Archive for May, 2012


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There is no question that Amazon is the leader in the eBook industry, but recent news about Microsoft’s strategic move with a $300 million investment into the Nook, B&N’s eBook reader has created some interesting buzz. On the surface it seems as if B&N is to gain, but when you look closely you can see a lot of possible implications of the deal.

blog post microsoft nook investment Microsoft, Barnes and Noble Marriage – A New Digital Birth for Tablets & eReaders?

Both the Mobile Marketer and Forbes discuss the new major move. In the Marketer, it sounds as though such a partnership is tenuous at best, with the thought that Microsoft just bought into yet another failing idea like the Zune or SPOT. Senior analyst of eMarketer, Paul Verna states that it helps to have the funding of a big company, but it doesn’t seem like the best move for Barnes and Noble.

The folks over at Forbes have a different discussion going on. Contributing writer, David Coursey has the opinion that Amazon’s Kindle could “be very dead,” as a result of Microsoft’s new partnership. Why? Initially Amazon may have the upper hand for the next couple of years. But as Coursey points out, Microsoft is about to pour $300 million into the Nook’s design and marketing strategy over the next five years.

Microsoft’s move could prove extremely beneficial in boosting their brand. Microsoft also owns Xbox which is another consumer electronics mainstay for gamers and the entertainment industry. Investing money in the Nook, which is already a well-known brand, allows them to take some of Amazon’s market share as well as gain a foothold into two markets: tablets and e-readers.

Here are some possibilities for what could happen:

  • Make Bing the Default Nook Search Engine: If Bing was the default search engine for the new Nook, and already is for other Microsoft products, it could provide Microsoft a better standing in household consumer usage.
  • Extend Content to Windows 8 Platform: Microsoft could take Barnes & Noble content and distribute it and sell it across Windows 8 devices. Maybe Microsoft just bought access to a large content library.
  • Engage the Student Market: Microsoft has the chance to delve into the world of student books and apps. While Amazon does boast of a pretty large network of users and readers in the eBook world, the new partnership has murmured thoughts on pushing the new Nook into the handle of college goers.
  • Tight Xbox Integration: The Nook could be a gateway to the Xbox universe and vice versa.
  • Microsoft Suite on Devices: If the Microsoft Office Suite comes to the Nook it could funnel in new customers into the Office product line. It could also allow students and Office workers to work on their Microsoft documents thereby making their Nook device their tablet of choice.
  • Advertising: Microsoft Advertising could power the Nook. This would allow Microsoft with some interesting advertising opportunities. Think of how contextual ads can be when you have such a wide purchase and browsing history available (which you would if people are purchasing and browsing content through their Nook). I’d still love to see ad-subsidized books and contextual ads based on what you’re reading. More thoughts in this post: Amazon Patent Suggests Mobile Ads for Kindle

It’s great to see more competition in the eBook space. Dominance by any single player tends to lead to stagnation. As with any new partnership, it remains to be seen what good Microsoft can do with the Nook. Microsoft stands to gain a good amount from this partnership: possible advertising in the Nook, a stronger platform, and increased market share for Bing. What does B&N gain? A large cash influx and some muscle to compete with Amazon.




Over the past year we’ve worked with mobile advertising partners creating various mobile rich media ad products and HTML5 mobile ad experiences. We want to share some of the latest HTML 5 and microsite concepts we created around the 2012 Olympic Games.

2012 Olympics Mobile Advertising and HTML5 Concepts

Our concepts fell into two groups: for official and non-official sponsors. Since only official sponsors are allowed to associate themselves directly with the Olympic games, we came up with “live-data” concepts for official sponsors. We wanted to tie into the excitement and immediacy of the games. The ideas became ads as news. The concepts tie into close to real-time sports data providers so the ad viewer could get the latest Olympic information. A couple of ideas include:

  • Medal Count – Allows consumers to see up-to-the minute medal count results.
  • Daily Previews & Recaps – Consumers received the latest Olympic news and previews of coverage and events occurring later in the day.

We also needed to broaden the concepts to non-official sponsors to broaden the business opportunity for our partners. Concepts we designed for sponsors (official or not) include:

  • HTML5 Mobile Casual Games – We focused on a basketball mini-game. Remember the game you played as a kid where you had one minute to take as many shots as possible? That’s essentially recreated using HTML5. Many don’t know that interactive games with Flash-like experiences can be developed with HTML5 and be deployed today. The most exciting thing about HTML5 mobile games is that they can be distributed across mobile web. This means larger reach and a larger audience.
  • London Games Quiz – Another concept we developed is an HTML5 mobile quiz game based on Olympic trivia. Users have a time limit and the faster they respond, the higher the score gets. Users are allowed to then share and post results, as well as inviting other friends to play.
  • Sport Timeline – In this concept we created an interactive HTML5 mobile experience where the user interacts with a timeline. As they move their finger across the screen dates, copy, and photos update as the consumer sees information about the innovation for a particular sport. This allows a sponsor or advertiser to associate themselves with any type of sport.
  • Polling & Voting – We wanted to use polling concept that could be run throughout the day around various sporting events. Voting on who you think will win an event ties into the most common discussions people have on a daily basis. Plus you get bragging rights if you guess correctly. Polls were also targeted for specific audiences so not everyone views the same sport. Content and eesults are animated via HTML5. Advertisers can choose any type of sport to focus the polling or voting around.

The experiences we’ve been working on often get served via an expandable banner ad or a mobile microsite. HTML5 for mobile is especially exciting in that it’s enabling wide-scale interactivity and experience over mobile web. You’ll start seeing more and more rich experiences outside of apps.

Sponsors or advertisers can create custom experiences and UI components and are not relegated to standard web UI controls. HTML5 makes mobile advertising more enjoyable and encourages users to linger on microsites longer. An article in Digiday predicts major mobile interaction around the Games this summer, which gives advertisers a great chance at marketing products through dynamic microsites.

Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing more about our Olympic as well as other concepts. Stay tuned.




What is it about Mother’s Day? Or for that matter, mothers in general? It seems like every time I’ve had a conversation lately about someone’s core audience, they tell me “We’re targeting moms.” Michael Kors is tapping into the mom market with a well designed mobile strategy. They are rolling out their latest and greatest with a mobile campaign targeting just Mother’s Day. Targeting a niche market along with an event is a solid mobile strategy that offers many opportunities.

blog post mobile design strategy michael kors Mobile Design Strategies for Niche Markets & Events Inspired by Michael Kors

As an article points out in Luxury Daily, fashion label Michael Kors is the leader this Mother’s Day on social media, particularly with a mobile based contest. Marketer John Casey pointed out, “…Next Mother’s Day, a mobile-based contest will be old news.”The article goes on to describe Michael Kors newest campaign, spear-headed with a mobile-based contest. To get the word out to their current customer base they used other social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to push the contest. Using the slogan “What She Wants,” the basic premise behind the contest is to funnel potential customers to the Kors ecommerce site which leads them to a specific area with cherry-picked gifts that mother’s would love.

CEO of Cross Pixel Media, Alan Pearlstein, agrees that there is a pressing need to examine the smaller markets instead of the broad scope. So instead of the Kors brand marketing to all women who could potentially become mothers, those who will not become mothers at all, or just women in general, they chose a specific demographic:

  • Women over 40 (Facebook’s most active group)
  • Women who have discretionary income to purchase luxury items
  • Women who use their smart phones on a regular basis to shop

The idea of using a mobile based contest is not new, but the strategy of using an event or holiday to increase brand or product awareness is a good one. Michael Kors took one section of the bigger piece of market pie, and narrowed it down specifically t o those who would be interested in Kors products, and those who need to buy their mother’s a gift. By using the catchy tag-line “What She Wants,” Kors is implying that yes, of course, your mother wants a product with the Michael Kors brand.

This works well as part of a mobile design strategy. Mobile niche marketing is an excellent way to push a certain type of product or service into the public’s eye but careful planning is essential to a campaign’s success. Initially you will want to examine which events, holidays, or seasons work the best for your campaign. Analyze what products will fit within the event you have in mind. If you are unsure which products, or which event might work the best, run a few test campaigns to see where you get the biggest response. You could even segment an ad and direct it to different target markets to see which demographic responds.

Once you have figured out what works and what doesn’t, then consider scaling your campaign. It is essential that you get the marketing message down beforehand. The next step would be to find neighboring markets to branch into. For instance, the Kors brand might realize that men need to buy Mother’s Day gifts too for their mothers or wives. What kind of campaign would answer and meet their needs? Last-minute gift ideas, calendar reminders, and other helpful items provide high value to potential male customers.

A caveat to all these good thoughts on scaling down your market: if you do not measure, you will fail. It is ultimately up to you to examine the data of your market to determine where there is a need. It’s vital to examine your analytics to see what target market you could grow a campaign with. Mobile ads and especially mobile contests targeted for certain type of individuals will garner more success than the casually flung campaign across any and all who might stumble upon it.