31 posts categorized "Studies"

July 01, 2014

Five Key Benchmarks for Mobile Marketers

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June was one of the biggest months of the year for the mobile marketing industry. Silicon Beach Fest brought the brightest minds of the SoCal tech industry together, and the Cannes Lions Festival was another roaringly successful celebration of creativity in the field of mobile communications.

One of the biggest results from the latter event was a study conducted by The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) on the best ways to build and execute effective mobile marketing campaigns. Their analysis looked at more than 450 award-winning and leading brands – including Mercedes, Nike, Ray Ban and Coca Cola - and uncovered five key insights for industry creatives.

The MMA’s CEO described the findings as “benchmarks [to give] marketers and their agencies… a concise framework on how to think more strategically about mobile”. 

Let’s summarize the five key benchmarks identified by the MMA:

Brand Activation Remote

According to the MMA, mobile should be viewed as a kind of remote control for brand engagement, consolidating each strand of a marketing campaign into a single portal, thereby keeping consumers constantly connected along the path to purchase. Once you view your mobile marketing strategy as a unifier in this way, you can more easily drive conversion and sustain loyalty.

No Time Like the Present

There is no marketing channel more capable of having an instant impact than mobile. Mobile marketing campaign managers are able to wield the timing of SMS messages with finesse, engaging with consumers in the present moment, and on their own terms. Think about the maxim ‘timing is everything’ and in how many ways it applies to mobile: users carry their smartphones everywhere, it’s always in close proximity, and it’s a device that’s unique to them (ie not shared with others).

Content Rules

Another maxim that has held true in marketing circles for years, “content is king” remains a fact of advertising. Create compelling content that people want to share, and the job of promoting your brand will be done for you. And mobile is perfectly suited to delivering a wide range of media, with modern smartphones capable of streaming rich content like video and audio, as well as the usual slew of articles, images and, yes, text messages. 

Bespoke Experiences

Customizing the user experience to individual preferences is the holy grail of targeted marketing. The closer you get to appealing to a person’s sense of unique identity, the more loyalty they will feel towards your brand. The message here is this: bring users into your circle, make them feel heard by getting them to engage, and they will return the favor by sticking with your product.

Smartphone-as-Toolkit

Many marketers make the mistake of focusing on the bells and whistles of a campaign, ignoring the fact that businesses need to offer something of real value lest they perish in the long term. Mobile is perfect for integrating familiar handheld tools into their software. Calculators, barometers, cameras – even the phone itself might be thought of as a secondary function next to the multitude of apps available to users in 2014. The point is, those utilitarian features are demanded by smartphone owners. Come up with your own mobile version of an existing real-world tool, and you are on to a surefire winner.

June 24, 2014

Smartphone Use at Work on the Rise

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Whether at home or work – or even while on the commute between the two places – people carry their mobile devices with most of the time. In 2013, 132 million people around the world used their smartphones while at work, with that number expected to grow by nearly one third to 174 million people by the end of 2014. According to recent figures, as many as 328 million workers will be bringing their smartphones to work by 2017. The fact that people use these devices while on the job presents rich opportunity when it comes to SMS marketing. 

While B2C retailers have taken advantage of such widespread smartphone use in recent years, what may come as a surprise in the B2B arena is just how many workers today use their devices to complete work-related tasks. Therefore, the rise in smartphone use at work spells enormous opportunity for B2B SMS marketing as well. Thanks to the release of the 5S, a rise in iPhone use on the job has accounted for 54 percent of newly activated workplace mobile use. And more people are also, of course, using Androids at work.

Mobile Gains Popularity as a Business Tool

Companies have been increasingly adopting mobile apps for business use. The days when employers discouraged workers from using mobile devices at their desks have been on the decline. Enterprise app activations have been up 54 percent since 2013, which is an acceleration from the 42 percent growth rate from earlier that same year. VMware’s recent announcement that it would be spending $1.5 billion to acquire AirWatch, a rival mobile device management enterprise, says a lot about the many business opportunities a mobile presence at work has to offer.

Currently, the most popular business use of mobile devices is document editing, with business intelligence apps and cloud storage also rising. More and more enterprises today are even building their own business apps. However, the fact that people are already using their mobile devices while at work now means they are more likely to respond to B2B SMS text marketing while on the job.

Smartphone Use Means Convenience and Efficiency

Until recently, the widespread presence of mobile devices at the office only meant marketing to consumers as they scrambled to fit personal online shopping and other errands into the hectic work day. Now that more and more of the workforce uses mobile devices for business purposes, however, B2B SMS mobile marketing will experience enormous growth opportunities as well. 

SMS texting is an invaluable tool for communicating with B2B clients partly because SMS texting costs only a small fraction of what phone calls do. SMS also saves money, increasing efficiency through features like mass texting and automation.

At the end of the day, more than half of workers making business-to-business purchasing decisions for their companies now use their smartphones to gather product and service information before placing orders. That number is only growing. Therefore, B2B SMS marketing has become an absolutely essential part of any B2B marketing campaign.

June 11, 2014

Research Shows 80% of Mobile Searches Result in a Sale

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Online directory Neustar Localeze recently published a study demonstrating the scale of consumer migration to mobile. The results show that 79% of smartphone owners and 81% of tablet owners use their devices to search for information about local businesses. Of those searches, around 80% resulted in a transaction between merchant and consumer, and 75% ended with the customer physically going to the brick and mortar store. 

However, only 50% of searchers were satisfied with what was available on mobile, indicating a need for businesses to better optimize their sites for mobile. This disconnect between user demand and experience offers exciting opportunities for canny mobile marketing strategists to secure greater ROIs by offering a truly mobile friendly platform through which to conduct business. 

According to Brian Wool, VP of content distribution at Neustar, consumers “want to see more information around products and services,” though he conceded that local search engines were beginning to use more specific data to improve search relevancy.

The key difference between desktop and mobile search is exactly what you’d think: screen size. Tablets and smartphones can only display so much information before the need for scrolling, so it’s crucially important that businesses prioritize the most sought-after content.

The localized content Wool alluded to is starting to make inroads into mobile marketing tactics, but it’s mostly the preserve of large corporations with the spending power to play around with new ideas. But it’s precisely these localized searches that small, regional businesses should be focusing on. It’s their best chance of competing with the big chain retailers who have the edge in terms of pricing and traditional marketing clout.

If small businesses can develop user-friendly, highly visible mobile sites, they will carve out niche markets that are just a local search away. Lots of quality content remains the best hope for improving online visibility. As Wool says, “the more you can share with the ecosystem, the better your listing is going to perform.”

The take home message for SMBs, then, is this: the majority of local searches do end in a conversion, so devising and investing in a mobile marketing campaign is a safe bet when it comes to growing that bottom line. 

June 03, 2014

Mobile Marketing Tips for Brick and Mortar Retailers

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As smartphone adoption approaches maximum market penetration, the concept of ‘mobility’ – and how best to reach consumers on the move - is now the number one concern of most businesses. A few short years ago, traditional brick and mortar retailers viewed mobile as an interesting, but minor, strand of their marketing mix. Now, it’s the lifeblood that fuels their wider marketing strategy. 

According to one recent study, local businesses should be the true beneficiaries of this mass migration to mobile. The research found 79% of smartphone owners and 81% of tablet owners used their device to find information on local businesses. Of those searches, some 80% resulted in a sale, and a staggering 75% of searches ultimately led the customer to head to the store. Not only that, but 50% of searchers were dissatisfied with what they could get via mobile (mostly due to poorly designed websites).

There is clearly a huge portion of shoppers who use mobile devices to browse goods before heading to a brick and mortar outlet to buy. Whether it’s because they don’t fully trust online transactions, or they just prefer dealing face to face with a person, this is a significant market. The question is, how can you best use mobile marketing tactics to tell people about your products or services, and attract them to visit your store? Read our top mobile marketing campaign tips to find out…

Tap-and-Collect Services

A winning marriage of online convenience and real-world customer service, tap-and-collect capabilities have been used to great effect by large retail stores who can’t change their business model, but can adapt to a changing consumer environment. It works like this: consumers browse the retailers’ website, put an item on hold, and head down to the store to pick it up and pay. According to eMarketer report, tap-and-collect is the second most important factor in any transaction (behind only the reassurance that items will be delivered on time).

Store Locator

The importance of a mobile-optimized store locator can’t be stressed enough. Some 70% of smartphone shoppers use store locaters to plan their day out, so you need to be sure your store is visible. Keep the links on the homepage, and if your site isn’t mobile optimized, make sure the link is big enough to click on a smartphone without zooming in.

Click to Call

Click to Call and Click to Map remove vital steps between you and the consumer. The easier you make it for them to get in touch, the less likely they are to look elsewhere. Remember, much of your target audience will be on the move as they look at your website – make it too fiddly to use and you’ll turn them off.

Competitive Conquestion

Location based advertising is expected to keep right on booming. A BIA/Kelsey report indicates that mobile ad revenue from location-based campaigns will reach 52% in 2018 (up from 40% last year). Part of that growth will be predicated on ‘competitive conquesting’, an aggressive marketing strategy that targets consumers who are in close proximity to rival firms. Geo-fencing technology is already being used widely by large retailers, and mobile marketing campaigns that used location-based methods saw an average 8% rise in CTRs compared with those that did not. For competitive conquesting, it’s closer to 12%.

In-store pick up and geo-targeting are both being welcomed with open arms by large sections of the consumer public. If you run retail premises and are concerned about the inexorable rise of online shopping, don’t be. Just update your strategy to include mobile marketing tactics, stay abreast of the latest statistics on shopping habits, and remember that although smartphones and remote purchasing are here to stay, they are not mutually exclusive with a successful brick and mortar set up, and when done right, will actually boost your foot traffic.

May 29, 2014

SEO Strategies to Avoid

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Three letters represent the primary focus of any mobile marketing campaign, and have done for around a decade now. SEO. It’s come a long way since then, adapting to an increasingly complex array of strictures and barriers imposed by search engines in order to prevent people gaming the system, but the objective is the same: improve visibility for relevant industry keywords.

The fast pace of change in SEO best practices means that well-intentioned tips published a year ago may actually harm your rankings today. This is not a dilettantes game. To do it right, you need to stay on top of the latest effective strategies and, even more importantly, those tactics that have fallen afoul of Bot Logic. Smart mobile marketing tactics – or ‘white hat’ techniques – will be rewarded for creativity in the shape of increased clicks, impressions and conversions. The ‘black hat’ SEOs that still haunt our online world are fighting a losing battle. When was the last time you saw a link farm on page one for a popular keyword? I’m guessing some time around the turn of the decade.

Trouble is, the misinformed or naïve SEO strategist will be punished as fully as the cynical black hatter. Even if you adopt a mobile marketing strategy in good faith, if Google frowns upon it, you’re done for. It could set your business back months. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of ‘must-avoid’ SEO tactics so you know what not to do…

 

Reciprocal Links

There is much confusion surrounding the value of reciprocal links. Of course, links from friends, family and business associates are a natural part of entrepreneurship. This is where the ‘link as vote’ analogy is helpful. Think of your business as an election campaign. You can and should reach out to potential ‘voters’ and ask them to support your campaign for success. But if you receive an unsolicited email from someone you’ve never heard of, and they request a link exchange, accepting it would be like associating your ‘candidate’ with the wrong sort of voter. In most cases, such emails will come from sites weighed down by links already, and the greater the link:valuable content is, the lower the value of each additional link becomes. Chances are, if they’ve contacted you (usually via automated software) they stand to benefit from your link much more than you from theirs. Don’t be tempted by offers of dodgy links. Bide your time, and grow your backlinks in a more organic way, and Google will love you forever. 

Peak Keyword

Back in Web 1.0, you could happily stuff a page with keywords, safe in the knowledge that this unsophisticated metric was given credence by search engines. Those days are gone. Now, when Google bots crawl a page crammed with keywords, they will consign that page to the bottom of the results.

Link Overload

Placing relevant links in your article is a key part of creating useful content – but overdo it with extraneous links and you will be stung by the search engines.

Comments

Just as link building needs to be done slowly and with great care, commenting on others’ blogs as a way of boosting your online profile can be a positive organic approach. But as with all good SEO practices, you need a rich mixture of tactics to get real results. Even if you’re only leaving comments of value, blog commenting for the sole purpose of building links is nothing less than spam.

May 28, 2014

Mobile Tech Saving Small Businesses Billions

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A compelling survey commissioned by AT & T claims small and medium sized businesses in the US have saved $67.5 billion a year by adopting mobile marketing tactics like SMS messaging and mobile coupons. Smartphone targeting has almost achieved full market penetration, with 94% of small businesses using them, up from 85% last year. Smartphones are saving companies 1.24 billion hours and $32.3 billion annually, according to the report.

Other mobile devices are having a similar impact on commerce. Tablets purportedly save $19.6 billion, and a staggering 754.2 million hours annually. Mobile apps have given back close to 600 man hours to small businesses, and saved them $15.6 billion per year.

Clearly, these figures spell fantastic news for budget-conscious startups. Entrepreneurs can now pump that surplus time and cash back into their business to increase productivity and improve customer engagement. Cost-cutting measures are welcomed by any business, of whatever size – but it’s the time saving possibilities that are relished most by survey respondents: 9 out of 10 small businesses who use mobile applications said the principal benefit was reducing man hours, and most of those estimate annual savings of up to $6000. 

Cathy Martine, AT & T’s president of enterprise business solutions said in an accompanying statement:

"In the current economy, mobile technologies are critical to enabling small businesses to save tremendous amounts of time and money by helping them do more with less. As a result, we're seeing more and more small business owners and employees turning to mobile technologies to not only keep them connected but to put them ahead of the curve." 

As a mobile marketing strategy, well-designed apps put brand recognition and awareness firmly in the hands of business owners, allowing them to offer a proprietary tool capable of boosting ROIs without absorbing the long-term costs usually associated with traditional marketing campaigns. The use of mobile apps has increased by 65% in the last two years alone. Some 77% are using multiple apps, and a significant 5% uses 20 or more apps, with GPS and mapping programs comprising the lion’s share.

One of the most striking benefits of mobile apps is the ‘open all hours’ appeal. According to the survey, the average number of days on which business is conducted via smartphone exceeds the average number of days the company is open for business. While small and medium sized businesses are open for an average of 5.7 days per week, close to half of all respondents with smartphones are making deals seven days a week.

The lessons are clear: if you are a small business and you still don’t have a mobile marketing strategy, now is the time to join the party. The results are proven to be fast and affordable, so get with mobile marketing now, and you will feel the benefit before the year is out. 

May 16, 2014

Keeping Your Reputation in Check

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Reputation management is a key part of any comprehensive marketing campaign. Where more traditional marketing techniques actively promote your business, reputation management attempts to stem any negative feedback or outright calumny that may haunt your online presence.

When you think about how easy it is to go online and spread false or ill-founded information about an individual or a business, it becomes obvious why reputation marketing is so invaluable. To wit, an example:

Joe Pubblico runs a small chain of Italian restaurants. They are well regarded throughout the local area, and even attract visitors from far-off places. The food is fantastic, and the ad campaign is well executed. Their mobile marketing strategy includes regular discounts (and discounts for regulars!) and they let people know about special offers via SMS messaging.

For a mid-priced franchise, Pubblico’s is about as good as it gets. The notices on Yelp, GrubHub and other culinary user review sites are all excellent. Trouble is, Joe has a personal falling out with an old friend. It’s nothing to do with business, and the restaurants continue the same high level of service their customers have gotten used to. But Joe’s ex-friend holds a grudge, and has a lot of time on his hands. Using different names, he leaves multiple bad reviews on the aforementioned sites in which he claims Joe’s outlets offer poor service, worse food, and have a problem with pests.

After years of building his business, investing money in SMS messaging and online mobile marketing campaigns, Joe is threatened with ruin by these defamatory claims. While it may be time consuming and ultimately pointless to pursue the removal of anonymous reviews, one thing Joe can do is generate his own good publicity online. If executed in the right way, a reputation marketing campaign will serve to push down the negative reviews and leave only the fair reviews.

SMS messaging can play a part in this reputation restoration. After all, Joe has a long, loyal list of contacts whom he can reach out to, either to ask for online support, or simply to warn them of the defamation that’s going on regarding his business.

However Joe does it, the bottom line is this: great reviews convert new customers, bad reviews put them off. Studies have shown that more than 70% of potential customers trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation. For small business owners, developing a five star reputation through SMS messaging and other forms of mobile marketing is the hardest thing they need to do - but keeping that reputation doesn’t necessarily come easy.

 

May 12, 2014

Getting Personal with Customers

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SMS messaging is a personal communication medium. People associate text messages with family and friends, so using it for business purposes should emulate that sense of personal connection. A well-crafted, empathetic SMS marketing campaign will help you foster and sustain long term relationships with customers.

The art of an effective SMS campaign means striking the right balance between intimacy, professionalism and old-fashioned value for money. Texts must be timely, relevant and appropriate – and businesses have to recognize that these metrics will vary from customer to customer.

It really works. According to a survey run in April 2011 by the e-tailing Group and MyBuys, 46% of respondents were more likely to buy from retailers who personalized their experience, and 66% of respondents expected a more personalized experience if they were part of loyalty program.

In order to achieve a personalized mobile marketing strategy, you need to know as much as possible about the individuals who opt in to your SMS messaging list. If you run a restaurant, you need to find out food preferences. If you run a venue, you need know what sort of music people like, and so on. This information can be obtained via social media engagement, or through surveys and polls conducted on your website. A combination of multiple channels will yield the best results, as each avenue will generate different levels of detail. The more information you have, the more personal you can make your mobile marketing campaign.

It’s not just information harvested from survey submissions that’s useful. Simple details like zip codes and time zones can tell you a surprising amount about personal preferences.

As long as you use this information in the right way, you will reap the benefits of an SMS messaging campaign. Remember, most consumers prefer to engage via text, so provided you contact them at appropriate times, send them relevant information, and always offer something of value, your personalized campaign will prove effective. 

May 09, 2014

Emergency Text Message Alerts Come to Richardson, TX

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In the event of an emergency, reaching help as quickly as possible can make all the difference when it comes to saving people’s lives. This is why many public agencies today support text-to-911 availability. Richardson, a city in North Texas, is just one of the latest places in the United States to embrace the use of emergency mobile text message alerts. Individuals in Richardson can now contact 911 from any device, any time, day or night. 

While there may be some who still prefer to make a phone call in the event of an emergency, law enforcement officials are in favor of the new text messaging system for several reasons:

Texting in an Emergency May be Safer

Emergency operators and 911 workers have pointed out that in certain dangerous situations, texting could be the only life-saving option. For instance, if the person trying to reach 911 needs to hide for his or her own safety, then talking on the phone could prove to be extremely dangerous, whereas texting can silently ensure that help is on the way.

Emergency Text Messaging for Individuals with Hearing Impairment

While deaf and hearing impaired individuals may reach 911 through TTY/TDD relay services, the unfortunate truth is that using such a system adds potentially life-threatening minutes to the time it takes to respond to emergencies. Andrew Phillips, who is an attorney for the National Association of the Deaf, says that there are unfortunate cases in which individuals with hearing impairment have had difficulty getting help quickly. This has been especially true on mobile devices, which are often better suited for texting.

Texting Capabilities and Public Expectations

The fact that smartphones today are in reality multimedia devices, allowing users to attach photos or videos that they've captured, for instance, means that mobile messaging has incredible potential as a crime-solving tool. Thanks to the new emergency text messaging initiative, it is hoped that emergency agencies in Richardson, TX and elsewhere will soon begin receiving essential photo and video data in addition to texted information about what is occurring and where.

The truth is that more and more people, especially younger individuals, expect to be able to communicate via text, regardless of what the context may be. Texting, rather than making a phone call, has increasingly become the public's first instinct, and North Texas and other areas of the country are beginning to respond to this demand. While some Richardson area public safety agencies still lack the technology for this texting system, plans to upgrade are already underway.

Logistics and Making it Work

While T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless are currently the only carriers that have made the upgrades necessary for sending text messages to 911, AT&T is also making progress on similar upgrades; and Richardson's system is expected to be fully operational this summer. Once it is running, 911 call-takers will be able to receive texts and respond from their computers, asking mobile users the same questions they would ask when receiving emergency phone calls.

It will likely take some time for many local residents to get used to having text-to-911 as an option. However, emergency call workers and public safety experts believe that once people have heard local success stories, texting to 911 will become a commonly used and significant life-saving tool.

April 28, 2014

How SMS Messaging is Cutting Patient Wait Times in the UK

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We’ve heard a lot about the health industry’s slowness in catching on to the benefits of SMS messaging and other useful technology. In part, this hesitance is down to entrenched ideas about patient security, but it’s also about restricted budgets and old-fashioned reluctance to change.

In Great Britain, healthcare professionals are slowly coming around to the potential benefits of using SMS messaging between staff and patients. Patient waiting times is one of the hottest issues for the NHS – and one of the most easily solved through the power of text.

An automated SMS messaging system is being trialed across the UK. It gives patients the option to change, accept or receive alternative appointment dates. Did-not-attend rates (DNA) – one of the biggest causes of waiting times – dropped 20% in two hospitals after the rollout.

The NHS made the move in response to a survey that indicated 91% of patients would accept last-minute appointments if a cancellation freed up time – even with only a day or two’s notice. The pilot scheme shows some 50% of cancelled appointments could be refilled using SMS messaging.

Such clear, indisputable successes bode well for the future of SMS in the healthcare setting, which is beholden to tight budget targets. Using extant technology capable of communicating with patients smartphones is the logical answer decreasing the burden on hospital infrastructure.

There’s also an indication that the ease of communication is transformative for the patient experience. Combining SMS with online services, hospitals can engage the difficult younger demographic who make up the majority of DNAs – and most of whom own a smartphone.

Such creative use of existing technology is contributing significantly to the fight to reduce missed appointments, late cancellations, and the failures to meet 18 week deadlines on waiting times. SMS messaging won't solve everything, but it’s freeing up time and resources that can focus on fixing other problems in the NHS.

And there’s no shortage of problems for a health system under increasing threat from spending cuts. Government figures from earlier this year show 2.9 million people were waiting for treatment in the first month of 2014 – up by 362,000 from January 2013. The number of patients who were not treated within 18 weeks also rose.

If these trends are to be reversed, SMS messaging could hold the key. If the pilot is expanded into a systemic policy implemented across all NHS hospitals, the British public will find out...