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Franchises Can Use Latest Technology to Increase System Growth & Decrease Costs with Virtual Events January 22, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, Strategic Growth Concepts, Virtual Technology.
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Virtual events combine various configurations of the latest technologies in webcasting, online chats, video streaming, webinars, social media and avatar graphics to provide elements such as speeches, Q&A, seminars, distribution of literature, interactive social ‘gatherings’ and/or exhibitor booths – all without ever leaving your desk or home to participate in an event that could be worldwide in scope.

This technology is now being made available to the franchise industry via a FREE webinar entitled, An Introduction to Virtual Franchise Events, scheduled to take place on Thursday, January 28th at 2:00 p.m. EST, where the franchise community will have an opportunity to learn the many ways that virtual franchise events can aid their bottom line. Click HERE to learn more about this webinar and virtual events, and HERE to register for the webinar.  This event is a production of Virtual Franchise Events, Inc., a joint venture of franchisEssentials and Strategic Growth Concepts.

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Commit to the Use of Mobile Marketing Instead of ‘Testing’ It January 16, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that we are very strong proponents of Mobile Marketing technology and incorporating that technology into your marketing mix.  We also believe that 2010 is likely to be the ‘breakout year’ for Mobile Marketing, and that those who previously hadn’t even considered incorporating it into their marketing strategies will now become frequent users of the medium.

Given the dominant role that Mobile is likely to play in the marketing efforts of businesses large and small this year, we feel it is important that marketers have an understanding of the best approach to take and how it may best be applied within their firm’s marketing plans.  Therefore, we felt it an excellent idea to share with you this essay by Cory Treffiletti which recently appeared in MediaPost’s ‘OnlineSpin’.  We urge you to review Cory’s recommendations and consider how best to apply them to your firm.

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Commit To Mobile Instead Of ‘Testing’
By Cory Treffiletti

Do you have a mobile strategy, or are you just winging it?

Participating in the mobile landscape is like any relationship: to be effective, you have to know what you want going into it. You have to be willing to commit and to compromise in order to have success.

Mobile is growing in importance; the recent acquisitions by Google and Apple of mobile ad networks, as well as the recent announcement of the Google Nexus One, demonstrates that fact. The problem is that too many people come at it from the wrong perspective. Mobile is first and foremost a communications vehicle, and the smart marketers are the ones that are using it in that way. Mobile is built on apps and ads, but all these do is provide an easier means of expanding the communication between a brand and the consumer.

Mobile should be used as a support and extension vehicle for other media campaigns by embracing that communications role. It is not something to be planned in a vacuum, because it doesn’t perform well as a stand-alone effort. The ads in the mobile space are too small and un-engaging, and the applications that some companies develop are always an extension of an application from somewhere else. Customer service apps are an extension of traditional customer service. Mobile Web sites are a repurposing of existing content. No brand would begin with the mobile platform as its primary means of interacting with the consumer, because the reach and the experience are too limited. Mobile is rather a medium that is well used for continuing a conversation that was started somewhere else.

I get calls day in and day out from mobile providers that want us to spend money on their platform, but they are typically pitching first and listening second, which does a disservice to the mobile category because it is not building on the strength of the medium. Mobile is a means of extending the conversation and going beyond the browser, the printed page or the television commercial. By integrating a mobile component for follow-up, you can provide a measurement element for other campaigns. Text messaging can be used for additional information. Mobile search can be used to get information on the fly. Location-based services can provide similar efforts.

Even mobile ads that refer to a holistic campaign launched in another medium can reinforce messaging and convert consumers into consideration (especially when factored in with mobile offers that reach the consumer closer to the point of purchase). All of these elements provide follow-up that may not have existed before.

To do mobile right, you need to be proactive and plan out the goals for your campaign, and you need to integrate it into your entire effort. Don’t plan mobile as a “test” buy in your media plan, because it will be just like “testing” a relationship. If you don’t commit to a relationship, it can’t work. You can build a beautiful application but if you don’t promote it and integrate it into your overall effort, it will fail.

If you’re going to commit to a mobile integration in your efforts, be willing to compromise. You have to work within the parameters of where the industry is now, not plan for where it will be in a year. Your audience may not be at the forefront of technology yet — not ready for apps as advanced as you may want to try — but you have to respect them where they are (plus the industry changes so rapidly that you may not be correct on your bets). So reach out to your audience, get them interested, and then take them where you want to go.

And for the people selling mobile these days, please set your expectations properly. Yours is not a quick sell, because you need to sell into existing campaigns. Your ideas cannot be planned in a vacuum or you will not succeed. Be sure to do your homework and have a strategy from your side as well.

Strategic planning from both sides will lead to easier successes down the line. Don’t you agree?

Cory is president and managing partner for Catalyst SF. Contact him here.

Trade Show Mobile Marketing Strategy Leads to a “Jackpot” of Leads January 12, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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As someone who blogs regularly on the topics of small business, marketing, using new technology in marketing and mobile marketing specifically, I am always on the lookout for examples of businesses that are using technology to great advantage in marketing their firms so our readers can learn from them.  Recently, I came across an excellent example being used by David Reed of VM Direct that I wanted to share with you.  David has taken the concept of trade show participation to the next level to insure that he maximizes the trade show ROI for his firm.  Please read David’s story below and let us know in the comments if this or a similar idea might work for your firm.

Collect leads at trade shows like hitting a jackpot in Vegas.

I went to an auctioneers convention in Denver Colorado earlier this month. I set up my little booth along with everyone else. And I notice that they’re laying out their pens with their company logos on them. Or whatever vendor fodder they are trying to catch the consumer’s attention with. They are setting out their fish bowls to gather business cards. Or setting out their pad of paper so individuals can leave their information with them. Etc…Etc…Typical tradeshow stuff.

And I watch while the auctioneers take their pens, put their business cards in the fish bowls, and don’t talk to these people at all. Not a care in the world as to why they are there.

And then there is me. Promoting an internet marketing system. I had purchased 2 i-Pods to give away at 10 am and 2pm. No pens. No fish bowl. Just a sign that said be here at 10 am and 2 pm for your chance to win an i-Pod. Funny thing is that I probably spent less on those 2 i-Pods as they did on the pens and stuff they were giving away. So 10 am rolls around. I have my system set up. Every one is gathering around because WOW a FREE i-Pod. I pull out my sign that says, “TEXT (my keyword, leaving this out for this post) (your e-mail address) to 69302 for your chance to win an i-Pod.” I start the Jeapordy theme song on my laptop and told them “GO”. To see everyone scramble for their phones was quite humorous. My phone is going crazy because I get a TEXT everytime someone subscribes. My e-mail client is going crazy because I get an e-mail everytime someone subscribes. And they are getting my business card delivered to their inbox because that is the autoresponder I had set up. Those with smartphones are getting my autoresponse business card in their e-mail and accessing it right away. Was kind of mass chaos there for a moment until the theme song stopped. I already decided that the 12th person at 10 am was getting the i-Pod. So I look at my phone, count 12 down and called that individual’s name. They were totally amazed that the system was automated like that. Then they were interested in what I was selling. I spent the rest of the afternoon talking to customers and the other vendors that had set up shop for the day. Word got around and 2 pm was just as crazy.

I collected 198 leads that day. Sold 38 retail accounts. Continue to e-mail campaign the others. And didn’t have to go home with my fish bowl and manually input those contacts into my e-mail marketing system. All for the cost of 2 i-Pods.

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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.

Smartphone Owners Mobile Purchasing Behaviors Differ by Device January 7, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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As consumers become more and more dependent on their mobile phones to assist them in their everyday lives, it’s inevitable that they will begin to make purchases via mobile.  In a transition similar to that of the Internet before it, consumers are now beginning to test the capabilities of their mobile device to become the ultimate tool of convenience allowing them to handle the purchase of items they need using mobile technology.  And as it was with the Internet, retailers are now playing ‘catch up’ to make that capability available.  However, as those retailers begin to develop their mobile marketing strategies they can now take advantage of the research offered below.

Therefore, we recommend that all retailers become familiar with the information below and then begin the process of optimizing their websites for mobile viewing. Should you elect not to optimize for all mobile devices, then use the information below to select the the device whose user-demographic profile best matches your target demo’s.

Retailers can learn more about the best ways to use mobile technology to promote their products and services by visiting our website, and if your firm would like to explore using mobile, we at Strategic Growth Concepts would be happy to assist you.  To schedule a free consultation regarding using mobile marketing for your firm, contact us via our website.

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Center for Media Research

According to the Compete quarterly Smartphone Intelligence survey, smartphone owners are more comfortable buying from their handsets, but still have some site functionality problems. 8% of smartphone owners that tried to purchase a product on their device were unable to do so. 45% of those that abandoned the process reported that they did so because the site would not load, and an additional 38% left the site because it was not developed specifically for smartphone users.

Danielle Nohe, director of consumer technologies for Compete, points out that “… smartphone use is no longer limited to an exclusive group of tech savvy consumers. As… people grow more comfortable transacting, site owners must redesign around mobile shopping ease-of-use… ”

Nonetheless, says the report, mobile commerce (m-commerce) is ready to explode in 2010. But Nohe cautions that marketers recognize the differences that vary by individual and device. For instance, he says “We’re seeing notable behavior differences across devices… (as) users of the Android operating system share different characteristics than Blackberry and iPhone enthusiasts.”

Key findings from Compete’s Q3 2009 Smartphone Intelligence survey include:

  • 37% of smartphone owners have purchased something non-mobile with their handset in the past 6 months
  • 19% of total smartphone owners have purchased music from their device, 14% have purchased books, DVDs, or video games and 12% have purchased movie tickets
  • 40% of Android owners and 51% of Blackberry owners would spend $500 or more to buy a product from their mobile phone, compared to 9% of iPhone owners
  • The most popular mobile shopping-related activities are research related: 41% of iPhone users and 43% of Android users are most likely to check sale prices at alternative locations from their mobile phones while they are shopping
  • The second most likely activity is accessing consumer reviews, with 39% of iPhone owners and 31% of Android owners investigating reviews from their handset before they purchase
  • While m-commerce is poised for explosive growth in 2010, consumers are still more likely to abandon mobile purchasing on sites that are not optimized for the on-the-go experience, similar to shopping cart abandonment in the early days of e-commerce.
Shopping Use of SmartPhone Away From Computer (% of SmartPhone Owner Respondents Using At All)
Use of Smartphone % of Respondents
Look up shopping info about item to purchase online 68%
Find address & store hours of preferred store 68
Review a product description 52
Look at 3rd party or consumer review of product while in store 45
Check order status originally placed online 43
Look for retailer or product coupons 43
Check for availability of in-store pickup 40
Check price of in store item as “good deal” 36
Make purchase after seeing item in store 34
Make purchase if product not available in store 28
Make purchase without seeing item in store 28
Check status of rebate submitted 24
Source: Compete Smartphone Intelligence Survey, Q3 2009

Compete’s Smartphone Intelligence combines consumer insights with behavioral data to reveal how smartphone owners are using their phones.

For additional information about this study, please visit here.