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?

 

 

Google Glass Coming Soon? I Just Don't See It

Google Glass Coming Soon? I Just Don't See It
I can cross one worry off the minds of small and medium size business owners. You’re as likely in the next year to see someone in your establishment wearing Google Glass as you are of a Martian handing you a fake ID to get a case of Red Bull for the long, long ride home.

Still, there are those who predict the imminent arrival and mass adoption of these futuristic goggles that provide an augmented view of surroundings in fun and useful ways (walking directions, for instance).

Google Glass was among the most discussed technologies at South y Southwest Interactive. I saw tweets calling attention to an immense line behind one who was wearing them.

So what’s real?

Google recently announced how fans will be able to get their hands on what Forbes called “futuristic goggles that function like a wearable smartphone.”

In February, the company started an application process for creative "Explorers" who will get to try the first 8,000 pairs of Google Glass. The company said it was looking for "bold, creative individuals who want to join us and be a part of shaping the future of Glass."

These "Explorers" will have to pay $1,500 for their pair of goggles, and will have to pick up their pair of goggles at a special event in San Francisco, New York, or Los Angeles. All applicants had to tell the company what they'd do with the glasses (in 50 words or less) and could submit a few photos or a short video to help illustrate how badly they wanted Glass.

Winners will be announced this month.

While Google is looking to bring real reality to the situation by saying that it is in the “early stages” of development, I heard talk at SXSW about augmented reality becoming commonplace within a couple of years or sooner. There was even a prediction that mobile devices won’t be used anymore because Glass and similar products will do everything and more that a consumer could imagine.

What’s the small and medium size business owner to make of all this?

Don’t spend a single dime in the foreseeable future reacting to what may or may not come to be. Like everything else, we need to weigh possible impacts and put time and effort in accordingly.

In the case of Google Glass, I just don’t see the moment of concern anytime soon.

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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.

Google Glass Coming Soon? I Just Don't See It

Multi-Year Plans and Scaled Up Mobile Investments

Forrester is out with key mobile trends, and whether you are a Fortune 50 marketer with a large budget or a small or medium sized business trying to find promotional money, the list is a must-read.

The industry analyst firm’s trends for 2013 center on multiyear plans and scaled-up investments.

“Mobile’s dynamics of immediacy and ubiquity will challenge the notion that mobile is immature,” Forrester said in a report http://blogs.forrester.com/thomas_husson/13-02-14-2013_mobile_trends_for_mark.... “Innovators will overcome any concerns about maturity to make big, strategic investments in mobile to pull ahead of their competitors. Differentiating with mobile will require marketers to develop the multiyear visions required to drive real change in their business and their approach to implementing mobile services.”

Multi-Year Plans and Scaled Up Mobile Investments
Forrester wisely calls upon marketers and business owners to address two separate use cases for phones and tablets – tablets are used more in home and for longer periods than phones that are mainly used to find things around the mobile device owner.

As to which one to turn to first, Forrester says, “tablets will be the biggest short-term disruptors.”

Also, Forrester predicts more in-house mobile expertise and brands and other businesses looking to “engage a senior executive capable of taking the lead on mobile. Build a staffing plan based on your long term strategy.”

Forrester does not give a timeline for this change to happen, but it does say that the testing days are in the past.

“Mobile on the cheap is over,” the report says. “Implementing the complex technology to make the most of mobile opportunities requires a new vision of how to interact with customers, significant changes in culture and competencies across business and IT, and more investment.”

While there is little new here, it is an important report given Forrester’s vast understanding of the industry and the insights it gleaned from its relationships with brands and agencies.

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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.

Multi-Year Plans and Scaled Up Mobile Investments

 

Face Facts That Even Facebook Loses Its Luster Over Time

Face Facts That Even Facebook Loses Its Luster Over Time
For a lesson on the need to hedge marketing bets, note the new Pew Research Center study that more than six in 10 take breaks from Facebook that last a period of several weeks or longer.

According to Pew, http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Coming-and-going-on-facebook.aspx ,two-thirds of online American adults are Facebook users, making Facebook the dominant social networking site in this country. That fact alone is often enough for many small and medium sized businesses to commit to spending on Facebook.

But consider what Pew is telling us – times and interests change. Of the 61 percent who leave Facebook at least temporarily, the largest group -- 21 percent -- said that their “Facebook vacation” was a result of being too busy with other demands or not having time to spend on the site. Others pointed toward a general lack of interest in the site itself (10 percent mentioned this in one way or another), an absence of compelling content (10 percent), excessive gossip or “drama” from their friends (9 percent), or concerns that they were spending too much time on the site and needed to take a break (8 percent).

Also, 20 percent of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so, according to Pew.

Facebook has several options for small and medium sized business including ones tied to mobile. For instance, Nearby allows users in a mobile application to discover new places their friends like.

Beyond that, businesses can tap into Sponsored Stories that recommends brand pages and content based on friends' activities. Early results showed effectiveness of ads 12 times higher on mobile compared to desktop on average, plus the ads were 45 percent less expensive.

Another option is Promoted Posts that uses the News Feed to highlight content from pages that a user’s friends Like.

The upshot of the Pew study: much like a business can’t carry just one style of shoe or suit, it should use even limited promotional dollars in diversified ways to cover the changes interests of customers and prospects.

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This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program <http://goo.gl/S6P7m>, 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.

 

Face Facts That Even Facebook Loses Its Luster Over Time