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A Tale of Three Platforms

  |  July 8, 2011   |  Comments

Three key types of optimizations and realizations to create marketing programs that cater to the experience from which the content is being digested.

When I am speaking at conferences, I usually ask a question to the audience that sends people into a panic: "Who here uses six or more digital devices daily?" In many cases, people look at me like I'm insane. They panic thinking the conference moderator has booked a crazy person. And most times, only a few people raise their hands. But then I point out that without knowing it, all of us are digital slaves. We most likely have, and use on a daily basis, these devices:

A BlackBerry or smartphone
A computer of some sort
At least one TV
A digital clock
A navigation system or a projector for the office
An iPod Touch, shuffle, or an e-reading device/tablet

The room becomes silent at this point when reality sets in. I then usually name other digital devices that go beyond the six we use daily and propel us into the realm of eight to 10, including screens on exercise bikes, airplane seats, taxi cabs, and even billboards. People are shocked to realize how dependant they have become of digital devices.

After the shock wears off, it's time to get down to business, and I usually jump into my speech and everyone has a good bit of fun.

For years I have been advocating for the need to understand device usage in order to create marketing programs that cater to the experience from which the content is being digested. In basic terms, this means, make sure the reader of your content is able to see it, read it, and enjoy it.

In today's fragmented device world, taking on device optimization can be very daunting. For that reason, I have broken it down into three key types of optimizations and realizations you can be excited about:

  1. PCs.Despite what the media tells you, there continues to be a great number of people still using computers (I'm typing on one right now). We might be uncool, but a laptop that is lugged from desk to driveway to destination of choice (client meeting, office, etc.) is still a key way to access, manage, and manipulate data. To offer your fans the best computer-based experience, keep in mind these tips:
    • The format of a computer screen is more horizontal than vertical - layouts should be optimized in that fashion.
    • Most people access content on a "need to know" basis on a computer - meaning they are searching for an answer. Keep the experience easy-in/easy-out. Entice people with a short burst of information to ease them into long-form content.
    • Photo galleries are huge! And so is video. Showing photo galleries and video on a computer keeps people engaged up to 25 percent longer than content or static imagery alone.
    • Content purchases tend to be one-offs, not baskets of items. Remember, the person came looking for an answer to a specific question or interest topic.
  2. The tablet.While the iPad still dominates this market, tablet users are a bit of a different breed. Many times tablets are used for business support purposes, but mainly due to their portability, which means travel. Travel by train, plane, or bus. When not being used for business, these are pure enjoyment devices used for hours upon end at home, or other entertainment-related locations. Tablet buyers tend to produce a different type of behavior including:
    • Their interest in multiple product impulse buys. If you get someone interested in the content you are showcasing, they might not just buy it, but everything around it since it is simple, entertaining, and convenient.
    • Convenience is king. Make your content convenient to access (no complicated user paths) and convenient to navigate through (bookmarks, social sharing features, etc.), and you will make your fans happy.
    • Bigger is better. Larger font, bigger photos, bigger videos. If you can make it larger than life, chances are you can make it a top-rated piece of content with your audience.
  3. The smartphone.For many content publishers, the power of the smartphone as it relates to content engagement and acquisition is still in its nascent stages. That said, there are a few key learnings to be shared.
    • Impulse drives the initial purchase. It's kind of like boxing: aim low and then go in for the kill. Smartphone buyers enjoy a quick and easy impulse buy that can be upsold to a larger and longer term opportunity.
    • Female consumer content on smartphones. At my company, we have found that some of our most frequently accessed smartphone content is women's titles.
    • Video works - no matter what size phone you have. While text size, photo quality, and other issues can wreak havoc on your smartphone strategy, video is always the safe bet.

Are you ready to capitalize on the opportunities in front of you? Start now with the three platform strategies and you will soon find yourself branching out into other areas that will truly drive results.

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Jeanniey Mullen

Jeanniey Mullen is the vice president of marketing at NOOK by Barnes and Noble, focused on business growth and customer acquisition.

Prior to her role at NOOKTM Jeanniey launched a wearables fashion technology company called Ringblingz. Before getting into the wearables business, Jeanniey was the chief marketing officer (CMO) of Zinio, where she grew the business by more than 427 percent, into one of the largest global digital newsstands. Other notable roles in her career include her involvement as the executive director and senior partner at OgilvyOne, where she led the digital Dialogue business and worked with Fortune 50 brands including IBM, Unilever, and American Express, and being a general manager at Grey Direct. At Grey Direct Jeanniey launched the first email marketing division of a global advertising agency. Prior to her time in advertising, Jeanniey spent seven years in retail leading a variety of groups from Consumer Relations and Operations, to Collections and Digital at JCPenney.

One of Jeanniey's favorite times in her career was when she founded the Email Experience Council (which was acquired by the Direct Marketing Association). Jeanniey is a recognized "Women in Business," a frequent keynote speaker, and has authored three books and launched a number of companies ranging from entertainment to technology and fashion.

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