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23 posts categorized "Culture"

April 15, 2014

Mobile Apps: The Lifeblood of the ‘Always On’ Employee

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Back in January, Frost & Sullivan published their analysis of the state of mobile enterprise in 2013. The results bore great news for mobile marketing managers, forward-thinking businesses and, most of all, developers of mobile applications. 

The data showed that 48% of decision makers reported their companies used between one and ten mobile apps for employees. Compare that to ten years ago when hardly any workers even had company phones and you start to get a perspective on the exhilarating pace of change in the workplace.

In the year 2014 – or 7AS (After Smartphone) – nearly every white collar job is geographically flexible, and companies expect their staff to be constantly ‘on’. Likewise, most employees prefer to be kept in the loop, and those that are constantly incommunicado are considered a hindrance to getting things done.

For this geo-flexible omni-availability to work, a range of mobile apps are absolutely essential. Mobile workers are, by definition, constantly on the move, which is why mobile devices are chipping away at tasks once reserved for desktop and laptops. From the economic perspective, app-centric devices increase in value as the number or useful apps installed rises. The smarter the phone, the more productive the person holding that phone becomes. 

It’s not just fancy new apps that make mobile workers more efficient. SMS messaging is playing a huge role in the interaction between company and staff. After all, it’s far easier to respond from any location with a text.

The growth of mobility in business has only been possible since the technology has grown more sophisticated. Today, there are three main app functions helping companies work smarter:

  • Notification
  • Input and response
  • Instant action

With mobile, these attributes are more streamlined, more efficient, less glitch and just… well, better than their desktop counterparts. Businesses, employees, customers, mobile marketing managers – they all want to get stuff done more quickly and easily. If they can have an enjoyable experience at the same time, all the better. 

Eliminating steps from both sides – customer and business – is the key to succeeding. Well-designed apps achieve this step-elimination So do workers who can do their job whether they’re at home, in the office or on a plane. The message of an increasingly app-centric workforce is clear. If you’re looking at ways to pare down your operation, trim the fat and boost ROIs: go mobile.

 

 

April 07, 2014

50% of Workers Will Be Required to Use their Own Smartphones by 2017

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Employees across America will be required to use their own mobile devices for work within three years, according to a new study. Data from research company Gartner indicates that the current practice of employers offering their workforce smartphones, tablets and fully paid-up network contracts will soon become a thing of a past.

The study claims that 38% of all companies will cease providing mobile devices to workers by 2016. Instead, workers will be expected to use their own phones and tablets.

‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) policies have increasingly found favor among business owners looking to reduce costs. Another upside is the ability to leverage the power of employees’ social media networks and unaffiliated connectivity. 

As a mobile marketing strategy, disseminating information from personal accounts not associated with a brand name is a lot more trustworthy to an increasingly sophisticated web audience with a knack for spotting corporate shills and charlatans online.

But there is a great deal of confusion among employees regarding their company’s stance on personal device usage. A survey conducted by GLOBO suggests companies that do have a BYOD policy often fail to communicate this to their employees. The report claimed 68% of people used their own mobile device for work purposes, but only 29% of them knew whether their employer even had a BYOD policy in place. More than 90% of people said they didn’t know if their company planned to instigate a BYOD policy.

Furthermore, cutting costs on cellular data, SMS messaging and mobile devices may be a false economy in the long run. Although initial savings may impress Financial Directors, the long-term implications of employees using their own devices in and out of work can be expensive. One of the biggest pitfalls is security breaches – although these can be mitigated by imposing VPN, remote lock and cloud computing software on devices.

But therein lies another problem. Can employers really ask their workforce to not only use there own devices for work, but to use up space with a multitude of security software and applications? After all, recent research shows that 48% of decision makers use between one and ten mobile apps as part of their infrastructure. The use of mobile apps is increasing, and whether that will be compatible with a demand for BYOD policies remains to be seen.

 

 

 

March 28, 2014

Messaging Apps: The Carriers Bite Back

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A capitalist economy is all about competition. Each company strives to get your dollar before the other guy does. AT&T is trying to do just that. With technology advancing, it is becoming even harder for traditional carriers and SMS texting providers to compete with the advantages offered by free and cheap one-time-buy mobile apps. Mobile phone providers are attempting to fight the loss of their customers with new mobile marketing solutions and a new SMS marketing campaign.

AT&T’s New Benefits

Just last month AT&T advertised that they will allow contracts for LTE roaming in many different areas internationally. They also announced their intention to make international SMS texting free for their customers. Not only will this support text messages globally, but it will also support picture messages and video messaging. On the 28th of February, AT&T started their Mobile Share and Mobile Share Value plans. These plans were created to have the same capability of third party apps, thus diminishing their value and rather increasing the appeal of AT&T. AT&T says that their SMS service will be available in 190 countries, and their MMS in 120 countries. Unfortunately these new mobile marketing solutions do not support tablets or laptops; all messages must be sent from one phone to another phone.

The new mobile marketing campaign also includes the new feature of international calling at a rate of one cent per minute. This feature is allowed in 35 countries. These new mobile marketing solutions really have users’ interests peaked. Previously, phone customers had to pay extra money to send picture and video messages, or even for every individual text. Often users would turn to mobile apps to allow them to text more when their SMS limit had already run out.

T-Mobile’s New Benefits

On March 23, 2014, T-Mobile will have a launch improvements of their own. Their new mobile marketing solution allows some users to double their amount of data for the same price. It also allows mobile customers to have unlimited SMS to 120 countries internationally. Because of the size of T-Mobile’s customer base it can not provide as widespread benefits as AT&T, but it shows that they too are wising up to the staggering appeal of mobile messaging apps. 

The Competition

Back in 2012, researchers found that the collection of messaging apps sent a total of almost 19 billion messages every day. That vast number passed up text sent by traditional SMS carriers by almost 1.5 billion. In the spring of 2013, it was projected that 2014 would be the year that application messages would pass SMS messages at a ratio of more than 2 to 1. There are fewer app users than SMS users, but the affordability of free in-app messaging is of course enormously appealing.

WhatsApp, Kik, Viber, WeChat and MessageMe, are taking the mobile market by storm, and AT&T would like to do something about it. Keep your eyes open for more benefits from traditional mobile carriers. The phone companies are fighting back, and you might just get a great deal because of it. 

March 19, 2014

Is Text-to-Tip The Future?

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Starbucks has added a digital tipping feature to its mobile payment program, allowing customers to easily add tips to their purchases. The app will be available for iOS on March 19, 2014, with an Android option to launch later this year.

Users in the United States, Canada and the U.K. will enjoy access to this app, which provides customers with a two-hour window following a transaction to add a tip of 50cents, $1 or $2 to the bill. The subsequent digital receipt will reflect the added tip. Starbucks Mobile Pay has been available for three years and allows users to pay with a digital version of their Starbucks card on their smartphones. Entitled “Shake to Pay,” users simply shake their phones to pull up their Starbucks card barcodes and make payments.

"We're really excited because tipping has been something our customers have been really asking for," said Starbucks Chief Digital Officer Adam Brotman to CNET. "More and more customers...carry cash with them less and less these days. It's nice to be able to leave a tip for your barista and your store using mobile payment now on the iPhone app."

This is the first time mobile phone users will be able add tips to their digital bills. Some 10 million customers have already downloaded the Starbucks payment app, which covers about 11% of in-store purchases. It makes sense that the coffee giant added the tip option to this already wildly-successful mobile marketing strategy, and will undoubtedly set the bar for other companies who employ tipping. 

More and more companies are utilizing SMS messaging to promote their business or brand, including opt-in apps that alert customers to store sales, provide exclusive discounts and downloadable coupons, remind customers of appointments and much more. Most companies have found such mobile marketing tactics highly effective and are scrambling to come up with new and effective ways to maintain client relationships while simultaneously attracting new customers.

Restaurants, hotels and other customer service-based businesses and companies are likely to develop and market their own tipping apps, assuming Starbuck’s app is successful. Given how popular the company’s mobile payment app is, it is very likely the tipping option will be yet another successful mobile marketing strategy. Customers could easily tip those who clean their hotel rooms when checking out, or add a tip if using their smartphones to pay for takeout. Even smaller operations that use smartphones to take payments, such as independently-owned hair and nail salons, can benefit from tipping apps.

SMS messaging and subsequent mobile marketing tactics aren’t going anywhere! It therefore makes perfect sense for companies to continue to develop their mobile marketing strategy, whether it involves tipping apps or not! 

March 04, 2014

Older Demographic Moves to Mobile

 

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New mobile marketing studies have pointed to older individuals as the fastest-growing demographic for mobile and social media usage. According to a Nielsen Company report, mobile media is attracting 45- to-64-year-old consumers above other age groups, despite the notion that mobile media is solely used by teenagers and those ages 20 to 35.

Companies aware of the increase in mobile usage among older adults can harness this information and use it to create effective mobile marketing campaigns.

The Misconceptions

Plenty of misconceptions surround older adults and mobile/social media use, such as the idea that they barely know what Facebook or Twitter is, let alone have any clue how to work a smartphone. However, the facts don’t lie: in addition to Nielsen’s findings, a new GlobalWebIndex study surveying 31,779 consumers in 31 different countries found older adults as the main reason for growth among social media sites. These include Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn. That’s enough to turn misconceptions about older adults and mobile marketing on proverbial ears! 

Older Adults and Your Business

Staying aware of statistics regarding older adults is highly beneficial when brainstorming mobile marketing solutions, and it provides opportunities many may not have considered before. For example, an effective mobile marketing campaign for a doctor or hospital is one that sends SMS appointment reminders to its older patients. These patients would have to opt-in to take advantage of such services.

Another example of an effective mobile marketing campaign is one that caters towards the mobile-savvy grandparents of the world and provides exclusive discounts to parks, zoos, indoor funhouses and anywhere else grandchildren like to go. Such deals and discounts would only be available through the SMS campaign, and could easily drive business to local attractions.

Other options include creating a mobile marketing campaign that offers coupons and sales alerts to older adults who frequently order from a medical supply or herbal supplement site. This could easily transform site traffic and business, as older adults would have access to exclusive SMS deals and discounts they didn’t have before.

These are just some of the endless possibilities regarding older demographics and mobile marketing campaigns! Now that you have the information, think about how you can use it to increase your business and expand your brand. Good luck!

 

February 24, 2014

Gamification as a Winning Mobile Marketing Solution for Your Brand

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“Gamification” may not be the prettiest word, but it’s become part of the marketing parlance. It describes the incorporation of game techniques such as competitiveness and self-expression into desktop and mobile marketing solutions. Game elements may appear in the form of prizes, hidden tokens, loyalty programs – and any other type of reward system contingent on consumer engagement with a brand.

It already forms a central part of many mobile marketing campaigns, and M2 research predicts gamification will be worth $2.8 billion by 2016. Gartner figures project more than 70% of Global 2000 companies will be using at least one gamified application by 2014. Clearly, it’s a popular strategy with big companies. But is gamification worthwhile for your business?

The first thing to remember is this: gamification must add real value to the user experience. As with apps, there’s no point going in half-cocked, or you will simply waste money and effort on something that nobody uses. As in any game or competition, users must be motivated by a reward, and the greater the reward, the more you can ask for in return.

Florist Teleflora has been a leading light in the world of gamificaion, using a store-wide loyalty scheme that offers points for actions like reviews, comments and answering queries for other customers. Customers can get additional points for being first out of the gate for writing a review or answering a question. As customers rack up points they achieve ever-greater levels of influence, and therefore value to the brand. Teleflora increased referral traffic from Facebook by 105% and conversion rates by an impressive 92%.

Cloud storage firm Dropbox offered additional space to users who completed specific tasks. People who take a tour of Dropbox services are awarded an extra 250MB on top of the 2GB that comes free with every account. There’s 125MB up for grabs if you connect your Dropbox account to Twitter or Facebook, and 500MB available for every friend referred (up to a maximum of 16GB). LinkedIn adopt a similar strategy as a way of encouraging users to maintain up-to-date profiles. Their service is improved, and the users status and visibility goes up. It’s a win-win.

Gamification is not for everyone. The fun, trivial nature of the beast means it’s unsuitable for organizations with specific brand values that could be undermined by introducing game elements into their mobile marketing campaigns. Charities, banks, and certain non-profits are unlikely to benefit, and lots of small business lack the financial clout to pull of a really compelling gamification campaign. But it can reap huge rewards for the right brand, and as mobile marketing solutions go, it’s a useful way of harvesting crucial data, improving brand loyalty, and enhancing the user experience.

February 04, 2014

Benefits of the SMS Mobile Survey

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Mobile surveys serve mobile customers – and that audience is doubling year on year, which means SMS marketing teams need to get wise to the potential of the SMS survey or risk losing their edge.

The good news is , mobile customers often have more idle time than their desktop counterparts. Whether they’re waiting in line to buy something, or sitting on a bus or train, smartphone users   on the move are a surprisingly captive audience. Moreover, they tend to be more responsive to ads, tacitly understanding that banners are targeted to their specific spending habits rather than being issued en masse to a wide audience.

The SMS survey takes this idea further still, acting as an indirect form of advertising that also performs the function of market research. When a consumer feels engaged with the process, they are more likely to spend money. It really works. But how do you go about conducting a mobile survey? And how can it feed into the other strands of your marketing strategy?

Events offer a great way to leverage phone numbers and email addresses in order to build your contacts. If you have an upcoming event, send a survey to attendees to harvest real-time feedback. You can schedule the survey to coincide with the end of a seminar or lecture, or to go out after the conference has finished. The beauty of an SMS survey is you can display the results in real-time on contacts’ phones.

Surveys provide your business with invaluable information about consumer habits and preferences. They also prize open the lines of communication between you and your customers – and in a way that is usually preferable to the customer (especially among younger consumers). Not only that, a mobile survey emphasizes your desire to provide a good service to customers. It shows that your business has two eyes firmly on the future, and helps you foster a sense of brand loyalty within an increasingly fickle marketplace. SMS marketing has already got a proven track record, and it’s not about to disappear, so don’t fall prey to the turning tides – get wise to the benefits of the SMS survey this year!

 

November 19, 2013

Mobile Marketing Tactics Made for Millennials

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Generation Y, also referred to as the Millennials, comprises the largest demographic in the United States, according to USA Today. Ranging in age from early teens to early 30’s, Millenials make up almost 90 million Americans, and to marketers this market is crucial to keep in mind when developing brand awareness. They must consider the ease and speed of information to which these young consumers are accustomed, the plethora of brands that are competing for their attention, and of course young people’s increasing inclination and ability to avoid traditional advertising ploys.

So, how best can advertisers communicate with this tech-savvy market? An emerging understanding, illuminated by Inc Magazine, is that Millennials are not as driven by money as their predecessors were but rather by purpose and mission. Hence, young people must believe in and trust the brands they engage with, and they must feel a sense of significance in such engagement. This is affecting consumer trends and marketing tactics, as traditional mediums just aren’t working the way they did for Baby-Boomers and Gen X’ers.

Marketing strategies like Direct Mail, Email marketing, TV and Radio, and others simply aren’t making an impact in brand development for Millennials. Young people don’t pay attention to superfluous snail mail, and their email inboxes have too strong of SPAM filters and are too inundated with non-personalized advertising to take effect. And with the advent of music, radio, and TV on demand, skipping commercials is easy. Hence, most advertisers are transitioning their marketing strategies to engage in more fun, interesting, and tech-relevant ways.

One of the most important new ways of communicating with and monetizing this demographic is through mobile marketing. Millennials utilize mobile technology more than any other medium to socialize, purchase, and search. Utilizing mobile marketing strategies such as text marketing, voicemail broadcasting, mobile app advertising, mobile search marketing, and other creative mobile marketing ideas is becoming increasingly more important in the race to gain Millennials’ attention. Mobile is perhaps the most used and certainly the most intimate way of building trust and loyalty among this young demographic. Any brand interested in obtaining and sustaining Millennials’ attention must get creative and go mobile!

November 04, 2013

4 Tips for Personalized SMS Campaigns

 

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Texting is the quickest, most direct and – importantly – the most welcome type of contact your customers can receive. It is highly effective for connecting with loyal, engaged consumers, and that's why it is such a good platform for personalizing your message, either to an individual or a small group of individuals with common interests. 

Bear in mind, smartphones are now virtual extensions of people. This is especially true among the all-important youth demographic; the mobile phone is almost guaranteed to be within the boundaries of an individual's personal space, 24/7.

Adding targeted, personalized mobile SMS marketing to your arsenal will ultimately make your entire mobile text marketing campaign more effective. So how do you create personalized mobile SMS marketing strategies  that work? Adopt these four maxims and you won't go wrong:

1. Judge it right

As such a personal form of communication, brands have to be careful about using mobile SMS marketing in a way that is annoying or overbearing. You want to send only information that's appropriate, relevant and timely (unlike the infamous 3am text sent by Barack Obama's 2008 election team to announce his vice-presidential pick). Respect time zones and plan your mobile text marketing campaign to be a ripple across the oceans rather than a blast that hits the world all at once. 

2. Accuracy breeds responsiveness

There's no point coming up with a personalized special offer if you get the customers name wrong. Make sure you provide enough fields on the signup form for people to leave their full names and their nickname or abbreviation. Getting small details right – like an unusual spelling of a common name – is the kind of thing that will set you apart from brands that make the same old mistakes. Never assume, always double check, and offer consumers an easy way to update your records if their details change.

3. Spend time building preference profiles

From the outset, you should dive off the proverbial deep end when it comes to finding out personal preferences. Collecting interests can be done in several ways, including:

  • Keyword-based opt-in
  • Surveys
  • Leveraging existing data

Surveys should include questions that may not seem immediately relevant. Favourite sports teams or bands, for example, may one day become useful if you have a promotional tie-in with a local baseball team or concert promoter. Having these details on file could pay dividends, so play the long game when it comes to mining your customers for information. Also, be sure to divide your lists into various criteria, like area, zip code and age.

4. Chuck them a freebie

Free content is one of the surest ways to get a response. If you have a video that relates to customers in a specific area (and is relevant to your brand) then send it along with a special offer. One of the benefits of mobile SMS marketing is you can include links to rich content which smartphone owners can view while stuck on a train or otherwise in need of a useful distraction. You might just make someone's day.

How do you personalize your SMS campaigns? Drop a comment below!

October 31, 2013

What is Geo-Fencing? And Why Mobile Marketers Should Pay Attention

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During the first decade of this century, web marketing went from zero to hero. In 2000, the internet was still firmly 1.0. Google was in its infancy, neither YouTube or Facebook existed, and there were only 361 million internet users in the entire world. By the close of the noughties, that number had swelled to 2 billion; it’s now approaching three. 

Back then, most people saw the marketing potential of the web, even if they couldn’t predict just how pervasive it would become. But few people would have predicted the inexorable rise of mobile marketing. After all, cell phones were already old news by the turn of the century, weren’t they? There was no way they could compete with the bells and whistles of the dotcom boom, was there? 

In 2000, those questions were as rhetorical as they sound. It took the emergence of smartphones to change the way people thought about mobile advertising. By the time the first iPhone was launched in 2007, the stage was set for a full-blown mobile marketing revolution. PDA, GPS, Wi-Fi, multi-touch interface, mobile apps - the confluence of all these technologies enabled consumers and businesses to develop a highly sophisticated relationship. It might have been long distance, but it was far from casual. Fast forward to 2013, and we’re at the stage where instant access to customers is possible at any moment. And with mobile marketing statistics indicating a 95% open-and-read-rate for texts, it’s little wonder that mobile text marketing is the key channel for any plugged-in campaign strategy.

Against that backdrop, mobile marketing software is being developed at a thrilling rate, with tech firms constantly looking for ways to refine the reach of mobile communications. The newest kid on the block is geo-fencing, which uses GPS to define the geographical boundaries of a specific device. Some geo-fencing apps superimpose their boundaries on Google Earth, while others use map co-ordinations. Either way, the technology allows administrators to set up triggers that will send a text message or email to the device when it crosses the boundaries.

Clearly, geo-fencing has a wealth of practical applications, not least for mobile text marketing campaigns. A retailer can geo-fence their store and send a special offer coupon to customers who have just crossed the boundary. Restaurants can send daily specials to regular diners who are in the vicinity. Real estate firms and letting agents can inform house-hunters of a new property close to where they are (there’s a great example of this particular application of geo-fencing at Mobile Marketing Magazine).

As one of the more recent mobile marketing trends, the benefits of geo-fencing are still being discovered by businesses. Companies are using it to provide:

  • A more personalized communiqué with their clientele
  • ‘In the moment’ marketing that targets consumers who are already shopping
  • More effective, targeted marketing for tough industries

Geo-fencing begs a few ethical questions. From the consumer’s standpoint, geofencing is valuable and slightly unnerving, depending on whom you ask. Most people want to know about a special offer, but not everyone is comfortable with the idea of a company having access to their location. That’s why developing mutual trust is vital. Businesses should be clear with their customers about what the technology offers, and give them privacy assurances as a priority.

Ultimately, geo-fencing will open doors at both ends of a transaction. Used responsibly, it can help mobile SMS marketing campaigns become creative and less scattershot – which is what every mobile marketing manager dreams of.