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19 September 2012

Monetizing The Mobile Web

How do you make money from the mobile web?

As the mobile Internet fast becomes the dominant way to access the web, previously successful advertising strategies clearly need to be evolved.

Google, Facebook and others don't appear to have the answer. So, who will find the key to mobile marketing?

Here are a few extracts:

As mobile device usage evolves, mobile advertising needs to evolve too.

We've already seen a shift from text and banner ads to more sophisticated efforts. And there's a growing need for alternatives to the pay-per-click scenario. With a click-to-call model the advertiser only pays when the user responds with a phone call. Another new tactic is posting an entry into the user's smartphone diary, say for a new film or music concert.

One of the most interesting gamification models comes from startup company Kiip (kiip.me). Although Kiip has only around 30 employees, they've already secured big-name clients such as Pepsi, Disney and Best Buy. What's different about Kiip?

...

Instead of avoiding popups and trailers, now users actively seek them out simply by playing the game. It's led to dramatic growth. Kiip is already inside 300 apps on over 30 million iOS and Android devices, and has rewarded over 50 million players.

As well as being declared the first 'social media games', the London Olympics also emphasised the popularity of the mobile web.

In the UK mobile access accounted for 46 percent of all Olympic online traffic. While across Europe around a third of all Olympics related searches originated from mobile devices.

Video figures are just as impressive. The BBC revealed 41 percent of video streams were watched by mobile device owners, and US broadcaster NBC delivered 45 percent of its online Olympic videos to smartphones and tablets.

Read more analysis posts.

16 September 2012

Win-Win Selling by Wilson Learning Library

Selling isn't an easy profession. In a rapidly changing world with increasingly savvy consumers, the techniques that worked yesterday might not succeed tomorrow.

The approach discussed by Win-Win Selling takes the well known needs-fulfilment salesman scenario and extends it to the 'counselor evolution' model. This model is all about creating a close relationship, or even longterm partnership, between the salesman and the customer.

There are four main sections, namely Relating, Discovering, Advocating and Supporting. The overall aim is to encourage a more customer friendly approach by changing attitudes, rather than imposing a rigidly defined structure. While the primary audience is sales professionals, there's plenty of thought provoking information for anyone connected to sales, marketing or advertising.

Throughout it emphasises the importance of honesty, credibility, competence, and in particular empathy. Empathy is essential to discover your customers attitudes, motivations and feelings, understand their problems and develop a strong, trusting relationship. In this way a successful salesman will identify and fill the gap between the customers current needs and their desired solution.

Once learnt the basic 'relationship' selling principles can be used to form the basis of your own bespoke technique. In fact, the book positively encourages the reader to pursue their own style and best practices based on the information provided.

It would have been easy to create just another 'theory' book. Instead the reader will enjoy a practical style of presentation, one where advice is backed up with a raft of stories and case histories, which clarify the messages and illustrate how they work in real-world situations. My only niggle is the occasionally disjointed layout and flow.

In a crowded marketplace Wilson Learning have created a distinctly individual book that's as easy to read as it is informative. And one that successfully conveys a better way to sell.

9 September 2012

Home Truths (Novella) by David Lodge

Create a stage play script. Develop it during the rehearsal stage. Watch it being performed. Then turn it into a prose fiction novella.

Certainly not your typical fiction book journey, however, in the skilful hands of Lodge the result is a delightful little book.

Throughout the narrative I was constantly aware of a stage-like influence. In my mind's eye I could easily visualise how the set would appear to the audience, 'watch' a new character take to the stage and 'see' the dialogue performed. I could even anticipate the audience laughter.

How much of this was down to prior knowledge of how the book was conceived, the image on the cover, or the actual content was difficult to ascertain.

David Lodge isn't afraid to experiment with composition, style and voice. It's one of the primary reason I enjoy reading his novels so much. In the 'Afterword' section of the Home Truths novella Lodge asks the reader to judge if process 'works'. This reader say it does, brilliantly.

5 September 2012

Write To Sell by Andy Maslen

Write to Sell is a focussed, content-rich guide to the craft of copywriting. Maslen's highly regarded experience, knowledge and skills really shine through the pages.

I particularly liked the book's format. No padding waffle, no excessive repeating of points and advice, no drifting into marketing mode. Just richly-packed pages with masses of relevant, plainly stated and insightful information.

Split into six sections, the first three aim to clarify and focus the reader's thinking, and encourage them to view things from the buyer's perspective. The last three sections guide the reader through copy generation. It's an easy and engrossing read from cover-to-cover. However, the clear layout, numerous summaries and abundance of tips also make for a great reference book.

I think Maslen has created a gem. The techniques, advice and tips are applicable to reporting, presentations and writing in general. As a source of inspiration and advice it's become a constant companion in my copywriter activities - which says it all really.

Links: Andy Maslen's Sunfish company website

3 September 2012

Raspberry Pi PyGame Module Introduction

The last of my Learn Python on the Raspberry Pi series, in issue 1225, has an introduction the PyGame module.

The article builds on previous lessons including loops, condition statements, function definitions and event handling. The end result is a fully explained program structure that can form the basis of more advanced PyGame programs.

If you don't have a Raspberry Pi you can still follow the series with these emulation instructions.

Here are a few extracts from Part 6:

Trying your hand at game programming is an excellent way of honing existing expertise and gaining new skills. Unfortunately, creating even a simple game with the Python language and its Standard Library requires significant levels of programming experience.

However, and not for the first time, Python's extensive collection of modules comes to the rescue. The PyGame module is designed to ease the path to game creation with a rich set of highly specialised functionality.

A complete game will typically involve graphics, animation, collision detection, sound effects, music tracks, scoring and handling user input events. Quite a challenge. The PyGame module is nevertheless more than capable of meeting this challenge.

PyGame can draw lines, shapes and surfaces; write text in a large range of fonts and styles; load, manipulate and move images; play sounds, music tracks and videos; consume keyboard, mouse and joystick input events; interact with files, CDROM disks and cameras; and much more. To see a list of PyGame module functionality visit pygame.org/docs/ref.

A major reason for choosing Python as the default Raspberry Pi programming language, is the huge collection of programming resources, tips, videos and code examples that are available. The PyGame module is no exception.

The pygame.org website has masses of information and assistance for the keen PyGame coder to explore, including documents, tutorials and screenshots. In particular there's an extensive collection of examples at pygame.org/docs/ref/examples. If you prefer a visual approach to learning, a quick search on YouTube will uncover plenty of video tutorials and guides.

Visit my Raspberry Pi page for news, reviews, advice and tutorials.