Omega Mobile: Mobile Experience Design Blog
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Archive for September, 2011

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While watching TV the other day, I noticed a Shazam logo pop up on the screen. Of course, I immediately searched and came across this really interesting Ad Age article about how Shazam’s new mobile marketing app listens to what you’re watching and serves up synchronized content on your phone. This new technology allows companies to target their mobile design strategy to what consumers are viewing on TV, creating a whole new way to think about interactive television.


Back in the late 90s when folks were first envisioning interactive television, we assumed the interaction would be taking place on the TV screen. Using either a remote or a touch screen, we would engage and drive television content. What Shazam’s mobile marketing app achieves is true interactivity. It shifts how we think about interactive TV, opening up amazing possibilities for brands and consumers. Instead of interactivity taking place on one screen, it takes place on two.

The content remains on the TV and the interaction happens on the mobile device, allowing brands and networks to coordinate mobile design in support of TV shows and commercials. Shazam’s mobile app works by leveraging the company’s sound recognition technology to drive interaction, solving the challenge of syncing interaction to timed content. Sound recognition provides a ‘bridge’ for perfectly syncing broadcast content to a mobile device, which otherwise would be a very complex process. What this means is that when the Shazam app picks up the appropriate words or music from the TV, a corresponding mobile experience or ad will appear instantly on your phone.

With Shazam’s technology, the mobile design experience possibilities are endless. Broadcast networks, for example, can enhance a program’s content during the show itself to increase programming loyalty. The two screens, mobile and TV, can play off each other simultaneously, as opposed to being related yet still working individually. In addition, networks can prevent people from changing the channel by providing interesting experiences during commercial breaks. For example, during breaks the network might show you ads for upcoming programs and remind you to schedule alerts. They can quiz you and offer prizes. Tease what will happen after the break.

Most advantageous to networks, Shazam’s mobile marketing app allows them to sell more advertising on combined units. Not only can they sell standard network slots, but they can also sell the accompanying interactions on mobile devices. Brands, too, like the interactive possibilities for an integrated rich experience. Many are designing their own versions of Shazam’s mobile marketing app to create interactivity between TV content and mobile devices.

These kinds of mobile marketing apps marry television’s broad profile marketing with mobile behavioral targeting. For example, you might watch an ad on TV from an auto manufacturer. Then, based on your profile, your mobile device will provide you with additional mobile design advertising based on your specific profile and preferences. Instead of everyone seeing additional content for the same vehicle, the person will get the most likely vehicle they are interested in (SUV, luxury sedan, sports car, etc) timed perfectly to the spot on the television. Because the interactivity will make commercials more interesting, these integrated mobile marketing apps and experiences may just solve the DVR issue of consumers bypassing all commercial content.

Shazam’s application of their technology is rather new. It’ll be interesting to see how many consumers embrace this type of interactivity. One thing is for sure though, the possibilities for innovation in mobile design and interactive tv have increased dramatically.

Coca-Cola Freestyle is revolutionizing soda fountain machines by letting consumers mix up to 125 different flavors of soft drinks, waters, lemonades and sports drinks. Though the machine was first launched three years ago, it’s set to reach critical mass in 2012—which is why Coca Cola is launching mobile marketing and social apps to coincide with Freestyle. Their new vending concept is quite inspiring for mobile design strategies – it also shifts consumer loyalty from the QSR chain that contains the Freestyle to the Freestyle itself.coke freestyle Mobile Design Strategies Inspired by Coke Freestyle

What’s most significant about Freestyle’s technology is that while consumers are mixing, the machine gathers data about consumer preferences and relays it back to Coca Cola, enabling the company to understand which flavors are most popular at particular times of the day. In this sense, Freestyle works much like a successful mobile marketing app. It gathers information from consumers while offering value to that consumer.

According to an article in AdAge, the limited number of Freestyle machines out there has already been highly successful at driving foot traffic and increasing in-store sales by 20-30%. The article also states that “more than 20% of consumers said they would be very likely to switch restaurants or convenience stores due to the presence of Freestyle”. This is extremely significant if Coca Cola manages to pull it off.

If the consumer experience is strong enough, consumer desire can be shifted from the fast food chain to the vending experience. For example, if Coke is doing a better job of reaching the customer via mobile, the customer will likely choose a location with a Freestyle instead of the food itself. In other words, it may not be an issue of “Do I want a burger, pizza, or taco” but “where can I get my Freestyle”?

By combining new vending technolgies with mobile design strategies, Coca Cola and other companies can harness the immediacy of mobile to further consumer interaction with their own products.

Mobile design ideas & strategies inspired by Coke’s Freestyle:

  • When using Freestyle, let users ‘check in’ on their mobile phones so you can build up preferences over time.
  • Offer random free extras like a coupon for a free drink or a size upgrade when using the machine.
  • Give reward points and let users redeem those points through their mobile phones.
  • Rather than conduct A/B testing for new flavors, rotate new flavors to avoid bias and see what people respond to best.
  • Create partner or restaurant chain promotions and see which ones work best.
  • Test promotions then target specific mobile customers based on your data. This will boost your marketing success.
  • Offer free gifts like drinks and size upgrades on special occasions. For example: “Happy birthday! Have a Coke on us.”
  • Track specific individual preferences to custom tailor offers. For example, if you know a user prefers Sprite and onion rings, send him a deal for a burger, onion rings, and a Sprite.
  • Enable consumers to find a nearby machine, access their reward points, and check their latest offers

In sum, people will be loyal to the vending machine itself. A successful mobile design strategy enhances the experience by allowing consumers to share favorites, check reward points, get offers, and find a machine. These tips go for Coca Cola and any company venturing into the world of mobile marketing apps.