Universal Mobile Interface

Does anyone dare to say no to apps?

Posted in UMI by Martin Vendel on February 21, 2010

Most consumer brands are in the process of experimenting how to utilize the mobile channel in the best possible way. Many have a quite limited experience of the mobile and the obvious answer seems to be app stores and apps. Even being the phenomena driving the development and being the by far most massive mobile success story in years, investing in apps may turn out to be quite a disappointment. The issues are that the space is quite crowded, you have to invest over and over again to cover all different operating systems and most importantly the majority of the apps generate a rather limited usage. Most apps are unfortunately a waste of money but do you still dare to say no?

The Canadian newsstand platform service provider and publisher Mygazines announced a few days ago the launch of a Universal Mobile Interface. It may not fully be in line with the general UMI definition, nevertheless the basic thinking is the same. “We want to allow our publisher’s content to be accessible anywhere and everywhere,” says Yoav Schwartz, CEO of Mygazines, Toronto, in an interview by Chris Harnick in the Mobile Marketer. Yoav Schwartz continues: “If a person receives an email with a link to the latest issue of Relevant, then he or she can click on that link and open the magazine on whatever device they want – you can’t do that with an app.” “If I’m a publisher and sending out e-delivery to my subscribers, I want them to start engaging right away. With a traditional app, it’s up to the user to then either download or install an app or visit the app to access the content.” “Apps are great, don’t get me wrong, but they’re a closed environment.” Mygazines dares to say no.

Mygazines clearly supports the basic thinking behind the UMI concept. We can expect their approach to become quite successful within the online publishing arena and to be followed by others. This in not a battle between apps and UMIs, both will become successful on their own merits. For those that want a very efficient way to reach all mobile phone users not bothering about different mobile operating systems and high development costs the UMI approach should be carefully considered as an alternative to apps.

Key considerations when choosing mobile marketing platform

Posted in UMI by Martin Vendel on April 2, 2009

Most retail chains and brand owners today investigate mobile marketing as a new way to improve customer interaction. A number of players offer different platforms for different elements of mobile marketing. It is not easy to understand pros and cons of the different options and what’s best for one company may be quite wrong for the other. There are some key questions to be answered before it’s possible to know what may be the best solution in a specific case. These questions are:

  • What do we want to achieve on the market?
  • Where are we now and what’s missing to be able to reach the marketing targets?
  • How mature is my company and the targeted customer segment regarding digital marketing and mobile devices?
  • How glossy and rich does the mobile experience need to be?
  • How much can I allow this to cost per impression/interaction etc?
  • How flexible should the chosen solution be, would I like to add new features and services?

The table compares different solutions for Internet based mobile market communication. The solutions compared are: web – just let customers brows the existing web site over the mobile; WAP – mobile format site based on WAP; own client – separate java client to be downloaded as any java client; app – application for an app store; UMI – integration of existing web services to a UMI platform. The properties listed are: user experience; no need for a client to be down loaded; look and feel; own development needed; initial cost; operational cost; flexible and can easily be upgraded with new functionality; time to market; addressable market; distribution efficiency – how easy is it to get customer to get started using the service.

alternativeplatforms1As can be seen in the table there are some key considerations to make depending on the ambition level and the expected value of mobile marketing. My key point is of course to illustrate the strength of UMI compared to other alternatives. Whether UMI is the best option does however depend on what you would like to achieve. I feel that many companies rush into exploring the possibilities with mobile marketing without first really analysing what it is there to accomplish and how it supports the overall marketing strategy. I strongly recommend all to view mobile marketing as one out of many components in the marketing communication mix and also that all options are carefully considered to avoid unnecessary costs and getting stuck in a solution that is impossible develop further to meet future needs.