Sports

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July 08, 2014

Six of the Best: World Cup Apps

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Another World Cup, another rush from mobile marketing strategists and app developers to come up with ways of capitalizing on an event that has the attention of millions around the globe.

With multiple matches each day (at least during the group stages) and live screenings beholden to every different time zone, it’s not always convenient – even for the most ardent fan – to keep track of all the action. On the Pacific Coast, for instance, games kick off between 9am and 3pm, when most people are at work.

Thankfully, there are loads of clever apps on the market to help you stay abreast of all the action. And unlike 2010, this year’s tournament has arrived at a time when smartphones are most definitely the default mobile device for Americans, so almost everyone can benefit. Let’s take a look at the very best World Cup apps out there…

1) ESPN FC Soccer & World Cup

This free app takes an exhaustive, comprehensive approach to football stats from around the world, but what we’re really interested in is the World Cup tab where users can find out all the latest match news and scores. It includes video content so you can key moments and catch up on goals. Customizable, well designed, and easy to use, the ESPN offering is a stellar one.

2) World Cup 2014 Brazil

Available for free with Google Play, this app is as utilitarian as its title. Stats-focused, with full competition details and data customization, this neat green and yellow app is a beautiful, Brazilian-themed tool that will ensure you won’t miss a thing.

3) 2014 Table

Another Android offering with a straightforward name, this takes a pared down approach, giving subscribers only the essential information they need. Great for bloggers and journalists who want to cut to the chase and find the latest scores and tables, 2014 table auto updates as each new development occurs.

4) LiveSoccer World Football Cup

Track live matches from soccer leagues around the world, or just use it for the duration of the biggest sporting event on earth. Customizable push notifications will keep you informed of all the latest goings on, and a rich user interface doesn’t interfere with a high degree of user friendly slickness. 

5) Squawka

Mobile marketing campaign managers have aimed this little number squarely at the stats-obsessed football fan who wants easy access to the cold hard facts. Player information is cross-compared, allowing subscribers to play the ultimate living room manager by supplying detailed information on everything from goals and substitutions, to fouls and assists. Every tackle and pass is logged. This one’s for the completist.

6) BBC Sport

Available free for both Android and iPhone, the BBC app is an essential download for any World Cup devotees. It combines live text commentary for each game with push alerts every time a goal is scored. There’s also a way to stream regular Radio 5 World Cup bulletins. Along with the iPlayer, British football fans get everything they could need to see them through to the final.

May 27, 2014

Brazilian Teen Sets Text Messaging Speed Record

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A 16-year-old Brazilian, Marcel Fernandes Filho, has just set the Guinness World Record for the fastest texting with a touchscreen smartphone. He won this “honor” on April 25, 2014 in New York City. 

The touchscreen-keyboard startup Fleksy sponsored the teen's trip to New York. It was on Fernandes' Fleksy, which he has been using since 2012, that he broke the record with his texting prowess.

Record-Determining Text Message a Real Challenge

As NBC News has put it, the world record-setting text “was no 'hi how r u' message, either.” Rather, Guinness required contestants to boldly text what no smartphone user has probably ever texted before: "The razor-toothed piranhas of the genera Serrasalmus and Pygocentrus are the most ferocious freshwater fish in the world. In reality they seldom attack a human." Whew! That sentence is 25 words long.

Those who turn their noses up at the art of texting should note that Fernandes' capitalization and spelling were perfect, as Guinness actually required them to be. The teen typed out that bear of a sentence in just 18.19 seconds, a mere quarter of a second faster than a 15-year old's January record, which was set at Microsoft's offices using one of its own smartphones.

Fernandes says he's been a longtime fan of Guinness World Records and has searched out obscure world record facts online ever since he was a child.

World Record-Setting Teen Studious, Not Addicted to Texting

The teen has also tried to set another “record” straight, explaining that he doesn't spend all day on his phone, regardless of stereotypes about “young people today.” In fact, as a physics student at southern Brazil's Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, Fernandes says he's much too busy studying to get addicted to texting.

How did Fernandes find the time to become so good at texting, then? The young man confesses that back in 2009 he got so frustrated with how slow his laptop was that he took a hammer to it and smashed it.  He immediately realized he had no money to buy a new computer and was forced to use his iPhone 3G for everything from that point forward. As a result, he also had no choice but to become great at mobile phone typing. Little did he know that he'd someday be crowned the world champion.

Texting Champ's Story a Sign of the Times?

Predictably, the texting championship has spurred online debate about whether text messaging has eroded every old fashioned value imaginable, from good penmanship to the art of the phone conversation. Some commenters on CNN's website have expressed dismay over the teen's admission to having lost his temper with his computer, implying that the behavior is an example of what happens to an impatient, technology-addicted generation – regardless of Fernandes's claims to the contrary. Others have pointed out, however, that Fernandes was merely thirteen years old when it happened; and to look at this story in a positive light, he is clearly a resourceful young man.

Besides, other comments have said, technology is always changing, and that's a sign of progress. After all, if Fernandes had been the world champion of, say, stenography, would people be shaking their heads and mumbling about “kids these days?” As one commenter said to another, “How in the world is this bad? Is the future also lost because of the people who can type 130 WPM on a keyboard? The future isn't lost, you are.”

May 06, 2014

How SMS Sweepstakes Campaigns Are Helping Boost Business


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Sweepstakes campaigns can be an excellent means of promoting brand recognition and awareness, thus bringing customers through your door. Traditionally, these sweepstakes marketing campaigns have been carried out through print media, but technology makes it possible to reach a much wider audience today.

While email marketing may have initially been considered a solution to the unfortunate “junk mail” reputation that has traditionally plagued sweepstakes campaigns, it's a sad fact that we need look no farther than our inboxes today to understand that email is suffering the same fate. While search engine marketing may be the hi-tech answer to some quandaries that traditional marketing cannot solve, sweepstake campaigns, by contrast, may be unique in that most potential customers do not typically seek them out.

SMS Sweepstakes Campaigns Give Consumers Just the Nudge they Need

This is where SMS text messaging sweepstakes campaigns come in, especially for industries like fast food and retail clothing, which draw customers in to their chain of stores on a fairly frequent basis. While customers do not necessarily need to eat their meals at fast food chains or to purchase a new shirt every several weeks, the cost of these small luxuries is not perceived as prohibitively high for most consumers. Hence, it only takes a small amount of brand suggestion to get customers through the door.

One thing that has become a constant necessity in the eyes of most consumers today, on the other hand, is mobile phone access. People carry their mobile devices with them at all times, which is why almost 100% of the text messages people receive are opened and read. That fact makes SMS texting an invaluable strategy when it comes to a successful sweepstakes campaign, especially for industries like casual restaurants and retail shopping that so heavily rely on consumer suggestibility.

Recent Successful SMS Sweepstakes Campaigns

Among the companies recognized as carrying out the top SMS sweepstakes campaigns recently are Hooters, JCPenney, and popular bourbon whiskey manufacturer Jim Beam. Hooters' campaign offered consumers the opportunity to win a trip to a destination of their choice. Jim Beam, as part of its nationwide Live Music Series, ran a campaign urging users to enter to win a VIP trip to the last summer concert by opting-in to its SMS program with a special keyword texted to a shortcode.

Sweepstakes winnings need not be extravagant or expensive, however. JCPenney won its place in the spotlight for its own sweepstakes campaign merely by running an Easter promotion encouraging customers to attend a one-day in-store event to receive a free pair of children's bunny ears. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is that consumers, when left to their own devices, will spend their time and money where and how it needs to be spent; however, they are open to suggestion when it comes to having the opportunity for a pleasurable experience.  That pleasurable experience may come in the form of a delicious side of french fries, a new outfit, a free trip, or a festive pair of bunny ears for Easter.

Consumers won't necessarily have time to seek out comfort and fun twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, but when a simple text message can remind potential customers just how easy it can be to partake in such pleasures, they are certainly open to suggestion. SMS text message sweepstakes campaigns, therefore, are a great way for companies to put their brands, as well as what those brands can do for consumers, front and center in potential customers' minds. 

November 21, 2013

How Mobile Marketing has Impacted the Sporting Industry

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Major sporting events are a key driver of emergent communication technologies, and text marketing is no different. The 2012 London Olympics saw mobile advertising grow by 50%, as businesses recognized the enormous power of the spectacle as an attention-grabber that could attendees into phone numbers on lists. 

Other sports organizations are realizing the potential of text marketing as a way of engaging fans whose prior involvement in the game was limited to hollering support (or abuse!) from the touchline. The smartphones now carried by most fans allow them to interact directly with their club or team. Collegiate athletic departments are looking towards the 35% of young sports fans who routinely comment on games via social media.

College sports fans and tech-savvy youngsters aren’t just easy bedfellows – they’re often one and the same person. Educated and equipped with their smartphone round-the-clock, this demographic is instinctively primed for your text marketing campaign.

It’s not just college sports or major one-offs like the Olympics that are benefitting from text marketing. Sport is big business, and everyone from the Bundesliga in Germany to the NBA in the US, right down to minor league grassroots enterprises are using mobile platforms to transmit, among other things:

 

  • The latest transfer news
  • Results
  • Player Statistics
  • Tactical information
  • Fixtures
  • League table standing

 

Text marketing is helping the global reach of sports organizations grow. Even a decade ago, the English Premier League was still largely the preserve of UK soccer fans. At the end of 2012, 37% of global mobile media users followed it.

The beauty of sports as a vertical is how easily it can be broken up into sub-verticals. Take the aforementioned soccer as an example. You have a pyramid of fandom, all pointing to ‘soccer’ at the top. Beneath that you have a variety of international clubs, which capture huge audiences (nearly half the global population watched the 2010 World Cup, according to FIFA). Below that are the top-flight club teams from around the world, which attract cross-country interest thanks to the European Cup and other continental competitions. Then there is a raft of amateur and semi-pro lower leagues, each with their own loyal following. Finally you get right down to Sunday soccer teams and casual spectators who watch the occasional televised match. This grassroots fanbase is just that – a ‘base’ on which the entire soccer industry is built. 

To varying degrees, these fans have strong, identifiable allegiances that translate directly into personal preferences. This segmentation neatly forms the basis of an effective, highly targeted mobile marketing strategy, which no sports organization should go without.

April 02, 2013

4 Things Ronda Rousey Can Teach You About Your Company's Brand

"Rowdy" Ronda Rousey is a force in mixed martial arts. She won Bronze in Judo at the 2008 Olympic Games, and went on to win all 7 of her professional fights with first-round submissions using the same move every time. All the while, she's used a smart media strategy to build her personal brand to the point that she headlined the first women's fight in the UFC. Your business could do worse than to take a few pages out of her media playbook.

Find her on Facebook, Twitter, The Web & Instragram!

Ronda-rousey

  1. Have an Opinion
    Ronda started early with a willingness to speak her mind in interviews, and recent years have seen her Twitter presence grow into its own force. Though her comments are often respectful of those she admires, she has no problem "trash talking" people or ideas that get on her nerves. The controversial comments generate nothing but extra publicity, bringing those who already like her more fervently into her fan base.
  2. Bare it All
    Rousey literally bared all in ESPN The Magazine's Body Issue, leaving only the parts covered by her strategically positioned gloves to the imagination. Businesses should strive for the same kind of tactical transparency. Rousey knew her mostly male fan base would respond to that kind of revealing coverage. What parts of your business will build trust and loyalty if you show your customers what's going on?
  3. Be Unusual
    In a sport full of ultra-aggressive, high-testosterone fighters and their even more macho fans, Rousey is an attractive woman who frequently observes a vegan or vegetarian diet. This gets her more attention than others at her level by giving journalists extra information and fans something to talk about. Identify the things that make your business stand out, and find ways to celebrate them.
  4. Stick With What You Know
    A judo champion and daughter of a judo champion, Rousey wins her matches with grappling skills -- in fact, the same grappling skill over and over. She sticks with what she knows and wins by being better at it than everybody else. Though it's good to branch out and be flexible, focus on becoming the absolute best in the places where you excel.

You don't have to rise to the top of your industry by threatening to break people's arms, but that doesn't mean you can't learn a thing or two from this fight sport champion. Readers, which of these strategies work best for you -- or which ones do you see your competition using well to your disadvantage?

February 22, 2012

Post-Game Analysis: Super Bowl and Social Media

Entry By Jason Brick

The Super Bowl is such a fixture of American life that it may as well be a national holiday. The event affects income streams, work schedules and traffic flow. Many bosses know to expect slightly lower productivity the following Monday.

While this has been true for decades, this year marked a new feature of America's favorite sporting weekend: social media. The NFL and the game's advertisers very consciously courted social media in the run up to the Super Bowl, and the results can inspire your own efforts and give you a sense of the power social media is amassing.

Social media command center

Statistics

  • The event saw the most social media comments of any televised event, generating over 12.2 million comments during and immediately after the game -- nearly four times the 3.1 million comments of the previous record holder.
  • Super Bowl XLVI saw an average of 10,000 game-related tweets per second over the course of the game.
  • The halftime show alone saw over 800,000 comments on Facebook, Twitter and similar sites. This would make the halftime show alone the fourth-most-commented television event of all time.
  • Nearly 1,000,000 social media comments were made about Super Bowl commercials alone -- making them the third-most-commented television event of all time.

The Social Media Command Center
This year, the NFL established a centralized social media effort that delivered 1.8 million impressions daily via Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and YouTube. These included simple fan messages and likes, as well as logistical help for fans ranging from parking assistance to public service announcements.

Responsiveness 
Social media traffic discussing specifi c Super Bowl ads helped advertisers judge the effectiveness and popularity of their efforts -- which is good, considering the $117,000 per second price tag of game time advertising. Based on the content and volume of traffic, some clear winners appeared:

The most popular ad was the Doritos "Man's Best Friend" spot -- a spot that was selected as a contest winner. The contest itself was a vote held via social media.

H&M's ad featuring David Beckham only in briefs was the most commented-on ad spot, spurring both positive and negative reactions.

Chrysler's "It's Halftime in America" ad was the most popular among men. The Beckham commercial was the most popular among women. Parents preferred CareerBuilder's ad featuring an employee whose co-workers are all chimpanzees.

Overall, the first "Social Media Super Bowl" was a tour de force for this new way of communicating, combining efforts and assessing performance.

January 24, 2012

What MMA Can Teach Us About SMS

Entry By Jason Brick

MMAMixed Martial Arts has begun to learn from mobile marketing and social media -- a fact evidenced by the UFC's decision to pay four-and five-figure bonuses to fighters who maintain a social media presence. 

The reverse is also true. SMS marketers can learn from the example of fighters in this newest of professional sports. The training, tactics and techniques of the Octagon have their applications in the world of mobile media. 

Hit With Combinations

In the ring, a fighter never throws a single punch or kick. He throws combinations -- a flurry of strikes that add up to serious cumulative effect. In SMS marketing, a single message won't have much effect. You need to maintain a long-term program of multiple messages. No single broadcast will suddenly turn your business around, but their cumulative effect can bring customers to the door. 

Use All Your Tools

Mixed martial arts get its name from the fact that fighters use grappling and stand-up fighting techniques to win a match. Even specialized competitors learn enough of other modalities to defend against the common techniques. 

A good SMS program incorporates not just mobile marketing, but your print campaign and web presence as well. The multiple impressions you make will engage customers with different preferences, abilities and needs. 

Be Responsive

Every fighter comes to the ring with a game plan, but good fighters will change the plan to adjust to what their opponents do. The degree to which a mixed martial artist can do this is the degree to which that athlete is successful.

One of the "killer apps" of SMS is a delivery cycle measured in terms of hours -- meaning you can respond to the reactions of your mailing list quickly and improve your message in real time. Failing to take advantage of this is a mistake.

Set Them Up, Knock them Down

In a mixed martial arts fight, the best competitors will "sucker" an opponent in with a false opening. When that opponent takes the bait, he capitalizes on the mistake with a pre-planned counter that can end the bout.

You should never pummel your customer base or choke them into unconsciousness. However, sending SMS messages that invite an immediate response can "pull in" your customer base by making them feel more engaged and interested in your brand. 

The Most Important Work is Invisible

Fights aren't won in the ring. They're won in training through practice, conditioning and skills development. The audience doesn't see that "behind the scenes" action -- but they see the result.

Your SMS campaign should work the same way. It takes effort, training and meticulous attention to detail if you want the message to work -- but your mailing list will never see the rough drafts, corrections and sweat you put into it. All they'll see is the stunning and actionable result. 

August 19, 2010

McDonald’s, MasterCard and Whataburger Announce Plans To Sponsor Houston Texans’ Mobile Marketing Promotion

The Houston Texans, a national football team, have recently announced a two year promotion which ranges from sending injury notifications to updates regarding who just landed a touchdown via SMS messages.  McDonald’s, MasterCard and Whataburger have signed on to sponsor this mobile marketing program and their advertisements will be broadcasted across the field.

Here is a screen grab from one of the McDonald's sponsored polls. 

Screen grab

To read the entire article, click here.

To learn more about mobile marketing, visit Ez Texting.

July 15, 2009

DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket Coming To Your iPhone

If you subscribe to DirecTV's Sunday Ticket package of NFL games and you own an iPhone you're in luck:

Fans hoping to watch NFL games outside of their local TV market can now plug right into the action on Apple Inc.’s iPhone. According to the company, a wi-fi link or access to a 3G network is required.

With commercial advertisers losing money hand over fist through conventional broadcast means, the new emphasis on mobile coverage for DirecTV is likely just the first step of a greater mobile presence for the future of satellite television service.

Read more @ Mobile Marketing Watch