local group for networking and sharing.

I’ve developed mobile marketing strategy and implemented hundreds of mobile marketing campaigns over the last four years using text, voice, ringtones, video, mobile web, and mobile applications. While I’ve enjoyed many meetings and conferences (as a speaker and participant) more oriented to startups and developers in the mobile space, or limited to mobile advertising (i.e., mobile banner ads and search), as well as the global Mobile Marketing Association, my personal interests are more about:

How is mobile changing customer behavior and markets?
How do businesses need to adopt in this new environment?
How can business and customers best communicate via mobile?
What’s working and what’s not, and how to available technologies and platforms stack up in the field?
What are hot new campaigns?

Join the Meetup group and let me know if you have any suggestions or can offer help, including ideas for future topics, speakers and locations.  Thanks!

Tonight will be our first meetup, an informal gathering for drinks with special guest Kim Dushinski, author of “The Mobile Marketing Handbook” (on shelves next month), in San Francisco at House of Shields at 7pm. RSVP on Meetup.

Could Twitter's transcendent clarity trump Facebook?

Like email, IM, and text messaging before it, Twitter is destined to become a common communication tool familiar to all. What might be less clear is the long term fate of particular social networks like Facebook and Linkedin.

How could this make sense? Facebook and Linkedin already have considerable revenues. Twitter has zero. They also have far more users than Twitter. And so on. Some have even said Twitter is not a business.

Yet Twitter has a kind of transcendent clarity.

It’s not that Twitter now tops the list of fastest growing social networks or that Facebook offered to buy Twitter for $500 million.

Continue reading

Blackberry Storm vs. iPhone: Similar Experience or Disaster?

The reviews bear out what I said in May: Overall user experience, not touchscreen or features make the iPhone a winner vs. Blackberry Storm.

Any suggestion that adding a touchscreen would make Blackberry competitive with iPhone was always silly. Blackberry already creates a great experience for some users. To work equally well for another group of users, RIM needs to do more than add features or change input device. Continue reading

Mr. Obama, don't give up your Blackberry! Use it differently.

We have never had an emailing President.

The New York Times reports today that Obama is addicted to his BlackBerry, but will be forced to give it up as President.  It has served as

…a singular conduit to the outside world as the bubble around him grew tighter and tighter throughout his campaign.

“How about that?” Mr. Obama replied to a friend’s congratulatory e-mail message on the night of his victory.

But before he arrives at the White House, he will probably be forced to sign off. In addition to concerns about e-mail security, he faces the Presidential Records Act, which puts his correspondence in the official record and ultimately up for public review, and the threat of subpoenas. A decision has not been made on whether he could become the first e-mailing president, but aides said that seemed doubtful.

I say, don’t give it up. Use it differently.

Be not only the first emailing president, be the first to make all of your email instantly public.

Post the output of your Blackberry to a web page.

Obviously, this will change what you can use email for and how you can use it, but imagine the power inherent in making your electronic communication something you share with the world. The leverage of having each word spread so much further than the individuals on the To: line.

Be the most transparent and authentic leader the world has ever seen.

Salvation Army takes five dollars by text message instead of pocket change

Short on change as you walk by the red kettle and bell ringer?  The Salvation Army is testing mobile donations in Atlanta this year. Text “TSA” to 90999 to initiate a premium SMS charge of $5 (i.e., added to your phone bill).

“We are not the most progressive movement in the world, we change very slowly. With the regular use of debit and credit cards, many shoppers are short on loose change or cash in-hand. We want to afford anyone and everyone who desires to make a donation, a user friendly and convenient means to do so.” Says Major James Seiler, Metro Atlanta area commander of The Salvation Army, Atlanta, Georgia, in Mobile Marketer.

Mobile Marketer doesn’t mention the revenue share percentages for this particular program, but a dirty secret of the industry is that as much as 60% of premium SMS transactions are held back by mobile carriers and platform providers. Until recently, this was even for most text-to-give donations.

I checked with a friend at Mobile Accord, and now this drops to 5% rev share held back (min $.25), so the Salvation Army actually nets $4.75 per donation, minus the cost of setting up and running the program. They have a hundred NPOs signed up for text-to-give.

I don’t know about you, but the sound of those ringing bells is enough to keep me away from a mall. What do I have to text to turn down the volume?