Zeus of Marketing


Posts filed under 'Mobile'

Why I Don’t Trust Google – Do Not Get Caught in a Quest for Omnisciency Backlash

Could be as early as 2020

Warning: Could be earlier than 2084

The inserted graphic, found by chance in a Bing Image search, pretty much summarizes my reservations about Google. While I couldn’t find the original source to give it credit – this particular picture was found on analytics20.org.

In one sentence (my elevator pitch): In a world that is becoming increasingly concerned about privacy, Google is positioning itself as the omniscient netizen behavior sentinel. It’s a train-wreck waiting to happen.

I could go on and on with other negative factors such as, low viewership of banner ads, increasing desensitization of search ads, loss of control over the Android OS via strengthening “host brands” like Samsung, low G+ engagement in spite of major marketing investment…

Tip: a good way to confirm Google+ take in real time : always check the “share counter” in any article for how many people have liked or shared in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn versus number of G+1 shares. Here’s an example from a c|net article:Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.54.12 PM

…Above all, the one overriding Google Achilles heel is its counter-trend move by intending to keep tabs on everything about everyone. It may be a marketer’s dream (and seemingly Wall Street drank the Kool Aid too), but one that comes with a level of responsibility that, in my opinion, Google continuous to avoid.

I know – almost every “blogger” at one time or another has sang Google’s praises – I am still holding back and continue to be a Google skeptic (See my Axioms for Google in my previous post on my 2012 Predictions post) The fact that its stock price increased double digits over the past 6 months is not a function of an improved company but the lack of rationality in the market when it comes to valuing tech companies (Groupon opened at $20? enough said). Or worse yet, lack of creativity in using available technologies for innovative business models.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably read my 2012 recap where I mention that during 2013, Privacy issues will continue to grow – while somewhat buried in my advice for marketers section, I believe that it will start taking a stronger hold than any other manufactured hype that the industry may think of (insert one more shameless ridiculing of the term “SoLoMo”).

Before exclaiming “bullocks!!!!” (I am not British by the way – I´m just trying to keep a G rating), I urge you to take on a user perspective not a marketing perspective on this. Ultimately, part of marketing 101 is to put ourselves in our customers shoes. As background, here are the key factors fueling this trend:

  • Increasing points of data-entry will speed up user maturity and realization- whether we, as users, realize it or not, we are sharing more and more of our information as more applications and devices are introduced that help make our lives easier, but at the same time add higher risk of over-sharing. There comes a point in which people will “Google themselves” and realize “OMG” if this is publicly available and free, what information can be accessed by a fee? Am I willing to expose myself like this? What’s the cost? Orwell would be so happy.
  • Publicity on Large Corporate data hacks: “If a large corporation can be hacked – what level of protection do I have?” /Did GM Cadillac really acquired JEEP, was Burger King really gulped by McDonald’s)?
  • Legislation: While I am not a proponent of government censorship – left unattended and lack of self-regulation will fuel increased legislation (globally) No amount of lobbying or simple hand slapping will silence such a sensitive topic.

Google’s actions to integrate all its web properties to maintain a single user database, and at the same time attempt to control the OS of every Internet connected device (including glasses, TV’s and Cars besides phones, tablets and laptops) AND the applications running on them (while working, playing or vegetating) places them clear in the center of any privacy backlash firing Sight (rifle reference to appease any NRA reader).

Furthermore, in plain business common sense parlance, not just strategically, do you want to fund/fuel the creation of a single supplier to support your whole corporate value chain? Oligopolies are so 19th Century.

If my prediction is right (an logic and observation cearly supports it) and privacy issues become an increasingly important factor amongst netizens, here’s my recommendation to make sure you are not caught in the backlash:

  1. Transparency – be very transparent with your customers as to what the data you collect will be used for (have a privacy policy).
  2. Speak in natural language, not legalese – in following number 1, do it in everyday speak – remember you are looking for customer trust – not Court “CYA’ing.” (I look forward for someone to start a legalese-to-natural language translation website – ironically, the liability hurdles are probably insurmountable)
  3. Look beyond banner and display and search ads – be very clear as to how reach is achieved – is it invited or forced based on somebody else data (are you completely sure of how that data was obtained)? While you may not be legally liable, the court of public opinion will continue to strengthen (fueled by that same trends that brought you the “digital advertising” opportunity in the first place)
  4. Last, but most important, truly leverage the opportunity that the digital world offer you: romance your customer, mine and maintain your own permission based customer profiles (database) and engage with your best to spread the word (advocates). In my opinion this is the true promise and benefit of a digital world in marketing.

As additional resources:

I just came across this eMarketer article on Consumers reactions to “uninvited” brand outreach: Brand Social Outreach Must Walk a Fine Line – Consumers are sensitive to how much companies listen and respond to them online

Also – I found the articles and resources in the TRUSTe newsletter to be a good way to stay abreast of the privacy topic.

What am I missing? Am I way off on left field? As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner. You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

 

 

 

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March 7th, 2013

It’s a Wrap: 2012 was a “BLAH” year for Digital/Social

Wrapping Up 2012

Wrapping Up 2012

After reviewing my 2012 predictions/wish list written last December, I have come to the realization that 2012 was a “Blah” year in Digital/Social. What do I mean by that? Other than the meteoric rise of Pinterest, nothing else happened to materially change the predicted trends. If anything, it seems like some of the strong have weakened, thus opening the door to new offerings which should make 2013 a lot more interesting. Here’s some highlights:

  • LinkedIn continues to strengthen its position by focusing on its point of difference and adding tools that benefit its audience.
  • Google continues to create news by manipulating user statistics and spinning news about every product prototype or research regardless of how it fits, or doesn’t, its positioning. While it seems to have averted an FTC consent decree they seem to still be gun-ho on being the gatekeeper (toll-taker) of every ad served digitally (World domination anyone)?
  • Amazon continues to strengthen its position as a global retailer and master integrator.
  • Yahoo may still rise from the ashes – as predicted due to its strong e-mail user base which has been the first service updated by the new CEO.
  • Twitter, again, what’s your raison d’être ? Yes I know that it is a public forum. Yes I know celebrities and Media love to post and create interactive “second or third” screen chat – but tell me- is this a long term, user retaining money making proposition? Or is it just a many to many IM (instant messaging) service?

While, in my opinion, there was no major breakthrough, a couple of players have somewhat fallen from the pedestal I had placed them in. Here’s a friendly warning for Facebook and Apple.

  • Facebook’s new public status seem to have changed their long term user driven positioning to short term user-unnerving monetization at any cost (which could very well be loss of users). Part of what has made Facebook successful is the ability to communicate with friends and family and share your life “timeline” with all you deem appropriate. Picture sharing and album storing, for example, not only creates customer satisfaction in using the service, but also creates a major barrier of exit for users to leave Facebook (talk about having some skin in the game). If overnight you decide that these pictures are yours to use as you seem fit and not the users (hear this Instagram) you are in essence breaking down one key barrier that’s keeping your users loyal to your service.
  • Apple, dear Apple. What’s happening to your Customer Service? As a consumer, I have spent about $10,000 over the past 2 years in your products, services and accessories ecosystem, mostly through your online and retail stores. I would say that while not enterprise spending level, it is a pretty sizable amount for an individual customer. Why do you chose to ignore service calls and provide only one choice for service; that of having to deal with “always-late-to-appointment-time/leave your-Mac-for-a-whole-week-to-repair” Genius bar. Please, If you decide not to invest as heavily in customer service then,  increase the quality of your product features at launch time. The sub-par performance of Mountain Lion and Apple Maps is just two examples of flops this year. I still have faith in you Apple, do not disappoint me further.

Stepping down from my soap box now, I see some key 2013 implications and advice for marketers:

  • Prior to any investment (time or money) in digital – look under the hood, kick the tires, make sure that whichever medium you choose is true to your end customer – keep any barriers of exit low until you see that there is no risk of being “guilty by association” and prevent monopolistic pricing  (are you really getting better returns from that ever increasing key word CPC)?
  • Do not fear Big Data, embrace it – the only way you will be able to understand who and where your customer “hangs out” and how they interact is by processing those numbers that are now freely available in the digital world. But be very aware of the point on privacy below.
  • Privacy issues will continue to grow- be preemptive and err on the side of caution. Correct handling will put you closer to Amazon type of performance, mishandling it will bring the wrath of customers à la Instagram, Google and others.
  • Continue to be weary of buzz words and fragmentation of one tool into multiple strategies – there is no such thing as Social Media versus Mobile versus Location Based Marketing – it is still good old Marketing with various digital tools and channels to better reach, acquire and retain customers. Do you really want to loose sleep at night to create a “SoLoMo” (social local mobile) Marketing Plan?  The 2012 integration of all major services and networks with mobile versions and application should more than proof this point : One strategy -> multiple channels execution.
  • If you are a B2B marketer, by all means leverage and get the most out of LinkedIn. In my opinion it is the only “major” that knows what is doing.
  • If you have anything to sell – identify how you could integrate Amazon as a channel – I don’t think their train will slow down anytime soon.
  • Last but not least – redirect all traffic to your own website. In the end the “Twitters” and “Facebooks” may come and go but the customers you have acquired should remain with you – where best to create this community than in your own property?

As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view.  Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner.  You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

Have a wonderful New Year and successful 2013!!!

 

 

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1 comment December 27th, 2012

A Single Tip That Will Increase Your PDF Whitepaper Readership “a hundredfold”

This is probably my shortest post ever – but in the name of efficiency, I figured I would give advice and at the same time let one of my biggest content pet peeves off my chest.

We all know how content development is one of the most important strategies we can use to increase our digital presence these days. Besides helping with organic search it can also place your company in very high regards with your customers and prospects (read high purchase intent) due to your altruistic information sharing and thought leadership. With so much at stake combined with the following points:

  • In a world where most people are now reading their information from Smartphones and Tablets,
  • In a world where many are helping the environment by choosing to read from the screen rather than print it,
  • In an aging demographics country where more and more people need or are starting to need reading glasses…

..WHY SO MANY WHITEPAPER PDF’S HAVE MULTIPLE COLUMNS???

Here’s my very simple tip to improve readership of the, more often than not, very thoughtful and researched whitepaper:

WRITE IT ON SINGLE COLUMN!!!!!!
(Always make your text easy to read no matter what screen is used. When in doubt, edit for the lowest common denominator).

Back to marketing 101 – put yourself in your customer/audience “shoes” first (EMPATHY) – have you noticed how unnerving it is to move up and down the screen to continue reading the next column?

We could add a few more tips such as efficient use of graphics, keep it simple, etc., etc, but I bet that just this ONE tip will go the distance in readership growth.

Next, I may tackle my second biggest pet peeve, 2-point sized font text in Infographics (remember, infographic stands for delivering a message via a visual medium, NOT, adding some pictures to 1.000 words and making them small so it fits above the fold).

As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view.  Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner.  You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

 

 

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3 comments October 16th, 2012

2012 Predictions..or My Personal Wish List (You Pick) Part One

Is all part science/part gut

Not sure I have mentioned it before, but I read way too much. If there is a thing that I am grateful to the Internet for, besides its obvious networking and communications capabilities, is the trillions over gazillions (is that large enough?) of bites of information available to read at my disposal 24/7. Based on all this information and my passion for connecting the dots to identify strategic insights, I have selected what I find to be the most important insights and projections for 2012.

I will be focusing in two key strategic insights areas, in Part One, top tier dot com tech giants fate in 2012 and, in Part Two, Insights driven by the changing consumer sentiment and behavior in the new era (now available). As I have thought about these insights, I have placed as much weight in my experience as a user as much as in my business training and experience over the last 20 years. I urge you to read it from the same perspective – I promise you it will make a lot more sense. Enough preamble, here you go:

What will or should happen to the current dot com “Tech Giants” in 2012?

Amazon, Facebook and LinkedIn will further solidify their base and continue steady growth : Not sure if you have noticed but these guys continue to steadily grow and gain not only unique visitors but loyal converts (read active visitors). While others try to imitate their business model or position themselves as uniquely capable of creating personal or professional networks, the truth is Facebook and LinkedIn have these areas covered pretty well, respectively.  The only chance that anyone has to chip away from their current leadership is to buy them or find a segment large enough to cater directly to them (hey, Cuba now has its own Facebook, Red Social- There’s a Physician’s  Network, those HIPAA requirements are a bore, and some are even starting college student only social networks – what a concept!,  now that mom and grandma are in Facebook).

News of Yahoo’s demise have been extremely exaggerated.  Not sure if you have noticed – but over the last few months, even without a CEO, Yahoo has stealthily integrated Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds into its My Yahoo page. They are not trying to create a whole new Facebook, a whole new LinkedIn, etc.,  they are adding value to their users by giving them what they currently use in a single page.  A very smart move if you ask me. If they select the right leader (hopefully from outside the tech industry – read CPG ) they should do quite well (Remember Lou Gerstner and IBM´s turnaround?). Personally, I still prefer Yahoo mail over Gmail, it has constantly given me the best available web-based email since 1997 – if all users are as satisfied, they should have a strong enough base from which to build on a growing business.

When it comes to a digital “Mall of America” with sticky social elements – no one comes close to Amazon. You can find anything your little heart desires and have it shipped within 2 business days for free (using Amazon Prime). On the social aspect – its integration with Facebook allows its customers not only to check what their friends are recommending, but also send them a gift from their published wish list (who needs registries anymore)? How does Amazon top this? Building from their initial advantage of online bookseller, they have almost put the old and stodgy publishing industry to pasture via Kindle (authors are starting to go straight to Kindle, forget the middleman). I let the reader’s imagination run on how well this positions Amazon to go Tablet, Smartphone, Kiosks, Pop-up stores…

Twitter may finally find its right positioning – or maybe not, it’s future depends on it. Twitter’s point of difference, in my opinion, is its immediacy.  It is like the impulse purchase of Social Media – the talk before you think platform . If you don’t believe me ask Alec Baldwin, Ashton Kutcher , Gibert Gottfried, Kenneth Cole, the list goes on and on…

As a business, I believe it could carve a great niche as a coupon, deal delivery method (at least they could target and deliver in real time, not via email shotgun approach like certain over-hyped daily deal company that shall remain nameless) or as a customer service software cloud offering that could be integrated with salesforce.com.

Socially, the most it can offer is to be the entertainment industry information hub for the star struck set (although there’s only so many Kardashian tweets a human can take). It has recently become the number one multitasking online activity while watching TV shows such as X-Factor (Instant voice lessons coupon anyone). Seriously, how about twitting a Pepsi coupon to the interacting TV audience next time they log-in with their location based application at their local store (Is that capability “ON” already?)

With that said, it will also continue to be a great tool to monitor for potential PR nightmares as its immediacy makes it optimal for wronged consumers to vent, sometimes irrationally.  Any business model that allows a company to monitor and engage on these “vents” should be well received. The “maybe” comes from the fact that Twitter doesn’t seem to grasp well its raison d’être, clearly evidenced by its last change (is it me or does it look like Facebook circa 2007)?  Read my lips – you can’t out-Facebook Facebook.

The start of Google’s decline, unless they change their ways. If you have read many of my previous posts, you saw this one coming   All I will add to this one is three key time honored axioms:.

  1. You can’t be all things to all people all the time – search, portal, social network, phone OS, browser , notebook – Google, whats your target?, what’s your positioning?
  2. Build on your Competitive Advantage – last I heard having idle cash is not a sustainable one. Doing this right (read Amazon above) could help Google with axiom one.
  3. Market Position Bullying = Antitrust Consent Decree – It has happened to IBM , Microsoft and others – trust me the cost of  compliance monitoring can deplete innovation and resources faster than you can type Michael Porter in the Google search box.

At the time of this writing, Google is ignoring all three axioms. Signs of missteps are starting to surface, Google + initial user sign up slowed down as rapidly as it started, trust me, unless your target is a young male tech professional demo you are wasting your time with Google+ (do ensure you claim your brand name in a page, thus preventing the Bank of America faux-pas). Latest news on  Android’s “Ice Cream” OS upgrade support are not too rosy either. It is time to gather the troops, analyze and focus or risk “googling” no more.

What, nothing about Apple? To tell you the truth Apple would be a post series all by itself. To net it out for brevity’s sake, their key competitive advantages are;  flawless design (read unparalleled insight into user experience), expert deal making and a fanatical cult following.  Apple will continue to be the source of copycats and wannabe’s for years to come but to reach the type of growth they have experienced so far, they will need to penetrate the TV and Cable Industry  – their real competitors are not HP, Dell, Google or Microsoft, but potentially/most likely Cablevision, TWC,  AT&T (Uverse), Verizon (FIOS)  – remember “coopetition¨?,  et al…  I see Apple as a key catalyst (followed by Amazon) of the long awaited convergence of Technology, Communications and Media (definitely deserving of a separate blog post series).

In truth, you can pick out the winners by following how efficiently they partner with complementary offerings (Apple with the Entertainment Industry, Amazon with manufacturers and retailers, Yahoo with news sources and existing social media leaders). While I did not touch on mobile and location based services in this post – the industry will develop within these mega-players as key partners and alliances are stroked.

As mentioned in the title these are part forecasts based on strategic insights and part “wish list” based on my opinionated views of how things should work. We are in a new era which is not only driven by technology but also by a fundamental shift in consumer behavior and sentiment. The latter will be the subject of Part 2 of my predictions to be published in the beginning of 2012. In the meantime I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that the new year brings you all you deserve and more. Please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view.  Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner.  You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

PS: Unfortunately , I do not own stock or currently have any relationship, other than as a user, in any of the companies mentioned above.

 

 

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4 comments December 26th, 2011

QR Codes, a marketer’s dream or his/her biggest nightmare?

I have been reading so much about QR (quick response) codes lately that I dreamed about them last Tuesday night. In my dream I had opened a tattoo parlor with a distinct point of difference. I only tattooed QR codes on the back of people’s neck representing their business card information. Was this a nightmare? Thinking of the mark of the Antichrist and its 666 symbol? Or, a dream, where we are making ourselves more green and environmentally conscious by further reducing our need for the printed form?

The truth is that, well used, it can be a very efficient and selective promotional tactic.  Why selective? Consider the demographics of the current Smartphone user:

“Smartphone owners continue to be predominantly male, are 65% more likely than the average mobile subscriber to be between the ages of 25 and 34, and nearly two times as likely to make more than $100,000 a year.”

 

Source: Nielsen

 

Which beer, automobile or financial services marketer wouldn’t drool for this one? The question is, where do I “stick” this QR code efficiently.

The answer, right now – from my point of view – is that QR codes are best tested in a retail environment. I am surprised that I have not seen an explosion of QR codes for store delivered coupons in my local A&P. What’s best but to receive a targeted coupon while I am looking for my favorite frozen pizza in my local supermarket.  What a great trial incentive for Tombstone pizza when I was simply picking my weekly DiGiorno treat,  but a POP (Point-of-Purchase) display that tempts me to look for a QR code which directs my iPhone browser to a $0.75 off online coupon for Tombstone.  Definitely a better use than Bravo’s print ad in the subway station by my apartment – WHERE THERE IS NO CELL SIGNAL!!!!!!  promising to give me more information about Andy Cohen – Really? “Can you hear me now?”

For more ideas and 5 steps to a successful test – aim your Smartphone reader (my favorite is RedLaser) to:


Or click here Mobile Marketing: How to Ensure a Successful Test in 5 Steps.

You can generate you own QR code at http://qrcode.kaywa.com/, try out today and have some fun.  Let me know what is your “dream” use of a QR Code.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

Happy Passover and Easter!!!!!!

 

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9 comments April 20th, 2011

Hide your wives, hide your kids, hide your husbands….(Is this Social Media)?

Viral is for everyone

What are we doing wrong? There has to be an easier, faster, more profitable way.  As marketers, how many times do we say this?  If you’re good at what you do, at least as often as you brush your teeth. There’s always a better way – otherwise we would still be sitting in front of an abacus under candlelight.

Can creativity and success in Social Media really come from following a formula, or does it come by sheer luck or just free-flow ideation? I am starting to believe that when it comes to Social Media a strategy is necessary but the initial idea(s) need to be innovative. As of Wednesday morning, I still had no idea what to write about this week. It’s been a slow week in Social Media News and my muse is on vacation, so I decided to be social in person (there IS a social world in real life, no need for @’s or #’s or .com’s), so I decided to have a talk with a very hip and talented 20 year old. We talked about the many possibilities of using Social Media to launch an artist career. The AHA!!! Moment came when instead of talking about Justin Bieber or “that girl with the annoying Friday song,” he gave me a tour of 3 of the current popular sites amongst the hip and young set which included a dentist patient (86 Million+ views), a rapist/perp victim (32 Million+ views) and a woman meeting her boyfriend at the park (11 Million+ views). There were a couple others but I want to maintain this blog as PG rated as possible.

I’ll leave the content and quality review to you, the important thing is that these videos, beyond impressions, have generated new business – the kid from the dentist has his own t-shirt and promotional items website. The others have had songs written about them  – I am sure they will be receiving Grammy’s next year and I bet production cost where none to minimal.  All it takes is a bit of humor, understanding what makes our audience tick and experimenting.  Maintain your objectives and strategies intact but relax those mandatory execution elements and then shoot and post.

If one in a thousand goes viral even at $250 per production cost … $250,000 it is still cheaper than a 30 sec. commercial production – So I ask again – What are we doing wrong?  I received two key insights in my conversation yesterday.

1. Need to think outside the box
2. Need to get out of our Ivory Towers/Comfort Zones (or couch or home office or Industry Expert conferences etc) and LISTEN… and always carry your video camera.

I could have written about Google +1 this week – and probably bored you to death, so I decided to go with my gut and give you some food for thought – no conclusions, no judgment. Just want to leave you this week with three final points:

1. You never know when or where the AHA!!! Moment is coming – so stay alert.
2. When looking for an idea – look where you have never looked before.
3. Innovation, like marketing, is part art and part science  – we should be so much better at it.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

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1 comment April 7th, 2011

Mobile Marketing: How to Ensure a Successful Test in 5 Steps

Where Am I?

First let me get this off of my chest: Mobile Marketing? When are we going to start calling a spade a spade? Isn’t it time that the pseudo-marketers a.k.a. techies start integrating these amazing new tools within the existing marketing lexicon.  Location Based Services (LBS) actually comes closer to what this is all about, but it still ignores the fact that it represents the best promotional tool marketers have ever had for trial and continuity. The term also tends to identify it as a whole different effort than Social Media when in fact; it should be treated as an extension and complement to any social media effort you are currently implementing.

With that said, let’s put the opportunity into perspective, remember all the point of purchase (POP) merchandising widget offers in the 1990’s and early 00´s?  The flat screen attached to your shopping cart that would broadcast an ad for a specific product as the consumer “drove by” that product in the aisle? Or the mini printer clipped to the shelf that would print a coupon on demand to motivate trial? These are all “ancient” forms of LBS.

The new smart phones augment the possibility of POP success by eliminating the high fixed costs of earlier technologies (flat screen on every shopping cart?). Imagine not only the investment necessary, but also the CPM (cost per thousand) charge to recoup it within 3 years. At which point the technology would be obsolete. With an Android phone, Blackberry or iPhone in-hand the consumer provides the hardware investment and the offer can be better targeted to the individual’s taste and needs.

While still nascent, already over 1 in 4 mobile phones are Smart Phones (i.e. have data capabilities) and network speeds continue to increase (6G anyone?). Similarly with Google and Facebook also intent in penetrating the location based space, the opportunities to find and test promotional efforts for your business will abound.

InformationWeek recently reported, according to a study by Jwire Mobile Audience Insights (http://tiny.cc/0x4s3), that:

  • 17% of consumers actually spent money because of location-based ads
  • 78% had location-based apps on their phone
  • 29% use them daily
  • 57% of respondents were more likely to engage with an ad that was relevant to their location
  • 42% used apps to locate a store and to find points of interest

I recommend that in order to best identify the potential for your particular business, you test one or two of the existing services to familiarize yourself with their capabilities and read the potential benefits for your business.

Five Steps to a successful test:

1. Start with your marketing objectives: who’s your target, what strategy are you following. Awareness, trial or continuity of usage, e.g., I recently heard an anecdote regarding a hotel chain franchisee in Florida that monitors feedback on one of these services. After leaning that a customer was disgruntled (based on his feedback post), they sent a bottle of champagne to his room – how’s that for motivating continuity and loyalty?

2. Check out and start using existing location based applications that are relevant to your business (never select an app that you have not used yourself – it’s like trying to swim in the ocean, at night, with a blindfold).

  • Restaurants or bars: Yelp, Foursquare, Loopt, Urbanspoon.
  • Retail: Yelp, Foursquare, motivate your customers to use UPC reader applications like RedLaser (http://tiny.cc/n9qh6), but only if you are sure that you offer the best price/value or willing to match the best price and/or promotions available.

As an example, a client of mine started using foursquare and when comfortable with it used it to send messages (free) to customers as they checked into her establishment (foursquare window pops up as soon as someone checked-in) for a free trial of selected products. How’s that for a trial test?

3. Integrate: If you are using any other type of Social Media, make sure that you plan the best way to cross-promote your LBS effort and leverage all channels. Remember these are all complementary marketing tools – not standalone strategies.

4. Execute: self-explanatory

5. Measure: Like with any other successful strategy, understanding the results against your objectives is critical to identifying if you’ve moved the needle, and at was cost … if any. Oftentimes a small-scale test can be performed for free but for a larger scale you may need to invest. If you understand the revenue potential from the test, you will be in a better position to project the ROI, even if it costs you to expand.

What’s next?

The good news for many of my readers is that by starting now you will be way ahead of the curve and be more ready to expand and succeed as the existing services grow in capabilities or capitalize on the capabilities that mammoths like Google and facebook will have when they finalize their plans in this area. The not so good news is that I see that the opportunity is not that clear for B2B yet, but I maintain with my eyes and ears open to identify creative solutions in this area as they materialize.

As we move forward, I am keeping my quick survey open for one more week so that everyone has a chance to respond. The objective of the survey is to ensure that I keep writing about what you want to read about (and take some measure on who’s listening – practice what you preach, right)? Please take a minute or two to fill it out:

http://tiny.cc/khnl0

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana

Additional Sources:

For more details on Pros and Cons of “Mobile Marketing:” http://tiny.cc/pm167

For a summary report on 2010 Digital trends (comScore presents the 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review, its annual report on the prevailing digital trends of the past year and their implications for the future. The report looks across the digital landscape to highlight the industry’s leading stories of the year.) http://tiny.cc/qdn0x

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