(Disclosure - this review is based on an advance review copy provided by the publisher, read via Kindle; review adapted from my blog).
In a fascinating and systematic assessment of the trends in mobile technology, particularly, location-based aspects of mobile technology as realized in smartphones, Martin hypotheses (convincingly) that "paradigm shift" is a not just a cliché. Martin captures the transformation of the three screens (televisions to computers to smartphones) and the behavioral and technological factors that underpin this transformation, viewed almost exclusively from a marketing and branding perspective. While that focus is geared to those in the marketing/branding profession, a general reader is very likely to benefit from understanding how the mobile landscape is evolving.
At the very outset, Matin provides an excellent abstraction of the various features of mobile technology facilitating this "revolution". This list could form a framework for service model designs (for business development professionals) and to define new advertisement and branding channels (for marketing professionals). A general reader is treated to a high-level view of why mobile technology has gained so much popularity. This degree of utility for various audience types is generally sustained throughout the book. Martin then provides an overview of the penetration/widespread reach of mobile technology and more importantly, the changing patterns of consumption. Drawing examples from Cars.com and Playboy (who knew!), he discusses issues related to brand management, particularly in the context of adapatation to changing customer behavior. In a subsequent chapter, Martin introduces the notion of Real Time Bidding (using example of AdMeld), the growth and potential of cloud computing - in disrupting pricing models related to marketing. Examples such as Steve Madden Ltd are used to explain this trend.
Perhaps, the most interesting part of the book is Martin's discussion on the impact of content generation and how the digitization of various media is enabling convergence in content, which further changes the consumption behavior. This discussion extends the traditional marketing AIDA (attention, interest, desire, action) framework. Using examples of Zmags, Scrollmotion and video platform providers, Martin convincingly hypothesizes that multi-modal convergence of content is a trend that is likely to accelerate, providing new opportunities in branding/marketing. Another framework that will help a reader is Martin's characterization of location-based marketing - his three segments (drivers, magnets, activators) that perform different functions in the context of customer interaction. While Martin explains this segmentation mostly using examples derived from couponing space (from Kraft to Point Inside, Micello, to Kickbucks/weRewards), the applicability of the framework in designing services models that revolve on behavior modification of end customers is self-evident.
In concluding chapters, Martin discusses the role of mobile search (making an astute differentiation of premeditated search v/s finding or discovering) and how the availability of various mobile-unique features (location, movement, time, proximity, context, intent, connectivity) can significantly enhance the "search" experience and the opportunities for brand enhancement. The example of Foursquare/Starbucks is particularly interesting in this context.
Despite his mostly enthusiastic tone, Martin cautions (correctly) that mobile technology is much more than an ad channel or additional revenue stream. His central thesis is that the ability for leveraging hyperlocal, individualized marketing can be transformative - not to be relegated to just an ad channel. Martin's accessible narrative style, excellent use of examples and glossary in every chapter, and an ample list of Apps make this is a very entertaining read.
Martin, however, glosses over two critical issues - the cannibalization one can expect to see in traditional channels due to mobile and any risks of over-focusing on the smartphone crowd and missing opportunities to grow audience, and a more critical one on potential backlashes on security and privacy related issues (recent press on Sony and Apple is indicative of the brand damage that can cause from fears on these fronts - exaggerated or not). Without a clear assessment of these risks and a framework for managing this risk, the book leaves a reader wanting for more. Perhaps, a less critical issue, is understanding the real effectiveness of this mode compared to traditional methods (though he insists ROI and other metrics should be changed, the field is too new to have a consensus on what is truly indicative of effectiveness). Despite these issues, Martin, provides a very informative, entertaining and thought provoking read on the impact of mobile technology on marketing, though anyone with an interest in business model design or just understanding the mobile landscape will find this a worthy read.
(As a researcher in the space of healthcare and exploring how mobile technology can help in defining new service models, some of the frameworks discussed by Martin are compelling thought starters. A more curious reader should utilize the companion website and Martin's regular blogs - time well spent).