« February 2015 | Main | April 2015 »

6 posts from March 2015


Mobile Marketing Lessons from SXSW


South by Southwest (SXSW) made another big splash this year in Austin, Texas. As usual, the festival included a wide range of artistic, tech and interactive sessions that were both informational and entertaining. Mobile marketing and advertising were at the apex of popular discussions at the festival, so if you weren’t able to attend this year, here are the top mobile marketing lessons to take away from this year’s event:


Influence is King

For a long time, just reaching consumers was a marketer’s number one priority. With the popularization of handsets and mobile devices, this is no longer the case. Purchasing the right kind of media can get you where you want to go—but what do you do when you get there? At this year’s SXSW, attendees were told to shift their focus from strict number crunching and data analysis, and asked to embrace consumers as living, breathing human beings. The expected gain is two-fold: by solving real life problems for consumers with advantageous products and services, marketers can expect to build trust and gain influence with their consumers. Influence was the buzzword this year, and providing a mobile/smart solution to a real world problem is one surefire way to create a mobile marketing success story. 


Goodbye CPI 

Cost per Install (CPI) can be a fairly ambiguous tool to measure marketing success. Mobile marketing agencies are competing for dollars just like everybody else, so when the numbers sound too good to be true, they probably are. Even some top name brands that showed up to SXSW didn’t have a clue when it came to mobile marketing (lecturers were quick to point that out) which is being taken advantage of by said agencies. The recommendation was unanimously a blend of measurable performance and high quality content. By spending a little more up front, marketers can expect greater returns in the future. 


App Store Optimization

There’s a lot of talk swirling around about ASO (App Store Optimization) and rumor has it: it’s not as important as marketers think it is…yet. In fact, during discussion panels, ASO was hardly addressed at all. While apps still have everyone’s attention, they’re absolutely no good to anyone if they don’t work, and most of that happens inside the app, in places no one ever sees. The take away is this: throwing money at ASO for an app that doesn’t serve the user very well is a huge waste of money. Focus on building an amazing app first.   


All About Product

The loudest mobile message at SXSW, aside from all the amazing musical performances, was a reminder that product should remain the nucleolus of any mobile marketing campaign. Marketing must always lead back to the product. High-priced marketers with zero product knowledge or experience will get you nowhere in the mobile space. Marketing teams should be product oriented while also executing a strategy that’s flexible enough to withstand suggestions or changes influenced by the marketing plan. Product and marketing need to have a give and take relationship. Creating the perfect balance should be the goal. 



The Story of SMS Donations for Disaster Relief


Text-to-donate programs have taken off in such a big way that it’s hard to recall quite when they started. Hurricane Katrina, certainly, was an early milestone, the first major disaster to collect SMS donations as part of the relief effort. Since then, organizations like the Red Cross and Christian Aid have increasingly focused on text-to-donate. It’s much more convenient for well-meaning but time-poor citizens who want to help but won’t go through the rigmarole of entering credit card details online.

Since Katrina, the victims of every major global disaster have in some way benefitted from SMS donations, but the concept of engaging the public en masse via their mobile devices has it’s roots in something more trivial: American Idol. 

Yes, the glorified talent contest. That American Idol. From the time the show launched in 2002, the voting system used to determine the public’s favorite singing sensation was largely SMS-based. It helped inspire AT&T engineer Marian Croak to develop a similar use for text messaging as a disaster relief tool during the aftermath of Katrina in 2005.

Rather than submitting votes via SMS, Croak came up with a way of allowing donors to give money simply by sending a text, the charge for which would show up on their next bill. She readily admits the soaring popularity of American Idol helped the general public get used to the idea of engaging with large organizations via SMS messaging. A poll conducted by her employers in 2008 found 22% of respondents reported to having learned to text as a direct result of the hit show’s voting system. The subsequent upsurge in text messaging undoubtedly contributed to the readiness of a mass audience to use the technology in new ways.

After the success of the Katrina relief program, SMS messaging took it’s place in the donation landscape, proving to be the perfect method for contributing ‘impulse’ donations. The relief effort for the 2010 earthquake in Haiti raised an unprecedented $30 million from SMS messaging. The bulk of the money came from single $10 donations but perhaps most significantly, text-to-donate allows organizations like the Red Cross to build a database of donors, making it easier to reach out for help during future crises.

The good news for charities and non-profit organizations is that AT&T, who patented Croak’s donation system in 2005, have no plans to monetize it. SMS messaging has proven the most effective way of getting more people to donate money to good causes, and long may it continue.


Has Texting Really Replaced Talking?


Text messaging has many advantages over talking. It’s quick, private and permanent and allows you to express a simple idea in a clear way. It also appears to be the preferred method of communication for the majority of people. For Millennials, SMS messaging vastly outperforms phone calls and emails – which is as good an indication of the way the wind is blowing as you can get.

According to Time Magazine, Americans aged 18-29 send and receive around 88 text messages per day, versus 17 phone calls. Nearly half of all teenagers say SMS messaging is the primary reason they own a mobile phone. Even the over-65s text more than they call.  

So what’s behind this paradigm shift in the way we communicate? Why do we prefer text? Well, it’s not as simple as preference. All dialogues are a two-way street. The medium through which the dialogue is conducted requires tacit agreement from both parties. A phone call achieves nothing if the other person doesn’t reply, whereas a text message conveys information irrespective of whether there is a response. It has already had a degree of success the moment it’s sent.

And as any worried parent of teenagers will tell you, placing a phone call in no way guarantees starting a conversation. Despite what they might think, it’s not always a case of simply ignoring the call. Teens – and the rest of us – often prefer to communicate via text because it gives them time to prepare a response. It also levels the playing field in terms of power, as all SMS look alike and can’t shout at you (save for capitalized entreaties!). For kids, who are used to adults looming over them and telling them what’s what, a text message looks pretty much the same whether from friend or father.

Of course, there are numerous advantages talking face-to-face has over texting. Everyone’s been on the receiving end of auto-corrected text messages that make no sense, and are not always spotted by the sender. That slows the conversation down, as does the very act of typing - few texters (except perhaps record breakers) can convey as much information in a short space of time as they would having a conversation.

SMS messaging is not appropriate for every kind of communique. An apology will seem more heartfelt delivered in person, and bad news should never be texted. But for chatting with friends, sending urgent short pieces of information that you want to be seen quickly and for interacting with brands and organizations, the text message is perfect. 

So has texting replaced talking? Of course not. It’s not an either-or situation. We live in an age of multi-tasking. Need to convey large volumes of complicated text to an individual? Send an email. Want to display videos in an open public forum? Start a website. Trying to break up with a partner? Do it face to face. 

But if you’ve just realized you’ve gone to the wrong pub to meet a friend and you want to let them know you’ll be 20 minutes late - it’s a text message all the way.





Havas Adds Gaming Expertise to their Mobile Marketing Empire


Communications group Havas has acquired mobile agency Plastic Mobile. The addition of the Canadian company to Havas’ existing services brings a wealth of expertise on user experience, design, strategy and engineering.  

Plastic Mobile is an award winning mobile marketing agency operating out of Toronto and New York City. Since 2007 the company has been a major player in mCommerce and app development, specializing in mobile wallets, mobile coupons and location-based marketing. As the new string to Havas’ bow, Plastic will further the group’s interests in Canada and the rest of North America. 

One of Plastic’s main areas of expertise is the game-ification of mobile marketing. A recent eMarketer report found that US mobile game revenues - including both downloads and in-app purchases - was expected to reach $3.04 billion this year. That’s a 16.5% increase from 2014. The same report also found that mobile gaming accounts for nearly a third of the entire mobile content market. 

Few analysts believe these figures represent the peak of mobile gaming. Smartphone ownership continues to rise; overall mobile device ownership (including tablets) has surpassed 200 million, and groups like Havas are capitalizing on this shifting consumer culture. Their new partners hope to play a major role in the future of mobile marketing. Melody Adhami, the president of Plastic Mobile, said of the merger: 

“As mobile continues along its explosive growth path, our agency recognised that it was the right time to join a large international group in order to continue our development and attract more Fortune 500 brands. Being part of Havas will enable us to benefit from the strategic advantages of a world leader in communications and its network of industry experts and global resources.”



Four Ways to Get the Most Out of Mobile Coupons


Mobile coupons are a key part of the mobile marketers arsenal, but if you’re new to the concept, you might not be sure how to wield their power effectively. Here are four ways of leveraging the power of mobile coupons to attract more customers:

Make ‘Em Feel Good

People love a good deal. Before the smartphone age, bargain-hunting shoppers would go to great lengths to find, cut out and keep coupons in printed media, so it stands to reason that the more convenient method of offering discounts via mobile coupons would catch on. Using mobile coupons in the right way will make your customers feel good about their shopping habits - and that’s a huge step towards ensuring they come back to you in future.

Grow Your Contact List

The knock-on effect of fostering a strong sense of brand loyalty among your customers is that they will be more amenable to opting in for notifications about future offers. Once they do opt in, it’s time for the sucker punch: a much higher discount than they could get without having signed up for alerts. A 50%-off or even 70%-off coupon, though it may seem high, will mark you out as a brand people want to engage with. Once you have a big list of contacts, you can stagger mobile coupons according to who signed up first. Even if each customer only gets a discount two or three times a year it’ll be enough to keep them opted in. 

Promote New Products or Services

Mobile coupons are a good way of letting people know about new products and services they may not be aware of. Send them a coupon with a discount and they might consider trying them out.

Save Time

For your business, and for your customers, the value of a mobile coupon goes beyond its face value. It’s obviously far cheaper and more convenient for companies to run a mobile marketing campaign than a print campaign. Think about how much time your customers save with a mobile coupon, compared with finding, clipping and organizing traditional coupons. According to some, mobile coupons are 10 times more likely to be redeemed than print coupons. Plus, mobile users have their phones with them round the clock, which means they’ll probably see your mobile coupon within minutes of receiving it.

When you consider these factors, it’s no wonder businesses are moving their marketing efforts to mobile. Not only will your business save time, money and effort with a mobile marketing strategy, your customers will too. And that’s a surefire way to get them coming back for more.


Why Starbucks is Leading the Way for Mobile Marketing Tactics


Starbucks is easily one of the most popular brands in the U.S., and the company also happens to be an SMS marketing leader. One of the first companies to wholeheartedly embrace mobile applications, Starbucks went on to develop several highly-effective SMS marketing campaigns. 

Check out three lessons to learn from the coffee giant: 

SMS Increases Brand Loyalty

SMS is an excellent way to increase brand loyalty. Connecting SMS marketing with mobile apps, exclusive deals, and loyalty memberships provides customers with more reasons to choose your brand...and stick with it. 

Starbucks’ SMS marketing effort resulted in a 75% increase in mobile sales over the last year. The company also discovered two times as many customers were utilizing their mobile app payment option--10 million people, to be exact. The campaign resulted in customers being that much more integrated with the brand, and therefore more likely to return. 


SMS is the Perfect Social Media Partner 

Superb social media integration is another reason Starbucks’ SMS campaigns are successful, as the company uses its online presence to drive SMS traffic, and vice versa. For example, many opt-in forms posted by Starbucks featured promises of gifts, coupons, and other discounts, while social media posts included funny images, such as those of dogs on the beach with their coffee. Such relevant, humorous content demanded attention.  

Starbucks also used social media to send messages relevant to their summer campaign, which were shared, commented on, and favorited. Tight, relevant marketing messages were yet another way the company engaged customers enough to have an effect on mobile sales and app signups. 


SMS Helps Brands Remain Relevant 

Staying relevant is one of the hardest challenges, as marketing campaigns are often outdated before they even launch. SMS is instant, and Starbucks took advantage of this by creating an iced coffee campaign for summer. This included coupons, “happy hours,” and other discounts throughout the summer. Starbucks also infused the campaign with humorous touches, such as pictures of kitties in space. 

Starbucks’ 12 Days of Christmas promotion was another success, and included offering a different gift for sale each week, such as refillable coffee mugs for use throughout January. This ability to drive the brand as a Christmas gift source and then provide incentives to gift recipients the following month went very, very well.

Learn from Starbucks’ mobile marketing campaigns and implement similar strategies into your own marketing projects.