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TIPS FOR USING MOBILE MARKETING FOR YOUR BUSINESS September 3, 2012

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing.
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  • Realize that mobile marketing is just like any other marketing medium you will be using as part of your complete marketing strategy; fit your mobile marketing initiatives into the overall marketing strategy and set specific goals for the mobile marketing elements so their effectiveness can be measured, just as you would for every other medium being used.
  • Integrate the mobile ‘call-to-action’ across the marketing mix to ensure an integrated marketing strategy.
  • Understand that your use of mobile marketing legally requires you to get consumers to ‘opt-in’ and that a marketing strategy should provide an incentive for them to do so in order to maximize the effectiveness of the mobile medium.
  • Keep it simple! Think about ease-of-use for consumers; if it’s difficult to engage with your marketing strategy, they won’t. Mobile technology is very easy to use, but some marketers tend to over-complicate it for consumers. Remember to keep to the basics.
  • Be creative! Design the marketing campaign to maximize brand interaction, immersion and brand awareness; mobile marketing technologies provide a wide variety of options for encouraging consumer interaction with your brand.
  • Whenever possible, find ways to leverage the use of SMS (texting) since most mobile devices built in the last few years are text-enabled (and it doesn’t require the use of a higher-end smartphone) therefore it will maximize your ability to reach the largest possible target audience with your marketing message since virtually every phone can send and receive text messages.
  • Make sure to educate and prepare your customer-facing employees so they understand how the mobile campaign will work and they can effectively interact with customers; get your employees ‘buy-in’ by getting them excited about the mobile aspects of the campaign – employees love to be involved with ‘cool’ and progressive technologies.

What are the REAL results of mobile advertising? January 6, 2011

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing.
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A recent study by InsightExpress provides some interesting insights into the effectiveness of Mobile Advertising by examining it over the course of a 3-year period.  An article written by Steve Smith for Mobile Insider, reviews the study findings and provides additional analysis, including comparisons to the effectiveness of Internet advertising in its period of highest effectiveness and today.  If you’ve been wondering whether or not mobile advertising really lives up to the glowing reviews you’ve been hearing, this article should provide the answers you need.

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There once was a time back in 1995 when we all clicked on ad banners just to see what happened. Remember when Internet purists complained that the arrival of advertising to their sacred compound would ruin it for everyone? No doubt there are digital utopians who still believe that commercial interests have warped the dream of a truly open freeway of information. Arguably, the Web has exacted its own revenge on rampant commercial development. Curiosity about online advertising has evolved into blindness to ads. Almost every format of online advertising since the banner has seen its halcyon beginnings, with impressive recall and clickthrough rates eroding over time. We come to expect now diminishing returns from new platforms. How many of us clicked on every new iAd we saw over the summer just to see what novel execution Apple’s collection of cajoled agencies came up with? How many do now? 

But one of the advantages of mobile media and advertising has been the focus and limited clutter the medium allows. Because of this limited screen real estate and larger mindshare, we have tended to see mobile ad effectiveness maintain its edge longer than some formats that preceded it. InsightExpress has just run a fascinating comparison of mobile vs. online brand impact from advertising. Aggregating results from campaigns over the last three years, InsightExpress shows that on fundamental branding metrics for ad awareness, mobile produced a 23% lift compared to 8% for online campaigns. While awareness produced some of the biggest differentials between mobile and Web, message association also showed a 14% delta for mobile vs. 3% for Web. Surely awareness and messaging are functions of the increased focus the user has on a mobile device and the less cluttered environments that make ads simply more visible here. But the most interesting metric is purchase intent, which enjoyed an 11% lift on mobile compared to 3% on the Web.   

The best news is that mobile has maintained its effectiveness, and even improved its strength, over the course of the last few years. When tracked on an annual basis, for instance, the norms for mobile campaigns saw unaided awareness lifts of 8% in 2007-2006, 8% again in 2008-2009, and 10% in 2009-2010. Purchase intent lift on campaigns was 8% three years ago, 13% two year ago and 13% again last year.  

InsightExpress was looking at a total of 130 campaigns over the three year, including formats on mobile Web, SMS, video, in-app, etc., so we have to allow for small samples in some areas and perhaps a growing importance of rich media to the mix. The mobile ad norm in 2007-2009 was in the 14% to 16% range, but in the most recent sample it shot up to 31%. Similarly, message association went from 10% and 11% to 20%. Senior Director at InsightExpress Joy Liuzzo says, “We’ve known that mobile is effective for a few years but, for some in the industry, there has always been a nagging voice saying ‘this can’t last.’  Well, we’re seeing that it can.  When we compare the norms for the past three years, most metrics are stable; however, the campaigns in the past year have done a great job of capturing consumers’ attention and educating them.”   

Another important point about mobile ad impact is its resilience across devices. Despite our tendency to believe that the bigger screen and lush app environment of smartphones are behind the recent push by mobile advertising, the data suggests less of an effect than we presume. In looking at the brand impact deltas across devices, smartphones had their greatest advantage over feature phones in raising mobile ad awareness (39% vs. 28%), but in most other metrics the difference was more incremental. In fact in aided awareness, feature phone campaigns shows a 9% increase compared to 7% for smartphones. This leads me to think that the sustained and superior branding impact of mobile campaigns has as much to do with user focus and an ad’s prominent, singular presence on a screen than it does with the actual size and sophistication of that screen.

For more detail from the InsightExpress work, you can grab graphs here.

Are retailers ‘missing the boat’ in driving revenue? November 17, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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A recent MediaPost Mobile Insider article by Steve Smith makes the bold statement, “friendly reminder to retailers: Your customers are way, way ahead of you when it comes to using mobile as a resource.”

As someone who regularly works in the Mobile space to help clients develop and implement their mobile strategies, I have to say, he’s quite correct.  Study after study indicates that consumers are heavily embracing the use of mobile technology, and are interested in being able to utilize their mobile devices to find convenience and improve the productivity of their lives.  As more and more demands are made on their time, consumers are seeking ways to engage with retailers in ways that are convenient for them; chief among those methods of engagement is mobile.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of retailers – large and small – have yet to catch on.  Smith cites new research from Brandanywhere’s new Mobile Omnibus Study, which polled 7,000 sites on 10 devices, and found that only 4.8% of U.S. retailers had mobile-specific Web sites. The top-tier retailers are faring slightly better, but not well. Almost 23% of the major retailers, as defined by traffic levels from Alexa, had mobile Web sites. When broken down by verticals, the results across all merchants are even worse. While auto parts retailers (20.78% with mobile Web sites) and auto dealerships (15.66%) were relatively more mobile-ready by comparison, department stores (3.41%), clothing and shoe stores (1.61%) and grocery stores (1.60%) were pathetic.

Smith indicates that according to Dan Flanegan, Managing Partner, Brandanywhere, the big disconnect is with consumers who say they would give preference to retailers that had mobile presence. His company partnered with Luth to poll over 1,000 consumers on whether a brand’s mobile-readiness affected purchasing decisions. “One in two consumers would give preference based on whether the retailer has a mobile site,” he says. “It indexes even higher with higher-value purchases. There is a big opportunity retailers can grab onto.”

Luth and Brandanywhere also asked how consumers prioritize the functions they most need on a retailer’s mobile presence. Interestingly, transactions were not among the most popular features. Foremost, they wanted to know about the special offers and coupons available - tools that could help them shop smarter and more cost-effectively. The second most desired feature was product pricing. Store location came third, followed by product information.

According to Smith, “Brandanywhere developed their Indexer to help agencies and their clients better understand how their digital presence is being seen across devices. The main focus was on the mobile Web, where people are inclined to type in a familiar branded URL and hope for a desirable result.”  Smith further explains, “For years the .mobi extension struggled to become the commonplace suffix for all things mobile in the minds of consumers. In many cases the brands ended up creating m.brandname URLs instead. However, the best-case scenario is having a reliable redirect at the branded URL that kicks phones over to a mobile-ready version of the site. But as Brandanywhere’s research shows, this reasonable expectation among mobile users is not being met.”

So, we ask you, ARE retailers missing the boat in driving revenue? Our experience at Strategic Growth Concepts, the Brandanywhere study, and many other studies indicate an absolute YES!

Retailers – large and small – must begin to understand that consumers EXPECT them to be mobile.  They EXPECT to communicate with them via mobile, and they EXPECT retailers to make their lives easier by enabling them to obtain information about and from their firms via mobile.

So why aren’t they mobile?  My experience in talking to businesses about mobile has led me to several conclusions:

  1. they assume it’s cost-prohibitive and that if they don’t have a substantial budget to invest in their mobile effort that they won’t be able to enter the mobile space.  THEY’RE WRONG!
  2. they don’t know where to start. WE CAN HELP!
  3. they assume it’s extremely complicated to get started and that it requires massive amounts of time and effort. AGAIN, THEY’RE WRONG!
  4. they assume mobile is just a passing fad and it will soon lose the interest of consumers, and that they’ll be able to be glad they didn’t waste their time and money getting involved in it. THEY COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG!

So let’s be clear, consumers have spoken; study after study indicates that mobile will continue to grow substantially – particularly in the next 3 – 5 years – and will become a major driver of our economy.  Those that do their homework and start integrating Mobile Technology into their operational and marketing strategies now will find themselves achieving substantial market share increases over their competitors who choose to ignore Mobile.

Which will you be – the retailer who embraces mobile and reaps the benefit?  Or the retailer who conducts business as usual – and gets left behind?

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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, Social Media Marketing, and Virtual Events production.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries. 

Linda is available for consultation on Mobile Technology Optimization and Marketing and other topics, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .  For more information on Mobile Marketing please visit the Mobile Marketing section of the Strategic Growth Concepts website.

The News Rules for Mobile Ads in 2011 November 10, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing.
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by Michael Chang is the founder and CEO of Greystripe, a mobile ad network.

2010 was finally the year of mobile advertising. The market has matured to the point where most major brands have embraced the medium, driven by the reach and interactivity of smartphones and their rapidly growing userbase.

The mobile market is in a state of hyper growth and is reinventing itself almost every quarter thanks to new innovations, better data, and compelling results based on billions upon billions of ad impressions.

As we look ahead to 2011, here are five new rules for brand advertisers as they consider how to integrate mobile marketing into their overall strategy.

1. Mobile display is a necessary component of every brand’s marketing strategy and will continue to outpace mobile search.

Mobile search has received a lot of attention lately, with predictions from BIA’s Kelsey Group that it will grow to a $3.1 billion industry by 2013. Search is large and growing, but display advertising is growing at an even faster pace. In app ads alone are expected to reach $8 billion by 2015, according to Borrell Associates. Search ads have an important place in the mobile market, but they will never replace display ads. So don’t make a quick move by putting all your valuable advertising eggs into mobile search.

2. Don’t rely on Google and Apple to drive innovation.

We know all about the two big hitters in the mobile advertising sphere: Google’s AdMob and Apple’s iAds. Google recently announced a forecasted $1 billion in annual revenue from its mobile ads. But just because these brand names are littered all over your favorite tech blogs doesn’t mean they are the only players. Google and Apple are big, but independents are flourishing – and they’re bringing unique tools and benefits to the landscape. Independents can focus on the needs of each marketer or brand, without being distracted by competing goals like handset sales and search revenue. Mobile advertising is about audience (reach, targeting, content) and engagement (format and creative), and the independents deliver both large audiences and proven, rich-media creatives across platforms.

3. Don’t underestimate the importance of the mobile Web.

Since the iPhone launched, it has been all about apps. All the information you needed was directly at your fingertips with a simple tap. Simple. Easy. No http://www.this or Google-search-that. Naturally, mobile ads followed – bringing advertising content into apps and direct to the consumer. While apps have (and will) continued to grow in popularity and ubiquity, the addition of viable iPhone competitors have reinvigorated the importance of the mobile Web. The mobile Web addresses fragmentation across platforms; rather than build multiple apps for multiple devices, developers can build a single, mobile-optimized Website. According to comScore, there are more smartphone users accessing the mobile Web (34.5 percent) than apps (32.3 percent).  The number of users accessing the mobile Web is growing faster (8.2 percent from May to August) than apps (7.7 percent) as well. Even popular existing apps, such as YouTube, are pushing their users toward the mobile Web. Don’t miss the opportunity to advertise on the mobile Web by being totally app-centric. In-app ads may currently be claiming most of the attention, but the mobile Web is delivering results to marketers too. Which brings me to my next point…

4. Mobile Web ads need to be as engaging as in-app ads.

When you think about ads on the mobile Web, you’re probably imagining boring, static banner ads. Apple’s iAds drew attention to the potential for immersive mobile advertising in app.  Most mobile Web ads have remained blink-and-you’ll-miss-it boring. That is all changing – the same eye-popping immersive ads can be delivered to the mobile Web, to all smartphone users across platoforms. Advertisers and brands need to ensure that they’re engaging their audience everywhere, and that means creating exciting ads both in app and on the mobile Web.

5. New mobile ad companies must outpace consolidations for brand advertisers to reap maximum value from mobile advertising.

There have been a number of high-profile consolidations among mobile ad networks: Apple bought Quattro Wireless, Google bought AdMob. Despite this trend, the market isn’t headed toward consolidation. In fact, nearly the opposite is true. A slew of new mobile advertising startups are taking off in areas that have yet to meaningfully make the way to mobile.  Some will have models in the online world and address needs for better targeting, tracking and optimization. Others are mobile specific, centered on location, format and content discovery. There is no doubt that we will continue to see mergers and acquisitions – but the space is still in its infancy and brands will benefit from the variety of new innovators in order to maximize value.

High-impact Marketing Strategies for Non-profits and Small Businesses September 18, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, Marketing Plan, marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Brian Prows, Director of New Media Marketing for MobileBeyond, on the topics of Mobile Marketing and Social Media for small business and non-profits.

When Brian contacted me about doing a podcast interview with him, we discussed a myriad of topics that we both deemed to be of great importance to our respective audiences.  In talking it through, we finally decided that if we focused the interview on small business and non-profit organizations, and strategies designed to help them grow, that we would be addressing a very large audience who would be able to find value in our discussion.

During the interview we discussed a wide range of marketing-related topics that will be beneficial to both non-profits and general small businesses; from marketing strategies, to marketing plan development, to social media marketing, location-based marketing, consumer review sites and mobile marketing.  A primary focus of the interview related to the need for small business owners to identify specific marketing strategies that are high-impact and cost-effective, and then to develop them into a comprehensive marketing plan which can be measured against to effectively track results.

I believe both small business owners and marketers, and non-profit organization management staff, will find valuable information within the podcast and I highly recommend that you have a listen.  The article and podcast can be found on MobileBeyond.  It can also be found on iTunes.

My thanks to Brian for the interview, and for helping to spread the message of Mobile and Social Media for small businesses.

SGC Announces ‘Increase Your Revenue with Mobile Marketing’ FREE Webinar for Small Biz Owners August 3, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, Marketing-changing technology, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Webinar to Provide Information About the Low-cost, High-return Marketing Medium and How Small Business Owners Can Take Advantage of This Emerging Technology to Promote Their Business and Increase Revenue

DETROIT, MI – Small business owners have the opportunity to learn the many benefits of using Mobile Technology to promote their business by attending a FREE webinar presented by Strategic Growth Concepts on Tuesday, August 10th at 2:00 p.m. EDT.  Those interested in learning more about this low-cost, high-return technology, and how they can use it to promote their companies, can follow this link to register for the webinar at the following link.

Read the complete News Release HERE.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part IV June 6, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Part IV – Using Mobile for Local Business Development

In Part I of our multi-part Mobile Marketing series we learned that Mobile Marketing is most effective when incorporated into an overall marketing strategy, and used as a supplement to the mediums you are already using. 

In Part II of our series we discussed a variety of low-cost or no-cost methods of Mobile Marketing that a small business can utilize to promote their firm. 

In Part III of our series we reviewed a wide range of Mobile Marketing case studies that showcase the ways in which Mobile Marketing is being utilized by both large and small businesses.

Now, in Part IV of our series on Mobile Marketing, we’re going to look more specifically at the ways to effectively utilize it to promote your firm within a specific local marketing area.

As you know from reading the earlier segments of our series, mobile phone advertising is quickly becoming a key component in large business marketing campaigns – large companies are definitely the early adopters of the technology. And since billions of people use cell phones every day, and over 12 billion text messages are sent every month in the US, the reasons for big business adoption of the technology are clear. However, Mobile Marketing can be even MORE effective for small local businesses once they understand how to use it effectively.

One of the reasons many small business owners give me for not using Mobile Marketing, is their belief that they will be sending messages to lots of people outside their market area who will never have need for their product or service, and because so many people are thought to be receiving their messages, they assume it will be extremely expensive.  However, THEY COULDN’T BE MORE WRONG!

A primary advantage to using Mobile Marketing is its ability to very specifically target your messages to only those you want to receive them according to very specific demographic criteria.  Remember, Mobile Marketing is an ‘opt-in’ medium.  Once someone has opted in to your list, you can segment them according to whatever criteria is most effective to you in marketing your business.  The more information you gather about them, the more information you can use to target them specifically.

Let’s say you run a small ice cream shop or a family-owned restaurant and your customer database includes information on the names, ages and birthdates of your customer’s kids. How about sending coupons for a free cone or a free kid’s dinner on each of your customer’s kid’s birthdays via SMS messaging? Or if you run a beauty salon, or work for a doctor’s office, how about sending text message reminders about upcoming appointments in order to cut down on your ‘no shows’?

This form of personal contact is perfect for any type of service business. If you run a massage parlor or day spa, consider sending discounts or coupons to your customers on their anniversaries, birthdays or other special occasions.

If you run a woman’s clothing store, you can suggest that your customers fill out a card asking to be notified when particular new items in their preferred style, size, brand arrive in inventory; then you can text them when those items arrive. Or you can send an offer for an inventory close-out sale for current customers only when you’re getting ready to change seasonal inventory.

If you’re a toy store at Christmas and you manage to get a shipment of the ‘must have toy of the season’ that everyone is clamoring for and can’t find anywhere, don’t you think a text message to your existing customers will result in their IMMEDIATE presence in your store when you send a text telling them you have the item in stock but supplies are limited and likely to be gone by tomorrow?  AND, don’t you think they’ll be extremely grateful for the information and likely to think of your store first the next time they need a hard-to-find toy item?

The possibilities are really endless when you think about ways to increase your contact with customers via Mobile technology.  Mobile Marketing allows you to provide a much higher level of customer service to your clients, as well as developing creative, cost-effective ways to obtain new clients.  View Local Mobile Marketing examples in our Flickr stream.

Mobile phone advertising can also become an extremely inexpensive form of viral marketing if you indicate in your text message that the offer is good for any friend or family member that your customer forwards the text message to. A modern version of “I told two friends…and they told two friends…,” the possibilities for your business are seemingly limitless.

Whether you run a storefront or a service business, viral mobile phone advertising is a great way to fill in slow periods throughout the week your company may be having. Suppose you run a cleaning service and your Wednesdays are typically slow; consider sending a text message to your database of customers who may not have used your services for awhile, offering a discount on a whole house cleaning to anyone who responds within the next 3 hours – or to make it competitive, indicate that the first person to respond will receive 1 month worth of whole house cleaning services.  This will get those who haven’t thought of your business in a while thinking about it again – even if they don’t win the contest, and the next time they need cleaning service, they’ll likely call you.

Try to make your offers fun and appealing so your customers will pass them on to friends and family; this will help to build your ‘opt-in’ list so more people will receive future messages from you. A small bit of creativity together with a commitment to offering a personal touch through Mobile Marketing will really set you above your competition in your customer’s minds.

If you would like to learn how Mobile Marketing can be used effectively with strategies for your specific business, please contact Strategic Growth Concepts via our website or email us directly at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .  Our strong relationships with a wide variety of mobile services providers insures that we will be able to find the right solution for your business, and work with you to develop an exciting Mobile Marketing campaign that will generate interest in your business and revenue for your company.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert with 20+ years experience in a variety of industries including: wireless, retail, chemical distribution, residential and commercial contracting, automotive aftermarket, personal services, shopping center development/management, and entertainment facilities management.  Linda is available for consultation and can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com. The company website can be viewed at http://www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part III June 2, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Part III – Mobile Marketing Case Studies

In Part I of our multi-part Mobile Marketing series we learned that Mobile Marketing is most effective when incorporated into an overall marketing strategy, and used as a supplement to the mediums you are already using. 

In Part II of our series we discussed a variety of low-cost or no-cost methods of Mobile Marketing that a small business can utilize to promote their firm. 

In Part III, we’re going to take a look at a wide variety of case studies which showcase the way businesses are utilizing Mobile Marketing.  Our example case studies are drawn from a wide variety of sources, and will detail Mobile Marketing strategies being implemented by firms both large and small; remember, Mobile Marketing is a great way for even the smallest of businesses to ‘level the playing field’.  When opting in to your Mobile campaign, a consumer will have no way of knowing how many employees you have, what your store or office looks like, or how much inventory you’re carrying.  The idea is to draw them in to want to visit your business.  Mobile Marketing allows a small business to present itself in a professional manner, in a high-impact / high ROI medium, with a low cost of entry.  What more could a small business want?

In the case study examples we will provide, you will be able to see Mobile Marketing at work in a wide variety of business types including:  retail, food service, travel, B2B, media/entertainment, healthcare, automotive, non-profit, real estate, consumer services, education, and much, much more. 

Many of the provided case studies go into great detail about the problem they were trying to solve, the mobile strategy they implemented, and the results they achieved.  We encourage you to review them in-depth and consider how their examples might be applied to your business; and then we encourage you to SIMPLY TRY IT!  There are a wide variety of Mobile Marketing resources that enable you to implement a single low-cost campaign without requiring a contract of any kind or any future costs; we would be happy to assist you in identifying those vendors.

So now, let’s get to the case studies!  Please follow the link to the case studies, and we encourage you to add any thoughts or questions to the comments for this article; we will respond to each and every one that requests a response and we’d love to know what you think about the case study examples provided.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert with 20+ years experience in a variety of industries including: wireless, retail, chemical distribution, residential and commercial contracting, automotive aftermarket, personal services, shopping center development/management, and entertainment facilities management.  Linda is available for consultation and can be contacted at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com. The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part I May 9, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Part I – Mobile Integration into Marketing Strategy

There’s a lot of ‘buzz’ these days about Mobile Marketing and how it’s changing the world of advertising, and direct communication with consumers.  However, as marketers begin to become familiar with all of the Mobile options available to them, one issue they will need to give serious consideration to is how to integrate Mobile into their existing marketing strategy.

To help facilitate a better understanding of Mobile Marketing and the most effective ways to use it, over the next several weeks we will be publishing a multi-part series which discusses this hot, new medium and the best ways to incorporate it into your existing marketing strategy.  Additionally, we will also answer any Mobile Marketing questions sent to us by our readers!

One of the biggest mistakes that many advertisers make when they start using Mobile Marketing, is to assume that it’s a stand-alone medium – and then when it doesn’t work as expected, they write it off as an ineffective medium – all because they haven’t learned to use it correctly.  So let’s make the most important point about Mobile Marketing now – MOBILE MARKETING IS NOT A STAND-ALONE MEDIUM; MOBILE MARKETING WORKS BEST WHEN IT IS PART OF AN INTEGRATED MARKETING STRATEGY AND A SUPPLEMENT TO THE MEDIUMS YOU ARE CURRENTLY USING.

So what does this mean?  Let’s first define what we mean by an ‘integrated marketing strategy’.  One definition we found that seemed to represent the idea well was:  “A simple way to look at integrated marketing is to think about your customer and analyze all media that you’ll need to use in order to reach him/her with your message, keeping in mind that a consumer will need to see/hear your message AT LEAST 7 times before they will recall it. Integrated marketing also deals with managing those media so that you coordinate activities that will generate a higher impact when combined.”  The concept includes online and offline marketing channels. Online marketing channels may include e-marketing campaigns or programs, from search engine optimization (SEO), pay-per-click, affiliate, email, banner to latest web related channels for webinar, blog, micro-blogging, RSS, podcast, and Internet TV. Offline marketing channels may include traditional print (newspaper, magazine), mobile, mail order, public relations, industry relations, billboard, radio, and television.

In a recent article in Mobile Commerce Daily, Best Buy representatives discussed their own mobile strategy and offered this advice for those starting to utilize Mobile Marketing, “Use mobile as an integrated part of a larger strategy, not as a one-off channel.  Particularly if you are a multi-channel retailer, customers have an expectation of a consistent experience regardless of which entry point they access, be it online, the phone, or the store. That’s why for the most part, our mobile communication strategy was an extension of our overall holiday strategy and there were consistent elements across.”

In Part II of this series, we will discuss a variety of Mobile Marketing methods a small business can use at low-cost or no-cost to promote their firm.  Future segments of the series will continue to explore Mobile Marketing, and attempt to answer any questions submitted to us about the medium.  If you would like to have your questions about Mobile Marketing incorporated into our series, please submit them to us directly at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com and include “Mobile Marketing Questions” in the subject line of the email or post them as comments on this blog.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Learn Why You Need a Mobile Strategy for Your Company May 7, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Today, every company needs to have a mobile marketing strategy that integrates mobile with other marketing tools they are implementing; mobile tools might include:  a mobile website, text messaging (SMS), MMS, QR Codes, banner ads and more (learn more about each type of mobile marketing on our website).

A mobile strategy should thread through all avenues of marketing that are existing already within a company and should not be a separate entity, according to Marci Troutman, CEO of Siteminis, Atlanta in an article for Mobile Marketer Daily entitled, “Why Brands Must Have a 360-Degree Mobile Web Strategy“.   She further indicates that it’s most effective when mobile becomes an additional marketing channel threading though and linking to all existing channels, i.e., store signage, electronic media, print media, Internet and store associate training.

In the same article, Ran Farmer, managing director of Netbiscuits, Washington says, “Do not misunderstand mobile to be the little brother of the PC Web.  Mobile will very soon be much bigger than the PC Web.”

If you would like to learn more about how Mobile Marketing can help your business, please contact us at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com, visit our PC website or visit our mobile website on your cellphone at StrategicGrowthConcepts.mobi.  You can also text the word STRATEGIC to 244326 to join our Strategic Growth club and to become eligible for discounts on Mobile Marketing services for your company.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

ComScore Study Shows Increasing Mobile Use by Consumers; Time for Business to Start Reaching Them Via Mobile May 6, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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comScore recently released its’ latest report about Mobile Phone subscribers; which phones they’re buying, which carriers they’re using, and which functions they are using on their phones.  Those firms who are still deciding whether or not they should be taking action to get a Mobile presence for their firms should find the study quite interesting.  Below, find an excerpt from the study regarding the use of phone functions.

In an average month during the January through March 2010 time period, 63.7 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 0.6 percentage points versus three months prior. Browsers were used by 30.1 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers (up 2.6 percentage points), while subscribers who used downloaded applications made up 28.6 percent of the mobile audience (up 2.6 percentage points). Access of social networking sites or blogs continued to increase, posting gains of 2.8 percentage points to 18.7 percent of mobile subscribers.

Mobile Content Usage
3 Month Avg. Ending Mar. 2010 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Dec. 2009
Total U.S. Age 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
  Share (%) of U.S. Mobile Subscribers
Dec-09 Mar-10 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Sent text message to another phone 63.1% 63.7% 0.6
Used browser 27.5% 30.1% 2.6
Used downloaded apps 26.0% 28.6% 2.6
Played games 21.6% 21.8% 0.2
Accessed social networking site or blog 15.9% 18.7% 2.8
Listened to music on mobile phone 12.1% 13.2% 1.1

As the study indicates, text messaging is used by over 60% of subscribers, a web browser is used by over 30% of subscribers, and almost 20% are currently using their phone to access sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  And the numbers will only continue to rise!  The mobile phone is how consumers are communicating with each other, and in increasing numbers, with the firms they want to do business with.  To learn more, read the complete comScore March 2010 study.

Those who have not yet implemented a Mobile Marketing strategy for their business need to begin work on one right away – if you don’t, be assurred your competitor’s will be – and then they’ll have a significant advantage over your business!

Strategic Growth Concepts would like to assist you in assessing your Mobile Marketing needs and determining how best to incorporate Mobile into your existing marketing strategy.  The answers are not the same for every firm; for some, it might be text messaging and a mobile website; for others it might be developing a mobile application and a series of mobile banner ads.  We at strategic have the marketing experience and mobile knowledge to help you find the best solution for your firm.  If you would like to schedule a call to learn how Strategic can assist your firm with its Mobile Marketing initiatives, please contact us via our mobile website at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.mobi, our Internet website, or email at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

FREE Mobile Marketing Service Give-a-way Contest for Small Businesses May 2, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Strategic Growth Concepts Sponsoring 2nd Annual National Contest for Small Business Owners in support of U.S. Small Business Administration’s 57th Annual National Small Business Week Celebration

Small business owners across the U.S. have the opportunity to win 3 months of FREE Mobile Marketing Services for their business from Strategic Growth Concepts.  Strategic is sponsoring this 2nd annual national contest, as part of their efforts in support of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s upcoming National Small Business Week celebration.

Contest entrants have the opportunity to win the Grand Prize, 3 months of FREE Mobile Marketing  Service along with Marketing Consulting from Strategic, or one of five secondary prizes, 1 month of FREE Mobile Marketing Service and Marketing Consulting from Strategic. Entries can be submitted thru May 18, 2010, with winners being announced during National Small Business Week, May 23 – 29, 2010.

To learn how your firm can enter for a chance to win, click HERE to read complete details.

QR Codes: The Next Step in Retailer Loyalty Programs April 26, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, Marketing-changing technology, mobile, Mobile Marketing.
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As part of our on-going information series about Mobile Marketing, we are working to make our readers familiar with the different types of Mobile Marketing tools available for promoting your products and services.  One that has yet to gain much attention is QR (quick-response) codes.  While not yet part of the mainstream here in the U.S., in Europe and Asia these codes are an everyday technology for consumers and retailers, and our research tells us it won’t be long before that’s also the case here.

Think of QR codes as the barcodes currently read by the cashier at your local grocery store.  Those codes contain product information such as pricing, sku, inventory info, etc.; scanning the info enables them to move you quickly thru checkout, and if you are part of the grocery store loyalty/discount program, then it also uploads a history of your purchases to your account.  This allows the grocery chain to provide you with special offers related to the types of purchases you make, it helps them see how often you visit their store, and it helps them with inventory/purchasing management.

QR codes are the same thing – but these are scannable by cell phones – and any company can put whatever information inside the code that they would like.  Read the article below for a more detailed overview of QR codes and their potential use for retailers.

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QR codes: Building a mobile loyalty program beyond key tags

By Jeff Weidauer for RetailCustomerExperience.com

The Nielsen Company recently predicted that smart phones will overtake “feature phones” (those without a keyboard and internet access) by next year. Most business people are already carrying an iPhone, Blackberry, or one of the many Windows Mobile smart phones; the rest of the population isn’t far behind. In fact, while smart phones started as a business tool, two-thirds of new buyers are personal users.

Mobile coupons have already begun to make inroads into what was once the domain of the venerable paper version; there are more sites to find and download mobile coupons now than one can reasonably visit. While these coupons don’t require a smart phone, viewing and scanning them is certainly easier on the increased screen real estate the smart phone platform offers.

If you’re a retailer, the logical question is, “What’s next?” The answer: QR codes.

Also known as 2D barcodes, or matrix codes, QR (for quick response) codes are in use throughout Europe and Asia, and thanks to the growth of smart phones, they are beginning to make their way to the United States. QR codes are essentially a way to link online content to a mobile device.

Using a scanner — numerous versions are available for mobile phones — the shopper scans the code and is redirected to a website, or a video, or some other content that the creator of the code has developed. Today, you’re most likely to come across them in the United States in a magazine ad, inviting you to scan the code and be taken to a link with more information.

Retailers should be working to implement this technology as soon as possible; while QR codes are not in the mainstream today, they will be very soon. Recent research predicts that two-thirds of retailers are planning a digital mobile initiative launch before the end of this year, and many of these will include a QR code capability. Manufacturers are already planning to incorporate this technology into advertising and packaging.

Of course, there is a great deal more to the technology, but the premise is as tantalizing as it is simple: shoppers scan a barcode on the shelf edge using their mobile devices, possibly with a branded scanner that you, the retailer, provide. This scanner could, and should, be part of a complete mobile application that connects your brand to the shopper and assists her throughout the path to purchase.

Once she scans the code on the shelf, the shopper is taken to a website or some other mobile-enabled content and provided with information the retailer controls. At the same time, a retailer can collect information on the shopper, such as where and when she scanned the code, how many codes she scanned, and what actions she may have taken afterward. Interface this with a retailer’s loyalty database, and the possibilities for connecting in a meaningful manner with the best shoppers become clear.

Nearly every retailer today has some type of loyalty program. Most involve issuing a card or key tag to shoppers, and most entice shoppers to use their cards by offering temporary price reductions that are only available to card holders. From here, data are gathered and analyzed, with the intent of providing insights that allow the retailer to market more effectively to shoppers based on their purchase behavior.

Consider the possibilities if that same program is tied to shoppers via their mobile device rather than a key tag. And instead of just getting the results of shopper behavior after the fact, consider the benefits of getting in on the pre-shop planning: list-making, coupons, etc. Then follow the shopper to the store and connect with her there via QR codes at the shelf edge — codes that are unique to that store and offer benefits that are relevant to that local shopper. Then follow up with the shopper with a post-shop program that could include surveys, savings analyses to show her how much she saved, and offers for her next trip to make sure it’s to your store.

Once a retailer starts thinking beyond the key tag and becomes a part of the process rather than just looking at results after the fact, opportunities abound. With this approach a retailer is not just throwing out offers, it’s having a dialogue with its shoppers; building and maintaining a relationship that benefits both the retailer and the shopper for the long term.

The technology is available today — right now. And right now is a good time to start preparing for when the smart phone becomes the mobile device of choice. Engage shoppers today with a QR code at the shelf, and start building an overall mobile loyalty strategy that goes far beyond the key tag.

Jeff Weidauer is vice president of marketing for Vestcom International Inc., a provider of technological retail solutions based in Little Rock, Ark. (Photo by CoCreatr.)
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Should you be interested in learning more about mobile marketing and how it can help grow your business, please review the mobile section of our website, additional mobile marketing articles within this blog, or contact us directly via the website or email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com for a FREE initial consultation.

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

FREE Info About Mobile Marketing April 11, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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If you would like to learn more about Mobile Marketing and how it can help your business increase revenue, please TEXT the word STRATEGIC to 244326

This will opt you in to Strategic’s Mobile Club, and notify us to schedule you for a FREE demonstration.  Members of our Mobile Club will be eligible for future special offers, and will receive tips on using Mobile Marketing to benefit your business as well as other useful info to help grow your business. 

If you prefer not to join the Mobile Club but would still like to receive the FREE demonstration, you can contact us directly at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.

Mobile Marketing – What’s All the Hype About? April 10, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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You’re hearing it a lot lately – on Facebook, Twitter, national business publications, and even in daily news media – Mobile Marketing is becoming THE way to advertise; it’s often touted as the best direct marketing method available today.  So now you’re wondering – “What exactly is mobile marketing?  Are they right? Should my business be using it?  Is it really as effective as they say it is?  Will my customers want to receive mobile messages?  Can I afford mobile marketing?  Where do I begin?”

So let’s answer those questions!

First, what exactly is mobile marketing? 

According to the Mobile Marketing Association, “Mobile Marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.”

And that communication and engagement is being implemented by marketers from the smallest ‘mom & pop shop’ to the largest multi-national corporations.  As the traditional marketing channels suffer various levels of decline, mobile marketing is experiencing triple-digit growth annually.

According to Jeff Hayzlett, Chief Marketing Officer / Vice-President, Eastman Kodak Company, mobile phones are “the most direct and personal of all media channels these days… They enable us to remain connected 24/7. No need to log onto the Internet or roam around town looking for a hot spot. Mobile devices are always hot. A marketer’s dream is to engage in meaningful two-way conversations with people who are truly interested in their brand, and mobile gives you that direct line of communication — constantly.

There are various types of mobile marketing, including:

  • SMS (short message service)
    • Also known as ‘texting’
  • MMS (multi-media message service)
    • Messages that contain multi-media objects such as images, video and audio
  • Mobile Web Applications 
    • Browser-based web services such as the World Wide Web using a mobile device
    • Utilizes WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) – an open, global specification that empowers mobile users with wireless devices to easily access and interact with information and services instantly
  • Bluetooth (short-range wireless technology; up to approx. 33 ft)
    • Also known as proximity marketing
    • The localized wireless distribution of advertising content associated with a particular place.  In other words, if you have a cell phone in the proximity of a marketing broadcast, you would be able to receive a message or advertisement
  • Location-Based Marketing
    • Delivers multi-media directly to the user of a mobile device dependent upon their location via GPS technology
  • QR Codes (quick-response barcodes)
    • Two-dimensional barcode
  • Voice
    • IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
      • a technology that automates interactions with telephone callers
    • Voice broadcasting calls numbers from a computer managed list and plays a pre-recorded message to the call recipient or answering machine
    • Pay-per-Call
    • ADC (Abbreviated Dialing Codes) dial the code to access voice content
  • Mobile Banner Ads
  • Mobile Website
    • A Mobile-optimized version of an Internet website providing an easy way for consumers to learn about your company ‘on-the-go’.

Next, Are they right, should your business be using Mobile Marketing?  Is it really as effective as they say it is?

According to the Director of Research at Nielsen Mobile, “People look at every text message they get”, and 97% of them do so within 15 minutes.  Can you think of any other advertising medium where you are almost guaranteed that every person targeted will see your message?

Kodak’s Hayzlett says, “Mobile marketing is quickly growing beyond the experimental and is showing tangible results. Two examples are Barack Obama’s unprecedented mobilization of supporters during his presidential campaign, and the incredibly successful American Idol reality show, where over 20 million mobile users text their votes each week.”  

An additional recent example of mobile’s results is the spectacular fundraising efforts for Haiti which were driven by mobile donations.  Almost $5 million dollars was raised in less than 48 hours via text message contributions, and to-date, more than $30 million has been raised via mobile.

Some industry statistics may help to clarify the effectiveness of Mobile Marketing for you:

  • According to industry estimates, by 2013 the U.S. will top 100% per capita penetration of mobile phone use
  • SMS is typically read within an average of 15 minutes after receipt, and responded to within 60 minutes
  • While 65% of e-mail is spam, less than 10% of SMS (texting) is spam
  • A survey of 2,400 moms reveals that the single most important tech gadget in their lives is the cell phone
  • A Nielsen study indicates more than half of mobile data subscribers (51%) who saw a mobile ad responded to it by sending a text-message, clicking on it, or calling a specific number.
  • In analyzing the mobile audience, Nielsen found that teens were the most likely to recall seeing some type of mobile ad (46%) compared to 29% of users overall.  Asian-Americans and African-Americans were among other demographic groups with high recall rates, at 42% and 40%, respectively.
  • 88% of all mobile subscribers have a text enabled phone. 51% have received SMS marketing messages, and 25% have opted in to marketing messaging from a brand.
  • 14% said they are already open to mobile advertising so long as it is relevant to their interests

Will my customers want to receive mobile messages?

A new survey published by Compete.com indicates smartphone owners are very receptive to mobile coupons.  The survey, which looked at the time of day most smartphone owners use their devices, as well as what mobile advertising concepts they’re most interested in, found that usage during commutes to work and while watching TV were the highest by far.

To find out their receptiveness, the survey asked smartphone owners how interested they were in receiving various types of mobile advertising.  The results were quite interesting, indicating consumers were most interested in receiving grocery coupons (36%), scanable barcodes (29%), offers to save and pursue at leisure (26%), movie theater offers (26%) and promotion/coupon ads (21%) via SMS (text) when passing by a retailer.*

Can I afford mobile marketing?

Absolutely!  Mobile marketing is an extremely cost-effective medium to use with an exceptional return-on-investment.  While some firms have achieved an ROI as high as 54% or 62%, typical results range between 7 – 15%; still quite high as compared with more traditional media such as Direct Mail which typically attains a 2 – 3% ROI.

And now, Mobile Marketing is very accessible for even the smallest of firms.  Small business owners can implement their own unlimited mobile advertising campaigns – within minutes – for as little as $25 per month, through a service now being offered by Strategic Growth Concepts – and, no contracts required!

Where do I begin?

If you would like to learn more about Mobile, please TEXT the word STRATEGIC to 244326.  This will opt you in to Strategic’s Mobile Club, and notify us to schedule you for a FREE demonstration.  Members of our Mobile Club will be eligible for future special offers, and will receive tips on using Mobile Marketing to benefit your business.  If you prefer not to join the Mobile Club but would still like to receive the FREE demonstration, you can contact us directly at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.

Sources: Babycenter.com, March 2008; Experian via Mobile Marketing Watch, Nielsen: Improved Recall, Comfort With Mobile Ads Study; Luth Research June 2009; *Smartphone Owners Want Mobile Coupons, Mobile Marketing Watch

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Should you be interested in learning more about mobile marketing and how it can help grow your business, please review the mobile section of our website, additional mobile marketing articles within this blog, or contact us directly via the website or email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com for a FREE initial consultation.

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

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