I recently decided to make a splurge purchase on a designer handbag. I went with a designer who is fairly new on my radar but instantly caught my eye in the store. Upon careful investigation of the bag, I found a business card that seemed to be left behind with a phone number, name and “Call me” written on it. At checkout, the saleswoman explained that this was a signature item included in all of the designer’s purses.
With nearly 110 million Americans carrying a mobile device, many companies still do not grasp the importance of having a mobile strategy and, in this specific case, an SMS/text message strategy.
If you want to be where your consumers are, there’s a good chance they’re currently checking their phones. In 2011, Americans sent over 2.3 trillion text messages – that’s 6.3 billion texts a day.
Text Message Marketing or SMS Marketing allows a company to directly and intimately speak to their most valuable and loyal customers. While a good call to action is the first step to incentivizing your consumer, a well-executed follow-up that continues the engagement and builds on the relationship is just as important. Some examples include: subscribe for special updates or sales/discounts, join our fan club, or receive special industry tips.
Texting is the most frequently used channel for personal communication for adults under 35, but since text message marketing is opt-in only, you are respecting their privacy. Still don’t believe in mobile marketing?
- 90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of being received.
- Marketing texts have an open rate of 97%, while email is around 10%.
The rise of mobile marketing is evident for 2013 and although some companies are taking full advantage of this opportunity, it is important to evaluate whether a mobile strategy is the right fit for you.
Has your company found success with a mobile marketing strategy? As a consumer, have you ever been sold on a company’s mobile strategy?
This time of the year brings out a sleigh full of consumer insights based on actual shopping behavior that delight marketers’ understanding of today’s consumer. Noted below are a few stocking stuffers as gleaned from Experian Simmons and Acxiom during the current holiday period:
- Forty-five percent (45%) of holiday season emails are being opened on mobile – up slightly from the just prior to the season.
- Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday saw major increases in both online traffic and email volume. Thanksgiving Day online traffic increased 6% in 2012 versus 2011, and Cyber Monday traffic increased by 11%. Likewise, email volume was up 23% on Thanksgiving and 29% on Cyber Monday.
- Led by Black Friday offers, campaigns with offers in the subject line made up almost 30% of all campaigns sent this past week.
- For the week of 11/17/2012, visits to Cyber Monday websites increased by 259% compared to last year.
- Describing your brand as ‘Best’ in the subject line leads to the highest open and click rates for gift guides.
Forty-two percent (42%) of US adults have purchased gift cards in the past year.
And here is the answer to that annual question “What is this year’s hot item” based on search queries:
- Cyber Monday capped the weekend off with a 30% jump from last year, showing retail peaks at roughly 11:23 a.m. EST.Monday was a great day to use company time to get your shopping done. Good news is, many were not using the company network to tie up traffic as there was a tremendous shift to mobile browsing and more importantly mobile shopping/commerce ( 2X over last year).
- With over 7% of holiday retails sales attributed to some form of tablet purchase, online user experience will be all about touch-based navigation.
- While mobile is shifting online behaviors, consumer adoption of mobile payment services is also rising. PayPal reported a 200% increase in transactions through this past weekend.
What here surprises you?
Recently, The Wall Street Journal ran an article on the experiences of Rachel Emma Silverman, who literally was a robot in her office for several weeks this summer. She became a lot like R2D2—only better. She worked remotely from Austin, TX, but used a QB-82 robot on wheels to replicate her physical presence in New York, NY. As it tooled around the New York office, it showed her face and emitted her voice. How cool!
Called a “telepresence robot,” the idea is to semi-humanize a remote co-worker in order to better facilitate collaboration and increase productivity. As if that concept wasn’t interesting enough, there’s another, even more useful, insight. Apparently, research has verified that employees are more open with human-operated robots than with human colleagues.
Now, imagine if marketers were able to take this idea one step further and apply it to consumer research. If robots can provide more honest, real time feedback on traffic drivers, shopping behaviors, product features, user experience, customer needs and expectations, it would make the $9,700 cost per robot a true bargain.
When you think about it, one evening crowded in a dark room eating M&M’s at a focus group often costs more and yields less. And like all technology, the price is certain to come down as demand goes up.
Besides, it would be fun to roll around the aisle of a grocery, department or big box store talking to shoppers and customers. Surely every CEO and CMO will want one. What better way to conveniently get out there and listen first-hand to what your most important stakeholder has to say!
So, which of you will be the first? And perhaps more importantly, what will you name your robot?
Public transportation. Riders have a love-hate relationship with it. We’re all big fans when our trip runs smoothly, but how about when it doesn’t?
Enter Designing Chicago, a new platform that connects people to the city. The concept of its first project, titled “New Tools for Public Transit,” was created by George and Sara Aye, founders of the Greater Good Studio in Chicago. Their mission is to solve social problems, starting with one that seems to always have people complaining — public transportation.
The idea is to allow Chicagoans to participate in the creation of a transit mobile app. This app will connect the city’s transportation schedules from one interface and ask urban dwellers to share ideas, express needs or start conversations around city navigation.
Collecting input from Chicagoans, “Urban Scouts” will be sent out in the city to gather as much information as they can about transportation: what people think about it, what they like/dislike, what’s working and what’s not.
This participatory project will gather information from multiple perspectives: young and old, Chicago natives and first time visitors. The data collected will then help craft the app to give people the knowledge they need to navigate Chicago.
The purpose of the app is to alleviate the stress of traveling by making a rider’s trip run as smoothly as possible. The app could have a scan code to pay on your phone, an alarm to alert you before your stop and even a locator for bike parking, car sharing or taxis.
Weather recaps, money tracking, gas saving – these are just a few of the ideas Designing Chicago has come up with, and more from the public are flooding in. For the mobile world, this concept of getting consumers involved in the process of creating an app seems like a great idea.
Why not let the future users of the app contribute to what goes into it? This approach gets everyone excited because people enjoy feeling like they are a part of something. The users of the app will be able to follow its creation and contribute ideas along the way.
Will this attempt to create the ultimate transportation app be a success? Currently in the research and development phase, it is still too early to tell. Whether or not this app is built and released, the idea alone is one that has stirred interesting conversation. Could this be an approach that companies may see fit? If social media is more heavily integrated with this type of crowd-centric project, a much wider audience could be reached.
It’s one of the most intriguing entrants into retail energy… iPowerPlay. This start-up is purportedly bringing electricity consumer engagement into the realm of social and mobile media through a proprietary technology platform that they will also license to other electricity providers.
[Just in case your next move is to go look for their website, keep in mind that iPowerPlay is also the name of an iTunes app you can purchase for ¢.99, as well as the moniker of an Xbox gamer.]
Based on their website, iPowerPlay seeks to be (yet) another “Power to the People” provider who “Makes Energy Easy.” How they will do this is a bit murky at this point. But it’s early days for this new entrant. This June, iPowerPlay filed for an aggregator’s license in Texas, so we may see a nonmunicipal, bulk energy buying model emerge.
Presently, they are conducting an interesting, limited pilot program in California and Texas. By signing up, and giving iPowerPlay access to their smart meter account, homeowners and businesses in select areas can receive social media, email, text, and app alerts every month about their energy usage, and a cash reward for voluntarily (and manually) turning down their air conditioners during peak periods.
Utilities offer this type of program to customers who have to install a special thermostat and allow the utility to automatically turn their air conditioning up during peak usage periods. In exchange, customers earn bill credits. This “big brother” approach is distasteful to many consumers. iPowerPlay’s take may be a more palatable model; however, it’s unclear how and if iPowerPlay can make it profitable.
Brand development, student enrollment, alumni engagement, student retention; all were key issues on the minds of attendees at this year’s annual CASE V higher education conference in Chicago. While many marketers have indicated they lack an accountable marketing and communications plan, it’s not from lack of internal resources. In fact, many are lucky to have creative directors and writers on staff to assist with web sites, social media, and ad hoc materials. The pain point seems to be more focused on the internal obstacles these marketers face from multiple internal “clients” and constituencies with little appreciation for marketing initiatives. There is also an overriding sense of ownership from uncooperative departments that exercise violations of brand guidelines, such as unauthorized variations of logos or departmental web pages that deviate from the approved color palette, layout or tonality.
There is a clear shift from printed matter to digital production in the higher ed sector. Interestingly, even the most prized of show pieces, the view book, was featured in a seminar and roundtable as now going print on-demand, and an iPad app. Student portals, mini-sites, social media are now the distribution points for news and information. And as if making a big statement, the crescendo rose as the concluding session focused on mobile web sites and apps as the next frontier for student, alumni and friends communication. (Did you know that 85% of parents prefer to view a web site over a printed piece? And 79% prefer a mobile web site over a mobile app).
We’re excited that higher education marketers are participating in the shift to digital communications. To students, parents and alumni, it’s how valued communication is delivered that matters.
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