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One Small Step For iPhone, One Giant Leap For Mario

September 8, 2016 Leave a comment

Every September Apple announces big product news. This September continued that tradition with the much-anticipated iPhone7 announcement. The new iPhone7, AirPods and the updated Apple Watch, were all very cool and great steps forward for Apple. What was huge news was that Nintendo’s Mario is finally coming to iOS.

While the news of Nintendo’s beloved Mario coming to the iOS world is medium-sized news for Apple, it is huge news for Nintendo. The fact that Nintendo’s legendary Shigeru Miyamoto appeared on stage at the event to announce was a very clear sign at how big and important this news is for the company.

As prologue: While many in the marketplace have been focused on the overwhelming success of Pokémon Go as a Nintendo windfall — it isn’t. Nintendo owns the IP but doesn’t make the Pokémon Go game, and it has produced very little revenue for Nintendo. Pokémon Go is collaboration between The Pokémon Company and Niantic Labs, the developer of the game. In fact, when the investors realized this, the sharp rise in Nintendo stock price saw an equal correction. In fact, Nintendo is in search for a big hit for the upcoming holiday season.

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Nintendo has been slow to develop games for third-party platforms since they have historically made their own consoles and handheld devices. But that business has struggled for several seasons. Putting their most famous and beloved character on iOS is a huge step for Nintendo and I’m betting they have very big revenue forecasts tied to Super Mario Run for Holiday 2016.

If you watched the closing ceremony at the Sumer Olympics, it’s clear how popular Mario is around the world. And by putting Mario into the hands of millions of fans and, hopefully, new users around the world, the Mario franchise will see downloads and revenue stream the likes of which Pokémon Go experienced earlier this year. Even a fraction of Pokémon Go’s revenue numbers will be a success.

A key theme to recognize in both games is to understand the classic “fish where the fish are” strategy. By limiting their investment in a lagging console business and instead writing game software for a third-party platform, Nintendo has the chance to rescue their gaming business and un-chain themselves from their expensive proprietary device bondage. Also, it will be much easier for Nintendo to create commerce opportunities in an app environment as well as easily deliver updates and new adventures for Mario in a bit-based world.

Lastly, this is big news for Nintendo because Japanese companies are historically better at building “things” vs. software. Doubt that? How many Sony Walkmans do you see today? Software eats the world and has gobbled up the days of simply building a better mousetrap. If Nintendo’s Super Mario Run is a hit, this will signify a big transformation for Nintendo’s legacy as a game and hardware maker and transition to being software driven.

As marketers grapple with how to better engage with their customers, Nintendo may be a company to emulate and take some pages from their updated play book. Here’s looking to a great holiday season for that little dude in red overalls!

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What Was Old Is New Again: Pokémon Is Back!

I never played Pokémon when I was young and never really understood what the craze was about. And while I’m not among the millions in the United States who have downloaded the Pokémon Go app, I love what Pokémon Go represents for the brand and enthusiasts. What started as a simple game from Nintendo over 20 years ago and gained a lot of followers among kids and tweens worldwide has now revived the brand with a location-based, augmented reality app. And unless you live under a rock, you will have no doubt seen the news across nearly every media outlet. Pokémon Go has made national headlines across the world in the last week.

For those who aren’t familiar with Pokemon Go is, here’s a short overview:

Once a user downloads Pokémon Go to their smartphone, they are prompted to turn on location services. Once location services are on, users will see a location-aware map with other players in the real world where they can go out and look for Pokémon characters. Once they get to a specified place, players point their phone camera to “find” Pokémon in the real world in an augmented reality-playing environment. Players then shoot a ball to capture the Pokémon and collect awards.

Why all the fuss over a “kids” game that now has a smartphone app? For starters, the app, which just launched a week ago has over 11 million daily active users. In the app world, that is rocket ship growth that any app or media property would love to have in a year, let alone a week! To provide some context, according to data from SensorTower, Pokémon Go is already bigger than the dating app Tinder, as big as Snapchat and Google Maps and about to overtake Twitter. And Pokémon Go players are spending an average of 43 minutes per day using the app. That daily usage rate outpaces WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat and FB Messenger! The cherry on the top is that it’s not just kids and tweens playing this game, it’s a lot of adults and new users to the Pokémon franchise.

As any marketer that has launched an app will tell you, two of the biggest success metrics for apps are downloads and daily active users (DAUs) or monthly active users (MAUs). Achieving download goals are hard enough. Many marketers spend millions of dollars just to drive downloads; it’s not uncommon for costs to hit $20 per download. The bigger challenge is getting users to actually keep using an app after download and that is where the vast majority of apps fail unless they have a high utility value (e.g., Tinder, WhatsApp, Messenger, etc.). Pokémon Go daily users are spending 40+ minutes each day!

Again, to provide some perspective, below is a chart from SensorTower showing Daily Usage Time of Pokémon Go vs. Social Media Apps.

Pokémon Go news stories have been making the nightly news across all the network and cable news channels about the craze and how app users are having fun in droves as well as some questionable issues arising from playing an augmented reality game in public spaces. I was nearly shamed for not playing the game by a fellow UberPool rider earlier this week, while she was looking to snag another Pokémon in the Uber. And while I’m not playing (yet), I can think of myriad ways marketers can engage and follow the lead of the Pokémon Go augmented reality app.

On a basic level, brands with location-based presence can engage with promotions. Outdoor apparel brands could leverage the location-based aspect to engage with players in parks and resorts around the globe. QSR brands could offer a limited-time experience to help drive short-term traffic and sales goals. Marketers looking for more ideas need only to listen to what Pokémon Go players are saying on across social channels about how they are engaging with the game and what types of experiences they are creating. Smart marketers will listen and respond from the plethora of ideas being shared in the community.

While I have never been a Pokémon fan, this augmented reality app has been a great way to re-introduce adults and kids to a great brand franchise in a smart and meaningful way with a technology (augmented reality) that the average consumer has had little experience with until last week. Perhaps we’re at a tipping point for the “general release” of augmented reality for the masses.

iOS 7.1 Tips and tricks

March 11, 2014 1 comment

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I upgraded to iOS 7.1 this week I have to say I really like the new features and UX upgrades. Many of the updates that you will notice are UX related and the iOS team has done a good job. There are many other feature updates that you may notice for a while since they are future focused and nuanced and hard to find. For example unless you already are using services such as accessibility, you won’t notice or find the feature updates.

Here are some links to the best update reviews I’ve seen

Brad Reed’s iOS blog – he always does solid reviews and has great videos that get to the heart of the matter. Here’s his review of the iOS 7.1 updates, including a video overview

Cult of Mac – these guys usually have pretty succinct reviews and they hit all the main points for the iOS 7.1 update. Here is their review.

Pocket-Lint – always like reading review from these guys – solid and usually have several good screen shots. This iOS 7.1 review is another great one from Pocket-Lint

Enjoy!

Cross Platform Connections – Getting it Done

March 15, 2011 2 comments

One of the hot topics in the world of Integrated Marketing, especially when it comes to CPG advertising is crafting a strategy that connects the dots across multiple platforms, such as TV, print, digital, in-store marketing and FSIs.  Over the last 24 months the pace of truly integrated marketing campaigns has really picked up, as brand advertisers follow the consumer – and she is connected in ways like never before. A great example of these media consumption habits and trends can be seen in the GMA Shopper Marketing report, Shopper Marketing 4.0: Building Scalable Playbooks That Drive Results.  (A special callout to my friend Matt Egol at Booz & Co, for his leadership in creating this report)

Last week, I had the opportunity to get on stage and present “Maintaining Connections Across Platforms” at iMedia Brand Summit in Austin, TX.  My presentation showcases two iconic brands, Kibbles ‘n Bits and Milk-Bone.  I had a short 15 minutes to present the two cases and  take some Q&A from the audience of brands marketers, media folks, publishers and brand experts.

If you have a few minutes, watch the presentation and think about how brands are connecting the dots for you as a consumer or how you’re doing similar work as marketer.  I would enjoy hearing your thoughts and feedback.

Special thanks to @KozComm for blogging from the event and posting his thoughts on the presentation in his SXSW Report

 

 

And how did I celebrate after the presentation?  By having a fantastic tex-mex lunch at an Austin institution – Chuy’s! (there may have been some queso and creamy jalapeno ordered)

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