« April 2015 | Main | June 2015 »

5 posts from May 2015


How the Messaging Economy Works


It didn’t take long for text-based communications to become a staple for a wide range of companies, including startups, independent app developers, and enterprise bigwigs. Brand-to-customer interactions now take place over email, various social networks, live chat, SMS, and mobile push notifications, and are no longer restricted to phone calls, snail mail, and in-person meetings. 

“Messaging seems so obvious, but when you think about trends over the past decade, the explosion of messaging really represents a paradigm shift,” says Rob LoCascio, CEO and founder of customer intelligence platform LivePerson. “The Internet was invented as a one-size-fits all catalogue for searchable content – not a place for connection. Messaging represents a new era where people are communicating directly to others, sharing content and messages, whenever and wherever.”

While empowering, the messaging “economy” is also considered a bit confusing. With so many options available, generating insanely-high engagement rates isn’t that challenging. This makes a full understanding of messaging economy imperative before diving in.  

Let’s check out what every brand and app developer needs to know: 


Time, Time, and More Time

The messaging economy was devised in part to make sharing and obtaining information faster and easier. Sending and receiving information is done at individual convenience, whether messaging one-on-one or within a small group. And because messaging economy results in a quicker exchange of ideas, needs, and services, brands should ponder how to help consumers get more from their time.  

“Rapid, always available communication creates a faster exchange of needs, services and ideas,” says LoCascio. “Messaging represents a new ‘unshareable,’ private form of web, but it also represents the opportunity for richer, more meaningful connections with brands.”


Convergence is the New Challenge 

In today’s world, multiple messaging options are converging into single, streamlined experiences. In a food delivery service, for example, SMS works perfectly with payment transactions, push notifications, and other means to create a single consumer experience. Such convergence results in more engaged, satisfied customers. 


An Early Marketing Opportunity 

The messaging economy may appear seasoned, but there’s actually plenty of innovation opportunities, ways to add value, and create new direction. Additionally, more and more people are performing searches using messaging tools.  

“Of what I don’t really know for certain,” says Sean Si, founder at analytics technology company Qeryz. “But people are using messaging platforms for search – perhaps for previous messages, perhaps for things they could share, perhaps for things they want to see or watch. Whatever it is, we know that it will eat a chunk off of Google’s market.”


The Paradigm Shift is For Technologists, Not Consumers 

The messaging economy also represents a paradigm shift for technologists rather than consumers. Messaging platforms blend the fundamental desires for convenience and connection with others, something brands and app developers need to remember. After all, technology is the path to providing faster, better results.



Memorial Day: Mobile Marketing Ideas for SMBs


Memorial Day weekend is upon us. As with all holiday weekends, it’s a good opportunity for businesses to capitalize on free time spent shopping and browsing, online or in the real world. If you’re running a small business on a tight budget, try some of these marketing techniques to help you get the most out of the weekend spending:


Social Media
Offering free products or services is only worth the short-term loss to your business if it results in long-term gains. Social media is the best place to quickly spread the word about a big giveaway and engage new potential customers in the process. Contests, quizzes and other forms of interactive competition are another good way to leverage the power of social media. Use a tool such as Binkd to create cost-effective sweepstakes and photo contests.


Mobile Coupons
Mobile coupons come in a variety of forms, ranging from a simple text message with a code to dedicated coupons that reward social media followers and customers with percentage discounts if they share or re-tweet your messages. 


Some brands have a tendency to use one site for engaging, rich content and another to host the product catalog. But the trouble with splitting marketing content from the commercial interface is the resultant disjointed user experience. In the long run, an integrated, one-site solution will have a much bigger impact.


Retailers looking to connect their online presence and physical location can use location-targeting technology, combined with time-limited discount deals to entice nearby shoppers to their store. A group SMS to all opted-in consumers within a certain radius is one of the most powerful tools at the modern marketer’s disposal.



Many good marketing campaigns have been letdown by a weak call-to-action. Don’t let your Memorial Day weekend plans fall afoul of this common mistake. Avoid phrases like ‘click here’ or ‘follow the link’ and opt instead for an engaging, personalized call-to-action like ‘Join Us Over the Holidays.’ Whatever you do, keep it concise and creative. 

These ideas should demonstrate just how affordable and simple mobile marketing tactics are. A judiciously timed, well-executed campaign will engage customers, strengthen brand awareness and build new relationships.


AOL Deal Will Help Verizon’s Mobile Advertising Push


Over the past two decades, AOL Inc. has undergone some massive changes. What was once a portal for dial-up internet access, AOL suffered under the merger with Time Warner. After starting over again six years ago, AOL managed to increase its value by acquiring relevant sites like Huffington Post and Tech Crunch. Perhaps most importantly though, AOL took a dive into the deep end of the mobile advertising pool – and it looks like their gamble will pay off.

Last Wednesday, Verizon Communications Inc. announced that the company will be acquiring AOL Inc. in a $4.4 billion deal.

With the latest trends predicting a greater shift toward mobile use by consumers, many corporations have been seeking to carve out a piece of the market share. Currently, the mobile market lies directly in the hands of two leading companies, Google and Facebook. Facebook Inc., of course, owns and operates the largest recurring mobile app user base, while Google provides several integrated apps like Drive and Maps, while providing  the most popular search engine for users as well. As a result of their products’ frequent use, these juggernauts have had the mobile advertising market in a virtual stranglehold.

All of this, however, is poised for a change.

By acquiring AOL, Verizon has the opportunity to integrate advertising and content programming with one of the most ubiquitous wireless networks in the world. The assets provided by AOL include several websites with marketable content, but most importantly, Verizon will receive a mobile video-streaming service out of the deal. As consumers continue to shift away from paying for traditional TV bundling packages and move toward mobile video-streaming services, Verizon wants to provide such a service to new and existing users.

With the overcrowded wireless market in the United States, Verizon is looking to offer even more to customers to get them on board. While they have been searching for opportunities to increase their brand saturation over rivals like T-mobile and AT&T, they have concurrently been developing their video-technology wing by acquiring other tech companies like upLink, EdgeCast and OnCue. Unfortunately, their original plans for a mobile video-streaming service lacked an advertising component.

Now, with the acquisition of AOL Inc., Verizon has the opportunity to create a brand-new revenue stream for the company, for the first time ever. Verizon has been known for years for having excellent data streaming and calling services, and they have generated an enormous amount of brand awareness in that time. The next step in their business’ evolution involves the creation of a mobile-integrated advertising platform that they can use exclusively on their mobile video-streaming service. The plan is simple with potential for success, but one cannot imagine Google Inc. sitting idly by as Verizon takes a bite out of their market share.

Only time will tell. Expect to see Verizon’s new streaming service in late June of this year.


SMS As a Recruitment Tool


Jobs are on the rise in the U.S. Between spring and summer of 2014, there were 30.6 million people in the workforce, 820,000 more than a year earlier. The growing sophistication of global recruitment agencies have helped make this possible, they being the companies that seek out potential hires on behalf of organizations in need of qualified candidates. 

In the fast-paced world of recruitment, the competition for employment contracts is fierce. Traditional methods of communication between an agency and potential hires have long depended on email and phone correspondence, but that’s all changed thanks to SMS messaging.

According to Frost & Sullivan, only 22% of emails are opened after an agency’s reply to an application or cover letter. That’s a huge breakdown from the average 300 applicants that apply for each job offer.  

An estimated 90% of all global recruitment agencies claim that SMS messaging has helped their recruitment process by improving the line of communication. 

SMS messaging appears as a 160-word text message directly to a user’s mobile device. On average, these mobile messages are responded to in just three minutes. And according a survey, 43% of job seekers find recruiters that implement a combination of SMS messages with other marketing, more professional than recruiters who don’t.   

SMS messages can help recruiters in several unique ways including alerting potential new-hires, scheduling interviews, confirming appointments, follow-up and feedback.

This technology is great for the recruiter, but it’s also befitting the job seekers as well. Potential hires can now interact more quickly with recruiters when a new job is posted. On average, the first response to a new job offer occurs three minutes and twenty seconds after the posting. This number highlights just how competitive the employment landscape can be. 

What’s more, it’s not just the speed of applicants that apply for new positions that makes it so competitive. Recent studies report: cover letters are only 17% likely to get read, and if they do succeed to approach the eyes of a potential employer, on average, they only spend five to seven seconds skimming the material. 

Unprofessional email addresses are immediately tossed out, along with applications containing spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors. In addition to ensuring that all of these criteria are met, job seekers should expect to see more use of SMS messaging by recruiters, and welcome the opportunity to stay more engaged with potential job offers.  



Is MMS Coming to Mobile Marketing?


Since the widespread adoption of the smartphone began in earnest a few short years ago, ‘mobile marketing’ has been the key phrase for any brand with an eye on the future. Amid all the talk of SMS messaging, mobile coupons, branded apps and geo-location technology, there’s one piece of kit - native to cell phones long before the smartphone era - that’s seldom discussed: MMS.

In many ways, MMS was ahead of its time. Early applications were beset by technical problems. Consumers were disappointed, and MMS threatened to become the punchline of so many jokes, like betamax or mini-disc - technologies that promised to be the next revolution in their field, but ended up a damp squib.

But recently, all the ingredients required to make MMS the mass communication tool it promised to be have fallen into place: vastly improved data capabilities and phone camera technology, and mobile web access (allowing users to pull images from the Internet as they would on a desktop at home).

So where does this leave your mobile marketing strategy? Well, if your current approach is working well without MMS in the mix, there’s probably no compelling reason to change that. But if you think a little rich media injection could help your messages hit home, MMS is the ideal solution. It’s also far more popular with consumers than you might think.

According to the CTIA, 74 billion MMS messages were sent in 2012. What’s more, the number of MMS messages sent fluctuates in tandem with talk minutes and text messages, which indicates just how much MMS is part of the overall picture of phone usage.

But brands have been remarkably slow to exploit the MMS audience. In May 2013, a survey of 745 marketing professionals found 38% used MMS as part of their mobile marketing strategy, compared with 76% who use a mobile website. This reluctance is, in part, down to wary consumers who have a vague idea that MMS is more expensive, more susceptible to the whims of network carriers when it comes to radical pricing. But this is no longer true for the majority of people. If you have a text messaging plan, SMS and MMS are charged the same amount, so the effective cost to the consumer per message is identical. And who thinks about the cost of each text they send these days?

MMS has been bundled with SMS for years. Brands and advertisers can happily deploy MMS as part of their overall mobile marketing strategy. And, since you still need to obtain opt-in permission from each recipient, you can take the opportunity when offering to send notifications to educate people about MMS in 2015. If you have an idea for notifications including rich content, MMS opens the door to a whole new world of possibilities.