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January 20, 2016

Driving Seamless Experiences in 2016 (Thinks Out Loud Episode 149)

January 20, 2016 | By | No Comments

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Driving Seamless Experiences in 2016 (Thinks Out Loud Podcast Episode 149)

Driving Seamless Experiences in 2016 (Thinks Out Loud Episode 149) – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

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: 15m 7s

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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January 13, 2016

The State of E-commerce 2016 (Thinks Out Loud Episode 148)

January 13, 2016 | By | No Comments

The State of E-commerce 2016

The State of E-commerce 2016 (Thinks Out Loud Episode 148) – Headlines and Show Notes

You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

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 42s

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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January 5, 2016

16 Key Insights: The Top Travel Marketing Posts of 2015 (Travel Tuesday)

January 5, 2016 | By | No Comments

16 Key Insights: The Top Travel Marketing Posts of 2015Well, Big Thinkers, it’s time once again to round-up the top posts from the past year as selected by you and your fellow readers here on the blog. And, just like last year, a number of key insights emerged from what you read, shared, liked, and linked to over the past 12 months. The core trends, in no particular order:

  • Driving direct business. Obviously, many hotel marketers continue to worry about OTA’s such as Priceline and Expedia, but the emergence of alternative accommodations providers like Airbnb have seem to have really increased the importance of connecting directly with guests.
  • Mobile. One of the key ways you need to connect with guests? Mobile. No longer a future trend (as I pointed out not long ago), mobile’s time is now.
  • Millennials. And, of course, one of the key drivers of growth in mobile and in travel business overall is the rise of Millennials as a legitimate contributor to both leisure and business travel.
  • Data. Finally, putting all these pieces together increasingly requires a robust customer data strategy and effective execution to make it work. While this wasn’t as prominent throughout 2015, expect to see lots of action in this area this year.

With all that said, take a few moments to review these 16 key insights, the top travel marketing posts of 2015. You’ll be glad you did. And stay tuned for even more good things as we go forward in 2016. Enjoy!

  1. Leading off this year’s list, we’ve got these “5 Key Facts About Mobile, Millennials, and Hotel Marketing.” Really important metrics there. Don’t miss ’em.
  2. Another huge past this past year asked “How Safe Are Independent Hotels from Airbnb?” The answer really depends on you, of course, so be sure to see how you can defend your hotel from the coming competitive pressures in your market.
  3. It seemed liked everyone wanted to learn more about “The Big Myth About Digital Strategy.” Check it out to see why.
  4. My annual “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” presentation always proves popular. I’m actually presenting this talk again (updated with some new material) to the Washington, DC HSMAI chapter in a couple of weeks. Keep checking the event page for updated details if you’d like to attend.
  5. One of my personal favorite posts from the past year is this “Huge List of Lessons Learned at HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference.” It seems like I gain a great set of takeaways every year—and you can look forward to insights from this year’s show next month.
  6. This next post, “Are Hotel Brands Doomed?” preceded and stands as a companion piece to the look at independent hotels and Airbnb up there in the #2 position. If you work for a management company or asset management firm, you might want to review both.
  7. Our Hospitality Marketing Link Digest series always attracts lots of attention from your fellow Big Thinkers. And this entry, containing “4 Key Posts About 2015 Travel Marketing Trends” was no exception.
  8. These “Trends in Hospitality Digital Marketing for 2016″ captured your fellow readers’ fancy last October.
  9. Another personal favorite of mine—and many of your fellow Big Thinkers, given how frequently they shared it—was this look at “Why Mobile Matters for Hotel Marketing.”
  10. One of the most important posts of last year was this report “Priceline CEO Darren Huston Explains Why Driving Brand Value Matters.” Priceline, Expedia, TripAdvisor, Google, and Airbnb are killing it right now. Any time they provide you an opportunity to learn about what they’re up to is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss. Check out the whole post to see why.
  11. This collection of “6 Key Hotel E-commerce Tips: A Cheat Sheet to Drive Direct Business” rocketed up the list last year… and for good reason. Take a look for yourself and learn why.
  12. I was interviewed by a trade magazine for “5 Hotel Marketing Trends for 2015: Tim Peter in Hotel News Now” and thought you might appreciate hearing what we talked about. Looks like you and your fellow readers wanted to hear all about it.
  13. Another Hospitality Marketing Link Digest makes this year’s list, with this one a round-up of “5 Hospitality Marketing Trends You’ll Want to Keep in Mind.”
  14. Although this next post was published early in the year, these “3 Keys to Compete with OTA’s in 2015 and Beyond” still hold true in 2016.
  15. While we’re on the topic of OTA’s, you may still want to review this look at “What the Expedia-Orbitz Deal Means for Your Hotel.”
  16. Finally—and amazingly—this next post was only published a few weeks ago. Yet, it managed to race up the charts and make it into this year-end recap all the same, by asking the crucial question, “Is Social a Waste of Time for Hotel Marketers?” The short answer is “no.” But be sure to read the whole post to understand why.

If you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an 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 want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

  • 7 Hot Hotel Marketing Insights: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • How the Best Hotels Own the Guest
  • The Top 14 Hotel Marketing Posts of 2014
  • 5 Amazing Mobile Hotel Marketing Stories: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • 3 Mobile Milestones for Travel Marketing
  • 6 Insights About Travel Innovation Trends: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • 6 Totally Brilliant Travel Marketing Posts: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • Mind-Blowing Mobile Stats for Hotel Marketers from Google
  • 5 Outstanding Posts to Kick-off a Successful Hotel Marketing Week: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • 7 Truly Useful Hospitality Marketing Messages: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • Why Apple Might Choose Yelp as Its Go-To Search Engine
  • 6 Winning Travel Marketing Posts: The Top Hospitality Marketing Posts from January
  • 5 Fantastic Hotel Marketing Posts You Won’t Want to Miss This Week: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

  • Key Revenue Levers Driving Profitability (Presentation)
  • What’s Amazon’s Travel Offering Really About?
  • 5 Killer Resources for Hotel Marketers: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • 6 Superb Hotel Marketing Insights: The Hospitality Marketing Link Digest
  • 15 Key Travel Marketing Posts of 2015 (So Far).
  • Tim Peter

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    January 4, 2016

    20 Key Concepts for the Year Ahead: The Top Posts of 2015

    January 4, 2016 | By | No Comments

    20 Key concepts for the year ahead: The top posts of 2015Happy New Year, Big Thinkers! Every year at this time, we round up the top posts from the past 12 months, based on what you and your fellow Thinks readers read, shared, liked, and linked to most often. And, in reviewing the top content, one topic rose above all the rest: Mobile. It’s clear that mobile’s time has come. We’re no longer talking about it as a future trend; it’s simply something you must address for your business (in fact, that exact theme provided the title for the 5th most popular podcast episode of 2015 here on Thinks).

    Of course, mobile wasn’t the only popular theme. Much like last year, Millennials also attracted lots of attention. However, there definitely seemed to be a slight decline from a year ago, which makes sense. As Millennials become more fully integrated into the market and workplace, most marketers have more access to this core demographic and gain deeper understanding of how to best meet their needs.

    Additional topics that gained lots of love last year include mobile payments, omnichannel, content marketing, customer experience management, and, more generally, digital transformation. Of course, you can count on us to keep an eye on all of these topics—as well as any others that emerge in 2016—to keep you up to date.

    In the meantime, we’ve grouped these 20 key concepts for the year ahead, the top posts of 2015, according to the series in which they were originally published. Feel free to scroll through the whole list, or click on the handy navigation below to get right to your preferred format:

    And, don’t worry. We’ll have the top travel marketing posts of 2015 ready for you tomorrow as part of our regular Travel Tuesday selection. In the meantime, enjoy!


    Thinks

    1. No post got more play last year than this look at “The Big Lie About Mobile Commerce Everyone’s Telling Right Now” and given the growth in the mobile commerce space, that makes sense. Be sure to read the whole thing to find out why it was so popular among all your fellow Big Thinkers.
    2. Mobile payments made headlines all year long, sometimes for good reason and sometimes for bad. But, the next post on our list outlines “Why Mobile Payments Will Rule” before too long.
    3. Next up is this exploration of “The Coming Massive Mobile Disruption” to help you get in front of the wave.
    4. Along the same lines, “Mobile Will Disrupt Your Industry: 3 Ways to Protect Your Business” does just what it claims on the label, helping you get ahead of the many changes mobile creates in the marketplace.
    5. Despite the explosive growth of mobile, many other marketing channels remain valuable. That’s probably behind the popularity of this post that asks, “Are You Still Making This Major Email Marketing Mistake?”
    6. Understanding Millennials always makes for an interesting discussion, which helped drive “We’ve Reached Another Mobile and Millennial Milestone” to the #6 spot on last year’s list.
    7. Next up are a whole series of related posts that ask, “How Big Will E-commerce Be in 2015?” uncover “The Big Secret About E-commerce” and explain “Why Mobile Changes Everything—and Nothing At All”. You should check out the whole set, but it’s worth noting that they’re tied together by this fact: “Digital Influenced $1.2 Trillion In-Store Last Year.” Read on to see how that’s all connected.
    8. Another popular payments post explained “What Amazon’s Mobile Wallet Failure Can Teach You” about mobile, e-commerce, and digital strategy overall.
    9. This pair of related posts on “4 Keys to Executing On Digital” and “Putting Digital to Work: 4 Key Actions to Drive Digital Transformation” helped turned strategy into action for a good many Big Thinkers last year.
    10. And, rounding out the primary portion of our top posts is this winner that demonstrated “It Wasn’t ‘Black Friday.’ It Was ‘Mobile Friday.'”


    Thinks Out Loud

    Our weekly e-commerce and digital strategy podcast continued to grow in 2015. Here are the top Thinks Out Loud episodes from the past year for you:

    1. Why Millennials Matter – Thinks Out Loud Episode 116 – (March 25, 2015)
    2. Is Customer Experience the Future of E-commerce? – Thinks Out Loud Episode 110 – (February 11, 2015)
    3. The State of E-commerce 2015 – Thinks Out Loud Episode 107 – (January 21, 2015)
    4. Mobile is So Much Bigger Than You Think – Thinks Out Loud Episode 140 – (November 11, 2015)
    5. E-commerce is More Than Just One Channel – Thinks Out Loud Episode 109 – (February 4, 2015)
    6. Mobile is Not a Trend – Thinks Out Loud Episode 136 – (September 17, 2015)



    The Thinks Link Digests

    Our weekly E-commerce Link Digest series continues to prove popular with your fellow Big Thinkers. The top 5 Link Digests from 2015 were:

    1. 8 Brilliant E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Trends
    2. 5 Key E-commerce Ideas to Kick Off the New Year Right
    3. 8 Amazing Social, Mobile, Millennial Marketing and E-Commerce Posts
    4. 8 Must-Read Posts Connecting Content, Search and Mobile Commerce
    5. 10 Must-Read E-Commerce, Search, and Mobile Posts

    Hope you enjoyed this year’s round-up, Big Thinkers! If you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and 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 can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

    And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

    Tim Peter

    By

    December 16, 2015

    Trends for 2016: Is Execution the New Innovation? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 145)

    December 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

    Is Execution the New Innovation?

    Trends for 2016: Is Execution the New Innovation? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 145) – Headlines and Show Notes

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

    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 59s

    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

    By

    November 30, 2015

    It Wasn’t “Black Friday.” It Was “Mobile Friday.”

    November 30, 2015 | By | No Comments

    It Wasn't Black Friday. It Was Mobile Friday.

    Interesting data from Monetate (and reported by Marketing Charts) out this week says that mobile traffic to e-commerce sites represented about 25% of all traffic in Q3, up from about 18% year-over-year. Cool, right? Well, brace yourselves. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Because as it turns out, it wasn’t just Black Friday last week. It was “mobile Friday.”

    Why’s that? Well, the very latest data from Adobe and reported by CMO.com showed that mobile represented over 55% of visits on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday. Um… that’s huge. Now, Adobe lumps tablets and phones together within mobile (not the best way to look at it since mobile and tablet really tend to be two very different customer experiences), but the breakout for just phones shows that most of it was on phones—some 75% of that 55%+, or about 44% overall.

    Even better, sales on mobile devices (just phones, not tablets), topped half a billion dollars in just those two days, or about a quarter of actual sales. That’s, um… huge-r. And, remember, we’ve still got Cyber Monday to look forward to.

    Now, to be fair, someone’s going to point out that e-commerce and mobile won’t save retail. Actually, probably more than just one. And that’s more than fair, because retail faces a number of systemic issues (well beyond the scope of today’s post, but one we’ll look at in more detail in the future). But, here’s the thing: Without mobile and e-commerce, your numbers would be much, much worse.

    Yes, you want to do more than just fight for a piece of a rapidly-shrinking pie. But that doesn’t mean you should just give up on that piece while you’re working on growing the pie overall.

    It’s not just that mobile’s going to be huge; it is huge. So, what do you do about it for your business?

    Well here are a few tips to get you started:

    1. You’ve got to remember that, despite all the data that shows mobile’s importance (and, clearly, it’s incredibly important), it’s not mobile-first, it’s customer first that matters
    2. Given that, focus on the necessary steps to create a customer for your business
    3. Remember to integrate your customer experiences since, when it comes to e-commerce vs. store, it’s not either/or
    4. Use social appropriately to connect with your customers
    5. Test and test and test and test. Learn how to fail and how to learn from those tests to improve your customers’ experience

    The simple fact is that mobile commerce is here to stay. It’s not “the future.” It’s here, today, right now. And it’s time to get going. Don’t worry about Black Friday, or Cyber Monday, or Small Business Saturday. Worry about mobile Friday. And every other day of the week too.

    If you’re interested in learning more about making the social, mobile web work for your customers, be sure to check out this round-up of posts about “Google, Mobile, E-commerce. What More Could You Want?” these “6 Must-See Mobile Commerce Messages for You,” this set of “9 Nifty November Mobile Commerce Insights” and other entries from our E-commerce Link Digest series, plus these “7 Special E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Trending Topics: The Top Posts of September, 2015.”

    And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and 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 can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

    And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

    Tim Peter

    By

    November 29, 2015

    6 Spectacular Marketing and Distribution Insights: Hospitality Marketing Link Digest

    November 29, 2015 | By | No Comments

    6 spectacular marketing and distribution insightsHey, Big Thinkers, hope you’ve had a fantastic holiday weekend. Not much setup this time around, but I bet you’ll like these 6 spectacular marketing and distribution insights from the past week. Enjoy:

    1. Tnooz uncovers why TripAdvisor excels at product. Key takeaway? Test, test, test. Want to know how to do that? Well, for starters, check out our coverage of A/B testing.
    2. We took a look at why Priceline believes in the death of search engine optimization (SEO)—and why I don’t. As it happens, according to Search Engine Land, Google just released the full version of their search quality rating guidelines. So it seems Google isn’t giving up on search either.
    3. Of course, that doesn’t mean Google has put its eggs solely in the search basket. As Travolution notes, Google showed off its new destination experience at Phocuswright 2015 but denied its OTA intentions. Yeah, right. If Google isn’t becoming an OTA, we need to have a serious discussion about what an OTA is anymore. Google definitely has its sights set on owning a piece of the hotel distribution pie—specifically, the dollars hotels now spend with OTA’s. Happily, there’s a fairly straightforward playbook you can use to prevent intermediaries from driving up your costs—no matter who they are.
    4. On a highly-related note, we examined the hidden factor OTA’s use to get between you and your guests and, more importantly, how you can use the same trend to your advantage.
    5. PSFK talked with Airbnb’s Head of Product about the future of travel experiences while Mobile Commerce Daily reported on Airbnb’s digital platform upgrades that place a bigger focus on hosts. Each of these stories highlights the need for driving brand intimacy in hospitality.
    6. And, finally, you won’t want to miss these mind-blowing mobile stats for hotel marketers from Google we rounded up the other day. Really useful information as you’re finalizing your budgets and plans for next year.

    If you’re interested in more insights and information about travel marketing and distribution, you’ll definitely want to check out these “4+ Fantastic Travel Marketing Posts: the Top Posts Of October, 2015″ and be sure to check out this list of “4 Tremendous Travel Marketing Trends From the Past Week,” a great set of “7 Key Insights: The Top Travel Marketing Posts of August, 2015″ and a terrific round-up of “7 Brilliant Insights into Mobile Travel E-commerce” from our hospitality marketing link digests (part of the ongoing E-commerce Link Digest series).

    And if you’re looking to learn even more about how changing guest behavior shapes hospitality marketing, e-commerce, and distribution, be sure an 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 want to take a moment to review the slides from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions 2016: The Key Trends Driving Your Hotel Marketing Next Year” here:

    Finally, you will definitely want to check out some of our past coverage of the mobile, local, social web and how to make it work for your business, including:

    Tim Peter

    By

    November 24, 2015

    8 Digital Strategy Posts to Start Your Week Right: E-commerce Link Digest

    November 24, 2015 | By | No Comments

    8 Digital Strategy Posts to Start Your Week RightWe’re heading into a quiet week here at Thinks Central, folks, as we gear up for the Thanksgiving holiday here in the States. No matter what your week holds, take the time to review these 8 digital strategy posts to start your week right. Enjoy:

    1. Chief Marketer outlines the 4 things CMOs need to know about Gen Z. At the same time, Forbes lays out the 4 Cs Of CMO concerns: content, culture, capabilities and commerce. And while we’re talking about CMO’s, Marketing Charts says mobile and IoT top the list of CMOs’ most important future technologies. Sounds about right across the board.
    2. Speaking of mobile, a recent episode of Thinks Out Loud, our regular e-commerce and digital strategy podcast, says “Mobile is So Much Bigger Than You Think” and another recent post explained why it’s not “mobile first.” it’s “customer first.” Be sure to check ’em both out when you get a chance.
    3. According to Quartz, Apple’s Tim Cook says cash will be dead for the next generation of kids and that the technology giant is making a grab for Venmo’s turf and might use iMessage to do it.
    4. Since we’re talking about payments, Mobile Commerce Daily reports that Western Union is banking on WeChat’s popularity to fuel cross-border mobile payments.
    5. Those two prior pieces help underscore why mobile payments will rule
      .
    6. As for Western Union’s tie-up with WeChat, pay attention to the growth of messaging platforms overall. For instance, Mobile Marketer shows how brands are tapping Facebook Messenger to bolster customer service. Messaging represents an important trend that you’ll want to watch as we head into 2016.
    7. Shifting gears, The Future of Commerce blog explains how to resolve omnichannel conflicts within your company. Really good read.
    8. Mashable reports that Facebook may soon let you search individual profile pages, which is pretty handy but curious given that, according to the Wall Street Journal, Google just got a surprise ally in mobile-app search push: Facebook. Given Facebook and Google’s ongoing competition for customer attention and advertising dollars, it’s going to be interesting to see where we end up on this one. Stay tuned.

    Hope you have a terrific week ahead, Big Thinkers and look forward to more insights and info all week long.

    If you’re interested in learning more about making the social, mobile web work for your customers, be sure to check out this round-up of posts about “Google, Mobile, E-commerce. What More Could You Want?” these “6 Must-See Mobile Commerce Messages for You,” this set of “10 Terrific Mobile, E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Missives”: and other entries from our E-commerce Link Digest series, plus these “7 Special E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Trending Topics: The Top Posts of September, 2015.”

    And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and 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 can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

    And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including:

    Tim Peter

    By

    November 20, 2015

    How To Create a Customer – Thinks Out Loud Episode 141

    November 20, 2015 | By | No Comments

    How To Create a Customer - Thinks Out Loud podcast

    How To Create a Customer – Headlines and Show Notes

    You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about how to lead mobile-focused digital transformation within large organizations (a topic we’ve been talking about a fair bit lately). Here are the slides for your reference:

    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: 13m 04s

    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

    By

    November 16, 2015

    It’s Not “Mobile First.” It’s “Customer First.”

    November 16, 2015 | By | No Comments

    It's Not "Mobile First." It's "Customer First."

    Pew recently released some new data that shows some 68% of U.S. adults own a smartphone as do almost 90% of people who make more than $75,000 per year. Which typically leads me to argue for building out your mobile strategy.

    However, this time, I’m not going to do that.

    Because, unlike the advice you typically hear, it’s important to know thaw it’s not “mobile first.” It’s “customer first” you really need to worry about.

    For instance, a couple of years ago, it seemed like everyone had an iPad. They didn’t, obviously, but given that tablet ownership rocketed in just 4 years from 4% to over 40% — a level where it’s more or less plateaued — no wonder it seemed that way. Now, due to the device’s stagnant growth, you’ll constantly run into pundits who claim “Tablets are dead.”

    Neither view is accurate. I recently worked with a client that had invested heavily into a tablet app in 2013, only to discover their customers never moved to tablets in any significant way. Worse, they were late to the game with an updated mobile app and have lost market share to competitors that effectively addressed their customer needs on smartphones.

    Whether tablets — or phones, or wearables, or what-have-you — actually matter to your business depends on whether they matter to your customers. Given how quickly mobile devices generally, and smartphones in particular, have made it into your customers’ hands means it’s highly unlikely you’ll be able to ignore mobile and expect to succeed (and even less likely in the longer-term[1]). But maybe your customers are all over age 65 (only 30% smartphone ownership) or lack a high school education (smartphone ownership at 41%) and that you have higher priorities in the immediate term. As long as you’re serving your current customer needs and positioning yourself for future growth, there’s absolutely no “one size fits all” strategy here.

    Of course, you want to be sure you’re not ignoring the larger reality, such as underinvesting in mobile when your web analytics show limited mobile use among your customers. Given the size and growth of the mobile market, you might actually have a clear “chicken and egg problem,” one where your terrible mobile website causes limited mobile use. But you can easily test to find out what your customers are really up to, then taking action accordingly.

    Obviously, mobile’s going to play a huge role in the next few years, one it’s already playing. It’s highly likely your customers and your business require a robust, helpful mobile presence. But before you think “mobile first,” take a good look at what your customers need. Paying attention to your customers’ needs will help you build a truly robust presence, using the right approach whether for mobile, social, email, search, and everything in between. Because, no matter how big mobile gets, “customer first” is always a winning strategy.


    [1] With more than 4 out of 5 consumers aged 18-49 owning a smartphone eventually you’re probably going to have to address their needs on mobile. Who knows, though? Maybe by the time those folks turn 65 a different technology will have taken mobile’s place. (Back to post)


    If you’re interested in learning more about making the social, mobile web work for your customers, be sure to check out this round-up of posts about “Google, Mobile, E-commerce. What More Could You Want?” these “6 Must-See Mobile Commerce Messages for You,” this set of “9 Nifty November Mobile Commerce Insights” and other entries from our E-commerce Link Digest series, plus these “7 Special E-Commerce and Digital Marketing Trending Topics: The Top Posts of September, 2015.”

    And if you want learn even more about how your customers’ changing behavior shapes e-commerce and marketing, be sure and 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 can also check out these slides and video from my recent webinar, “Digital Marketing Directions: Three Key Trends Driving Your Marketing Next Year”:

    And, finally, you might want to take a look at some of our past coverage of the e-commerce, mobile commerce, and digital marketing overall, including: