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The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile Hardcover – May 16 2011


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Amazon.com: 25 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A stellar snapshot of the mobile industry May 16 2011
By Rob Woodbridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Mobile is big. Mobile is disruptive. Mobile will impact every facet of our daily lives. The scope of mobile is something that is hard to explain without gaining a base understanding of what we are dealing with - what tools are being built, how early adopters are using those tools and why. That's where this book excels. Chuck lays out the fundamentals in a straight forward, rolling narrative that gains speed, momentum and excitement in the industry as you read.

Finally someone wrote the answer to "what book should I read if I need to understand the state of mobile."
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Mobile is hugely important - so is this book Aug. 9 2011
By Joe Shartzer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Chuck Martin's "The Third Screen" is a great read for marketers, or those in business looking to ride the next revolution. Check the video for full review.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Systematic analysis of the mobile technology landscape May 13 2011
By Sreeram Ramakrishnan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
(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).
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Sorry to disagree Feb. 13 2012
By C. Grant - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I'm sorry to disagree with everybody who thinks this book is "seismic" or "a paradigm shift" or whatever.

The book is a decent summary of the state of this technology, but it sees the future very simply, as an extrapolation of what has gone before. As an overview and pep talk, it's fine. You might pick up some terminology and some brand names.

It could have been so much more.

It does not go into the different types of users (now and as they morph in the future) or anything that could help marketers understand user segments. That's the biggest opportunity lost by the author because right now we need that, but he just presents the facets, not the whole.

There's very little on the issues of conflicting platforms and the coming shakeouts and how users will be affected. He doesn't mention the ways in which this business trend can (and maybe already has started to) morph into a bubble.

He doesn't attempt to apply lessons learned from previous hot technology that cooled off quickly when the woo-woo effect wore off.

He doesn't talk about the thousands of promising young engineers who quit their jobs thinking that if they can just write a couple of apps they will be able to retire by 30. Or the hundreds of thousands of apps out there that never get looked at.

He doesn't go into the difficulties of dealing with a teeny-tiny screen, and whether people (and marketers) are going to continue to tolerate a tiny screen as a primary communication device.

He doesn't talk about the concept of carrying one device as a backup and terminus, but having most of the communication happening through ubiquitous external devices.

He doesn't address the huge conflict between app development and web development, and he certainly ignores the fascinating question of what that the dichotomy will evolve into.

As I said, this book is a summary and hype, without much thought involved. One of those books-of-the-moment that you won't even be able to give away in six month.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Get On Board -- The Third Screen Is Here May 18 2011
By John Baldoni - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Reading "The Third Screen" gave me the feeling that I was opening the door to an entirely new world that I knew existed, but never really knew what it meant. I imagined that this is how advertising people first felt about television. But, as author Chuck Martin explains so well, mobile computing is not simply a wave of the future; it is the future. Anyone who has a message worthy of sharing should consider how to adapt what they have to say - or market - to smartphones and tablets.

"The Third Screen" is filled with compelling facts that underscore the reason for focusing on reaching consumers where they look for information - their smartphone. It is not simply a matter of reaching consumers on the go. It is reaching them where they are at any given moment.

"The Third Screen" also explains in simple terms how you can prepare your company and your marketing plans for mobile platforms. It is not a paint by numbers approach, but rather a thoughtful guide to maximizing the power of your messages for a rapidly expanding group of savvy consumers.

If you read only one marketing book this year, choose "The Third Screen." It can help you re-think how you reach and respond to your customers.


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