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31 posts categorized "Social Media Marketing"

April 01, 2014

6 Mobile Marketing Tactics That Won’t Get You Sued

 

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Crafting a quality SMS mobile marketing campaign requires ensuring none of the tactics you use will get you sued. Mobile data collection practices, political spam, patent infringement and scam subscriptions are just some examples of the many mobile marketing issues that result in legal trouble. Let’s look at a few surefire ways to avoid such trouble and keep your mobile marketing strategy on the right side of the law:

Get the Permission You Need 

Not everyone has unlimited text messaging, meaning unsolicited text messages can cost up to $0.20 per message. Since this practice results in seriously unhappy potential customers, always obtain formal permission before launching an SMS mobile marketing campaign. Creating a list based off of invoices, contracts and “fish bowls” is not considered “permission.” Opt-in lists are your best bets, and allow customers to subscribe to your company’s alerts, updates and exclusive deals as they wish. The “call to action” must be very clear so customers know exacting what they will be receiving when the sign up.

Remember, Full Disclosure is Key

Full disclosure is highly recommended, as companies often find themselves in proverbial hot water for failing to clearly describe offer terms. Your customers should have a strong sense of what they’re agreeing to when they sign up rather than being surprised by fees and similar issues.

Maintain Records

Maintain detailed records of mobile marketing lists so you know exactly who has opted in...and who has opted out. Keep such lists for at least six months if not more, and update them frequently to avoid getting sued by one or more customers looking to make easy money.

Stop Sending Messages When Customers Opt Out!

When a customer unsubscribes or otherwise opts out of an SMS mobile marketing campaign, it is imperative that you stop sending them messages. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) ruled companies may send one follow-up text verifying customers no longer wish to receive texts, but that is all. This message must be sent within five minutes of the opt-out. Continuing to send marketing and promotional materials can easily result in lawsuits and other legal trouble.

Keep Customer Data Secure

Hackers looking to use your mobile marketing lists can result in a significant number of lawsuits, making it essential that all customer information is protected from unauthorized use. Choosing the right platform and using every available security measure reassures customers that their information is safe, and upholds your reputation as a company who cares about client privacy and security.

Be Careful When Choosing SMS Mobile Marketing Campaign Wording

Another cornerstone to an effective SMS mobile marketing strategy is the right wording. For example, the word “free” should mean just that--the message is free to the end-user (FTEU) with all supported carriers. If this is not the case, this word can result in legal trouble, as unhappy customers will be billed for something they thought wouldn’t cost anything. Avoid misleading customers by using phrases such as “Msg & data rates may apply.”

It makes logical sense that people are going to buy from a company they can trust rather than one that slams them with unsolicited text messages and hidden fees! Keep these tips in mind as part your SMS mobile marketing strategy! Use these and similar mobile marketing tactics to avoid legal issues, maintain relationships with current clients and attract new customers. And remember to always consult an attorney when making final campaign decisions.

 

March 25, 2014

Synergizing SMS and Social Media

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A recent campaign conducted by Southwest Airlines is a perfect demonstration of mobile marketing meshing with web, social media and real-world engagement. It was devastatingly simple: a cocktail napkin - handed out to thousands of flyers every day - had a shortcode emblazoned across it, encouraging travellers to text their email address in order to sign up for news updates.

It was a great example of marrying multiple user experiences to maximize engagement. By integrating two channels like this, you can grow your business exponentially, as each channel feeds off the other.

This sort of cross-channel synergy works especially well with SMS and social media, both fundamental parts of any right-thinking marketing plan. They work so well in tandem because they are both frequently used by a large portion of the population. SMS messaging has a particularly long reach, with open rates exceeding 98% (the vast majority of those being read within minutes of receipt).

Social media is growing almost as fast, and is no longer the sole preserve of the young. If you develop innovative ways of synergizing your SMS messaging and social media campaigns, you’ll not only reap the rewards, you’ll be able to track which channel is generating the most leads and/or revenue. Here are a few good practices that will help you link up your users across the two channels:

Contests

Contests are a tried and tested method of engaging an audience. People love to get involved and feel like they are part of a process. Come up with an idea for a contest. Run it on Facebook. Promote it via text message to mobile subscribers. It will encourage users who previously engaged purely through mobile to interact with your Facebook page, thus getting a richer experience from your brand. 

Coupons

When you issue coupons to your SMS subscribers, be sure to include a like-gated page URL so they can access the coupons directly from the message. The less they have to do, the more likely they are to take part in the promotion.

Offer Incentives

You may have high hopes of your message going viral – but it doesn’t happen for nothing. Offer an irrefutably attractive deal to encourage viewers to share the message on social media. If you offer no value, nobody will share your message.

Update Subscribers

If you have a social media update of any kind, send it to your mobile subscribers. Tease them by texting a portion of the post or video, inviting them to visit your Facebook page to see the rest.

Getting the most out of mobile marketing means devising a synergistic, cross-channel experience. The more types of audience you can get to, the bigger your overall audience will be.

 

March 10, 2014

iOS vs. Android Users: Who Should Mobile Marketers Target?

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There’s nothing mobile marketers love more than a good scrap about the best operating system. Ever since the first generation Androids and iPhones emerged in 2007, their relative merits have been hotly disputed; you can usually tell which side of the debate a person will be on by the phone in their hand.

Of course, there is no easy answer to the ‘which is best?’ question. So much is subjective, and some Android (or iOS!) devotees will never be persuaded to change their personal preference, no matter how compelling the arguments for doing so are. Broadly speaking, iOS generates more revenue, but Android has a greater market share. Neither of these truths are going to help you create the right mobile marketing strategy.

The very fact that this debate has raged continuously since the smartphone boom took hold is indicative of the complexity of both operating systems. Deciding which device your mobile marketing strategy should focus on requires careful consideration of a whole range of metrics. Let’s take a close look at some of the factors at play:

US Performance

comScore report revealed 133.7 million people in the United States owned a smartphone during the first quarter of 2013. Android was ranked as the top smartphone platform, with 51.7% market share next to Apple’s 38.9%.

Similar results were gleaned from a Kantar Worldpanel Comtech report, which showed Android beating the iPhone by a 9% margin. It’s important to note, however, that the cut and thrust of the smartphone market means these figures are bouncing around on a daily basis.

Plus, device ownership is far from the full story when it comes to iOS vs. Android. Whilst the latter enjoys a greater number of customers, the former generates more money from online commerce. A Black Friday report conducted by IBM showed iOS users spent an average of $127.92 per order, compared to $105.20 spent by Android users. Android users accounted for 11% of ecommerce traffic, next to iPhone and iPad users’ 28.2%. These facts are of more relevance to your mobile marketing strategy than pure ownership.

Worldwide Performance

Phones supporting Android sell significantly better than iPhones in global markets. During the fourth quarter of 2012, Android had a 70% share, compared with 21% for iOS. If your business is global, you should adjust your mobile marketing strategy accordingly as such a marked difference in ownership levels undoubtedly supersedes the greater online spending conducted on Apple’s devices (which remains true internationally).

Tablets

Mobile marketing solutions targeting tablets should always differ from those targeting smartphones, because people use them in different ways. Apple’s iPad outperforms Android tablets and, again, ecommerce revenues are greater for the former.

Apps

According to data collected by Canalys, just over 50% of all app downloads in the first quarter of 2013 were for Android, with iOS taking the lion’s share (40%) of the remainder. What this means for your mobile marketing strategy depends on the type of business you run, so study your market closely. Find out which apps your customers regularly use and, if building your own app, create one for both operating systems.

Web Use

Apple rules the roost in terms of web use, with a 60.1 % share (according to NetMarketShare). Android lags with 24.9%, which, considering there are more Android devices out there, corroborates the evidence for iOS users being significantly more active online.

Overall, it’s important not to draw too many conclusions from the wealth of data on which device performs the best. When devising mobile marketing tactics, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. We’re talking Apples and oranges (or rather, Apples and Androids) – so come up with a separate mobile marketing strategy for each, especially if your business has a global reach.

 

March 05, 2014

5 Best Practices for Retaining Your Opt-In SMS Marketing List

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Okay, so you amassed a substantial SMS marketing list, but what about retaining said list? After all, creating a list is one thing, but keeping it is something else! Check out five of the best practices for retaining your opt-in marketing list and use them to create effective SMS marketing campaigns:

 

1. Positive Disruption

It seems everyone is on their phones these days, and while getting bombarded with advertisements is never fun, receiving exclusive offers, coupons and discounts through text is! Ensure you’re sending customers discounts they can only receive through their phones as opposed to email or snail mail. Most people will be delighted to receive a coupon for 10% off their next vehicle oil change or an alert regarding “big sale” dates and times.

 

2. Market Research

As with most things, it’s important to do a little research before creating a text message campaign. Decrease your opt-out rate significantly by learning what your customers want to hear and receive, which will certainly help you create a much more effective SMS marketing strategy. Learn what’s worked in the past and what hasn’t, what customers are really looking for from a business like yours, and any other helpful information you and your team can use.

 

3. Time Zone and Timing

Successful SMS marketing campaigns pay attention to timing...and time zones! Besides researching the best times of day to send SMS alerts, remain aware of customer time zones. Sending messages at 6am on a Sunday or 12pm on a Tuesday night is not going to help you retain your SMS marketing list, no matter how great the promotion or discount. Customers will appreciate time zone awareness, which will bolster your relationship with them and even help expand your brand via positive client reviews.

 

4. Ease of Mobile Experience

Always, always, always send customers easy-to-digest text messages that don’t require a lot of time and or external device use. For example, very few people are going to be interested in coupons they have to print, especially if they don’t have easy access to a printer! Create an effective text messaging campaign by sending customers deals and discounts with barcodes for easy scanning at the register or ones that otherwise don’t require a lot of work.

 

5. Monitor Opt-Out Rate

Finally, successful SMS marketing campaigns and strategies include monitoring customer opt-out rate. Look at what worked and piqued customer interest, as well as what didn’t work and resulted in opt-outs. This is an essential part of crafting your next text message campaign, so don’t forget to keep a weather eye on those rates! 

Keep these tips in mind and see if your next SMS marketing campaign isn’t light years ahead of your last one! Good luck, and stay creative!

 

February 19, 2014

The Foundation of Mobile Marketing: 3 Key Solutions

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It’s been almost 10 years since smartphones and subsequently mobile apps were introduced to the world, thus revolutionizing the marketing industry in a way few expected. While numerous mobile marketing solutions are available for companies to utilize, three stand out as the best strategies for securing prospects and maintaining relationships with current clients. So what are these solutions, and what makes them so effective? 

Responsive Web Design

A somewhat new solution regarding mobile marketing tactics, response web design is defined as tailoring the layout and function of a website based on device screen size and viewing capabilities. Whether viewing site content from a laptop, smartphone or tablet, responsive web design allows for easy viewing minus distortions and other issues that crop up when browsing a site that does not include this feature. Responsive web design only requires one code and one content management system (CMS), making it easy to add new features, publish new content and fix site issues. A website optimized for any device also allows for much more traffic and overall site use.

Mobile Apps 

The development of mobile apps created a whole new way for businesses to market themselves. Mobile marketing campaigns continue to get bigger, better and more personalized, as they make staying in touch with users easy. Whether to employ native or hybrid apps depends on a company’s mobile marketing strategy, as native options are built solely for a specific operating system, such as an Android or iOS, while hybrid apps were created for use across numerous operating systems.

No matter which app version a company decides to use, it’s imperative that the app serve a practical purpose or otherwise feature a unique function the user won’t find anywhere else. A fantastic example is any shopping app, as it allows users to scan barcodes for quick and easy order and reorder of favorite products. Mobile apps are an ideal way to increase brand awareness and cement customer loyalty, even if the business generates a lot of traffic via their official website. 

Dedicated Mobile Website

Key mobile marketing tactics also include the dedicated mobile website, or when a site is optimized entirely for mobile use. This mobile marketing strategy is highly effective when a business is looking to analyze customer engagement and activity, but the company website isn’t fully operational or still in the “revamp” stage. An effective way to test proverbial waters, dedicated mobile websites let businesses know to what degree they will benefit from mobile marketing campaigns.

Whether using one or all of these mobile marketing solutions, it’s important to remember mobile internet usage continues to increase. Employ such solutions in mobile marketing campaigns and see if they don’t help business!

 

February 17, 2014

7 Reasons to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Users

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As mobile usage continues to grow apace, the need to optimize your website for smartphones is essential. Mobile marketing is no longer a single feather – it’s becoming the entire cap. If you have yet to create a mobile website, take a look at some compelling reasons to get started:

  1. Nearly 50% of daily Facebook users are mobile-only. Mobile ads account for around half of the company’s total advertising revenue. With such a large audience at your disposal, these facts alone mean that delaying mobile optimization is hurting your business. With 31% of smartphone users claiming in a recent Pew survey that mobile is their primary access point to the web, your mobile website must offer the same functionality as your desktop site.
  2. Mobile traffic makes up nearly 10% of global web traffic. There’s only one direction that figure is headed in future, and some analysts have predicted that by the end of 2014 more people will use mobile phones than PCs to browse the web.
  3. By next year, U.S. mobile sales are forecast to reach $31 billion. Similar stories are playing out all over the developed world. To describe mobile as a global growth market would be a massive understatement. Any business that fails to provide a comprehensive mobile-friendly version of their site will lose millions of potential customers.
  4. 50% of internet surfers are using smartphones. Making content mobile-friendly is the only way to reach them. That means providing the best possible user experience on a small screen. Even Google recommends using responsive web design. In some regards, start-ups are in the best position here, as they can build their entire brand around mobile optimization, right from the get go. Established companies need to go back to their existing online presence and question whether a mobile audience will get the message.
  5. Only 21% of all websites are currently mobile-friendly. Despite half the population using a mobile device for their web activity, only a fifth of all sites have been rendered with mobile devices in mind. According to one piece of research, mobile optimized websites reported a conversion rate three times that of non-optimized sites. The implication is clear: users who don’t see what they need on one site will quickly move onto a competitor who answers that need. Mobile optimization is absolutely essential for driving business.
  6. Mobile commerce accounts for 23% of online sales. Again, this figure is predicted to grow in the future, as more and more people conduct their activities from a smartphone. Businesses who can carve out their market share as early adopters of mobile optimization will have safely developed brand loyalty by the time the rest of the world catches up.
  7. 49% of smartphone owners have made at least one purchase on their device in the past six months. Even people who are not regularly using their phones for shopping have dipped their toe in – and these are all potential customers, looking for a good user experience. Make sure you are providing it.

 

February 13, 2014

Should You Use QR Codes in Your Mobile Marketing Campaign?

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Quick Response codes have been popular among mobile marketing strategists for some time. They can be used to link to web content or activate emails and text messaging. Posted out and about in relevant places, a QR code is a great way of giving consumers immediate access to useful information.

But not all mobile marketing strategies are using QR codes. Some analysts have even gone so far as to predict its imminent demise. Such dire predictions are, in part, down to the emergence of invisible ink and augmented-reality apps which are increasingly being used instead of QR codes. Proponents of the new technologies say it is superior because users don’t need to take so many steps to get the information they require.

To put this in context, let’s have a quick recap of how QR codes work. When someone comes across a code – on a poster, next to a checkout, attached to a takeaway menu – they have to photograph the code, wait for it to record their information, and then be sent to a website or some other form of online content.

In contrast, new apps are offering a more streamlined way of achieving the same end – and in some cases going much, much further. Touchcode is one of the most exciting examples. An invisible electronic code, it can be printed on, say, a toy’s label and enable the user to activate the toy simply by touching their smartphone to it. For something that’s invisible, Touchcode is proving very attractive compared to the clunky eye-sore of many QR experiences. The product onto which Touchcode is placed appears no different – it only makes its presence known once it has interacted with a phone.

In Japan, newspaper Tokyo Shimbu has launched its AR News app, which allows kids to scan articles and turn them into child-centred versions of the story. It was developed as a way to make newspapers more appealing to a youth demographic, and not only simplifies the text, but also adds animated characters, graphics and kid-friendly explanations of complex news items.

It’s true that QR codes have been used in hilariously incompetent fashion. They are often pasted in completely inappropriate places, and some QR codes require users to download a scanner that will only work for that one code – not an attractive option to most consumers, especially as sleeker, more user-friendly alternatives emerge.

But they have also been used to profounf effect in many mobile marketing strategies, notably by Taco Bell, who generated 225,000 scans during their recent ESPN College Football promotion. Even more impressive was Verizon’s in-store QR code campaign that allowed customers to enter a promotion and win a smartphone. The promotion generated an additional $35,000 worth of sales during it’s week-long run after an initial investment of just $1,000 (Verizon also pulled off a QR coup in 2010 when they generated more than 150,000 scans off the back their ScanLife campaign).

These recent successes alone demonstrate that the QR code is far from dead – it’s just a question of how effectively you use them. The lessons learned from successful campaigns, and the emergent technologies that threaten to render QR codes obsolete, are that brands need to make them easy to use, and only deploy them in situations where it makes sense. They won’t work for every company – but if you can recognize when and where they are appropriate, and execute them properly, QR codes will still find a place in your B2C and B2B marketing campaigns.

 

February 06, 2014

Is HTML5 the Future of Mobile Apps?

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Mobile app development is currently dominated by Android and Apple, who have roughly an equal share of more than two-thirds of the market. But as the range of mobile devices on offer increases, HTML5 apps that work on all devices are becoming more appealing, both to users and developers. Apple’s native apps are still out in front in terms of quality – but the gap is closing, as HTML5 apps constantly improve their user-friendliness and availability. So what’s the difference between native apps, like those offered by Apple and Android, and web apps? And how can HTML5 mobile app development help you improve your mobile marketing strategies?

Right now, the Apple App Store contains nearly three quarters of a million iPhone and iPad apps, all of which have to be completely re-coded to work on another device. Web apps are built using standard coding such as HTML5, which allows them to run on virtually any platform that uses a standards-compliant browser. They will work on iPhones, iPads, Androids, Kindles, Windows – and, importantly for start-ups, any new platform that may be launched in the future.

Not only do web apps work equally well on any platform, they are cheaper and quicker to produce than native apps. The only reason native apps are still overwhelmingly used is because Apple’s unstoppable development department stole a march on competitors very early on, and currently offer a superior experience to most similar HTML5 apps. This state of affairs won’t last for long.

One of the main reasons for mobile app development shifting towards HTML5 and other standards-based languages is the ease of open-source updates. Most iPhone users have experienced the frustration of being unable to update their app because they lack the latest iOS. Web apps, on the other hand, will practically never become outdated. Every time a user visits a website, they are loading the most recent version from the server. The simple action of visiting the site means you are viewing the latest version of that app.

There are still a number of hurdles to overcome before web apps present a realistic, mass-market alternative to native apps. Chief among them is the state-of-the-art hardware interfacing currently provided by (in particular) Apple. All iPhone apps are seamlessly integrated with the device’s hardware, allowing users to take advantage of the GPS, digital camera and accelerometer capabilities. Right now, web apps don’t have it so easy. Apple’s closed book isn’t likely to open itself to rival developers anytime soon, but as competitive pressure grows, most people expect that situation to change.

The other major feather in the Apple cap is the secure, easy payment process offered by the App Store. There are 400 million active iTunes accounts, each with stored credit card details, making consumer purchases extremely hassle-free. Web apps currently lack a similar consolidated payment system. Again, though, that is expected to change with time.

There’s little disagreement about the smoother, more polished look and feel of native apps. But there is also a consensus on some key advantages offered by web apps. The ever-changing nature of standards-based technology means that HTML6 is likely to do some significant catching up. Add to that the expense of building native apps, and the decreasing cost of developing web apps, and it’s easy to see how mobile marketing strategies will begin to gear themselves towards users that have jumped the mother ship Apple and are spreading their consumption across a wider range of smaller, more adaptive developers.

 

February 04, 2014

Get Ahead with Personalized Mobile Marketing Campaigns

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Personalized mobile marketing strategies are set to become the preferred method of targeting increasingly niche audiences. According to a recent survey published by Econsultancy, personalized desktop campaigns are being run by 43% of companies. Only 13% are using the same for mobile devices – but industry analysts expect all that to change over the coming year. Around 54% of companies who responded to the Econsultancy survey announced their intention to adopt personalized campaigns across both desktop and mobile over the next twelve months.

Even among those companies who are slow on the uptake, there is a general awareness of the potential of mobile marketing personalization as a way of boosting revenues and retention rates. Already, mobile drives 20% of all online sales. In 2012, e-commerce conducted via mobile was worth $139 billion. By 2015, that figure is expected to exceed $400 billion.

Desktop campaigns have proven that creating personalized, targeted campaigns gets results. Mobile marketing advertising has much to learn from desktop, but it must also adopt strategies that apply only to smartphones and tablets. Understanding what some of these strategies are will help you create a more effective campaign from the outset.

First of all, your marketing strategy needs cross-channel synergy to work to the fullest. But how does cross channel marketing work? In order to realize a complementary, integrated, synergistic marketing campaign, each channel needs to feed into the others. Send an SMS containing a hyperlink to some free content on your website or affiliate site. Advertise the free content on social media. As new users are attracted to your Facebook page, offer them another freebie on condition that they opt in to your SMS contact list. Spreading your tentacles across all these channels will scoop up users who don’t stray far from their habits. It’s also a vital way to gather data on consumers – both existing and potential – and improve your mobile marketing personalization approach. Remember, though, that effective cross-channel marketing takes time to grow. Start with small, achievable goals, and develop a long-term strategy as you learn what does and doesn’t work.

Personalize your approach to personalization. There’s no point taking a cold, calculating approach to growing personal relationships with your customer base. Like in real-life relationships, people are at once flaky, habitual, loyal, fickle, impetuous, impulsive, profligate and spend-thrift – take all these very human traits into account when building your opt-in lists. As long as you provide demonstrable value right away, and maintain it over the long term, you will bring out the best in your customers.

The three most mobile-specific keywords are: location, location, location. People take their smartphones everywhere, while their desktops stay… well, on their desktop. Take advantage of the mobility of mobile devices to create personalized, anytime experiences. The rise of geo-location technology has immense implications for the future of mobile marketing campaigns, especially for retail outlets who can send a text to opted-in customers close by, offering personalized discounts to attract them to the store.

Move slowly but surely in your personalization endeavours. Start small, see what works, and watch your momentum – and customer lists – grow into something that will endure.

January 30, 2014

Market Research: A Mobile Marketing Essential

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Effective mobile marketing strategies require forward planning. A large part of the planning process is conducting a comprehensive market research campaign that will furnish your advertising department with raw data. Lots of it.  Statistics and figures are grist to the marketing mill. They can help you target specific demographics with the right message, and avoid wasting time and money on revenue dead ends. 

Research is particularly vital for mobile user behavior, as opposed to traditional broadcast channels which still use a one-size-fits all approach. Because mobile marketing advertising needs to be precision-engineered for personal preferences, research must also be personalized and relevant.

One notable case study, presented recently at the Market Research in the Mobile World (MRMW) conference, concerns Heineken’s forays into the emerging African beer market. The brand has been courting consumers on the continent for a hundred years, and has recently added mobile marketing to its overall strategy. Heineken gathered figures on top-volume beer retailers and made price comparisons with competitors. They used maps to plot the densities of product coverage in different regions and planned their sales routes accordingly.

One of the key issues to be aware of is the rate of change in mobile usage trends. User habits can change on a dime depending on all sorts of factors. When strategizing your market research program, ask yourself the following questions:

 

When are consumers most active on their mobile devices?

 

• Where are consumers most active on their mobile devices?

 

• What mobile devices are consumers using (tablet, iPhone, android, etc.)?

 

• What are the demographics of your target audience?

 

• What are the psychographics of your target audience?

 

• What types of offers are most appealing to customers?

 

The answers to these questions will form the bedrock of your mobile marketing strategies[BC1] . Reboot these questions via surveys and polls at least once every quarter. The answers will be dramatically different from month to month, so there is no point creating campaigns based on market research you conducted 18 months ago. 

Keep your data fresh and up-to-the-minute. Reach out to people outside your core demographic (this will probably involve offering a freebie in return for filling in a survey). Above all, remember this: research the market to reach the market.