The year of the digital wallet

Image2011 was the year to talk about the digital wallet. A Google search for “digital wallet” will deliver about 250,000,000 results… just for the past year.

Although the conversation around the space is white hot, George Constanza’s wallet will continue to be valuable for years to come. 2012 will not be the year of the digital wallet, neither will 2013 or 2014 or even 2015.

First, the market is yet to be clearly defined. The “digital wallet” market includes solutions like: mobile payments using NFC technologies that allow consumers to wave-and-pay using their phone, barcode or QR code scanning for self checkout or price comparison, and coupons or loyalty rewards which are linked to your account or phone instead or a card or cutout.

Second, the there are a myriad of potential solutions coming from every direction including merchants (e.g. Starbucks), financial institutions (e.g. AmEx Serve) and tech companies (e.g. Google Wallet).

Unless you are a financial institution, mobile carrier, or technology company you are best to wait until the dust settles. Consumer adoption will be low and fragmented and the likelihood of guessing wrong and investing in the wrong space is high.

Two posts that describe the space well:

Forrester Research Blog “The Battle For the Digital Wallet”

http://blogs.forrester.com/benjamin_ensor/11-11-25-the_battle_for_the_digital_wallet

Fast Company Infographic “Mobile Melee”

http://infographics.fastcompany.com/magazine/161/smartphone-infographic.html

Online measurement needs a cross-channel upgrade.

With a marketing seat at the C-level table and a recession still dominating the headlines, the focus on accountability in marketing is greater than ever before. Consumers are adding new online activities, like video and Twitter, while continuing established online and offline activities throughout their purchase paths.

While marketers have done a good job by adding these new channels to their marketing mix, they have not successfully integrated execution or measurement across these channels. The blessing and curse of the Internet is the ease of measuring and tracking things like impressions, click-throughs, and activity. As marketers have relied on what is easily measurable, they have often ignored metrics that align with their objectives and provide actionable insight in supporting business decisions.

Improving marketing measurement effectiveness is a never-ending journey, but marketers can take some manageable steps to get started:

  • Map business goals to campaign objectives and specific tactics. The first step in any marketing process should be aligning business goals to marketing objectives, selecting focused tactics to accomplish that objective, and measuring the results. For example, an organization’s strategic goal of strengthening their brand across key segments can draw support from various functional teams. Marketers can strictly define their contribution and objective to increase awareness by five percent for a youth segment. With an understanding of key segment’s behaviors, and attitudes, marketers can create relevant social marketing campaigns designed to drive awareness for their brand or product.
  • Identify the metrics that matter and the existing data gaps. Each new marketing channel ads its own series of new metrics, for example social marketing introduced metrics like time interactions, spread of content, velocity, number of friends, posts, etc. Only with clearly defined campaign objectives, can marketers sift through the list of things to measure and identify the metrics that measure the business success of campaign tactics. To accurately measure change in unaided and aided awareness for your brand or product marketers utilize brand surveys or professional brand monitoring services from firms like Nielsen BuzzMetrics and Cymfony. Identifying the data gaps that exist, like measuring lift in brand awareness, is like acknowledging there is a problem. It’s the first but huge step towards recovery.
  • Conduct experiments to verify assumptions and fill data gaps. Inevitably the metrics that matter are not easily measurable or readily available. After identifying existing data gaps marketers can create a simple 2X2 matrix to compare the value of the data with the cost of obtaining to help prioritize data gaps and pick the low hanging fruit or build these costs into future campaigns. Also consider commercializing this matrix to identify latent needs in other functional teams and help build the business case for more marketing measurement investment. To temporarily fill these inevitable data gaps marketers can obtain data through an existing source in another functional team, for example PR or market research teams may have ongoing brand tracking studies. It may also be worthwhile to understand if there is a company wide accepted correlation between the data you have, like impressions or number of branded searches, and the data you need.