Mobile and Picture-Taking: Share and Share Some More

I was asked by Mobile Marketer whether mobile has a place in Vanity Fair's Best-Dressed Challenge. My response? A place at the front of the line. 

“Mobile is ideal for a contest that combines picture taking, sharing, a prize and vanity," I told the publication. "It creates buzz, competition, fun and a viral element. Vanity Fair will surely post photos of the contenders and maybe the pretenders, giving those interested more reasons to visit and revisit the web site."

The full article is here - http://www.luxurydaily.com/vanity-fair-boosts-awareness-for-best-dressed-challenge-via-flashy-mobile-ads/

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Listening and Transparency Are More Important Than Ever In Mobile Age

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In previous posts, I’ve talked about the dramatic change at retail with what I call the “megaphone” effect. In case you missed those writings, I’m a firm believer that at the “Moments of Trust” touchpoints bringing together a consumer and a business, the individual has an amped-up and important voice regardless of whether he or she carries a smartphone or a feature phone.

At these “Moments of Trust” that impact sales and brand loyalty, consumers express their pleasure, displeasure or indifference (which may be worst of all) via instantly posting their words, photos or videos on social networks, or by texting to those in their worlds. It doesn’t take the most sophisticated phone or the most technical of mobile user. It just takes a megaphone.

I bring the subject up again after reading Why SMBs Should Embrace Negative Customer Feedback, a post on cfo.com http://www3.cfo.com/article/2013/4/social-media_reputation-management-risk-growth-smb-1saleaday-federman-customer-feedback?currpage=0.

In it, an employee for daily deals site 1SaleADay.com wrote about the comments his business received after it began selling a credit card pocketknife, a utility knife that folds into the size of a credit card.

Soon after, a customer in law enforcement posted the following message, criticizing the sale of the product:

“As a Law Enforcement Officer, I do not appreciate you selling items that criminals can easily hide... As a result of you selling this product, I will no longer be your customer, and will be spreading the word, via word of mouth and social media, for people to stop buying from your website.”

The remarks were out of the ordinary with most daily input coming about shipping and returns.

But knowing that BIA/Kelsey estimates that small businesses spent $1.6 billion managing their online reputations in 2011, and are projected to spend more than $5 billion a year by 2015, 1SaleADay.com decided to be transparent and open to dialogue to its 420,000 active Facebook fans.

“From a financial perspective it was important for us to survey our consumers to ascertain whether this particular consumer’s sentiment was more widespread,” the author wrote in the cfo.com post. “We decided that if the reaction to selling the knife was overwhelmingly negative, we would reconsider whether to sell this product because it would hurt our bottom line by alienating existing customers. On the other hand, there was also a concern that by soliciting feedback we would draw unnecessary attention to this issue and bring out otherwise latent criticism.”

Within 24 hours, the company received over 750 comments. Many of those that left comments were appreciative that the company was seeking their perspective. The vast majority agreed with the decision to list the knife, pointing out that other major retailers sell the same and similar knives. One comment, which received over 220 independent likes, said, "I don't appreciate the law enforcement officer trying to tell me what I should and shouldn't buy, because I haven't done anything to forfeit that right."

Which brings me back to the in-store experience. It’s no different than what happened in this case online (in fact, by 2015 more will be viewing the Web on a mobile device than PC).

Small and medium sized businesses compete and often win on the personal touch, and by knowing and listening to the customer. This is even more critical in the mobile era with speed to comment and influence happening at a blistering pace.

1SaleADay.com took a negative and turned it into a large positive. It’s a lesson worth remembering.

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This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program http://Goo.gl/t3fgW, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

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Notes From A Mobilized Marketer - The Apps Make Us Lazy Edition

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Are smartphone apps making us "the ultimate consumer but also kind of lazy"?  Only if we let them.

There are 10 million active users of Starbucks mobile apps - and that's before bigger push into grocery stores.

You know what holds back mobile? Dumb stuff like this headline - Mobile Will Complement TV, Not Replace It. No kidding.

A BBC survey said that viewers expect more advertising than currently on multiple platforms. They said expect, not want.

I read a piece claiming that the use of mobile apps is behind the decline of American Idol and Survivor. It’s a combination of things including viewer fatigue on these shows.

Meanwhile, a study says that 80 percent of TV viewers 18-24 use a phone or tablet. The good news is that they include television in their lives.

Will Google Glasses sell on the benefit of taking photos in a second or two versus a slightly longer time with smartphones?

For all of its supposed troubles, Apple has to love a new Yankee Group survey – 91 percent of iPhone users plan to buy an iPhone for their next smartphone.

Every day, more photos are taken with an iPhone than with any other camera. And that spans age groups.

The Washington Attorney General slammed T-Mobile over deceptive ‘no-contract’ ads. An agreement is a contract – simple.

I saw a story that made the claim that the call-to-action is ruining ads. I couldn't disagree more. Ford drove a 15.4 percent lead conversion that way. Failure?

Malware and viruses in #QR codes?  That’s more ammunition for the doubters.

Sprint CEO: Wireless operators need to focus on profitability. You think?

In four years, there will be 10 million shipments of Google Glass and similar devices, according to an analyst. That’s large but not when compared to six billion phones.

Notes From A Mobilized Marketer - The Punishment Edition

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Great – a to-do list app that punishes you for not getting things done. I have a wife for that.

According to recent research, kids born today will spend about 25 percent of their lives looking at screens. Not blackboards. Not printed books. Not the world around them.

A mainstay just a couple of years ago, digital cameras look like dinosaurs in this mobile era.

Rave reviews for Yahoo's revamped mobile weather app. Pretty? Yes. Stop the rain from falling? Nope.

Devices are reportedly getting 20 percent of search budgets as spending rises dramatically. That’s because of the actions mobile users take after the search.

Can Verizon customers end wireless contracts with petition signatures? Not if it doesn't pencil out for the carrier.

Facebook hired the former Apple Maps boss. Did it take this long to find him?

A way out there Facebook Home TV spot makes the claim that the product is so awesome, you won't even listen to Zuck.

As said in the New York Times, "People don't want a fair price. They want a great deal." That’s true everywhere, certainly so on mobile.

A survey said that 71 percent say “nothing” could get them to buy a BlackBerry. That says to me that 29 percent are there to be convinced. Opportunity.

More than 500,000 new magazines were created in two weeks by Flipboard's 53 million users. Personalization wins again.

Phabulous news. Samsung introduced the Mega, a larger phablet. It will be available in Russia in May. You in? I will never buy a product called a phablet.

An indicator of a pickup in the housing market? Zillow says 89 homes are viewed per second on mobile devices.

For all talk of on-the-go mobile searcher, a great majority of activity happens in the home or office, according to research by Google and Nielsen.

I'll Take Mobile Ads Over Minutae From Facebook Friends

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More ads are coming to Facebook and Foursquare mobile users, actions that should be as much of a surprise as another irrelevant local “deal” hitting our inboxes.

Facebook said little about advertisements during its Home introduction. To me that says either they didn’t want to bring up the subject or they haven’t fleshed out the details and weren’t prepared to talk about a half-baked plan. Most likely, it’s both.

CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s unveiling of the product was described as an opportunity to give mobile owners the ability to see the world through people instead of apps. This road has been traveled before – Windows Phone positions itself similarly. And it hasn’t been a home run for Microsoft.

For some, mobile phones aren’t about people. They are about self.  Mobile is the ultimate personalization product – the phone rings the way we want it to, looks the way we want it to, and has just the content, including photos and apps, that we want.

Few, very few would choose to see brand messages in their Facebook feed, but at the risk of offending my friends, I’ll take a relevant offer for me from a business 100 times out of 100 if the alternative is seeing the 16th picture of the kid playing soccer. Really, that goes for the third or fourth Instagram on.

As to Foursquare, according to Advertising Age, the company has started pitching digital agencies on a new ad product that would use Foursquare's location and behavioral data to contextualize ads on other platforms.

The ad product is still in development and will eventually allow advertisers to use Foursquare data to target ads purchased through ad exchanges or networks, according to the publication.

When launched, it will mark Foursquare's first attempt to generate revenue outside promoted listings and specials advertised within its app. That certainly is necessary given that the four-year-old company reportedly had only $2 million in revenue in 2012.

Ken Allard, managing director of global business strategy at digital agency Huge, a unit of IPG, told Advertising Age that Foursquare's "unique and proprietary data is incredibly valuable."

Of course, that remains to be seen. For me, it has to be better than that third shot of 4-year-old Johnny and his buddies trying to head a soccer ball in the rain. Seeing that has never been my goal.

(article first appeared on imediaconnection.com - http://blogs.imediaconnection.com/blog/2013/04/16/i’m-all-for-mobile-ads-over-minutiae-from-facebook-friends/?imcid=nav)

Facebook Seeking To Be More of a “Home” For SMBs

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Small and medium size businesses looking at the news-making but unproven Facebook Home would benefit from taking a broader view of the massive social network and how it could drive sales and loyalty.

According to new statistics from Facebook, only 3 percent of the small business ad spend goes online (versus 16 percent for big businesses, according to a statistic quoted by Techcrunch). That’s despite the fact that there are 2 billion connections between people and small businesses on Facebook, and their Pages get 645 million views and 13 million comments a week.

And that was before Facebook’s Home product hit select Android devices, further immersing those mobile users who choose to use it to get closer to the people and businesses that matter to them.

Beyond the funds necessary for marketing, barriers for small and medium size businesses are time, knowledge of Facebook’s offerings, and a level of difficulty in creating, monitoring, and optimizing campaigns.

Facebook launched a small business education program, in 2011, partnering with the National Federation of Independent Business and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Now it is kicking up its efforts, going to such small towns as Dixon, Illinois to show how Facebook is as much a tool for the corner store as it is for a Fortune 500 company.

According to Facebook, small businesses in Dixon use Facebook Groups to plan and Facebook Pages to promote events in their town including Second Saturdays, a monthly event where Dixon shops feature the work of local artists in their stores.

Lisa Higby LeFevre, co-owner of Distinctive Gardens garden center, provided these tips after saying that she saw a 40 percent increase in revenue from peak season sales – promoted solely on Facebook:

Create a Facebook Group with other small businesses in your community to plan and brainstorm about events and promotions you can do together, like Second Saturdays or Sauk Valley Shop Small, another event where the small businesses in their region encourage people to shop at small businesses.  

Build a Facebook Page to communicate with the community and publicize your events.

Use Facebook ads to get more people in your community to follow your Facebook Page, reach your customers and attract new ones.

This is solid advice. As to the use of Facebook Home, which in a nutshell is a takeover of the smartphone homescreen for everything Facebook, ads are not yet included in the product. But they are coming and could be another tool for the small and medium to win some battles with the bigs. Or they could be a bust. Either way, they need to be on the radar for SMBs.

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This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program http://Goo.gl/t3fgW, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

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Findings? How About Half-Truths?

Forrester Research got headlines with its new digital marketing report, but did it get everything right? Hardly.

It’s unknown if the $499 report was shared in its entirety with reporters and bloggers. I certainly haven’t received it.

What I have seen are a slew or posts that portray the report based on a survey of 58,000 online consumers as an indictment of text messages from brands.

“Text message communications were the least trusted, while online banner ads barely rated above spammy SMS in the trust stakes,” wrote Techcrunch.

Findings? How About Half-Truths?

What?

Brands don’t send “smammy” text messages, at least in any meaningful number. Rules established by the carriers and Mobile Marketing Association prohibit dissemination of texts by brands without a consumer requested one after a call to action or an opt-in to a permission-based database. If a brand does send such a message, it is often shut down by the mobile operators.

Do mobile users want to join such loyalty clubs? Hipcricket annual surveys consistently have shown about one third of those polled interested or very interested.

Once they are in, do mobile subscribers opt out? Not in large numbers – something well less than 5 percent in my experience.

Do SMS programs work? Readers of my Mobilized Marketing book know the answer is yes. Ford drove a 15.4 percent lead conversion by adding SMS calls to action to traditional media. A car dealer sold 34 automobiles in one day after not selling one for a month. A maid service had to hire more help after its sponsorship of a text to win ticket giveaway pushed demand beyond its capabilities. There are dozens of other examples in the book and thousands elsewhere.

What is a small or medium sized business to do?

Meet their customers and prospects on mobile. Mobile is not really a “nice to have” anymore. There are inexpensive ways to meet or beat expectations – something as simple as implementing a quick payment solution like Square, talking to their local radio station to sponsor a relatively inexpensive mobile-enabled promotion that could drive traffic, or even find an inexpensive way to create or enhance a mobile web presence. Google makes it easy at www.howtogomobile.com

Another way to is to listen in on many free webinars that talk about mobile marketing programs and share best practices. I’m conducting one April 10 for Market Motive and registration is free here - http://www.marketmotive.com/training/tutorials/conference-calls-and-workshops...>

I hope to see you there. Or at least on mobile.

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This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program  http://Goo.gl/t3fgW, whichprovides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. I’ve been compensated to contribute to this program, but the opinions expressed in this post are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies or opinions.

Findings? How About Half-Truths?