My blog’s headline proudly states “Discussing Digital Marketing, Aviation, Travel and Technology”. Technology? I’m sorry but over the past 16 odd months of my blogging timeline I don’t remember writing much about it.
Of the 30 posts I have penned (typed…ok?) down, Digital Marketing, Aviation and Travel have got their fair share under the sun but the same cannot be said for “Technology”. My topic cloud on the right hand side states that clearly. Personally I love technology, and I consider myself to be fairly above par as far as tech geekery is concerned but my blogging skills have so far evaded giving out that impression.
Heck, I would even go on to say that the other 3 passions I mention in the headline, Digital Marketing, Aviation and Travel, have all bloomed only due to my affair my technology and my adoption of tech trends, but somewhere Tech got sidelined. May be it was lack of a topic or may be I thought I won’t be able to contribute a unique POV.
As luck would have it, last week I finally decided to put my iPhone 5 up for replacement due to battery issues (and even got myself locked out of twitter proper, but that’s a story for another day). I had to get myself a replacement device for the next 2 days. I had 3 options at home: A pretty old iPhone 3G (updated to iOS 4.2), a pretty darn old HTC Desire and a good looking Nokia Lumia 620, running Windows Phone 8.
I did what any apple fanboy would, and went with the 5 year old iPhone 3G over the 5 month old Lumia 620. I tried fiddling with it for few hours, trying to do a clean iOS install but eventually gave up as Samsung’s under clocked 412 MHz processor proved too slow for my multi-tasking nature.
And thus started the idea of this post, picking up Nokia Lumia 620, running Windows Phone 8. First up, as most of you would know it’s a pretty good looking phone, well made and well designed, even ebbing some commentators to compare the recently launched iPhone 5C with it through memes on the Internet. And who wouldn’t fall in love with Nokia’s clear black display, which to me is one of the best in the industry to look and drool.
After fiddling around with its user settings, customizing the phone’s home page display to my ease, I started my first ever two-day
fling with a Nokia and Windows based device in years. Since iPhone’s introduction in 2007, I have used only those and my last device in the pre-iPhone era was Nokia’s N-GAGE gaming phone, running Symbian.
By the way, this Lumia 620 was the same device that got me to Barcelona earlier in the year and meet with footballing greats. Anyways, coming back, I instantly felt quite comfortable using WP8 and the learning curve for me was probably 30-40 minutes. Yes, I have used the device for short periods before which led to some familiarity but overall it wasn’t that tough.
There are various things about WP8, which works really well. The oft talked about live tile concept is quite nifty which helps in making the OS more pleasing to the eyes. The typeface used throughout the OS is brilliant and clearly Windows Phone 8 was ahead of the curve in sensing design sensibilities for the consumer, as clearly depicted by recent release of iOS 7, which takes similar cues in typeface and animations. The metro design language, or “Modern UI Style” as its being called now, has worked quite well for Microsoft.
Unfortunately an Operating System is not just about eye candy, if it were, Microsoft would have won Game-Set-Match quite a while ago. An operating system is essentially used to “operate” the device its installed on, and that’s where WP8 failed me 4 times in 2 days of using it. The reliability of the OS was at-par at best, and in this cutthroat world of smart devices at-par just wont cut it with the consumers.
Another area where I felt WP8 needs immediate re-haul and attention is Notifications. As someone who absolutely requires notifications for everything, from news articles, to alarms, to appointments, to apps, and coming from the iOS camp, notifications on WP8 felt malnourished at best to me. Notifications are meant to deliver snack-sized pieces of content to you on the screen, so you don’t have to go searching for it inside the phone, saving you the time. It’s supposed to be glanceable and easily readable. WP8 does none of that. It does notifications on top of the screen, which come for couple of seconds before vanishing from the view, forcing me to open the NDTV and CNN-IBN app every time to check out the news item. Yes, I need to know all possible going-ons in the world. That’s what proper and glanceable notification systems do to human beings.
I also figured out that usability of Office apps, especially Microsoft office or iWork, on mobile devices is over estimated. There were couple of instances where I could have done with using PowerPoint on my device but shrugged it off after 30 minutes of irritating use. Small screens and office apps don’t go along well. Take it from me.
With limited app availability (as compared to Android and iOS) and even more limited options while syncing WP8 phone with a Mac, Windows Phone 8 devices will always remain a distant 3rd for foreseeable future, though still a much healthier and vibrant option for those recovering from webOS and BlackBerry shocks.
Let me conclude with something I absolutely loved about WP8. Some of the pre-loaded ringtones, especially the one that featured Indian sitar and tabla (Rocking India) was brilliant and I loved it every single time I got a call. Sometimes even letting it ring out so I can hear the music. My next weekend project (whenever that happens) involves porting THAT ringtone to my current iOS 7 powered iPhone 5.
I know I may be 11 months or so late with this post, but reviewing Windows Phone 8 was not really the point, it was more to do with my experience with it which happened as recently as last week. Considering that, my turnaround time for this blog post is quite commendable, right?
Image Courtesy: Nokia
- In new stats, Windows Phone is ahead of iOS in India (techinasia.com)
- In Praise of the Nokia Lumia 520 (winsupersite.com)
- My Windows Phone makes me WANT an iPhone 5s (betanews.com)
As over 150 million Indians surf the interwebs (yes, that’s what the cool kids call it these days), Indian marketers are losing their sleep to catch them young, in their mid-life crisis or even after hanging up their boots. The challenge is immense. Out of the $5 billion Indian advertising industry, $900 million go to digital marketing. The share of digital is poised to grow larger every year & slated to touch 30% of the total market by 2015.
As marketers we need to keep a track on the consumer’s pulse and the next big idea to engage them. Keeping that in mind & that we have 11 months left to make those ideas work for us, here are 5 trends, which will go massive in 2013
1) Native Advertising
“Once you go Native, you don’t go Interruptive” – ANON
Over the past 10 years, publishers have continued to monetize their sites with banners and pre-roll ads, and advertisers have continued to pump billions into these formats, in spite of tanking performance & universal contempt. While click-through rates on display ads started out at around 9% in 2000, they now hover around 0.2% – which effectively means 99.8% of banner ads go straight to the trashcan.
Native advertising like a Promoted Tweet or a Sponsored story in Facebook allows brands to promote their content into the experience of the site or other mediums, in a non-interruptive & integrated manner. We are going to hear a lot about Native this year & it will affect the way we create content, effectively & hopefully killing advertising that sucks.
Native advertising is the irrefutable future.
2) Social TV
2013 is the year when Social TV will go mainstream, ending the era of sitting passively on big boy recliners and watching television.
Social TV’s secret sauce is mixing humanity’s love for Television and its enchantment with social media. NEWS, Sports and Music channels have been on the wagon for a while but the turning point for the industry will be getting GEC’s onboard, inviting viewers to interact and decide their own storytelling experience.
NDTV’s second screen effort in its mobile app and Airtel’s Shazam campaign are couple of recent examples from the Indian market, but the biggest of them all comes in April 2013, when American network SyFy launches Defiance as a cross-platform story, on TV and as a MMO game.
What makes the industry even more exciting is the imminent launch of Twitter TV ratings with Nielsen this summer and the prospect of Social TV growing to a multi billion-dollar industry by 2020.
Today’s consumer is both everywhere and nowhere and his/her attention is divided between multiple screens & platforms on different screens. Marketers like to speak about TV, Desktop & Mobile as 3 screens, adding Tablet into the mix as the 4th screen will be a wise move to reach those fragmented souls who are always on the target list as the “elusive on-the-go customer”.
More consumers are watching more and more content, but that viewing is dispersed across different platforms, starting with TV, Online Streaming and VOD to Podcast. Although some western markets are going through the cord cutting phenomena, Indian market is going through what I like to call as “Cord extension” phase, where consumers are adding broadband, mobile, DTH, DVR and IPTV connections over their existing Cable TV.
The mantra of Content everywhere and anywhere on any device & any screen has played its bit role in fragmentation but changing consumption lifestyles has made it necessary to shift both strategy and focus for marketers that want to keep up with their audiences.
Thus 2013 should see some brave moves by content owners worldwide, some even unthinkable few years back, to keep their audience with them.
4) Content Marketing
Content Marketing has already attained huge prominence among marketers worldwide but 2013 will see consumers seeking out content themselves, making it increasingly vital to the purchase cycle as well. Brands & agencies are responding with increased capabilities, as they look for opportunities to get involved and engaged with consumers at different levels, to provide content that is relevant and share worthy.
2013 will also witness marketers combining content with context to drive commerce.
Brands such as Red Bull with the Stratos Freefall initiative and McDonald’s Canada with Our Food, Your Questions campaign have led the charge globally while Tata Nano’s Social road trip has made a splash in the Indian market.
5) Smart Data
Originally this was supposed to be titled as Big Data, and then came along an email by Rachel Gilley from our UK office, explaining how 1 of our clients thought data needs to be actionable and Smart data attained it’s place in the list. Every consumer touch point is a valuable piece of data & taking it together is possibly an antidote to fragmentation, discussed earlier in this post.
Big Data is complex to say the least and possibly the greatest challenge marketers face all over the world today. Companies collect information from their customers in structured or unstructured format, which are later put through various tools to understand consumers better. Global brands like Netflix, Amazon and Apple use it to serve better recommendations to their customers, whereas most of major Indian Retailers like Shoppers Stop & Lifestyle use transaction data to re-design store layouts & inventory management.
Interestingly Shoppers Stop, for instance, found that very often when middle-aged ladies shopped for Indian clothing, the other item on their list was men’s innerwear.
The much-improved version of Big Data is Smart Data, Data that can be put instantly to use by brands to improve marketing, business decisions and customer engagement practices.
This post has also appeared on imediaconnection India