Retail

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June 24, 2015

5 MMS Marketing Tactics

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MMS marketing has been around for a few years, but when it comes to launching a new product or promotion, most business still limit themselves to SMS messaging. Mobile coupons and other offers are usually plain text affairs, and the popularity of shortcodes and keywords has caused many businesses to lose sight of the bigger picture.

This is somewhat surprising given the wide availability of MMS, which allows brands to entice customers with images as well as words. If you’re interested in harnessing the power of rich media to give your mobile marketing campaign a shot in the arm, consider the following applications of MMS:

 

Show & Tell

The visual element that’s so important to advertising has taken a backseat in text message marketing. Sure, you can (and should) include a link to your website, but in the hyper-competitive world of modern marketing, the fewer steps the consumer needs to take, the better. The food industry is probably the most obvious beneficiary of image-based advertising; MMS allows you to send the 2-for-1 pizza promo deal and a tasty picture of the pie. Visual stimulus will get mouths watering far more than mere words.

 

Text to Win

Use your existing subscriber base to introduce loyal customers to new products with MMS. To generate interaction, run a competition with the product shown as the prize.

 

Text to Reserve

Again, mobile marketing tactics that use SMS messaging can be modified for MMS. If you run a restaurant, send picture messages of the latest meal specials and offer a time-limited promo deal to respondents.  

 

Text to Vote

Running a poll or survey can be more effective with MMS than with standard text messaging. Encourage subscribers to vote on which appetizer they would prefer, along with a picture of each dish. Set up keywords to represent each appetizer (WINGS/SOUP-DU-JOUR/etc) and allow respondents to vote on the nicest looking dish, or the dish they’d prefer to see on your menu. Not only will you encourage engagement by the vote, you’ll have created targeted lists of customers based on food preference.  

 

Text to Connect

Stay in touch with subscribers with the right MMS campaign and you’ll see interaction increase. As long as you offer something of value, the underlying impetus behind your campaign can simply be to remain connected with your customer base. Keep such messages to a minimum. A ‘text to connect’ picture message should only be used if you don’t have any current promos, you haven’t reached out to your contacts for a while and you can create a special offer to be included in the message.

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. 

 

June 14, 2015

6 of the Best Summer Marketing Campaigns

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Some summer marketing campaigns are truly awesome, and remain in consumer minds for many seasons. If agonizing about your summer marketing campaign or how you can possibly craft one consumers will love, throw something on the grill and check out six of the very best summer marketing campaigns (possibly) ever: 

 

Share a Coke Campaign

The Share a Coke campaign by Coca-Cola was hugely successful, and based on the idea that people looovve their names on things. The company put names on their cans and bottles, such as those that read “Share a Coke With Alyx.” As seen by the spelling of “Alyx,” Coca-Cola went a step further and make it possible for those with unusually-spelled or unique names to personalize their own bottles. They named their campaign after their call to action, which is quite brilliant, and even came up with ways to ensure sharing. For example, the soda brand had vending machines at the Minnesota State Fair where you could personalize a can for free.

 

Pacifico’s “Well-Traveled Beer” Campaign

In June of 2011 brewing company Pacifico did a road trip from Mexico to the U.S. and stopped in five cities along the way. They brought kegs to surfer get-togethers, bonfire parties, etc. and documented their journey via photos, videos, and status updates. Brand engagement and excitement resulted.

 

Pixar and Disney’s Monsters University Campaign 

In preparation for the 2012 summer release of Monsters University, Disney and Pixar created a Monsters University website featuring information on monster sports teams, School of Scaring tours, famous alumni, news and events, etc. It looked like a real university website and created plenty of movie buzz.

 

Atlantic City Alliance ‘Do AC’ Campaign

In April of last year, the Atlantic City Alliance dealt with a casino closings and a drop in tourism by launching the $20 million ‘Do AC’ campaign. Entitled ‘Do Anything. Do Everything. Do AC.,’ the campaign was created to expand on the beach city’s image and take it from gaming destination to family-friendly vacation destination. Ads were crafted for television, print, billboard, and digital advertising. 

A bold rebranding move, it nevertheless worked, and capitalized on the idea that people want to be “seen” in AC enjoying all of its many attractions, not just casinos. 

 

IKEA’s Books on the Beach Campaign 

IKEA celebrated Billy Bookshelf’s 30th birthday in 2013 by erecting several of their Billy bookshelves (filled with books) on Bondi Beach in Australia. Beach-goers could take a book in exchange for donating to the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation. The campaign therefore promoted IKEA as a compassionate brand while simultaneously advertising the Billy.

 

Starbucks Frappuccino Fun All Summer Long Campaign

In 2014 Starbucks launched their Frappuccino Fun All Summer Long campaign, an SMS and MMS campaign. The coffee bigwig posted a message to its Facebook page encouraging consumers to text the keyword STRAW to 22122 with an image of a Frappuccino. Consumers had to draw eyes on their frappucino, and the copy read “What has a green straw and wishes it had thumbs? This guy.”

 

 

 

June 12, 2015

Millennials Prefer Apps to Ads

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Mobile marketing provides a business with the ability to reach customers and potential customers anywhere at any time. And while this is a great, great concept, other businesses are attempting the exact same thing. It therefore follows that trying to stand out from competitors gets tricky.

Those interested in reaching millennials need to realize that the key to mobile marketing isn’t about ads, no matter how snazzy they may be. It’s about apps. 

 

Why Millennials Matter 

Wondering why millennials matter in the first place? According to a study by Oracle, 85 percent of people ages 18 to 34 fit the “Millennial” label, and currently own a smartphone. This sizable chunk of the population bought a whole lot of smartphones in the past year, rising 23 percent in 2014 from the previous year. This indicates that millennials are not only using smartphones, but that interest in the devices is increasing. 

 

Their Mobile Activity

So what do millennials use their smartphones for? A wide range of things, according to Oracle. This includes paying bills, using social media, researching local businesses, and more. Millennials use their apps for the majority of these activities--for example, the social media juggernaut Instagram is an app. Oracle notes the top three reported uses regarding apps are 1) uploading media content (75 percent), 2) product purchasing (74 percent), and transferring funds to a friend (61 percent). 

It was also reported that across all usage options, millennials went for smartphones over tablets two to one. 

 

Using Apps Effectively 

The main proverbial road block regarding apps and the brands that utilize them is the near-constant maintenance and development. While not exactly cheap, it’s still very possible to utilize apps and see a return on investment. Check it out: 

  • Performance Over Features: Go for performance instead of features, as poor performance and speed are the main reasons millennials eskew apps. 
  • Account/Money Management: If possible, provide user accounts and or money management through your app. Millennials are huge fans of using apps to make purchases and deal with billing. 
  • Sharing is Caring: Share deals, discounts, event information, and other fun stuff on your apps, but don’t go overboard. While millennials enjoy receiving regular app updates, they don’t enjoy being inundated. Think of how often websites and social media channels provide updates and ensure you don’t exceed them. 

Wrap-Up

If your brand isn’t as hip in the app department as you’d like, don’t despair. Find ways of utilizing existing apps to your mobile marketing advantage, or try partnering with other companies and their subsequent apps to improve your audience’s experience. 

 

 

May 30, 2015

TextStyle: Nordstrom's Entry into Text Message Shopping

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Shopping addicts beware: one of your favorite luxury retailers has just made it that much easier to shop through your mobile device. The higher-ups at Nordstrom are determined to solidify their foothold in the e-commerce world, and with their new tech tool that allows shopping via text, they’re well on their way. 

Certainly a method of encouraging overspending, TextStyle is a new text shopping service that allows consumers to make purchases based on recommendations sent over the phone by a personal shopper or by a favorite salesperson. The tool allows Nordstrom to remain competitive, as the store and fellow luxury retailers are engaged in a race to provide customers with new shopping options and related technology.  

Nordstrom currently gets 21 percent of its revenue from e-commerce. The company’s multi-year, $1.5 billion plan is all about “pushing its tech firepower forward,” especially as rivals such as Barneys New York, Macy’s, and Neiman Marcus are also spending a lot on retail tech. 

TextStyle is a proprietary NEXT opt-in, a secure one-on-one service that allows Nordstrom customers to get in touch with sales associates through text message if that’s their prefered communication method. A shopper or the salesperson sends private messages with an image or description of the product, and if interested, the shopper sends a “buy” reply and enters a unique code. The transaction is complete using the shopper’s account at nordstrom.com. 

Since personalized service is a huge component of luxury shopping, it makes perfect sense to incorporate such service into e-commerce. Neiman Marcus gave its 5,000 salespeople Apple iPhones some four years ago so they could text customers about the latest designer handbag or shoe arrival. 

“TextStyle is an important step forward in our efforts to connect with customers on their terms,” Scott Jones, Nordstrom’s VP of Personalization, told Fortune, remarking that the tool is a way the retailer is hoping to be “relevant for customers.”

Both Norstrom’s TextStyle and Neiman Marcus’s iPhone-armed sales associates are hailed as the “little black book associates” of the 21st century. Luxury retailers have always kept tabs on their best customers and what they liked to purchase, and are simply reformatting their “books” in regards to e-commerce. 

Which other luxury retailers will follow Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus and create their own shopping apps and text message services? Most likely all of them, especially since e-commerce isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. 

 

May 22, 2015

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Memorial Day

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Memorial weekend officially kicks off summer, but it’s also the ideal time to experiment with unique marketing ideas that can push your business to the next level during a lull in sales. From social media to military rewards, Memorial Day is a great time to invite people to look at your products and services using one of these unique marketing ideas.  

 

Special Giveaways

Memorial weekend is one of the busiest shopping times of the year. As people transition into summer, everyone is on the lookout for a good deal. Normally, a giveaway doesn’t sound like a lucrative marketing tactic, but paired with social media, and you’ve got yourself an authentic customer experience they’ll want to share with friends and family. 

Sample App is a great technology to integrate into this marketing plan. It delivers your sample to qualified consumers who will spread the word across various social media platforms about your brand. 

 

Coupons 

Aside from giving away products, another great way to incentivize sales is with a coupon—but not just any coupon. SMS marketing, or “mobile coupons” are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than traditional paper coupons. These electronic tickets are also significantly less of an investment, and are easier to scale. 

Keypons offer a great mobile coupon system. They’re easy to create for customers on the go. The coupons are delivered either directly to customer’s cell phone or to their social media accounts. 

 

Creative contests

Using a contest over Memorial Day weekend adds to the excitement of the entire event. Contest in general are a great way to increase short-term sales goals as well as build a future repeat customer base. 

Pairing again with social media, try using a customizable contest platform. Get creative with the contest and consider how best to integrate it with your products. Try a photo contest or a cost-effective sweepstakes. Set up the contest for free and preview everything before you pay using the free Twitter Contest App

 

Honor Veterans 

It’s easy to get lost in the hustle of the busy weekend, but don’t forget what the holiday is all about. Memorial Day is a great opportunity to provide military men and women, as well as their families with a special discount. In addition to honoring the military veterans, this is a great way to relate to customers that you care about them and appreciate their business. 

 

Loyalty Program

For business with a brick and mortar store location, there are even more opportunities to reward customers with an on-site loyalty program. In addition to driving sales now, this is a great way to boost sales in the future. 

Check out LoyalBlocks, an app that lets you personalize rewards and transform your store into a special loyalty palace where customers don’t have to do anything to receive special offers. Everything is loaded and built on the app so it’s inclusive and very easy to use. 

However you decide to celebrate Memorial weekend, be sure to take the opportunity to reach out to customers with a unique marketing idea that will get them excited to your products and services over the busy weekend. 

 

May 21, 2015

Global Smartphone Sales of $96bn in 2015 Q1

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Recently released figures suggest 2015 will be a record-breaking year for the smartphone. According to market research company GfK, global sales hit $96 billion in Q1 - an 8% year-on-year increase.  

The market has never witnessed such a successful quarter. The number of units sold went up by 7%, to 309.7 million (from 290.1 million in the first quarter of 2014). The lion’s share of that growth comes from Middle Eastern and African markets, but strong growth in North America continues to drive revenues. 

Outside the USA, there has been a slowing of growth in other mature markets such as China and Japan - though analysts predict this is a temporary hiccup rather than a new trend. As more consumers make the transition from 3G to 4G, developed Asian markets are expected to fuel a resurgence in regional sales. 

Much of the ground made can be attributed to a combination of 4G and large-screen adoption, but low-end smartphones have also experienced an upsurge, increasing their market share from 52% in the previous quarter, to 56% in Q1 of 2015. Mid-range devices remained stable and price erosion in emerging markets has seen high-end models (retailing at $500+) take a tumble.

What are we to make of these figures? According to GfK, global smartphone demand is predicted to grow by at least 10% year-on-year for the remainder of 2015. Asia - and in particular India and Indonesia - is forecast to be the primary growth area, as the economies are strong but smartphone penetration is still relatively low.

May 16, 2015

A Third of UK Online Purchases in 2015 Will Be Mobile

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According to eMarketer’s latest estimates, one-third of all 2015 online sales in the UK will take place on smartphones and tablets. The figure is believed to increase by over 40 percent by 2019. eMarketer also estimates that UK retail ecommerce sales will rise 14.5 percent this year to reach £60.4bn. This increase is due to an improved economy, more purchase delivery options, and shoppers turning to mobile devices for buying products and services.

Digital will function as the “main driver” of overall retail sales growth, and subsequently its share of total retail sales will increase to 14.4 percent this year. The increase puts the UK on top of global rankings in regards to ecommerce’s portion of total retail sales. China will be second, with a 12 percent share. The U.S. is farther down the line at 7.1 percent.

Additionally, growth trajectory for mCommerce sales is quite sharp, with this year’s forecast predicting a 30.3 percent increase. eMarketer experts say UK retail mCommerce sales “will reach £19.9bn in 2015, and by 2019, that figure will almost double to just short of £37bn.”

Tablets are especially essential to UK mCommerce sales growth, says eMarketer, as more and more consumers use the devices for “lean-back browsing” of potential purchases. Some retailers are putting extra effort into their tablet retail sites and apps, ensuring they’re both rich and responsive. eMarketer predicts that in 2015 tablet retail mCommerce sales will reach £13.3bn, nearly 67 percent of overall UK retail mcommerce sales. Compare that to 2013, when tablets accounted for a 60.5 percent share of such sales. 

“That mobile is playing an increasingly important role in the retail shopping habits of UK consumers is without question, be that via smartphone, phablet or tablet,” said eMarketer analyst, Bill Fisher. “What this demonstrates, though, is that digital shopping and buying long ago entered the mainstream for most UK consumers, and buying via mobile is just the next step. Indeed, device-agnostic buying, thanks to users’ familiarity with these various device types, is becoming the norm.” 

Even though consumers have demonstrated their willingness to rely on tablets and other mobile devices for making purchases, many retailers have been slow to adapt. Security concerns are one reason for this, and new payment technology options have stagnated as a result. However, the UK is set to establish itself as a huge player in the mobile commerce market over the next few years. 

May 04, 2015

Is Email Marketing Back?

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After years of fighting associations with spam, the proverbial tide is changing regarding email marketing. Facebook, Google and similar major digital media companies are turning to email-based targeting as opposed to traditional cookie-based targeting, as cookies do not work well in mobile browsers. According to Fluent’s new ‘Devices and Demographics’ research, 60 percent of all ads are displayed on mobile devices rather than desktop computers, making “email-based display advertising the future.” 

Advertisers interested in utilizing Google’s latest offering can precisely target the some 500 million people who have Gmail accounts, as well as users who rely on Google for other reasons, such as YouTube accounts. And while these numbers are definitely impressive, Facebook is ahead of the search engine juggernaut: the platform has the email addresses of all 1.4 billion of its users, including Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook addresses among others. 

Google is therefore looking to catch up with the social media giant, which works the “custom audience” angle. The term refers to “reaching customers you already know with ads on Facebook.” 

“You can upload a list of email addresses or phone numbers of at least 100 people and we'll deliver your ad to those people if they're on Facebook,” the platform explains on its website. “You can also build audiences from the people that visit your website or from people who use your mobile app.” 

This gives advertisers the opportunity to send encrypted files of their email marketing lists to Facebook and subsequently re-target the users via Facebook ads. The platform also targets ads to “lookalikes,” or those whose interests match existing users on the marketer’s email list.  

The “Google vs. Facebook war” notwithstanding, one thing is abundantly clear: email marketing is more important than ever. Its equity continues to increase, as such marketing is no longer confined to consumer inboxes. The marketing option is instead becoming the driving force behind social, mobile, and display marketing.  

Marketers with long lists of email addresses are set to take full advantage of email marketing, while those without are scrambling to create extensive databases they can draw from. Email address acquisition isn’t something to put off--it needs to function as the top priority for any company looking to drastically revamp their advertising strategy.

To not take advantage of these new email marketing perks is a way to get left in the figurative dust, as brand awareness, ROI, and overall revenue are all sure to benefit from this new tactic. 

 

May 02, 2015

Mobile Marketing Tactics for Cinco de Mayo

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Cinco de Mayo, or May 5th, commemorates the Mexican defeat of French troops at the Battle of Puebla in 1862. Celebrated among Mexican communities in Mexico and the United States, it has become a drinking holiday. Cinco de Mayo also offers businesses the chance to attract new customers while having a fabulous time with current ones. If devising a mobile marketing scheme in time for this holiday, check out a few tips to help you out: 

 

Fun With Hashtags

Why not create a hashtag campaign? Make one about a week or a few days before Cinco de Mayo encouraging consumers to take selfies with your merchandise, such as a Cinco de Mayo cup bearing your brand name. Feel free to create a competition out of it--think creative selfies featuring the cup and the appropropriate hashtag. Give out “awards” on Cinco de Mayo, such as sending coupons or discount information for free food, drinks, products, or services. Don’t feel limited to selfies--the hashtag campaign can include anything you want so long as it’s appropriate. 

 

Party, Party, Party 

Make loyal customers feel special by throwing an exclusive Cinco de Mayo shindig. Text a special VIP code to customers who have been with your brand for years, regularly purchase certain products or services, etc. The code could function as an invite to a private party of sorts--one that includes free food and beverages, deep discounts on certain items, free trials of services, and whatver else you want to feature. A fantastic way of thanking customers for their loyalty, it’s also a way to spread the word about your brand. After all, don’t happy customers enjoy talking about favorite products and special related benefits?

 

Sales Alerts

Throwing a huge Cinco de Mayo sale? Let customers know via text. You can also send customers exclusive sales codes that guarantee discounts on the holiday. Consumers never tire of exclusive coupons and promotions, and are that much more likely to patronize your business if they know they can get something for cheap if not free. 

 

Powerful Call to Action 

Don’t let your call-to-action ruin your Cinco de Mayo mobile marketing campaign. Opt for engaging, if somewhat personal, options such as “Start Your Adventure Here” and “Celebrate Cinco de Mayo With Us By [Doing X and Y].” Whatever you decide, keep it concise and creative, and never, ever use “Click Here” and similar statements. 

These are just some of the many ways to work Cinco de Mayo into your upcoming mobile marketing campaign...