Posts from the ‘Digital Marketing’ Category
December 27, 2011
2012 promises to be a very busy year in all things digital, but, as with any annum, there will be just a handful of big, memorable trends. Here, I’ve collected five such movements that are likely to make a big impact in our technologically-enhanced lives.
It’s now in games, location apps, business cards and coffee shops and could start showing up in cars and even eyeglasses. Augmented Reality, which puts a virtual view on top of your real world, is really just a cool way of saying, “Reality with Style.” Instead of simply viewing your apartment through your phone, you’re playing Star Wars Arcade Falcon Gunner on top of it. Instead looking up a restaurant in your neighborhood, you’re using Yelp to see its location and reviews for it and other restaurants right on top of your on-screen view of the street. 2012 will mark the beginning of exponential growth for Mobile Augmented Reality (MAR).
According to a report from Visiongain, 25% of all app downloads will feature some sort of augmented reality. Though adoption hinges on more powerful, high-speed and camera-ready mobile devices, it’s clear to me that the majority of smartphones and tablets in end-users’ hands next year will be 3G-to-4G-ready, high-def, large-screen devices with not one, but two multi-megapixel cameras. Trust me, by 2013, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn’t at least tried augmented reality.
The Micro-Payment Economy
App manufacturers are not the only ones who can make money selling tiny wares and incremental upgrades. The barrier to entry for starting your own small business has been effectively knocked down by a variety of online merchants who are willing to hawk your wares for next to nothing. In truth, the merchandise isn’t entirely yours. In fact, these companies are often just selling your idea on top of their wares and you get a tiny slice for each sale, or for when the numbers of sales reaches a certain threshold.
Sites like RedBubble do everything for the artist; all they need to do is upload the content. RedBubble will, for example, make the T-Shirt with your art, sell it for you, manage the distribution and, of course, collect payment. The site lets you set the price above their fixed price. Yes, you could add as much as you want onto a $16 T-shit, but most smart sellers know this means they won’t sell a single garment. Instead, you add 1%-to-5% (maybe 10% if you’re feeling strong) and then promote the dickens out of your product on the site and through various social networks.
RedBubble is just one of many destinations popping up to help the aspiring entrepreneur. They join established platforms like Lulu (self-publish books), and YouTube. YouTube has been inviting videographers into the commerce tent for years, letting them add AdSense accounts to popular videos and then sitting back and watching the pennies roll in.
As the economy sputters along, look for more and more of the sites helping you sell almost anything you can imagine and making you a “fortune”–one micro payment at a time.
The Rise of the UltraBook
Tablets dominate the tech conversation, but that doesn’t mean the PC is dead. No, it’s alive and well, but in a form that will closely mimic some of the best features of tablets. I don’t have numbers yet, but I’m betting Desktop PCs were not big sellers this holiday season. Laptops may have done a little better, but who among you was willing to give junior an end-of-life netbook instead of a sexy, touch-screen tablet? (I’m imagining no one raising their hands).
A term coined by Intel, Ultrabooks describe exquisitely thin and light, yet pleasingly powerful laptops. Think MacBook Air and you get the idea. No, they don’t have touch screens or apps (though that’s changing, too) and Ultrabooks usually have just one HD camera. Still, with just a little more heft and girth than your garden-variety iPad, an Ultrabook adds a full-sized keyboard and far more powerful components. In other words, they’re perfectly designed for getting real work done, but no one will be embarrassed to carry one around. 2012 will witness an explosion of these devices as manufacturers pin on them their last best hopes for regaining consumer computing interest.
Facebook will break the 1 billion user mark in 2012, but its numbers have flattened out in the U.S. Twitter is growing; it may have as many 450 million users, but no one knows how many people are really active users. Google+ is growing steadily, but is still well behind the two most established networks and much of the public is unaware of its existence. There is the now persistent, with good reason, backlash against mobile phone usage in cars and on streets.
In general, more and more people seem to be reevaluating their social and digital existence. Even the SOPA battle is revealing some unforeseen schisms. The Stop Online Piracy Act is a bad idea, not because piracy is good, but because of the plan for enforcement is wrong and dangerous. That said, no one who creates content can deny that the digital revolution hasn’t forced them to rethink how they create, sell and distribute content. There are no easy answers here and 2012 will be a year of introspection; one where we possibly rewrite the rules of content, copyrights and social interactions.
Mobile Chip Wars
The tech industry is gearing up for a rather intense battle—on a micro scale. With ARM-based CPUs in virtually all of today’s tablets and handsets, Intel, the dominant system CPU manufacturer, has no presence in the mobile space. It’s a situation the company promises to change in 2012 with Medfield—its rethinking of the Atom CPU (popular in netbooks). Meanwhile a consortium of Pacific Rim manufacturers have just banded together to produce new mobile CPUs for phones and tablets.
These efforts may not mean much, though, as Texas Instruments, Qualcomm, Motorola, Marvell, Nvidia and others all license the ARM architecture and show (along with the hardware partners) little interest in switching to a new or once-established platform. Even Microsoft is developing Windows 8 to run on ARM-based CPUs in addition to traditional Wintel machines.
What do you think? Are these the right trends? Will there be other defining movements in 2012? Chose the biggest trend in our poll and then let’s talk about it in the comments.
December 8, 2011
1. Differentiate your blog from your competitors’.
“I wanted to make sure that my site looked drastically different,” Halpern says of his company’s site. “Most marketing blogs are running a magazine layout, so I went back to the traditional blog layout. Other marketing blogs are focused on the color red as their main color; I chose purple. Other blogs have really fancy designs; I chose a minimalist design.”
2. Choose photos that help direct your visitor’s gaze.
Research has shown that people will follow the gaze of another person, whether that is on the Internet or in person. Halpern suggests using this to direct your visitor’s attention to key parts of your blog, like an email signup box.
“I’ve done a lot of research about images on the web and how people react to them,” Halpern says. “Imagine you’re walking down the street and you see four people looking up in the sky; chances are you’re going to stop and look up in the sky too. The same applies online. When you see eyes looking towards something [on a website], you follow the gaze.”
3. Drop your categories, archives, and search box.
Halpern suggests getting rid of features that your visitors don’t use and replacing them with features that promote your best content and encourage email sign-ups.
“In all of my [blogging ] experience I never saw that many people using my search box or archive pages,” he says. “They might click on a category page, but that’s not really the best way for them to find your best content. You don’t necessarily want people to click around and only see yournew stuff first; you want people to be able to find your beststuff.
To spoon-feed visitors your best content, Halpern suggests using what he calls “Resource Pages” instead of archive pages. Resource pages are essentially category pages where you handpick articles to highlight that are not necessarily presented in a date-based format.
4. Rewrite Your “About” Page to Be About Your Visitors
Halpern says the About page is one of the most heavily visited pages on your blog and should follow a specific formula which includes strategically placed opt-in forms for your email list.
“The first few paragraphs should be all about what your site offers your visitors. Then an opt-in form,” he says.
After that, include testimonials or social proof that really shows you can satisfy these needs for your visitors. And then another opt-in form.
Finally, that’s when you can tell your personal story. But when you’re telling people all about you, you want to make sure that each thing you tell them will help reinforce the point that your site can help them solve their problems.
And then (say it with me), you put in another opt-in form.
November 28, 2011
It has been said many times that 2011 was the year of mobile. But was it really? By now, most of us have realized there is no such thing. To say that would mean the best is behind us, when that is far from the case. Don’t think in terms of the year of mobile or even the decade of mobile. It’s much bigger than that. Communication has been redefined. Mobile has fundamentally changed how we communicate every minute of the day in countless aspects of our personal and professional lives. The result is a sweeping cultural shift — on a global scale.
Reflecting on the most successful mobile marketing campaigns this year, the ones to admire aren’t the ones you might think. Too many mobile campaigns are still about the fascination with a new shiny object. Sure, those were fun and intriguing for a brief moment in time. But, while interesting new technologies are inspiring, mobile is not just a flash in the pan.
The most notable campaigns serve as evidence that mobile is big — that integrating mobile strategy across the entire marketing strategy will drive customer value. 2011 did mark a significant milestone in mobile marketing and not by chance. From one marketer to another, we need to recognize that successful mobile marketing programs take considerable effort, time, and even a reassessment of the value that a brand provides to the consumer.
Of the mobile programs we evaluated in all major consumer-facing industries, three stand out. These companies have established a meaningful brand-to-consumer engagement by delivering sustained, personalized value to the consumer. They are properly executing across the four pillars of mobile marketing by:
- Planning out mobile strategies
- Clearly identifying the target audience and how to engage the consumer by integrating mobile with the media mix
- Delivering not one but several mobile tactics that work in concert to provide a mobile presence
- Employing connected customer relationship marketing (CRM), which enables the marketer to segment, target, and develop valuable marketing insights.
It is important to remember that success is found using mobile not as a stand-alone media but as an integrated, multi-channel engagement vehicle. Let’s look at the campaigns that best embody this premise.
It has only been a few years since Starbucks founder Howard Shultz had to step back into the business to turn the company around after several consecutive quarters of negative growth. The brand that put a coffee shop on nearly every corner seemed to have saturated the market. In fact, it turned out that Starbucks’ best years were just around the corner.
The answer is simple. Starbucks sharpened its focus by moving away from mass marketing to a one-to-one focus, putting the customer at the center of its marketing efforts. This thinking led to a mobile marketing strategy that is now an integral part of the overall marketing mix.
After working through years of testing and trials to get it right, Starbucks has developed a mobile marketing program that successfully blends loyalty, incentives, and commerce. What immediately comes to mind for many is the Starbucks store finder app that’s been in the market for a few years now. In fact, the company’s mobile marketing program is much more than an app or two, and it continues to delight consumers.
Starbucks has developed mobile programs that allow consumers to shop, search, and purchase through contactless payments. The significance of this mobile program is based on a fundamental understanding of consumer mobile habits and behaviors. But it goes further with the ability to personalize content. What’s also very interesting is the media integration of web, app, text messaging, out-of-home, display, location-based services, in-store, and direct mail — all leveraged as touchpoints to engage the consumer and drive people to the stores.
The mobile loyalty program is an extension of the CRM strategy — it works with the loyalty card and is tied into commerce. Below is a high-level description of notable capabilities:
- The integrated 2D barcode capability turns an iPhone into a Starbucks card, allowing consumers to check balances and reload cards from the app.
- The app allows registration and includes a store locator and My Favs. It even puts nutritional information at the consumer’s fingertips.
- The program launched in September in 16 test markets. In certain stores, consumers can tap and pay with their mobile device.
In a development that might be surprising to many, JCPenney is one of the most well-rounded and consistent mobile marketers within the retail space, continually integrating mobile into key media channels. From QR codes and text messaging (SMS), to social, mobile internet, and apps, JCPenney is paving the way for mobile in retail.
JCPenney has developed a clear mobile marketing strategy that appears to closely align with business goals and marketing objectives. The mobile program takes a 360-degree approach by integrating mobile with traditional and digital media. Social, in-store, direct mail, display, search, television, and mobile preference centers are incorporated within the internet and Facebook. Mobile programs are refined based on consumer adoption, while JCPenney continually tests and tries new mobile marketing tactics to enhance the consumer experience and establish a deeper relationship. This is accomplished through the use of:
- SMS coupons with some testing of multi-media messaging service (MMS) coupons
- Core tactics that include SMS, MMS, mobile web, apps, social, and scannable codes
One of the best holiday mobile campaigns was from Target, which used a multi-channel mobile approach to meet consumers’ needs. Target was the first big-box retailer to implement mobile barcode scanning in all its locations nationwide, setting the bar high for other retailers.
Going further, Target has recently delivered e-circulars to a target audience by providing a rich media ad format leveraging key functionality based on the device and location. What impresses us the most is that Target is taking a long-term approach by implementing mobile solutions well ahead of the market at scale, putting other retailers in catch-up mode. The mobile strategy includes text message marketing, 1-D and 2-D codes, consumer shopping apps for all devices, a mobile preference center, and a mobile site with the aim of making shopping at Target an easy and enjoyable experience.
Target continues to find success integrating mobile into its marketing strategy for several reasons:
- Mobile is part of its core value proposition.
- Target has a clear understanding of consumer needs and wants.
- The core program was developed as the consumers adapted.
- The foundational approach uses SMS and MMS to position coupons effectively.
- The program began with basic tactics and evolved to advanced tactics, such as mobile web, apps for all operating systems, location-based service offers, and the retailer’s own proprietary QR and barcode program.
- Radio-frequency identification (RFID) and near-field communication (NFC) “tap and pay” services are being tested and coming soon.
- The mobile preference center on the site allows consumers to pick how they want to engage with Target.
Retailers like Starbucks, JCPenney, and Target are proving that the integration of mobile into the overall marketing strategy is a powerful and large-scale way to engage consumers and increase customer value. The commitment shared by these trailblazers is proof that mobile will continue to be a key business driver well into the future.