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Tim Peter Thinks

Tim Peter

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April 15, 2014

This Week’s Sign That Mobile Rules (Travel Tuesday)

April 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

Woman traveler mobile phoneI wrote a post a couple weeks ago looking at on-property mobile experiences that seemed to strike a chord with many of you. So, you’ll probably want to check out Mobile Marketer’s roundup of how the 5 biggest online travel agencies are using mobile to expand beyond bookings.

This quote from Giorgos Zacharia, Kayak’s chief technology officer, struck me in particular:

“We see heavy usage at home, suggesting mobile devices are replacing desktops and laptops roles in booking and planning travel.”

Most of my clients see the same behavior, with Safari on iOS replacing IE or Chrome on Windows as the most common browser/OS combination. I know I’ve talked about this for a while, but you should check your numbers, too, to see where your guests come from — and start planning your response.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results:

And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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April 14, 2014

Retailers lose 32% of shoppers to in-store mobile use. Or do they?

April 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

Woman shopping phoneInteresting article over on Mobile Commerce Daily today, which outlines a study suggesting retailers lose 32% of shoppers to in-store mobile use. The key quote:

“Tradedoubler research reveals that when smartphones are used in-store for product research, consumer shopping habits sway by 61 percent.”

Um… how to say this politely? I got it: Bullcrap.

Retailers don’t lose 32% of shoppers because of mobile. That’s simply untrue.

They lose 32% of shoppers because their customers found a product that better met their needs. Or found a retailer that addressed an outstanding concern. Or, yes, the customer found the product someplace else that saved them money.

In fact, the less sensational part of the study suggests the exact same thing:

“The research found that after viewing a product on mobile, 20 percent of people decide to buy elsewhere, 20 percent decide against purchase and 22 percent decide to buy online.”

For the most part, customers don’t care about you. They care about their needs. When you meet your customers needs, they’ll buy from you. When you don’t, they won’t. Sure, mobile may be facilitating the process, but suggesting that, somehow, that process is mobile’s fault is patently absurd.

Look at it this way: If your customers are bailing just because they found a better offering, were they really your customers in the first place? Or were they always looking for a better offering, but had fewer ways to find one?

I suspect it’s the latter.

Customers choose strong brands — Apple, Google, Pepsi, Coke, Harley-Davidson, Fischer Travel, and countless others — because those brands tell an effective story that connects with their customers. Full stop.

I have an iPhone. I very much like my iPhone. Would I trade it for an Android phone, say the Galaxy S5? Nope. I would not. This, despite that fact that an Android phone is undoubtedly less expensive (at least upfront), and probably every bit as effective a smartphone.

Why wouldn’t I switch? Because, for whatever reason, the iPhone is the right phone for me. Just like I prefer Diet Coke to Diet Pepsi (and, using “prefer” in that context is like saying “I prefer breathing oxygen to not breathing oxygen.”)

Mobile may make it easier for your customers to learn you’re not the right choice for them. The question is, what can you do to make sure you are the right choice?

On a related note, you may enjoy these slides from a recent speaking engagement “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results”. Check them out here:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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April 10, 2014

Should Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Focus on Apps or the Mobile Web? Thinks Out Loud Episode 69

April 10, 2014 | By | No Comments

Should Your Mobile Marketing Strategy Focus on Apps or the Mobile Web?

Man using smartphone

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

If you’re looking for more e-commerce tips, check out my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results as well:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 17m 12s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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April 8, 2014

Search? Metasearch? What’s the Difference? (Travel Tuesday)

April 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

Google buys Room 77's metasearch technologyWell, this is something. Bloomberg reported yesterday that Google (essentially) bought Room 77′s metasearch and booking technology. Key quote:

“With Room 77, Google can cater to travelers looking to quickly book hotels, the most lucrative part of online travel, while on the move.”

Very, very interesting.

I’ve been telling clients and investors for the past few years that the biggest competitor to Expedia, Priceline, and TripAdvisor is none other than our good friend Google. The search giant’s entry into metasearch with maps was its opening shot in an increasingly less cold war.

You see, metasearch isn’t a product or category or business. It’s a feature. Google can include metasearch results into its search engine results pages without blinking an eye and undermine all the work done by Kayak, Trivago, and TripAdvisor on building differentiated metasearch offerings (To be fair, though, Priceline, Expedia, and TripAdvsior can do the same by incorporating metasearch into their regular search results, too).

More important from a distribution strategy perspective is that search results are only one click away from booking. Google — or its vertical search/metasearch competition — could easily add booking capabilities to tie search and reservations together. In Google’s case, though, its other, major revenue stream might prevent that. As the Bloomberg article notes:

“The deal also steps up [Google's] competition with Priceline Group Inc., which is one of Google’s biggest customers in buying search ads.” [Emphasis mine]

The key question for me, and for hospitality executives, is how Google plans to use its new toys. If Google wants to go toe-to-toe with those who buy its ads, we might witness a new “Cold War” between OTA’s and Big G — and I’d expect that cold war to get even hotter if Google routed reservations directly to hotels, instead of to the OTA’s.

Definitely interesting times for hotel marketers and distribution execs. Stay tuned to see where this leads.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results:

And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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April 3, 2014

For Millennials and Gen X, There’s No Such Thing as Offline

April 3, 2014 | By | No Comments

Fascinating chart from Deloitte and Marketing Charts today, showing that fully half of all millennials own a laptop, smartphone, and tablet. The graying Gen X demographic lags only slightly, at 46%. Here’s the full chart (and link to the data) for you to look at.

I know I say it again and again, but this data underscores the point that your customers no longer go online, they are online. They’re carrying the Internet with them all day, every day, no matter where they go.

One of the real keys to responsive design is reacting appropriately not to your customers’ screen, but to their context. A potential customer who’s browsing the web or an app while sitting on her couch has very different needs than one checking for information while hustling through an airport, riding in a taxi, or waiting to pick up her kids from school. Your digital strategy needs to start with an understanding of where your customers are, what they need, and how to help them address those needs in each context.

For more thoughts on helping your customers via social, mobile and search, check out “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results,” a talk I recently gave:

Finally, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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April 2, 2014

Why Your Customers’ Privacy Matters to Your Marketing – Thinks Out Loud Episode 68

April 2, 2014 | By | No Comments

Why Your Customers’ Privacy Matters to Your Marketing Headlines and Show Notes

IStock 000008378947XSmall

You can also register to receive a free copy of my special report, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World,” produced in conjunction with Vizergy, here. While it’s targeted to the hospitality industry specifically, most of the lessons apply across verticals.

If you’re looking for more e-commerce tips, check out my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results as well:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 52s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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April 1, 2014

How Mobile Will Shape Guests’ On-Property Experience

April 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

Couple by pool mobile phoneTnooz has a look at 6 mobile trends to boost sales of travel products. And, one item in particular caught my eye. It builds on my thoughts last week about a balanced approach to direct and OTA business, but highlights an important distinction: OTA and direct business may increasingly be the same thing. Here’s the money quote:

The year of the in-trip experience: watch out for OTAs upping their game

Nick Longman, distribution and online director for mainstream tour operations at TUI Travel, expects to see more people booking via mobile, but also that it will be used more as an engagement tool [during their trip]…

Bob Rogers, co-founder of DealAngel, a firm acquired by the Russian online travel agent (OTA) OneTwoTrip, says they are currently working hard to build a lot more in-trip services. ‘This is an area that has been neglected by all OTAs,’ says Rogers, adding that, ‘once a person is travelling, there is virtually nothing going on’.

Citing an area for improvement, Rogers argues that with the amount of information OTAs have, customers could — and should — be pushed information about a flight at the right time. In fact, he even goes as far as to say OTAs could check a customer in (something that can be automated), find them the best seat and so on. They shouldn’t even have to ask for it.
‘You can offer so much value just by anticipating the inevitable,’ he says.”

One of the reasons that mobile really is a game-changer is that it removes the distinction we have long made between a guest booking a reservation and a guest consuming one. “Booking” may be an ongoing process, with offers and deals and discounts and value-adds presented throughout the stay to guests based on their location, interests, and preferences (both explicit and implied). While I continue to recommend hotel marketers evaluate OTA relationships based on the value they provide, it’s also worth paying attention to:

  1. OTA moves on the on-property front. The guest experience on-property remains a stronghold for hotels — for now. Obviously, OTA’s have the opportunity to invest heavily in the on-site experience through mobile for your guests. That’s a big deal, and a potential game-changer for ongoing relationships with your OTA partners.
  2. Your technology providers’ investments in on-property, mobile-enabled experiences. Much as the Tnooz article suggests, this area has been neglected, by intermediaries and hotels alike. It’s worth looking at providers offering tools and services to help you improve your guests’ experiences on-property. Otherwise, you risk ceding ground to the OTA’s here, too.

We’re still only in the first inning on this one; there’s a ways to go before we’re going to declare any winners or losers here. But, it’s clear that OTA’s have both the capital to invest in this area and the incentive to do so. The real question is what you’re prepared to do to serve your guests here as well.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results:

And you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

March 31, 2014

Key Trends You Must Know: The 10 Top E-commerce and Digital Strategy Posts (March 2014)

March 31, 2014 | By | No Comments

Key trends for March 2014Can you believe the first quarter is behind us? Seriously, we’re already one-fourth of the way through the year and, while these Spring days are getting longer, they seem to go faster too. Seems like a good time to step back and see how you’re doing — and what you might have missed so far, don’t you think?

To help you catch up, here are the top 10 posts this past month as determined by your fellow Big Thinkers. Check ‘em out when you get a chance.

  1. The clear winner this past month was “How to Use Emotion and Storytelling in Digital Marketing” from my Travel Tuesday series. But, don’t let the series throw you. Emotion and storytelling matter to customers across all verticals, not just travel. Your digital marketing can only improve if you incorporate appropriate emotions and effective storytelling into your campaigns. Don’t believe me? Well, the popularity of this post — it’s the 5th most popular post on the blog this year — suggests your fellow readers (and competitors) agree.
  2. It’s no secret that most Thinks readers pay close attention to e-commerce and digital strategy trends. Which explains why these 5 E-commerce Trends Worth Watching This Week and the collection of the 10 Things You Need to Know: 10 Top E-commerce and Marketing Strategy Posts for February tied for the #2 spot.
  3. Another Travel Tuesday post snuck into the top 5, this one looking at the 4 rules of social marketing for hotel marketers. As is usually the case, most of the examples listed actually work across verticals, so are wroth reviewing regardless of your industry.
  4. My review of “The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies” by MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee came in at number 4. I cannot stress enough how important this book is, not just for marketers, but for anyone wondering about the future of work, learning, and commerce in the 21st century. Excellent stuff.
  5. Guest editor Megan Totka brought everyone this great look at 6 Simple Subject Line Tips for Boosting Email Open Rates, which makes the list at #5.
  6. I call my weekly podcast Thinks Out Loud, and its episodes tend to be very popular. That’s certainly true for Episode 65, which explored Internet Marketing to Millennials (Gen X and Boomers Too).
  7. Another trends post, 6 Key E-commerce Stories Worth Reading this Weekend, attracted lots of attention.
  8. And Thinks Out Loud scores another entry on the most popular posts, with Episode 66, The Future of Social and Mobile Marketing is Happening Right Now.
  9. A collection of The 7 Fastest Ways to Improve Your E-commerce Effectiveness was among the most popular and shared posts this past month.
  10. And last, but not least, was a list of my Tools of the Trade: A Process (and 6 Blogging Tools) I Can’t Live Without, which detailed, as you might guess, both the tools I use to produce this blog every day and the way in which I actually do it. A pretty healthy number of you seemed to enjoy it.

There you have it, Big Thinkers, the 10 top e-commerce and digital strategy posts from March. If you like this list and want to see more like it in the future, or posts that drill down on any of these topics in more detail, be sure to leave a comment below.

You may also enjoy these slides from a recent speaking engagement, “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results”, here. The talk was my most popular presentation on Slideshare this past month (as well as very well received by its audience):

Finally, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

March 28, 2014

6 Key E-commerce Stories Worth Reading this Weekend

March 28, 2014 | By | No Comments

Reading on your phoneAnother week is in the books, Big Thinkers. As you’re catching up before heading into Monday, be sure and check out these 6 e-commerce stories worth reading this weekend:

  1. From the “Wow, you don’t say,” department, Marketing Charts posts a chart (you were expecting something else?) showing that friends’ social media posts influence purchase decisions. In related news, oxygen is important to most human beings and water is wet. Still, it is a pretty chart.
  2. You know how I always say “it’s all e-commerce”? Turns out that’s darned near an understatement for the UK entertainment market, where eMarketer reports Internet-derived sales claim 60% market share.
  3. Speaking of “it’s all e-commerce,” this weeks Thinks Out Loud podcast asked, and answered, the perennial question, “How Big is E-commerce Anyway?” The answer: Big.
  4. Another post over on Marketing Charts shows that 1 in 2 US marketers “trust their gut” for marketing budget decisions. For your sake, I hope they’re your competitors.
  5. Our Book Review of the Week-ish made its triumphant return, featuring a review of The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, the incredibly important book by MIT scholars Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. Fascinating topic and highly important to e-commerce and digital marketers of the future (which is to say, all of them).
  6. Finally, you might want to check out these 7 fastest ways to improve your e-commerce effectiveness when you get a moment. Useful stuff.

Hey, speaking of e-commerce effectiveness, you may also enjoy these slides from another recent speaking engagement “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results” here:

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

March 27, 2014

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies (Book Review of the Week-ish)

March 27, 2014 | By | No Comments

I’ve spent the last few days working my way through the fascinating The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by MIT professors Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

First, it’s worth pointing out that this is not — emphatically not — a marketing book, at least not in the sense most people think about marketing. Brynjolfsson and McAfee are big thinkers in the truest sense of the word, exploring the implications of increasingly cheap (if not free) technology on people’s everyday lives and livelihoods. They look deeply at the exponential growth of computing power and how that growth has shaped, and will continue to shape, our world.

Second, this is by no means “light reading.” But, it remains highly readable nonetheless. Brynjolfsson and McAfee tell a compelling story that ties together the work of many leading economists and economic thinkers. Their examination of the economic effects brought about by the computer revolution — the “Second Machine Age” of the book’s title — leaves few stones unturned in its examination of the rapidly shifting landscape brought about by unprecedented technological change.

Given that this isn’t a marketing book, why review it on a marketing and e-commerce blog? Simple, the authors’ comprehensive look at how digital products and services — apps, games, and media — create a “winner take all” environment matters to anyone working in those fields. Even more interesting, though, is their explanation in Chapter 10 of how ratings and review sites create similar effects for all products and services, digital or not. While I’ve long talked about the important role ratings and reviews play in digital marketing today, I’d never seen the long-term effects spelled out so clearly before. Incredibly useful stuff.

Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s world-view may appear utopian (or, at the very least, very optimistic) to some. But they don’t shirk the hard questions, such as the effects technological change has on the job market now and in the future. And this hard look at the world we live in matters. It offers tremendous insights into the challenges and fears your customers may face in the coming years as automation and a changing business environment affects not only consumers’ work opportunities, incomes, and purchasing power, but also their feelings, hopes, and dreams for their lives, and those of their children.

If marketing represents the act of creating customers, understanding their needs, and offering products and services that help them in their lives, then The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies represents an important book for all marketers — and for businesses generally. I highly recommend you pick up a print copy, or perhaps more appropriately given the subject, the Kindle edition. Great information, well presented, and well worth your time.

Interested in how these changes affect your customers in a more day-to-day sense? Then you may also enjoy these slides from another recent speaking engagement “Elements of E-commerce: How Digital Storytelling Drives Revenue and Results” here:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including: