June 20, 2011 | last updated June 1, 2012 10:19 am
BIZ BOOKS

Marketing can seize that 'third screen'

"The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile" by Chuck Martin (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, $28.95).

As CEO of the Mobile Future Institute, Martin offers the bleeding-edge view of global-mobile marketing's why and how.

TV, the first screen, brought ads into your home. The PC, the second screen, when coupled with the Internet, spawned online business and established the cornerstones of social media. Web-connected mobile devices comprise the untethered third screen — real time, anyplace, anywhere.

What's unique about this customer group, which Martin calls m-powered? They share their shopping experiences with their m-powered friends. Apps simplify comparison shopping (I use Red Laser). I receive texts from a Neiman-Marcus salesperson alerting me to upcoming sales. Tales of great and poor customer service go viral in seconds.

The m-powered thrive on engagement, which provides instant feedback to businesses. Cars.com found that prospective customers using its iPhone app viewed over twice as many pages as their PC-tethered brethren. While informing listing dealers of the iPhone app, they found the dealers were already using it as a "research the competition" tool. Cars.com expects that the third screen will account for a third of its business.

Puma "mobilized" soccer fans in 13 markets by connecting fans of various teams. Users were provided real time scoring updates and teleconferenced (for free) to chosen friends to talk about the game. The Puma brand name scores, too.

The third screen has spawned new businesses, too. Look at the thousands of apps we've paid for. It's also given a look at the future for business apps. To help their recruiting efforts, Marriott and Siemens have developed sim games for mobile devices. Players run the business; success depends on managing the interaction of various departments.

Mobile provides video, too. About a third of smartphone owners have downloaded TV apps. HBO Go allows HBO subscribers on various cable networks to view HBO's movies and series on their devices for free.

Apple's FaceTime technology promotes free video calls among iPhone4 and iPad2 owners. Many businesses have adopted it for calls between offices.

In a world gone mobile, customers will become increasingly aware of how much information can be sent to and from their third screens.

"Full Engagement! Inspire, Motivate and Bring Out the Best in Your People" by Brian Tracy (AMACOM, $22).

For Tracy, ROE means return on energy — physical, mental, emotional. ROE starts with selecting the right people, and letting the wrong ones go. Peter Drucker said that "a manager who keeps an incompetent person is himself incompetent." Tracy introduces zero-based thinking as the process for assessing which ones produce value versus problems.

The zero-based thinking question: "Is there anyone working for me today who, knowing what I now know, I would not hire again." If you would not hire someone again, it's too late to save them. Save yourself by doing what you know must be done.

Now that you have the right people on the bus, what do you do to bring out their best? Make sure the company's "values, vision, mission, purpose and goals" provide opportunity for people to succeed and excel. Commit to transparency; tell them the good and the bad.

Make sure they have the tools to do their jobs — then let them do their jobs. Also, when mistakes (everyone makes them) are made, focus on what was learned. By taking the fear element out of mistakes, staff will learn about how to overcome obstacles. They'll continue to explore what could be done, and realize that personal, professional and organizational growth involves taking risks.

Practicing the "Golden Rule" from top to bottom, internally and externally remains the foundation of full engagement.

Jim Pawlak is a nationally syndicated book reviewer.

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