Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Washington Post Reversing Key Newspaper Trend

“We’re adding dozens of journalists,” Fred Ryan, the Post’s publisher and CEO, told Politico last week. 

“We looked at what succeeded for us in 2016 and made investments there"

Monday, December 26, 2016

10 Years Of Retail - a sobering view

As 2016 comes to a close, a look back over the value of the top USA retailers shows who the losers have all been... the tradional bricks & mortar companies.
And the winner.... Amazon

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Better Data not Bigger Data

Big Data is Big News. Big consultancies and senior managers are all using the term "Big Data" these days. The words are the "Information Superhighway" of this decade*. Over-used, over-hyped and mis-understood.

In practice I tend to refer as something as "Big Data" if I can't inset it & work with it in an Excel spreadsheet... even though we've has databases for half a century that can deal with more than 1,048,576 rows (which is actually the maximum rows you can get in an Excel spreadsheet).

However there can be a lot of insight that can be gleaned from much smaller data sources. You don't need to have access to every single customer record in a database to analyse most trends about your users. You only need to examine a smaller accurate and representative data set. It can't be incomplete, out of date or incorrect.

So shouldn't we really use the term "Better Data"?

*BTW: What is this decade actually called? Sure we had "the Eighties", "the nineties" and even the "noughties"... but are these "the teenies"?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Who Invented The Hamburger Icon?

The hamburger icon is now a part of our online mobile experience. It sits there in the top left-hand corner of our small screen devices acting as the gateway to a number of other services & functions.

By its very presence we are reassured that additional things lie behind our current view and that they will be exposed by a single tap. In short... the hamburger icon is a simple universally understood metaphor for displaying further menus & navigation.

So how did we come to this collective understanding? Who originally thought that three horizontal lines was a sufficient way of depicting the menu behind it?

I think that whoever invented the hamburger icon deserves praise for creating something so simple and yet so useful. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Caring : the difference between good and great people

I've just completed a post on Linkedin that I've had brewing for some while.

It's titled "Why Caring Makes The Difference" and I spend a explain in 500 words why I think caring makes a difference in industries as varied as hospitality and the digital one I work in.

Also, whilst I was writing it, I thought about my care for what I do and how it makes a difference to me too. It's therefore not just about having the opportunity to surround yourself with those that give a monkeys about what they create.... it's being in the middle of it helping them to deliver improvements that make a difference.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Internet Population is HUGE now!

In 1995 less than 1% of the world population had an Internet connection, now around 40% do.

And, if you plot the rise in the internet population over the last 10 years you see that there has been a steady growth rate. [source]

According to the Central Intelligence Agency (yes, the CIA!) the biggest single country with a connected population is China, with over 626,000,000 users. This is the same as the USA (3rd), India (4th) and Japan (5th) combined!

Monday, December 12, 2016

What Users Find Most Valuable About Apps

Google have just released a useful report on the adoption and usage of mobile apps.

Named "How people discover, use, and stay engaged with apps" the document is a helpful resource for those who are looking to develop or improve their apps.

There's some good insight included, such as whether price or privacy are most important when deciding whether to install an app. And that the average number of apps that users have installed on their smartphone is 35.

But perhaps the most important finding concerned what users find most valuable about their favourite apps... and the perhaps unsurprising finding is that they rate usability highest. Yup, the fact that they’re easy to use and navigate makes users love apps the most.

Read the full Google report here

Friday, December 9, 2016

What is Agile Marketing ?

I use the term Agile Marketing quite a lot these days and regard it as an approach that organisations need to adopt.

Here's what I mean by this:

1. Embrace test & learn
The days of "fire & forget" for a campaign are over. If you are launching a digital marketing initiative lasting longer than a week, then you really need to consider how you're going to improve it over time. For example... Sending an email out to more that a handful of people? Then test multiple subject lines first
Note: This approach also goes hand-in-hand with the philosophy that...

2. You need to understand that you're not going to get it all right first time
In much the same way as your developers create an MVT (minimum viable product) that releases working but evolving software to customers, learn that your marketing campaigns are never going to be the best they could be unless you change them based upon insight and understanding. And rapidly....

3. Use data to gain insight and understanding
If you are not using your digital analytics tools to their full capability, they you are doing you and your organisation a disservice. Use clack tracking, surveys and even the raw data to understand & refine what your users want (and are not getting). Then also Learn who are your true social media influencers and online friends. The finally...

4. Become your digital agency's best friend and worst enemy
Unless you have in-sourced absolutely everything to do with your digital marketing & development (from programmatic display media through to website testing) then you're going to be using an agency. Therefore get to know their strengths and their weakness... and play to them to get the most of out them... ideally for the best value possible.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

You Are Not A Digital Transformation Consultant Until....

Take a look on Professional networking social platforms (such as Linkedin) or some job listing websites... and you will see people stating they are Digital Transformation Consultants or something similar. I know.... because I'm one.
But am quite dubious of some of these people, who just seem to be Digital Project Managers or Digitsl Business Analysts who have just given themselves a new title.
So here's my short list of things a person who claim to be Digital Transformation Consultants should have done:
  1. Transformed something
    It is pretty obvious to state and nobody is criticising someone for consistently delivering decent projects to scope and budget... but if a person hasn't actually transformed a business, they shouldn't say they actually have.
  2. Delivered something
    Yes, I know I said above that just being a Project Manager isn't enough to qualify as being a Digital Transformation Consultant, but neither is not having a hand in the delivery. If a person just comes up with a few lines in a PowerPoint presentation about "a move to digital" or "facilitating self-service" and then moves onto the next job... then that's not enough in my opinion.
I'm sure I'll add to this list in future.

So have I missed anything?

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

No tills, No assistants. Is this the future of Retail?

Amazon has caused quite a stir today with its concept Amazon Go concept store.

 Apparently via some technical wizardry of sensors and computing power (but no mention of RFID) Amazon can now allow you to walk into a store, take an item and walk out again.... without handing over cash, credit cards, etc.

The store will be officially launched later in 2017, but as an might gain some momentum.  And with one of the biggest names in online retail behind it, it's got an even better chance of being successful (or at least of having different individual features adopted across the High Street).

Monday, December 5, 2016

Christmas & How Twitter Users Love Planning

On the run-up to Christmas 2016, Twitter have released an interesting Infographic about shopping behaviour and using the rather long hashtag #christmasisallaround

There's some interesting findings and some pretty obvious stuff mentioned, but overall it provides a useful insight into the planning of the festive season. Especially by Millennials.

Full PDF version is here


Friday, December 2, 2016

Google Mobile Friendly Test Site Revamp

It is good to see that the useful Mobile website friendliness testing tool from Google has had a bit of a face-lift.
I wonder if the functionality, to check just how compatible a website is for mobile compatibility, has also changed....

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Everything Is Software - including your Christmas Presents

The world is gradually and surely turning into software.

Once upon a time we only had physical products to: keep us entertained, support us in the office and help us improve our everyday lives..... But now we have a raft of digital products and services that deliver our needs.

Consider the average teenager's Christmas present list 20 years ago and it would have included items such as : CD/tape music player, Compact Discs (or cassette tapes), pocket camera, alarm clock (well, I asked for one), games, etc.
Now all of these are all available as apps in your average smartphone and mostly free ones.

So what software is the average teenager asking Santa for this year?