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Social Media Portal interview with Neil Cartwright from Million Media

Tim Gibbon (Social Media Portal (SMP)) - 14 May 2012

Social Media Portal interview with Neil Cartwright from Million Media


Profiled - Neil Cartwright, founder of Million Media and guest speaker at the Connected Summit

Million Media logoSocial Media Portal (SMP): What is your name and role at Million Media?

Neil Cartwright (NC): Neil Cartwright, founder of Million Media.

SMP: Briefly, tell us about Million Media what is it and what does it do?

NC: Itís a digital marketing agency, which operates at the leading edge of technology. We have constantly been ahead of the curve with technology - the fact I was building websites in 1996 is testament to that!

From music downloading, social media and now emergent NFC technology, we have identified trends and technology typically 3-5 years before they become mainstream. Specialisms are mobile, SEO and social media.

Photograph of Neil Cartwright, founder of Million MediaSMP: Can you tell us what event youíre guest speaking at?

NC: Itís at the Connected Summit on Tuesday, 15th May and is a case study of the Jamiroquai NFC campaign we implemented late last year on their European tour.

SMP: Who are your ideal target audience for the session and what can they hope to take away from your presentation?

NC: Naturally, anyone with an interest in NFC and how it can work in a consumer world and not just in the technical, theoretical world inhabited by many consultants. We will talk about some of the real-world challenges we faced and hard lessons learnt!

SMP: There has been the threat that itís the year of mobile forever, what evidence that it may have arrived?

NC: Actually, Iíd advocate we employ a different terminology now. I think using the term ĎMobile Marketingí is a little like using the term ĎLaptop Marketingí. A smartphone is simply a computer device that can perform hundreds of different functions, each one personal to the carrier. There is no single ĎMobileí strategy any more than there is only one Ďcomputerí strategy.

Naturally, applications and web pages have to be optimised to display properly on a smaller screen, but we need to start focusing on specific marketing campaigns like Location, Gaming or Ticketing rather than thinking in such a broad term.

SMP: NFC is currently under utilised, can you tell us why that may be?

NC: There are a few reasons. One is the ĎCatch 22í, that until we reach a critical mass of NFC enabled handsets then brands donít have an incentive to run promotions, and without the promotions people donít think they need NFC. If the iPhone 5 has NFC that could change, or if some of the more innovative and pioneering brands decide to grab the opportunity.

SMP: Why is NFC perfect for live events (music, art, festivals etc)?

The potential for NFC is to play a vital role in the complete promotion cycle, that is, the marketing campaign, the purchase and the redemption. For instance, someone could see a poster advertising a gig.

They touch the poster and can buy a ticket, which gets delivered to their phone. At the venue they tap on the reader to gain entry. However, during the entire process they can be fed offers and promotions for extra tickets, upgrades and services.

SMP: What are the high moments of what youíve been doing so far in the mobile industry?

NC: The Jamiroquai NFC poster was both a challenge and an eye opener for us. Itís one thing to say ďLetís make an NFC posterĒ but another thing entirely to actually make it happen. It was very rewarding to see the actual posters put up in the venues.

SMP: What the most captivating NFC campaign youíve seen so far?

NC: Well, Iíve been very impressed with NFC Festival wrist-bands, car hire and hotel keys. But the one I use to really capture peopleís attention is a crazy one, involving a washing machine that can identify the different types of clothes in your wash and warn you if there is a red sock in your white wash! For some reason itís something people immediately identify with.

SMP: And, the worst?

NC: Well, Iím not trying to be diplomatic but honestly, I applaud any attempt at this stage to try and understand NFC better.

SMP: What do you feel the next big step for social media / networks are and what may be the impact upon mobile?

NC: Technology like Foursquare has given us a slight glimpse of the future but most people mistakenly regard it as a game, and so perhaps donít take it seriously. However the idea that we Check In to places will, I believe, become commonplace. Shops, restaurants, hotels and venues will be doing everything they can to encourage customerís to check in by offering them promotions and discounts. In return the customer data they will get will be unprecedented.

SMP: What makes a great mobile app or NFC campaign?

NC: Who knows? Seriously. Iím not being glib but Iím trying to work it out, as is everyone else. Itís rather like the early days of the Internet. Many people say it has to offer the user a benefit, but what if the Ďbenefití is simply it makes you laugh or does something unexpected.

Brands will naturally want to develop the revenue potential of NFC, but as we saw with apps, what got people excited was shooting angry birds or pouring a virtual pint on their mobile screen. The NFC app that captures peopleís attention could be something similar - something to show off to friends rather than a useful, revenue generating application.

SMP: What are your top five predictions for mobile throughout 2012 and heading into 2013?

NC: The concept of checking-in will become commonplace.
  • People will start to realise the limitation of QR Codes and the vast potential of NFC tags Ė theyíre not the same.
  • People with NFC phones will try paying for a coffee in Starbucks or a sandwich in Subway.
  • There will be hundreds of NFC security scare stories in the media.
  • Apple will put NFC in the iPhone 5.0 and NFC usage will explode. Or the opposite, they donít and it wonít....

SMP: What are your top five NFC mobile tips?

NC replies with:
  • Stop thinking in terms of device and think in terms of campaign objectives.
  • Mobile applications will continue to confound expectations and delight users
  • Retailers must start implementing location, check-in or voucher campaigns or go the same way as retailers who were slow to implement web strategies, i.e. cease to exist
  • Optimise your website for mobile, immediately
  • Start using your own mobile for maps, payments, check-ins, social media and vouchers.

Challenge yourself to understand the technology so you see the potential for yourself.

SMP: Is there anything else youíd like to tell us?

NC: Tube Exits is my favourite ever app. The amount of time Iíve saved being able to get out of a tube opposite the exit and not get caught in a crowd of people must have re-paid the cost of the app 20 times over. So, approximately £18. A good ROI!

SMP: Best way to contact you and Million Media?

NC: Email: neil @ or Twitter: @million__media

Now some questions for fun

SMP: What did you have for breakfast / lunch?

NC: Iíve still got to have lunch. Not because Iím busy, but my microwave broke.

SMP: Whatís the last good thing that you did for someone?

NC: Iím helping a local charity promote a music festival at a near-by school.

SMP: If you werenít running Million Media what would you be doing?

NC: Still being a geek, but unpaid. So, not much different when I think about it.

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