What is your New Year’s resolution for your business in 2011? December 29, 2010Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, location-based technology, marketing strategies, Marketing-changing technology, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Virtual Technology.
Tags: bluetooth, cell phone, email marketing, location-based technology, marketing, mobile commerce, Mobile Marketing, mobile phones, QR codes, small business, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, virtual events
I had someone ask me today about their business, “If I could do one thing better, what would it be?”. As a business consultant, I am frequently asked some version of this question, but today it got me thinking that the start of a new year is probably a great time to pass along one of the answers to that question that I give to everyone who asks it of me. Are you ready? Here it comes!
Resolve for 2011 to fully embrace technology and to completely integrate it thoughout every aspect of your business; from your marketing, to how you work with and interact with clients and staff, to how you manage your administrative tasks and actually operate your business, etc.
What I mean by this is: integrate and take advantage of all the benefits that today’s technologies have to offer, including: webinars and other types of virtual events (including virtual environment events), social media, mobile technology (and I don’t just mean mobile marketing), cloud computing software options, video, email and any other type of technology that will help you increase efficiency, productivity, and profitability.
Those that don’t choose to embrace technology will be left behind very quickly because 2011, I believe, will be a ‘game-changing’ year for how business is being conducted. If you continue to do business as you always have, you will very quickly become irrelevant.
Think about your business in a new way, for example:
- could mobile technology enable your customers to order and pay for your products or services via their cell phone?
- can you use social media to interact with your customers and potential customers on a more in-depth level so you can be certain you’re providing the products and services they need?
- will location-based technologies enable you to more effectively target potential customers?
- do you have an email marketing program to keep clients, vendors and staff aware of what’s going on in your business? If not, why not?
- can you make your field staff more productive by dispatching them with tools provided by GPS mobile technology?
- can you get more immediate response to special offers by sending them directly to your existing customers via their cell phones?
- can cloud-computing technology allow you to access information from wherever you are as long as you have some sort of mobile computing device or a computer available?
- can you be more available to your staff for those decisions only you can make if you’ve embraced the use of a SmartPhone or tablet device?
- can you cut down on travel costs, and yet increase the number of people that you can effectively interact with to present your products or services by engaging in virtual sales and training programs?
- can bluetooth or QR code mobile technologies help your firm in the manufacturing or supply chain processes?
- can mobile marketing technologies make your marketing more effective?
- would video technology help you more effectively communicate the benefits of your product or service?
- can mobile technology help you increase the viability of the leads you receive at the next trade show you participate in?
- can participating in virtual trade shows help you decrease travel costs for your staff, and the ‘down time’ that results from that travel, while increasing the number of viable leads you receive?
- could social media, mobile and virtual technology increase your ability to recruit new employees with higher rates of effectiveness?
So far, I’ve not found one business that I’ve spoken with or worked with that would not be positively impacted by increased integration of technology in their business. Given that, I now challenge you to consider how technology can help to improve your business – and as a result, your life. If you would like some assistance in evaluating your business and the options available to you, please contact us, Strategic Growth Concepts is here to help!
Here’s to increased efficiency, productivity and profitability in 2011!
The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant for Strategic Growth Concepts, a marketing / management consulting firm focused on start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Areas of specialization include: mobile technology optimization and marketing for increased productivity and profitability, social media marketing, and virtual events production. Linda is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries. She is also the Founder of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, a mobile industry trade association, and the Co-founder of Mobile Monday Michigan, a mobile industry networking and education organization.
What is the REAL impact of location-based marketing? August 29, 2010Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, location-based technology, marketing strategies.
Tags: American Eagle Outfitters, Best Buy, City of Chicago, Facebook, Facebook Places, Forester Research, Foursquare, GAP, Gowalla, Location-Based Marketing Association of Canada, Loopt, Macy's, RJ Metrics, Shopkick, Simon Property Group, Sports Authority, Tasti D-Lite, Wynn Las Vegas Hotel
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A recent study by Forester Research concluded that while location-based services (LBS) such as Foursquare, Gowalla and Loopt are intriguing, they are still too small for major marketers to spend much time on. Location-based services allow users to not only share their physical location with others but also to gather and receive information relative to their location such as reviews, recommendations, other nearby venues and friends that may be in proximity. Forester added that while current users of location-based services are very likely to be influencers within their social circles, they are also largely male and therefore better suited to marketers targeting men. Their overall advice to marketers was a resounding “wait-and-see” on location-based services.
Then Why So Much Location-Based Marketing?
But it’s hard to reconcile the Forester report with a lot of what’s happening in the marketplace. Large players like Starbucks have been experimenting with services like Foursquare since early 2010, giving in-store discounts and rewards to users for checking in to their stores. The GAP recently launched a one-day 25% off promotion to Foursquare users checking-in at GAP locations. Add to the list the Wynn Las Vegas Hotel, the City of Chicago and Tasti D-Lite and it would appear that location-based marketing is being taken very seriously by major marketers across categories. And it all seams completely understandable. After all, isn’t the goal of marketing to be timely and relevant? It would seem that LBS is an ideal means of achieving both.
Recently released LB applications such as the Shopkick are making news by taking shopper rewards to entirely new and location-specific levels, literally allowing shoppers to earn rewards simply for moving through various areas of a participating store. And with retail giants such as Macy’s, Best Buy, Sports Authority and American Eagle Outfitters and Simon Property Group testing it, Shopkick is getting some serious attention.
And in what is perhaps the ultimate sign that LBS has arrived, Facebook recently launched its own home-grown location service, Facebook Places, allowing users to share not only what they’re doing but also where they’re doing it.
All this activity and interest around LBS begs the question, if in fact marketers follow Forester’s advice and wait on the sidelines, do they run the risk of missing the “LB boat” entirely?
Making Location Make Sense
What most agree on is that location-based marketing services are still relatively new to the mainstream and largely misunderstood by the public and marketers alike. To that end, organizations are forming to foster discussion, education and understanding about LBS. One such organization, the Location-Based Marketing Association of Canada hopes to not only better define LBS but also share with marketers the unique opportunities the technology represents.
In response to the Forester study, Association Founder and President Asif Khan said “What they failed to highlight was the explosive recent growth of such services. Foursquare alone has over 2.5 million users and has experienced 28% growth in just the last month, according to RJ Metrics. More and more people are beginning to utilize location-based services and as Smartphone adoption increases globally, the numbers will only continue to increase.” Khan also points to the introduction of Facebook Places as having the potential to immediately introduce upwards of 500 million users to the concept of location based services.
As for marketers considering location-based marketing, Khan believes that those who “move to embrace LBS early-on will reap enormous rewards from proximity marketing, including attracting more first-time customers, encouraging more repeat business and increasing sales. I also see huge opportunities for cross-brand promotion for companies that have multiple brands like Gap and Old Navy.”
Forget technology. It’s about “return on relationships”
Techno-Anthropologist Clay Shirky is quoted as saying that “Communications tools don’t get socially interesting until they get technologically boring.” To that end, Khan sees the use of LB reaching critical mass in 18-24 months. “I think Clay is right” said Khan. “I don’t think it’s about technology at all. At least, I don’t think people care about which app they use. They only care about the size and relevance of the deal. For brands and retailers engaging with these tools, the real measurement of success will not only be ROI, but Return on Relationship (ROR).
As for the future and the continued evolution of location-based technologies, Khan suggests that the very context in which we consider the term location will also evolve. “Today, we think of location as only the physical space. But I see a time where we will be in virtual spaces and augmented reality where brands and content will live as well.”
Full disclosure: Retail Prophet Consulting sits as a current member of the advisory board for the Location-Based Marketing Association of Canada.