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What is your New Year’s Resolution for Your Business in 2012? December 11, 2011

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Video Marketing, Virtual Technology.
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4 comments

This is an updated re-print our our resolution article from 2010. We had a lot of requests to update the article and re-distribute it. We hope you find it of value.

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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 close of one year and the start of another 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 2012 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 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 2012, I believe, will be a ‘game-changing’ year for how business is being conducted.  Mobile technology in particular is having significant impact on the way we live and the way we conduct business today. If you continue to do business as you always have, you – and your business – 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 (think smartphone or tablet anyone?)?
  • can RFID mobile technologies help you manage your warehouse more efficiently?
  • 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?
  • can you get more people to engage with your website or product videos by enabling them to reach it via QR code technology?
  • 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?
  • could the use of mobile technology increase lead generation at trade show events your firm participates in?

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 2012!

___________________________________________________________

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, as well as the Executive Director of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM), a trade association for Michigan’s mobile /w ireless industry.  Linda is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries. 

Linda is available for consultation, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at http://StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .  MTAM’s website can be viewed at http://GoMobileMichigan.org .

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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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2 comments

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.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
4 comments

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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4 comments

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.

‘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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2 comments

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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5 comments

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.

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.

# # #

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.
Tags: , , ,
9 comments

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!

____________________________________________________________

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.

Restaurant’s Response to Yelp Review Causes Lost Customers and Media Backlash August 4, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , ,
5 comments

Social media, for some a marketing opportunity unmatched by any medium to come before; for others, the worst thing to happen to their business.

Those who have read previous articles on social media on this blog are aware of Strategic Growth Concepts position that social media is meant to provide an opportunity to effectively communicate with a business’ customers and potential customers.  Using social media correctly enables a company to gather opinions from consumers, to shape consumers’ opinion, to share information, and to interact in a way that not only enables their business to grow, but also makes consumers feel that they’ve had a role in helping the business to do so.

However, using social media incorrectly can cause a myriad of problems, not the least of which is the loss of customers and a potential public relations nightmare over which a business will have no control.

Unfortunately a pizzeria owner in Scottsdale Arizona is now learning  about this the hard way – though she doesn’t yet seem to be learning the lesson.  Below is the story.

As most of you are likely familiar, Yelp is a social media site that enables consumers to provide reviews of businesses they interact with, and to provide opinions about things like customer service, a business’ facility, it’s products and for restaurant’s – ratings on the food that is served, pricing, atmosphere, etc.  In recent months the site has garnered a lot of national attention and a signficant increase in consumer participation.  Many articles have recently been written in national publications and the blogsphere about the need for business owners to be aware of the potential that consumers are rating their business on Yelp and similar sites, and that other consumers are paying attention to these ratings – very close attention.  Further, many articles have also been written advising business owners to become familiar with the sites, and to learn how to effectively interact with consumers using them so that any negative situations have the potential of being turned into positive ones.

It appears the previously referred to Scottsdale Arizona restaurant owner hasn’t read the articles, because she did the exact thing that business owners are warned not to do; she took the occasion of a negative review on Yelp, responded very inappropriately  to the customer via the site, and now because of the tenor and content of her response, the whole incident has become a media firestorm and a public relations nightmare!

Joel Latondress, the customer, wrote a Yelp review of the pizzeria, Amy’s Baking Company, that indicated dissatisfaction with his experience when eating at the restaurant.  When Amy’s Baking Company’s owner responded, she attacked Latondress personally, likening him to a tramp and a loser and telling him to “Do us a favor and keep your ugly face and your ugly opinions to yourself.”  Click HERE to read the complete story and see a video by a Phoenix area publication.

Owner Amy is now dealing with the repercussions of that decision.  Not only has the incident garnered an incredible amount of national press, but consumers are now responding with extremely negative reactions to Amy’s response to Latondress and vowing to never visit her restaurant.  Therefore, one negative review has now lost Amy’s Baking Company thousands of potential customers because of an inappropriate response.

Could this situation have been handled better and received a different result?  ABSOLUTELY!  If Amy had done her homework and been aware of the appropriate way to use social media (as well as had a bit of common sense), she could have responded to Latondress’ posting with sincere empathy for having provided him with a less than positive experience during his visit.  She could have invited him back with a substantial discount, or even for a free meal, to provide the restaurant with an opportunity to change his opinion to a positive one.  She could have shown concern that her business did not meet his expectations as a customer, and vowed to improve.  At the very least, she could have apologized for his dissatisfaction and asked for an opportunity to change his mind at some future date, expressing her concern as the business owner that all of her customers be left with a positive experience after visiting her facility.

Any of these responses would have resulted in, at the very worst, one negative posting being on the site if Latondress had decided not to enable the restaurant to have another opportunity to change his mind, and that would have been the end of it.  Instead, Amy’s owner has taken the negative experience of one customer and turned it in to a nightmare, for herself and her business, one which the whole world is watching.  Personally, I’ll be surprised if her business survives, and reading the postings that are continuously being added to her Yelp site, it appears that a majority of consumers would prefer that it didn’t.

Let this be a lesson to all business owners, CONSUMERS ARE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.  Therefore, do everything you can to insure they have a positive experience to talk about; and if by chance they report a negative experience, use common sense and basic customer service skills to do everything you can to turn that situation into a positive.  Don’t end up like Amy!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  7:37 P.M. 8/4/10:

I have been monitoring the community forums on Yelp to keep up-to-date on this situation.  Unfortunately, it appears Amy is unreceptive to all the advice that is apparently now coming her way about the way to interact with customers on social media.  Below is a quote from her that ran in the Phoenix NewTimes and was re-posted in the forums:

“Based on Amy’s most recent comment on the New Times article, she is very clear that no one should feel bad for her.” Julia T.

Amy B says:

If you are all so ignorant and naive to believe that my restaurant will close because of your ridiculous comments then you are all in for disappointment.

My husband and I opened this restaurant for Fun and as a Hobby. We paid to keep this place closed for ONE YEAR while I was in Prison.

I sincerely appreciate all of the attention that this is bring to our restaurant. What is that age old saying? “There’s no such thing as Bad Publicity?”

None of you were my customers before that Tramp Joel came into my restaurant trying to Hustle a free dinner out of us. And none of you will ever be welcome in my restaurant!

We have the pleasure of choosing our customers, who in turn always end up loving us and becoming members of our family.
All of your verbal attacks and advice to use a PR Firm or hire some “Social Media Group” only proves my initial impression from the beginning of this entire situation. You are all so willing to advise me to hire a PR firm and you are all sending me tweets and emails offering your services so what is this some feeble attempt to try to “Shake Me Down?” You people have no idea who you are playing with.

If Joel had a valid complaint and truly there was something wrong with his Pizza that night I would have graciously offered him something else, however from the moment he sat down he was trying to get something for free. He wanted to order the $3 olive Tapenade but changed his mind when he found out it the bread was an additional $3. Is his way of trying to support local business coming in on a Saturday night to order a $3 appetizer? If this is the type of customer that you all represent then PLEASE feel free to go to any other restaurant in this State! My husband and I save our energy for our true customers who don’t have a hidden agenda. And as for me being vicious and mean perhaps you should all take a look at the things you are saying and see who is truly being vicious. All I did was stand up and defend my business. Since when become a crime to fight back against negative reviews when they are untrue? My loyal customers don’t care about negative reviews that are being written or the verbal attacks you have launched against us. They are smart enough and classy enough to not lower themselves to your level.

Here is the link to the chain of comments.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  9-7-10

The following comment was received today from restaurant owner Amy B.

From amy b on Restaurant’s Response to Yelp Review Causes Lost Customers and Media Backlash #

We have actually been very busy, so I suppose your article is incorrect.

Given Amy’s response, apparently her restaurant has not been adversely affected by the media frenzy surrounding her postings, but in this author’s opinion, she also hasn’t really learned any lessons about appropriate communication within social media.  A more appropriate comment, in my opinion, would have been to apologize to Joel and those who were offended by her postings, to reiterate how much she cares about the opinions of her customers, and to list a few of the lessons learned during this ordeal.

I hope for Amy’s sake this article is wrong and she is not experiencing the business reductions that the social media commentary would seem to indicate, but I would find it surprising.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  5-14-13

We are disappointed to see that it appears that almost 3 years later Amy has not changed her behavior, though she has apparently gained an even larger audience – on Reality TV.  http://now.msn.com/kitchen-nightmares-couple-are-posting-angry-comments-on-facebook .  All we can say at this point is WOW! Frankly, am very surprised that this restaurant is still in business, but apparently the people in her community have a high tolerance for horrid behavior.

____________________________________________________________

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.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

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.

BP Oil Spill Driving Increased Awareness of QR Codes August 1, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
2 comments

Just like donations to Haiti were the driving impetus to making text messaging mainstream in consumer consciousness, it appears that BP oil disaster recovery efforts may have the same affect on QR codes.

Read the following,  QR Codes To The Rescue In The Gulf To Address The BP Oil Spill, for an excellent story on efforts being implemented as part of the ‘Be the One’ campaign that includes the participation of such celebrities as:  Sandra Bullock, Lenny Kravitz, Dave Matthews, John Goodman, Drew Brees, Eli Manning and many others.  The effort is being helped in a ‘big’ way by Reuters.  It should be noted that there has recently been some controversy indicating that BP Oil itself may be behind the campaign, and stories are circulating that Sandra Bullock has pulled her support.  However, the controversy has seemed to increase the awareness of the campaign, and it is our opinion that it likely to spur even greater awareness of QR codes as a result.

We at Strategic Growth Concepts believe that if this campaign achieves the level of awareness that the Haiti campaign did, it will go a long way toward not only helping the Gulf communities, but also toward making QR codes high on the radar of advertisers looking for highly effective, cost-efficient ways of reaching consumers with their message.

If reading this article makes you see the opportunities presented by QR codes and would like to explore this technology to promote your business, please contact us for assistance via our website or email at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.

____________________________________________________________

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.

Why Mobile Offers a Good Chance to Connect with Hispanics June 27, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in demographics, mobile, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , ,
2 comments

June 25, 2010

Young mobile population eager to communicate and connect

Like many Americans, Hispanics love their mobile phones and take them everywhere, more than non-Hispanic whites and, in many cases, more than blacks.

“Hispanics cannot imagine daily life without their mobile phones and credit the technology with strengthening relationships and keeping them connected to their social world, not just friends and family,” said Lisa E. Phillips, eMarketer senior analyst and author of the new report “Hispanic Mobile Users and Usage.” “Marketers who are just turning to mobile will find a market well ahead of them.”

Hispanic mobile phone users are younger than the Hispanic Internet population, according to eMarketer estimates and comScore: 50.7% of mobile phone users are between 18 and 34 years of age compared with 35.6% in the same age group among Hispanic Internet users. The Hispanic mobile phone population skews even more male than the general population: 55.6% of mobile phone users are male, compared with 51% of males in the Hispanic population.

Hispanics lead all other groups in wireless-only households. And while Hispanics lag behind other ethnicities in having broadband Internet access at home, a full 78% of Hispanic mobile Internet users have some form of Internet access at home.

“In-store mobile marketing is the next big thing,” said Ms. Phillips. “Hispanics are not big online buyers, but they are using their mobile phones to check out products and deals while standing in the store aisles.”

Like most other consumers, Hispanic shoppers are looking for good deals. They use mobile devices to check on prices, product information and inventory while shopping in a store, according to a Sterling Commerce survey.

Retailers take note: Hispanics who are shopping in-store want to buy the product then and there. If they do not find it, 29% said they would use their mobile phone to locate an out-of-stock item at a competing retailer.


The full report, “Hispanic Mobile Users and Usage,” also answers these key questions:

  • What does the Hispanic mobile market look like?
  • Which mobile devices do Hispanics use to go online?
  • Are Hispanics amenable to viewing mobile advertising?
  • How can marketers reach this mobile audience?

To purchase the report, click here. Total Access clients, log in and view the report now.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part V June 13, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
1 comment so far

Part V – The Etiquette and Legalities of Mobile Marketing

Those that have been following our multi-part series on Mobile Marketing know that so far in our series we have covered:

In Part V we’re going to examine Mobile Marketing Etiquette and the Legalities involved in utilizing Mobile as part of your marketing strategy.  As we review these two issues, you will begin to see how closely related they are in affecting the way in which a company implements a Mobile campaign.

There are two things that make Mobile Marketing extremely effective:

  1. Mobile is direct one-on-one communication with a targeted customer
  2. The person receiving the message must have already ‘opted-in’ to receive messages from you, therefore, they are receptive to receiving the messages you send them which will typically increase the message’s effectiveness.

In order to insure that the best things about Mobile Marketing are not abused, it is imperative for companies utilizing Mobile to adhere to the guidelines and industry standards that have been developed and are strictly enforced.  This information can be found in the M-SPAM Act of 2009 and the Mobile Marketing Association’s (MMA’s) Best Practices Guidelines.  Adherence to these policies not only helps you avoid legal issues and huge fines, but it also helps you maintain the trust and loyalty of your customers.  To help you understand the importance of this, let’s examine the cases of some companies who forgot.

Case #1

A 2009 article by Adam Broitman in iMedia Connection, details the case of a wireless carrier who forgot to follow the rules they helped draft.

“Recently, AT&T sent out text messages to a large number of its 75 million customers. The message was a promotion for “American Idol,” a show that AT&T sponsors. (The company also plays a key role in the show, as only AT&T customers can vote for their favorite singers via text message.) Many of the mobile customers had not opted in to get this text, and the Twittersphere was, well, all atwitter!

Have a look at some of the conversation:

Sure, Twitter has been known, at times, to have a bit of a mob mentality. But in this case, it is apparent that these people were angry, and the ripples that began on Twitter created waves across the web.”, Broitman states.

While legally AT&T was allowed to do what they did (the M-Spam Act allows carriers to send messages to their subscribers), they lost a great deal of trust from those subscribers who had never agreed to receive messages about American Idol from them and they probably lost a great many future subscribers who didn’t want to be subjected to such practices.

Case #2

In a 2007 Mobivity blog posting by Greg Harris, Greg tells us the story of another extremely credible brand that didn’t adhere to industry best practices when communicating with those who have ‘opted-in’ to their mobile list.  Here’s Greg’s story:

“SPAM has all but killed email marketing, and has made the acceptance of mobile marketing more difficult to both the marketers, and the consumer. On a daily basis we have to win over customers, and explain that SMS and mobile marketing will not have the same problems as email. We explain how the carriers have control of what is sent over their networks, and about the MMA Code of Conduct.

And then a reputable company comes along and does something stupid that sends us a step back.

I just read a post on Greg Verdino’s marketing blog that just made me shake my head in wonder. Apparently Fast Company, a well known brand, took what could have been a great idea and ruined it for all of us.

According to Greg Verdino:

I was reading a great article about authentic business and marketing in this month’s Fast Company .  A sidebar invited me to (and here I quote) “Text In, Get Real.  For exclusive tips on what it takes to be authentic, text the word BACKSTORY to 30364 from your mobile device.”

So I did, and immediately received a WAP push pointing to some good content that complemented the piece in the magazine.

But here’s where it went wrong.  I also received a text message informing me that I was now subscribed to Fast Company’s monthly mobile alert program.  The problem is that neither the magazine sidebar nor the related webpage make any mention of the monthly subscription.  And I simply wanted this month’s content, not an on-going mobile alerts subscription.

One thing that we make clear to our customers is that if you are putting someone on a list, you must let them know. I’m not sure how Fast Company missed that. Just because someone sent in a text message to get the local weather, doesn’t mean you can send them offers and follow-up messages.

Give the consumer a reason to opt-in and you have built a mutual relationship. Provide them something of value, and in return they will let you send them messages once in a while. Don’t just assume that because they requested something from you once that you can now contact them at your convenience.

As Greg puts it:

If I invited you to dinner once, would you invite yourself to show up on the third Thursday of every month to eat again, forever or until I told you to stop coming?  I hope not…

Well said! ”

And Greg is right.

So let’s be clear, the rules of mobile are really not all that complicated, and they’re really not that hard to follow with a little strategic planning.  To help you have a clear picture of the guidelines that are imperative for you to follow, here is a list provided by Mobile expert, Kim Dushinski, author of The Mobile Marketing Handbook:

  • ALWAYS GET EXPLICIT PERMISSION
  • Opt customers in
  • Tell them specifically what they are ‘opting-in’ to
  • Give customers the option to ‘opt-out’ in every message
  • No false advertising
  • Never use a third party list – PERIOD
  • Never hold a contest or sweepstakes without legal advice
  • Never collect data on anyone under 13 years of age
  • Never use the word FREE unless everything is 100% free in the campaign
  • Follow MMA’s Best Practices Guidelines

You see, it’s really not that difficult.  However, if you don’t have a clear understanding of the right way to proceed with Mobile Marketing for your company, then you should hire the expertise of those who do understand it in order to prevent your firm from experiencing such consequences as:

  • Lost trust of customers
  • Loss of your short code access
  • Lawsuits
  • Significant fines

I should state for clarity’s sake that I was driven to explore this particular aspect of Mobile Marketing as part of this series as the result of a recent conversation with a business associate.  We had a meeting where I was explaining the concept of Mobile Marketing, its value, and how it should be used.  When I’d finished, my associate relayed to me a recent experience she’d had with a national retailer and their use of Mobile, it was not a positive experience.

Apparently this national retailer had set up a program within their stores designed to obtain ‘opt-ins’ for their Mobile list.  They had signage throughout the store offering customers an immediate purchase discount if they provided their cell number to be added to the chain’s ‘opt-in’ list. When my associate hesitated to give the number because the clerk could not provide clear information on how the phone number would be used, who would have access to it, what type of messages would be received, and how often, the clerk became quite agitated and said, “Well if you want the discount you have to give me the number, otherwise you don’t get it”.

So, based on what you’ve learned in this article, what are some of the problems you heard in this story? Here’s what I heard:

  • The store’s signage did not in any way clarify how the cell phone number would be used, ie:  how often customers would receive messages, the store’s privacy policy, what type of messages would be received, etc.
  • The store’s staff had not been educated about the details of the mobile campaign and was unable to answer the most basic customer questions about the promotion.
  • The store’s clerk needed an education in appropriate customer service behavior; his response to my associate means that not only did the Mobile campaign not work as it was intended, but in fact it caused the chain significant harm as I know for certain that I am not the only person who heard the story from this individual (and we who heard it directly know the name of the retailer).  I know for me personally, it’s unlikely I’ll be visiting them anytime soon, and I’m guessing others who have heard the story probably feel the same!

So, the moral of the story is this, Mobile Marketing is an EXCEPTIONAL and effective method of marketing, however, it requires you to do your homework and plan the details of an effective marketing strategy.  “Cross the T’s, dot the I’s”, and make sure you are adhering to the appropriate standards in implementing your Mobile campaign.  And if you don’t feel confident of your ability to do it on your own, hire an expert to assist you.  And then, sit back and reap the reward of a Mobile Marketing job well done!

____________________________________________________________________________

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.