Holiday Marketing Series

32 posts categorized

January 03, 2016

The App That's Keeping Tour Operators in Touch with Tourists

 

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There’s a new app designed to keep tour operators in contact with tourists while on their way to local attractions. Recently launched in New Zealand, the app was developed by Auckland-based company Skoot in a joint effort with JUCY, Tourism Radio and Putti, a Spark Ventures company. The app allows businesses to cater to tourists planning the next leg of their vacations. 

 

A Plethora of Functions

Skoot is available as a smartphone app that may be mounted to a rental vehicle. It offers a variety of functions, including onboard GPS navigation, safety messages, information on local activities, WiFi hotspot, and accommodation options in real time. The app also allows tourists to make purchases through stored credit cards on their smartphones. 

Skoot CEO Hayden Braddock notes the app is a built-in audio tour guide that recognizes user location and automatically provides information on over 1,600 local tourist attractions.

“Throughout their journey, Skoot is designed to keep tourists engaged with both local information and relevant promotions - served by audio and digital display feeds,” says Braddock. “Each business on Skoot will effectively have control over their own application which is able to be accessed and used within the Skoot application or on its own in the APP Store. The retailer gets the benefit of being able to create and manage their own app and content in real time, update deals, products, info, branding etc. Tourists will only have to download the one app when they travel around.”

Braddock added that he and other company members believe this is the first time something like this has been done. He also noted that the app will be linked to its nationwide 4G network that allows up to five other devices to use the WiFi hotspot when installed in a rental vehicle. 

 

Future Uses and Safety Promotion

Future incarnations of the app will include a click-to-call function using VoIP. The feature makes it possible for tourists to call and book local attractions for free.

“Tourists are also able to redeem digital vouchers which appear as they close in on local attractions and purchase their tickets at discounted rates using a preloaded credit card,” says Braddock.

The app promotes road safety by helping tourists navigate New Zealand roads and deal with assorted conditions as they arise. Drivers will be alerted to safety hazards such as high crash areas and one-way bridges, as well as when to stay left or slow down. 

Braddock commented that the app will provide more opportunities for the company’s business partners in the future, such as payment methods that encourage tourists to purchase promotional tickets to events and attractions and subsequently expedite their entry. Businesses will also be able to tailor their offerings based on the season, proximity, and other factors. 

Whether the app will be usable in other countries is unknown at this time, however its benefits make the possibility very real. 

December 27, 2015

What Will Happen to Mobile in 2016?

 

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What’s to become of the mobile market in 2016? Said market certainly isn’t going anywhere, and plenty of innovations and changes are expected. Overcoming various hurdles is also in the mix, and with that in mind, check out a few mobile predictions for the New Year: 

 

Messaging App Marketing

Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are on their way to having 1 billion active users monthly. More services and marketing opportunities will be added to both messenger services in 2016, giving marketers the chance to further break from traditional advertising and come up with unique options. 

 

More Mobile Payments

Paying for, well, anything through smartphones is something that will likely continue in 2016. Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Android Pay, and similar mobile payment possibilities are set to become standard smartphone features, however undoing years of paying with cash, debit cards, and credit cards as opposed to swiping a smartphone takes diligence. Mobile wallet incentives such as coupons, rewards and loyalty perks, and similar discounts will therefore be required if this form of payment is to really take off. 

 

Increased Data Release

Consumers are predicted to allow more personal data release in 2016, though whether they’ll do it willingly is up for debate. The “convenience and value” of the connected world is something consumers like a lot, so the release of more personal data to publishers and marketers is a distinct possibility. 

 

On-Demand Delivery and Small Businesses

Small businesses will get in on the on-demand delivery action in 2016, something that’s mainly been reserved for corporations and other big businesses. Food ordering, package delivery, and similar easy-to-use services are great for small businesses, and something more of them will utilize in the New Year. 

 

Facebook=Entirely Mobile

The days of checking out Facebook feeds through laptops are increasingly coming to an end, with the social media juggernaut set to become “entirely mobile.” In Q3 2015, 78 percent of Facebook’s $4.3 billion in ad revenue worldwide was due to mobile, and many of the site’s users log in through their phones anyway.

 

Stronger Cybersecurity 

The creation of more cloud-based services and more consumers relying on their phones to purchase goods and services means strong cybersecurity is a must. Small businesses should take note of cybersecurity options, as more cyber attacks are predicted for small businesses in 2016. 

 

Battle For “Mobile Moments”

In a blog for Forrester.com, analyst Thomas Husson called mobile moments the next “battleground” among marketers. 

“Mobile moments – a time when consumers picks up their mobile devices to get what they want in that moment of need – are the next battleground where to win, serve, and retain customers,” he writes. “Mobile experiences are too static today and leverage too little consumer context. As customer expectations of convenience escalate in 2016, the pressure will be on firms to tap new technologies to serve customers in context where they already are – not where brands find it convenient to serve them. Firms must look to use context both to assemble and deliver experiences dynamically on their own and third party platforms.

“In particular, we expect alternative ecosystems beyond Android and iOS to emerge. With consumers using fewer or more integrated apps, new mobile platforms that offer a more relevant experience such as WeChat in China or Facebook Messenger in the US are quickly accumulating power as the owners of vast audiences and rich data about those consumers.” 

 

December 18, 2015

Five Festive Apps to Make You a Better Christmas Shopper

 

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You can’t giftwrap them, but apps still make a great gift for Christmas. Check out our top six apps and see if you can bring a little something different to the table this year…

 

Shpock

The self-styled “boot sale and classifieds app” puts the emphasis squarely on secondhand goods, with categories including home and garden, leisure and games and baby and child. Shpock’s USP is its focus on local transactions. Think of it as a virtual car boot sale, where you can make offers, ask questions of the vendor and even haggle a bit.

 

Etsy

As well as providing a handy Christmas countdown clock, Etsy’s app covers all your gift-shopping needs, with a particular focus on homemade items. If you want to shop online but avoid sending generic presents to creative family members, this app is your festive friend.

 

Gift Professor

This free app helps you decide what to get for those tricky friends and family members who are particularly hard to shop for. Gift Professor connects you with two thousand online merchants, suggesting several ideas based on answers you give to questions set within the app. It takes minutes to proffer a range of suggestions, and allows you to easily save them so you won’t accidentally give the same gift to that hard-to-please loved one when their birthday rolls around.

 

Pinterest

Pinterest is another perennial favorite in the arty, crafty, homemade mould. It’s also the go-to app for anyone who likes to get super organized for the holidays. Planning a pre-Christmas party and want some new recipe ideas? Check. Struggling with the right gift for your creative niece? Pinterest will more than likely solve your problem. If you’ve never used it before, now’s the time to start pinning away, and with a recent update allowing you to buy directly from clickable pins, gift-buying with Pinterest is more convenient than ever.

 

Delivery Status

Shopping in-store has one notable advantage over shopping online: knowing where all your gifts were once they’d been paid for (at the back of the closet, away from small prying hands, if you’re my mother). Delivery Status has capitalized on this gap to put comprehensive tracking capabilities in the palm of your hand. It supports more than 30 delivery services, including FedEx, UPS and DHL, enabling you to keep track of their progress, count down the number of days until a package arrives, and even label individual packages in app so you won’t forget what each parcel contains. 

 

November 29, 2015

6 of the Best Cyber Monday Deals

 

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For retail junkies across the country, Cyber Monday is the most wonderful time of the year. Shoppers wait in long lines, brave giant crowds, and fight their way to checkout with dreams of scooping up the best deals of the season. 

The best way to ensure you make the most of your shopping time during Cyber Monday is to plan ahead and make selections well before you hit the retail road. There’s no time to browse and compare prices on the big day, so building a list ahead of time is the best way to save time and money. Here’s a list of six Cyber Monday bargains you’ll want on your shopping list in 2015:

 

Apple MacBook Air (11.6-inch screen) - $720

It’s true—great things do come in small packages. That’s especially true with this offer from online retailer eBay. Apple products are notoriously expensive and rarely go on sale, but you can scoop up this featherweight laptop for a cool $720 this weekend, a 20 percent savings off the usual retail price. 

 

Selfie Stick - $2.99

You may not take selfies, but everyone in your family and circle of friends does! This deal featured at Five Below discount stores is a simple and affordable gift for just about everyone you know. The stick comes with an AUX cable and fits most smartphones. 

 

Camera-Equipped Quadcopter - $50

For only $50, this kid-friendly, remote-controlled aircraft has a built-in camera so pilots can get a birds-eye view from up to 260 feet away. Regularly priced at $150, this gift will soar above the rest this holiday season. You’ll find this bargain at JCPennys across the country this shopping weekend.

 

Kindle (Paperwhite) - $50

Amazon makes the backlit Paperwhite Kindle irresistible this holiday season at the low price of only $50. This is a great opportunity to scoop up one for yourself, if you’ve never enjoyed an e-reader before, or share your love of reading with family and friends at nearly 40% off the regular price. 

 

Xbox One: Gears of War Bundle - $300 + Target Gift Card 

There’s a lot of sales to choose from as far as the Xbox One is concerned, but this year it looks like Target has its competitors beat. In addition to $50 off the regular retail price, this bundle includes the latest Gears of War game, as well as a $60 Target gift card for you or to be used as another gift. 

 

Samsung 65-inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV - $1,888

What Black Friday shopping list would be complete without an insanely big TV? This Samsung Smart TV, available on eBay, is the granddaddy of deals this holiday season at only $1,888. While that’s a bit much for a stocking stuffer, if you’re in the market for a new TV this year, this is a great opportunity to grab a quality device for well below retail value. This 65-inch TV normally goes for $4,000.

So, there you have it: six of the best Cyber Monday deals in 2015. Once you’ve made your list and checked it twice, you’ll be well on your way to savings. 

November 14, 2015

What Are 'Mobile Moments' and How Can They Help My Mobile Marketing Strategy?

 

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Christmas shopping used to be a hectic business. Typically, a day or two was set aside sometime in between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve - depending on how organized you were - in order to head to the mall and fight the crowds for the ever-dwindling supply of gifts. 

In the age of the smartphone, everything has changed. From browsing to buying, every stage of a transaction can now be performed on a mobile device. According to recent Google research, 54% of holiday shoppers will use their smartphones to shop throughout the season, and smartphone-based commerce has gone up by 64% over the last year. In fact, almost a third of all online purchases now happen on mobile phones.

So how can your mobile marketing strategy benefit from this continuing trend towards smartphone commerce? The key is understanding how people use their devices. 

A recent study claimed that people use their smartphones as many as 150 times in a single day, spending around a minute on each ‘session.’ A rounded mobile marketing campaign will tackle each and every kind of activity: text messages, emails, social media and web searches. Because each session is typically so brief, the trick is capitalize on these ‘mobile moments.’ 

Mobile moments - or micro moments - are those brief snatches of time when people turn to their smartphone in order to take a specific action, like finding the answer to a question, booking a plane ticket, downloading an app or buying something online. Mobile users approaching these moments have an express, immediate intent. That intent may be to buy. It may be to browse, or compare user reviews. But whatever the reason shoppers turn to their phones, your business should take the opportunity to be there - and be useful. Here’s how:

 

Comprehensive Online Listings

Google’s research shows consumers are 38% more likely to visit and 29% more likely to buy from companies whose online directory listings are complete, up-to-date, and accurate. Further, you should regularly update the listings with seasonal info and include images and business hours. The more information you can parlay in your listings, the better.

 

Predict Expectations

The digital marketplace is a diffuse, niche-led realm, and users will respond to a wide variety of different messages. The key to a successful mobile marketing plan is recognizing which message will have the most impact on which user. For text message sign ups, location-based notifications are a solid way of reaching potential customers at the moment they’re most likely to buy. Throw in a discount, and suddenly you have a customer with two compelling reasons to visit your outlet: 1)they’ll save money, and 2) they’re within walking distance. 

 

Take Advantage of the Holiday Season

Many retailers live and die by Q4, when the annual spending bonanza kicks in, with more people buying more stuff than at any other time of year. That’s why now - before Thanksgiving - is the perfect time to implement changes to your mobile marketing strategy. Invest in a mobile friendly website and start promoting festive deals so you can hit the New Year with a running start.

October 08, 2015

6 Halloween Marketing Ideas for SMBs

 

Everyone’s favorite spook-tactular holiday is approaching, and with it comes the opportunity to drive more customers to your small business. Check out a few of the super-cool Halloween-related possibilities for small business marketing to implement while you enjoy the beautiful fall season: 

 

Welcome Trick-or-Treaters

Participate in a trick-or-treat event with other area businesses, or simply welcome costumed tykes into your store. Put treats that relate to your business in bags, such as candy featuring your business name, pencils, erasers, small note pads, and pencils. Kids love getting small toys in addition to candy, so feel free to be as creative as you want.

 

Create a Haunted House

Turn your business into a haunted attraction, and have your employees dress up as various ghosts and goblins. For example, if you have a retail business with aisles of merchandise, turn each aisle into its own special “haunt.” Encourage employees to get really creative with their costumes, which they’ll be all about if they love Halloween. Provide a discount that’s attractive to parents bringing their kids to your business, such as 10 or 15 percent off certain merchandise. Giving away coupons to customers upon their completion of a haunted house is also a fun possibility. 

 

Offer a Halloween Promotion

Send email coupons or codes to customers that are only good on or around Halloween. Text message codes are another possibility. Decorate your store as extensively as you want—or as much as your budget allows—to further draw people in and look for decorations in dollar and “five below” stores. Dress up in a creative costume and have employees do the same, which again they’ll likely be excited about. 

 

Hold a Costume Exchange

Show your dedication to the community by hosting a costume exchange. It’s not only a great way for customers and potential customers to cull and subsequently procure new costumes for cheap, but it’s also a way to familiarize locals with what you offer. Besides, people will likely jump at the chance to get rid of old masks of politicians and find something fun without spending a small fortune. Halloween costumes are expensive, after all!

 

Throw a Halloween Party

Make your business Halloween party central! Host an open house that allows consumers to learn more about your business while enjoying mystery punch and pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies. Designate a section for games, which will keep kiddies occupied, and offer freebies such as temporary tattoos, face painting, and of course plenty of candy. Ensure party-goers leave with goodie bags that feature more freebies and lots of information about your business, including business cards. For best results, make certain all freebies feature your business name and contact information. 

These are just some of the many ways to use Halloween to your small business’s marketing advantage. Have fun and get creative, and don’t forget to ask employees for their input and help. Most people love Halloween, and are excited to participate in anything involving the spooky holiday. Have fun! 

September 11, 2015

Make the Most of Grandparents Day

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The ultimate sleeper holiday for savvy marketers, Grandparents Day (September 13th) is somewhat overlooked, slipping under the radar less than a week after Labor Day. 

Why don’t more businesses capitalize on it? After all, who are we talking about here? A significant portion of grandparents are Baby Boomers, the generation with 70% of the disposable income in the United States (according to grandparents.com). The generation representing 35% of the population, with spending power projected to reach $15 trillion by the decade’s end.  

For marketers, this is the grandmother-lode. Not only do Baby Boomers have the money and inclination to spend it, they’re easier to reach than many people assume. Daily, 71% of Boomers spend time online daily. More than half are on Facebook, and two thirds regularly use SMS messaging. When it comes to mobile marketing tactics, that about covers all the bases. 

What’s interesting about this spending power is how it’s wielded. We already know that children are influencers and parents are buyers. Grandparents have double the number of generations beneath them, buying for their children and - even more lavishly - for their children’s children. Boomers spend $52 billion on their grandchildren before they’ve even got round to buying for themselves (and get around to it they do!). Clearly, we should be focusing much more attention on Grandparents Day. Let’s consider Boomer spending in two distinct forms: for themselves, and for their descendants…

 

Spending on Themselves

Baby Boomers are probably the wealthiest generation in history - and they’re not afraid to spend their hard-earned cash. Over the past year, 36% of Boomers have attended at least one sporting event; 22% went to the theater; 14% visited an art museum; 12% went to a rock concert. They’re also 11% more likely than the rest of the adult population to have eaten at a steakhouse or seafood restaurant in the last month. Apparently. Add to that the increased spending on holidays, cars and other forms of entertainment, and you have a pretty lucrative market.

 

Spending on Their Kids… and their Kids’ Kids

Tapping into the grandparent/grandchild relationship is the smart move for marketers. Get Boomers excited about mobile apps - they’re quick and easy to purchase, and the grandkids will probably prefer it to traditional toys. Use social media to differentiate the desires of children of all ages.

Remember, Baby Boomers are a lot more tech savvy than you might think. Furthermore, they know their grandkids are digital natives, and they want to engage with them on a technological level. They have the money to spend on themselves and their offspring, so why not devise a mobile marketing campaign that encourages cross-generational engagement? Happy Grandparents Day!

September 05, 2015

5 Ways to Mobil-ize Your Fall Marketing Strategy

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As kids return to school and tans start to fade, you know summer is officially over. For mobile marketing campaign managers, the shifting seasons provide an ideal opportunity to regroup and devise some thematically-appropriate ideas. To help you, we’ve put together some mobile marketing tactics sure to boost revenues during Fall…

 

Autumn-ate Your Website

Give your homepage a Fall makeover to show your audience that you are up to the minute. A themed blog post or two can - if this one is anything to go by - will give you fresh, topical content! 

 

Think of the Children!

Offer school-related special offers and promotions. If you’re in clothing retail, push seasonal outfits - try the local college campus to reach students, and give them discounts to engender brand loyalty.

 

Support Local Sports Events

Most of the major sports seasons kick or tip off during Fall. Capitalize on this by getting involved with your local team. Many large high schools have established, sponsored athletics programs, and small schools currently lacking something similar might be amenable to you approaching them with ideas. Of course, sponsorship requires an outlay of money, the return on which may not be easy to track. One thing you can be sure of: if you get your name attached to a team, there’s a guaranteed weekly audience for the rest of the season. If you’ve got the budget to go all out with free t-shirts, samples and coupons, it could turn into a lucrative long-term partnership.

 

Thematic Social Media Engagement

As with your website, letting your audience know that you’re constantly in tune with current events will project a positive brand image. Use social media to engage your audience, and share seasonal links and special offers. Social media is a great tool for receiving feedback, so listen to what your audience has to say and respond in kind.

 

Mark the Main Events

Fall is punctuated by two main holidays: Halloween and Thanksgiving. You’d be crazy to ignore these massive commercial opportunities, so make sure your office does something for each. If appropriate for your business, why not run a Trick or Treat day for kids? Encourage your workforce to dress up, and document the event for sharing on social media. When Thanksgiving rolls around, send out cards to your customers to let them know you’re grateful for their business.

Making the most of Fall is easy with mobile. You can easily scale up a mobile marketing strategy that seemed to work at the micro level, and if you want to keep everything low-budget, there is still much you can do - you just have to get creative. 

 

July 01, 2015

Mobile Marketing Tactics for July 4th

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Independence Day is around the corner, and that means a marked increase in consumer spending across a variety of industries. As per the overall trend away from desktop, the majority of online shoppers will search on their smartphones, so it’s important to target mobile device users if you want to make the most of the holiday. 

Whatever line of business you’re in, give your July 4th a boost with some of these mobile marketing tactics:

 

Social Media Photo Competition

Use the power of social media to drive user engagement. A photo competition relevant to your industry, with a Independence Day-themed hashtag, can start the all-important online conversation. Do it right and you may even go viral!

Give Free Stuff Away

People. Love. Free. Stuff. That’s unlikely to ever change, which makes freebies the evergreen classic of the marketing world. Start an text message marketing campaign to let the world know about your free offer. The bigger and better it is, the more people will share it, and the more sign ups you’ll generate. It’s going to be a loss leader anyway - so you may as well go all out. If you generate long-term mobile contacts from a free giveaway, it’ll be well worth it. 

Tweet

Tweeting about special offers can work magic. Twitter is capable of disseminating information at incredible speeds, if an idea catches the imagination of enough people. You can even use apps like Viral to hide discounts until they’ve been retweeted a certain number of time, allowing you to control that 50% discount so that it works for you, or not at all. 

Themed Games

July 4th is a time for fun and games. Why not run a trivia quiz relating to the holiday. Offer a big prize to the winner, and multiple smaller prizes for runners up.  

Partner Up

Creating partnerships is an essential part of any business. It could be with other local businesses, but with the proliferation of social media accounts and other online networks, there’s a striking new type of partnership on the marketing scene: your employees. Most employees will be willing to spread your July 4th mobile marketing campaign to their friends and family, especially if it’s a fun video or themed song. If you have 25 employees, each with a hundred friends on Facebook…well, you can do the math!

June 16, 2015

How SMS can Save Summer

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As the weather starts to heat up, annual summer vacations enjoy a revival. Airplane travel has become a popular and affordable way to travel these days, yet it has taken forever for the air travel industry to catch up with the mobile revolution. In fact, while travel and hospitality seem to lead innovation regarding user experience depicted through mobile, air transportation has done little in the way of making flights more mobile friendly.

And it doesn’t stop there. There are several ways to improve a summer traveler’s experiences with the help of mobile. Here’s a list of improvements every vacation could benefit from.

 

Mobile Ticket Purchase

According to Text Marketer, one in five international vacations were booked via mobile device. Travelers love great deals, so when there’s an extra passenger seat available at a discount, communicating those savings to loyal customers can be a great benefit. Frost and Sullivan report that consumers are 98% more likely to respond to a SMS message compared to regular emails. Using mobile to showcase great deals is a win-win situation.

 

Mobile Check-in 

One of the most common complaints about air travel is a long check-in line. Instead of numerous lines for check-in, offering a mobile responsive check-in service provide allow passengers ease of mind while they make their way through security and to their final boarding gate. It’s one less step that could make a huge impact on a customer’s flying experience.

 

Retail Opportunities

When travelers are stuck with a long layover or change in flight schedule, nothing beats duty-free shopping. Retail locations in airports have become incredibly lucrative for a variety of vendors. SMS marketing coupons are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than mail or newspaper ads. Using beacon technology to offer special discounts or special offers is a great way to use mobile effectively.

 

In Flight Upgrades

Some aircrafts currently offer WiFi access for a small fee, but many planes have yet to be fully upgraded. While placing phone calls or texting may be unsafe, even in the future, it would seem that offering Wi-Fi access during all flights could make a customer’s flight much more productive and enjoyable.

 

Mobile Accommodations

In addition to improving mobile for air travel, hotel accommodations are jumping on the wagon. Hilton hotels recently announced a smartphone check-in service to debut sometime in 2016. The app will allow guests to search and purchase a room via mobile. The mobile device also acts as a room key and can quickly connect with hotel staff or services via text message.

There are several ways to save summer with unique mobile initiatives that will ultimately benefit both the traveler and companies alike.