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Marketing Technology Landscape January 21, 2014

Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, location-based technology, marketing strategies, Marketing-changing technology, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Virtual Technology.
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Today's Marketing Technology Landscape

Today’s Marketing Technology Landscape

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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.

Social Media Monitoring; What’s the Value and How Much Should a Business Spend? April 28, 2011

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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When helping our small and mid-sized clients with their social media needs, we are often asked the following questions:

  • how can I know if social media is working for us?
  • how can I measure the ROI of social media to know if its worth the time and effort we’re putting into it?
  • there are many social media monitoring tools out there, how do I know what to use to meet our needs?
  • what should I be paying for an effective social media monitoring tool?

And there is no one-size-fits-all answer to any of these questions, because that’s really the point, social media is meant to be customized to the company, its goals, its target audience, etc.  So we at Strategic Growth Concepts are always on the lookout for new resources that will help us in effectively guiding our clients in obtaining answers to these questions in relation to their own situations.  Recently, we’ve found what we think is a excellent resource, a study and resulting infographic published by oneforty that provides an excellent overview of how businesses are monitoring their social media, what’s working, and how much they’re investing in the monitoring tools they’re using.  Visit our website to learn about this excellent resource!

And if you would like to learn if your firm is effectively utilizing social media to promote your firm and its products or services, sign up to receive our Social Media Audit!

Facing Your Fear of Marketing April 9, 2011

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Marketing Plan, marketing strategies, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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As a consultant to small and mid-sized businesses, I often speak to and work with companies that are run by CEOs who are the original founders of their company and typically the originator of the “product” offered by their firm. In most cases, the CEO is highly knowledgeable about the “product” and usually admits to a substantial lack of knowledge about the less industry-specific parts of their business.  Areas such as operations, marketing, accounting, HR, legal and more are beyond their experience – and typically their interest as well. In most cases, they’ve gone into business knowing that they would hire an attorney and an accountant to assist them, however with regard to the more ‘day-to-day’ functions of operations, marketing and HR they just figure it will all come together – sort of a “build it and they will come” mentality.

Nowhere is the “build it and they will come” mentality more obvious in these individuals than in the area of Marketing.  With rare exception, most of these business owners assume that everyone will see the value of their “product” as easily as they do, and that as soon as it becomes available they will be swamped with customers!  Then, before very long, reality begins to set in.

It’s typically not very long before the business owner begins to panic; ‘why can’t they see it?’, ‘why aren’t they buying?’ he or she begins to ask.  Then there is typically a period where they will spend money on any type of advertising that is thrown in front of them – and the media reps are happy, but the business isn’t becoming any more successful, and now they have a lot less money. 

Then comes the third stage, this is where they come to someone like me – the outside consultant, and they say, “fix this ASAP before I’m out of business! But by the way, I have very little money to pay you so you need to fix it this month because that’s all the money I have left. Oh, and I don’t want you to do ‘this’, and I do want you to include ‘this’, and make sure that you allocate budget for ‘this’ as well.  But other than that, do whatever you need to in order to fix it yesterday”.

Now don’t laugh because I promise you that right now some of you are reading this and seeing yourselves in this story!

So I thought it might be helpful to the small and mid-sized business owners out there to bring a fact to light if you haven’t already realized it – you have to gain enough knowledge to enable yourselves to comfortably wear the multiple hats of operations, marketing, accounting, legal, HR and every other aspect of your business – even if you have someone else performing those functions.  This is particularly important in the area of Marketing where it must be at the forefront of every decision you make for your business – or you won’t have a business.  In my experience, this becomes an area of tremendous fear for business owners; Marketing is definitely outside their comfort zone.  They ask questions like:

  • My radio/TV/newspaper/yellow pages (use your preference) rep said theirs is the only type of advertising I need, are they right?
  • How do I know how much money I need to spend?
  • How do I know what type of advertising is going to be interesting and get the attention of my potential customers?
  • Do I need to use Facebook?  Everyone is telling me I need to use Facebook!
  • and much, much more.

So the best answer is: 

  1. First, relax. 
  2. Second, FACE YOUR FEAR; don’t pretend that the need to Market your business doesn’t exist and hope it will go away.
  3. Third, start educating yourself about the types of marketing strategies available to you; what they cost, how they’re used, which types of potential customers they appeal to, etc.
  4. Fourth, do an analysis of your existing customer base and try to identify some key factors that your ‘best’ customers have in common and then plan to go in search of more just like them.
  5. Fifth, bring in an outside consultant.  It doesn’t have to be a long-term arrangement, just let them help you analyze your business, your customers, your market, and your industry and then develop a Marketing Plan for you based on their findings, your goals, and your budget – and then YOU implement the plan with your newly gained knowledge.

To help you gain clarity on the fact that you must be your company’s best marketer, I refer you to a recent article in the American Express Open Forum entitled, “Attention Small Businesses:  You’re ALL in the Marketing Business“.  This is an excellent article that will help you understand the importance of the company CEO having a strong level of involvement in Marketing on a daily basis.

Hopefully, you will all now FACE YOUR FEAR and become alot more involved in Marketing your business.

__________________________________________________________

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 and an award-winning blogger on such topics as marketing a small business, mobile marketing, social media marketing, and virtual events.

Linda is available for consultation and can be contacted at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com. The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.

What is your New Year’s resolution for your business in 2011? December 29, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, location-based technology, marketing strategies, Marketing-changing technology, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Virtual Technology.
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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!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Very interesting article on a related topic on TechCrunch; click here to read, ‘Seven Technologies That Will Rock 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.

Linda is available for consultation, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com

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?

____________________________________________________________

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.

Wondering How Mobile Marketing Works? Let ‘The Mobile Mavens’ Help! November 15, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, The Mobile Marketing Review.
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Have you thought about using Mobile Marketing to promote your business?  Have you wondered how it works, or what your customers will REALLY think about it?

If you’re like a lot of small business owners these days, you’re hearing a lot about Mobile Marketing and wondering if it has any value for you and your business.  You’ve probably heard the Mobile success stories that are all over social media, but that doesn’t really tell you how to mount an effective Mobile campaign does it?

If you’re interested in learning what businesses throughout North America and around the world are doing with Mobile Marketing – and how you can benefit from others’ experience, please join ‘The Mobile Mavens’ on the The Mobile Marketing Review.  From idea conception, to tie-ins with other marketing mediums, to the opt-in messages they’re using and how to make them most effective, as well as the results they’re getting. You can follow ‘The Mobile Mavens’ on each show as they evaluate Mobile campaigns from businesses small and large around the globe, and gain many take-a-ways that you can put to use in your own Mobile campaigns!

And, if you’re already using Mobile Marketing to promote your business, the Mavens are currently on the search for their next featured campaign to review.  If you would like your company’s Mobile campaign to be considered for inclusion on the show be sure to submit it to the The Mobile Marketing Review.

‘The Mobile Marketing Review’ Goes LIVE! October 26, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts, The Mobile Marketing Review.
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As a member of ‘The Mobile Mavens’ on The Mobile Marketing Review, I am happy to say that the first broadcast of our show is now LIVE!  And I think you’ll agree that it’s full of useful content and interesting insights from ‘The Mobile Mavens’, Kim Dushinski (author of The Mobile Marketing Handbook), Peggy Anne Salz (publisher of the Top 50 technology blog, mSearchGroove), and myself, Linda Daichendt (CEO, Strategic Growth Concepts; Founder, Mobile Technology Association of Michigan; and Co-founder, Mobile Monday Michigan).

The show begins with our ‘Under the Radar’ segment which will be a standard part of every broadcast.  In this show’s ‘Under the Radar’ we explore a recent Mobile study by Adobe entitled, Adobe Mobile Experience Survey: What Users Want from Media, Finance, Travel & Shopping which was published earlier this month.

The Adobe study contains some interesting findings, but what really drew my attention was the final conclusion and recommendation, “As the pace of smartphone adoption quickens globally, businesses have to be invested in the channel and move beyond the planning stages to start executing and gain some learnings on how users are interacting with the mobile channel.”  My take on that, “it’s time to get out of the kiddie pool, and jump into the ocean and start swimming!”  The bottom line is, you can study Mobile Marketing all you want, and you can read every expert opinion you can find, but you’re never going to figure out how it really works until you start implementing a campaign!  Sure, your business may make some mistakes – just like you’ve probably done with every other medium you’ve ever used.  But every time you use it, you’ll do it with a bit more insight, a bit more education; and therefore, each time you do it, it will be more successful.

And that’s what the company who produced our first evaluated Mobile campaign found out!  We explored a North American campaign by Arby’s which promoted their RoastBurger sandwich.  The company’s goal in implementing this first campaign was to develop local databases that could be used by their individual franchises for re-marketing efforts going forward.  Our research indicated that they incorporated TV, print, public relations, and in-store signage / collateral.  This first effort helped them build 172 local databases as a result of 89%+ response rates to the various media.  Now, the local markets are taking advantage of those Mobile databases to continue  Mobile Marketing efforts in their communities.  The Arby’s campaign appeared to be well-thought-out and fully-integrated into an overall marketing strategy for the chain – signs of a firm doing Mobile Marketing the “right” way.

However, the power of Mobile Marketing will really shine thru once the medium is fully embraced by small businesses.  It’s all well and good that the large chains and corporations are utilizing Mobile – and those firms always tend to be the early adopters – but the story is yet to be written with regard to small business.  I, for one, am quite confident that small businesses who learn the proper way to engage in Mobile Marketing will find it an extremely valuable, cost-effective tool for marketing their businesses.

To showcase that, we at The Mobile Marketing Review are anxious to review campaigns on the show that have been submitted by small businesses and/or the mobile platforms they utilized to implement their campaigns.  Therefore, we encourage firms that have taken their ‘first stab’ at Mobile to go to our website and submit their campaign information to us.  Give us the opportunity to review your campaign so that we can help you, and other small businesses, improve the benefits you obtain from using Mobile Marketing.

And since my fellow ‘Mobile Mavens’ and I have all discovered a shared affinity for Star Trek (and we wonder if that has anything to do with our shared love of Mobile Technology!), I’ll close with a wish for all who follow this blog and will be following The Mobile Marketing Review that is a greeting from Star Trek, “Live long and prosper” in growing your business with Mobile!

‘The Mobile Marketing Review’ Gets Ready to ‘Hit the Air’ October 20, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts, The Mobile Marketing Review.
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In my work with small and mid-sized businesses and advertising agencies, I am often asked, “what makes for a good mobile marketing campaign” and “how do I know what consumers will react to on mobile”.  As a result, for some time I’ve been considering a variety of ways to provide small and mid-sized firms with an easy way to obtain this information.  Now I’ve found the right solution!

I have recently joined forces with two mobile industry power-houses, Kim Dushinski (author of The Mobile Marketing Handbook) and Peggy Anne Salz (publisher and chief analyst for the Top 50 technical blog, mSearchGroove) in producing a regular podcast for the mobile industry. Entitled, ‘The Mobile Marketing Review‘, this forum will provide us the opportunity to share our collective experience; educate the industry, business owners and marketers, and agencies who are interested in bringing mobile to their clients; and to help communicate the best practices that are part of working with mobile.

Taking the name, The Mobile Mavens, we will launch The Mobile Marketing Review podcast series on Tuesday (October 26th ).

On our new website (dedicated to the news and views around our new series) we offer companies the opportunity to submit their mobile marketing and advertising campaigns (via this form) for our consideration.

Each month we will use our podcast as a platform to review a selection of the mobile campaigns that are submitted to us, and provide our expert analysis on how well the campaigns achieved their objectives (and served the interests of the most important stakeholders: consumers).

We kick off the first podcast in the series with an in-depth look at a recent mobile/cross-media campaign to promote Arby’s Roastburger sandwich. The campaign, which was developed by Hipcricket, is also a finalist in the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) Awards North America product launch category.

Moving forward, we are eager to receive campaigns from small businesses, local brands and emerging markets.

We would like to encourage brands and agencies everywhere to submit your mobile marketing campaign via this form. It’s your chance to know how your campaign really stacks up and (hopefully) learn ways to generate positive results for your company, and valuable content and experiences for your consumers.

Meantime, check out the web/mobile site and follow Kim, Peggy and myself on Twitter (@MobileMktgRview).

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.

What is the REAL impact of location-based marketing? August 29, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, location-based technology, marketing strategies.
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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’sBest 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.

Three mobile web marketing tips for the holiday shopping season August 27, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing.
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Bryce Marshall, Knotice

The ways shoppers make purchasing decisions in retail stores are undergoing a seismic shift. The shift is not driven by changes retailers are making to in-store promotions, store layout, retail design or packaging, however. It is driven by shoppers who have discovered that their mobile device offers a comprehensive tool set for making informed and confident decisions on what products to buy, which to pass on, or where else to make the purchase.

At the beginning of 2010 Motorola released the results of a fascinating study conducted during the 2009 holiday shopping season. Among the insights was one particularly interesting nugget: Worldwide, 51 percent of shoppers used their mobile device to help make an in-store purchase decision. The adoption rate of mobile devices generally — and smartphones specifically — continues to grow at a torrid pace. It’s common sense that mobile devices will be more vital to shoppers during the 2010 holiday season. In fact, using the mobile tool set to help make purchase decisions is no longer an emerging shopping behavior. It’s established shopping behavior.

Many of the most-trusted marketing tactics cannot adapt to the mandatory mobile contexts of time and place. And those trusty tactics cannot get down to specific increments of minutes and seconds — or meters and footsteps — like mobile interactions can. For consumers, the mobile Web unlocks the power to interact with, find, or demand the content they want at exactly the time and place they want it. The mobile Web fills the gap between layers of static, broadcast or stationary media. It fills the gap between the online and offline experience… and between Web stores and physical stores.

Here are three smart mobile Web tactics retailers can use now, and for the busy 2010 holiday shopping season. 

1. Provide the best of online in the store.

This is the clearest and most immediate opportunity for a lot of retailers, manufacturers and packaged goods providers. Consumers want the kind of detailed information found online to help make informed purchase decisions. For example, one large manufacturing company is making the great content from its website available to the in-store shopper via the mobile Web. The goal is easy access to the right amount and type of content. Not providing all of the information available on the product, just the right information to help a customer decide against a competitor’s product or prevent them from walking out of the store because of a lack of information.

The mobile Web, apps and SMS are great ways to get valuable content in the hands of in-store shoppers. Mobile solutions do not eat up valuable in-store shelf space and are more scalable and cost-effective than interactive solutions like kiosks, computers and video displays. Mobile solutions are perfect because the shopper provides the hardware.

2. Provide the tools to search, find, and motivate.

Right now consumers leverage mobile devices to search for information or make purchases while they are on-the-go. They seek convenience when busy or a diversion from boredom. They want smaller and smoother interactions. On-the-go shoppers have simple needs: Find a retailer, know what to buy, know it will be convenient, use a coupon. Apps and the mobile Web fill a potential gap in traditional media scenarios because with mobile search, location data, driving directions and coupon delivery, every shopper has the tools to locate and buy.

3. Embrace cross-channel behavior, don’t fight it.

A traditional failure by hybrid retailers, one that drives customers crazy, is the counter-intuitive division between online and physical retail operations. The organizational limitations of the retailer prevent a brand from embracing consumers’ cross-channel preferences. Right now many consumers use the traditional Web to research products, or create a shopping/wish list, all while intending to buy at a retail store. They use online tools but don’t buy online. Marketers can embrace this online-to-offline migration by creating mobile solutions that combine virtual and physical experiences in a consumer-centric mashup. For instance, allow online browsers to create a mobile cart or shopping list, then forward it to a mobile device via SMS, or access a shopping list via a personalized mobile Web page or app. Shoppers can quickly reference product information, SKUs, pricing and store location information — all of which ensures a seamless and profitable cross-channel retail experience.

On-the-go shoppers are looking for information right now. They are ready to make a purchase decision right now. They simply crave convenience, direction and purchase confidence. Deliver these experiences in every mobile interaction and your shoppers will be grateful now, and this winter when it counts the most.

Bryce Marshall is the director of strategic services for marketing firm Knotice.

Location-based Services & Local Targeted Marketing Using Mobile Technology August 13, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, marketing strategies, mobile, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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4 comments

ANN ARBOR, MI – The Michigan Chapter of Mobile Monday today announced the speakers and topics for its upcoming monthly meeting.  The event will be held on Monday, August 16th from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at Ann Arbor SPARK located at 330 E. Liberty Street in Ann Arbor.  Attendance at this event is Free, and those interested in attending may register at MobileMondayMichigan.org. Featured speaker for the event will be Melih Oztalay, CEO of Birmingham-based SmartFinds Internet Marketing, who will be speaking on the topic of “Why Geo-Marketing is Becoming Increasingly Important for Marketing Your Business, and How Mobile Helps You Achieve It”.  Other speakers for the event will be Megan Crosbie, Marketing & Membership Coordinator at the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce who will be speaking about the Chamber’s mobile app, A2YChamber, and Linda Daichendt, CEO of Strategic Growth Concepts, who will discuss recent studies regarding consumer cell phone usage and cell phone operating system market penetration rates.

A co-founder of Mobile Monday Michigan , Daichendt explains the importance of mobile technology as part of local marketing efforts, “As methods of reaching customers become more and more fragmented due to the abundance of channels in use today, it becomes increasingly imperative for marketers to be able to focus their efforts on those methods they can be certain will produce the highest rate of return on the marketing dollars invested.  With statistics showing that 85% of cell phone users always keep their device within 10 feet of them, it’s becoming very clear that mobile is likely to be the best way to reach them.  Further, studies have also shown that mobile is the one channel they will quickly respond to; a recent Nielsen study indicates that 97% of SMS (text) messages are read within 15 minutes of receipt, and acted upon within 1 hour.  Given that no other marketing medium can even come close to that response rate, it’s critical that marketers learn the best ways of using mobile and targeting consumers within their specific geographic areas in order to maximize response.”

In today’s marketplace, mobile marketing is being implemented by business owners and 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.  Mr. Oztalay’s presentation on Geo-Marketing via Mobile will help businesses capitalize on this growth by providing more effective ways of using the technology to improve local marketing results; while Daichendt’s presentation will review mobile from the consumer’s perspective.

Featured speaker, Melih Oztalay states about Geo-Marketing, “The benefits to small business are incredible; to be available to their local customers when the customer is looking for them while driving around town with their mobile device is an opportunity they need to take advantage of. The fact that the business can also update their offers anytime gives a local business the ability to adapt to market changes. I’m excited to be able to make this information available to members of Michigan’s mobile and marketing communities.”

For more information about this event, please contact Linda Daichendt at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.

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MobileMonday (MoMo) is an open community of mobile industry visionaries, developers, influential individuals, and users fostering cooperation and cross-company business development through virtual and live networking events. The groups programs are designed to facilitate idea sharing, best practices development, trends identification, and Mobile Industry growth locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally. The Michigan Chapter executes on these objectives by delivering a balanced approach of business and technical content from within the Michigan business community, as well as beyond our State, in order to insure the Michigan community is made aware of developments taking place outside our area that can aid local businesses. Those interested in learning more about Mobile Monday – Michigan can find the group’s website at MobileMondayMichigan.com; and information about the International organization can be found at MobileMonday.net.

Top 10 B2B Uses for Mobile Marketing August 9, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in B2B, marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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One of the questions I’m often asked when making a presentation or being interviewed about Mobile Marketing is “can it be used in a B2B environment, or is it only useful for B2C sales?”.  My answer is ALWAYS the same; Mobile Marketing will be just as productive for B2B purposes as it is for B2C.  In fact, recent studies indicate B2B mobile marketing will grow from $26 million in 2009 to $106 million in 2014. Forrester

To help you see the many ways Mobile can be utilized in a B2B environment, I thought I would provide 10 B2B Mobile use tips to help you get started with incorporating Mobile into your company’s overall marketing strategy.  The following are ideas for ways in which Mobile can be utilized as part of a B2B marketing/communication strategy:

  1. News/Updates – Important and time-sensitive customer updates can be sent directly to your opted-in clients using SMS (text) messaging. Further, people like being ahead of the crowd and being among “the first” to know something; send your customers updates about product launches, product updates or upcoming events. Consider a news text like a micro-newsletter with bite-size updates.
  2. Emergency Notification – SMS (text) messaging is a great way to notify your employees or customers during an emergency. Send critical updates during natural disasters, last-minute event location changes or just before your company’s important meetings.
  3. Special Promotions – Communicate with your distributors or franchises via SMS with the details about special promotions they can offer to customers.
  4. Employee Assignments – Dispatch employees to their next customer location via text messaging; provide them with location info (and a link to a map), provide customer details, and work-order information.
  5. Presentations – Communicate with your audience during in-person or webinar presentations, conduct polling.  Send out a question and ask for responses from attendees who have pre-registered their phones.  Or, used another way, ask the question verbally and have them respond via text messaging to a specific short-code.
  6. Customer Service – Many companies offer customer support and problem resolution via text. Customers are also able to check order status, confirm appointments or reservations, change reservations, track packages and receive back-order notification alerts.
  7. Events – Implement a text messaging marketing strategy to promote weekly meetups or networking events for members, or remind employees about upcoming meetings. Send out key logistic information like changes of venue or detailed parking instructions. You can even take event registration information via text!
  8. Customer Payments – Use mobile technology to allow your field-service reps to take customer payments via mobile; get immediate payment, protect customers credit card information, and manage payments risk-free!
  9. Lead Generation – Offer something of value in exchange for signing up to your ‘opt-in’ list; provide potential customers a link to a white-paper, a special discount, a video, or other standard B2B strategic tools in exchange for adding themselves to your prospect list via Mobile opt-in.  Use Mobile to gather additional info about them as part of the ‘opt-in’ process so you can effectively target customers during future Mobile campaigns.
  10. Trade Shows – Use Mobile at trade shows to exchange information with prospects; allow them to enter contests, request and receive company information,  or see a video about your product or service.  Send text alerts to attendees about your next presentation so they’ll have time to get there before it starts!

These are just a few of the many ways Mobile technology can be used for B2B purposes.  If you would like to explore the use of Mobile for your company’s B2B needs, Strategic Growth Concepts can help!  Contact us via our website or email at Info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to learn more about the many ways Mobile can help you increase revenue and productivity for your company!

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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 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 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.

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.