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Strategic Growth Concepts’ CEO Interviewed About Mobile Marketing for Small Business July 31, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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We would like to thank Justin Hong, host of the BlogTalkRadio show, ‘The Small Business MBA’ for inviting our firm’s CEO, Linda Daichendt, to be aBlogTalkRadio graphic guest on his show today for a discussion about ‘Mobile Marketing for Small Business’.  Topics discussed included:

  • the benefits of mobile marketing
  • explanations of the different types of mobile marketing
  • the Federal laws that affect a mobile marketing program
  • the results a small business can expect from a mobile marketing campaign
  • the costs of implementing a mobile marketing campaign
  • ways in which small businesses can use mobile marketing to promote their business and reach consumers

Be sure to listen to today’s broadcast by clicking HERE so you can take advantage of the special offer our CEO made available to the show’s listeners!

Go Viral. Go Visible. Go Video! July 31, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Strategic Growth Concepts, Video Marketing, Web 2.0.
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Article by Lou Bortone, a long-time marketing and branding consultant who helps entrepreneurs build breakthrough brands on the Internet, with services such as online video production, video branding, coaching and creative support.  Lou is a former television executive who worked for E! Entertainment Television and later served as the Senior Vice President of Marketing & Advertising for Fox Family Worldwide, a division of Fox in Los Angeles.  Lou is an author and ghostwriter of six business books, a Certified Guerrilla Marketing Coach and a Book Yourself Solid Certified Coach. Visit Lou’s website at http://www.OnlineVideoBranding.com.

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“I see you everywhere!” Yup, I get that a lot!  Colleagues and clients tell me all the time that I seem to be “everywhere.”  They see me on YouTube, Facebook, on blogs and on Twitter.  I am definitely visible!  But my online visibility is no accident.   My visibility strategy is simple:  I leverage the power of video to increase my exposure – and you can, too!  Lou Bartone - video

Online video is the perfect tool to maximize your web presence because it’s highly visible and viral.  You can create one video and have it spread from YouTube to Facebook to your own website and beyond.  It’s the ultimate leverage resource, because you create it once and use it in many different ways, and in many different places.

Best of all, creating a video to enhance your visibility is quick, easy and inexpensive.  Armed with only a webcam or an affordable Flip Video camera, you can shoot a simple video message and upload it to YouTube in minutes.  All you need is a (high-speed) Internet connection and a free account on YouTube.com.

Once your video is posted on YouTube, you can send it to Facebook and MySpace with one click!  Other free video hosting sites like Blip.tv give you easy sharing and cross-posting functions to add your video to your own website, or to social sites such as Digg and StumbleUpon. To really leverage your time and energy, use another free service, TubeMogul.com, to blast your video out to over a dozen sites with one click!  You get the idea: One video to many sites means leverage and visibility across the web!

Keep in mind that even just posting your video to Facebook is going to give you video some mileage.  As others comment on your video on Facebook, the video then appears on their Facebook page in addition to your own.  That’s the “viral” in viral video!

And let’s not leave Twitter out of the video party…  While you can’t post the video itself on Twitter, you can certainly promote the link to your video on Twitter.  Better yet, there are several free services, such as Tweetube and Twiddeo, that will notify Twitter for you whenever you put your video on their sites.

Finally, if you want the ultimate, maxed-out, super-charged version of video visibility, be sure to get in touch with me about a free trial of Veeple.com.  Veeple is the video hosting platform that I use to make my videos clickable (with live links) and interactive. Veeple’s  new deal with TubeMogul means you can even blast your video from Veeple.com to a boatload of popular video sites.  It’s one-stop shopping for massive video visibility!  You can find more info on Veeple here: http://tinyurl.com/ltdjgv.

If you’d like more information or a quick crash course on video visibility, please feel free to visit my “Video Traffic Blast” website.  There you can find out more about my step-by-step viral video process.  Be sure to get your video online now!  Start sharing your video on the web and soon, you too can be seen “everywhere!”

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If after completing this article you’re still not certain how Video can be utilized to market your company, we would be happy to assist you in developing a customized program to promote your business.  Please feel free to contact us via our website or via email at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to schedule a FREE initial consultation.

Mom-and-Pop Businesses Succeed with Social Media July 26, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter.
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By CLAIRE CAIN MILLER, New York Times

SAN FRANCISCO — Three weeks after Curtis Kimball opened his crème brûlée cart in San Francisco, he noticed a stranger among the friends in line for his desserts. How had the man discovered the cart? He had read about it on Twitter.
Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Curtis Kimball, owner of a crème brûlée cart in San Francisco, uses Twitter to drive his customers to his changing location.

For Mr. Kimball, who conceded that he “hadn’t really understood the purpose of Twitter,” the beauty of digital word-of-mouth marketing was immediately clear. He signed up for an account and has more than 5,400 followers who wait for him to post the current location of his itinerant cart and list the flavors of the day, like lavender and orange creamsicle.

“I would love to say that I just had a really good idea and strategy, but Twitter has been pretty essential to my success,” he said. He has quit his day job as a carpenter to keep up with the demand.

Much has been made of how big companies like Dell, Starbucks and Comcast use Twitter to promote their products and answer customers’ questions. But today, small businesses outnumber the big ones on the free microblogging service, and in many ways, Twitter is an even more useful tool for them.

For many mom-and-pop shops with no ad budget, Twitter has become their sole means of marketing. It is far easier to set up and update a Twitter account than to maintain a Web page. And because small-business owners tend to work at the cash register, not in a cubicle in the marketing department, Twitter’s intimacy suits them well.

“We think of these social media tools as being in the realm of the sophisticated, multiplatform marketers like Coca-Cola and McDonald’s, but a lot of these supersmall businesses are gravitating toward them because they are accessible, free and very simple,” said Greg Sterling, an analyst who studies the Internet’s influence on shopping and local businesses.

Small businesses typically get more than half of their customers through word of mouth, he said, and Twitter is the digital manifestation of that. Twitter users broadcast messages of up to 140 characters in length, and the culture of the service encourages people to spread news to friends in their own network.

Umi, a sushi restaurant in San Francisco, sometimes gets five new customers a night who learned about it on Twitter, said Shamus Booth, a co-owner.

He twitters about the fresh fish of the night — “The O-Toro (bluefin tuna belly) tonight is some of the most rich and buttery tuna I’ve had,” he recently wrote — and offers free seaweed salads to people who mention Twitter.

Twitter is not just for businesses that want to lure customers with mouth-watering descriptions of food. For Cynthia Sutton-Stolle, the co-owner of Silver Barn Antiques in tiny Columbus, Tex., Twitter has been a way to find both suppliers and customers nationwide.

Since she joined Twitter in February, she has connected with people making lamps and candles that she subsequently ordered for her shop and has sold a few thousand dollars of merchandise to people outside Columbus, including to a woman in New Jersey shopping for graduation gifts.

“We don’t even have our Web site done, and we weren’t even trying to start an e-commerce business,” Ms. Sutton-Stolle said. “Twitter has been a real valuable tool because it’s made us national instead of a little-bitty store in a little-bitty town.”

Scott Seaman of Blowing Rock, N.C., also uses Twitter to expand his customer base beyond his town of about 1,500 residents. Mr. Seaman is a partner at Christopher’s Wine and Cheese shop and owns a bed and breakfast in town. He sets up searches on TweetDeck, a Web application that helps people manage their Twitter messages, to start conversations with people talking about his town or the mountain nearby. One person he met on Twitter booked a room at his inn, and a woman in Dallas ordered sake from his shop.

The extra traffic has come despite his rarely pitching his own businesses on Twitter. “To me, that’s a turn-off,” he said. Instead of marketing to customers, small-business owners should use the same persona they have offline, he advised. “Be the small shopkeeper down the street that everyone knows by name.”

Chris Mann, the owner of Woodhouse Day Spa in Cincinnati, twitters about discounts for massages and manicures every Tuesday. Twitter beats e-mail promotions because he can send tweets from his phone in a meeting and “every single business sends out an e-mail,” he said.

Even if a shop’s customers are not on Twitter, the service can be useful for entrepreneurs, said Becky McCray, who runs a liquor store and cattle ranch in Oklahoma and publishes a blog called Small Biz Survival.

In towns like hers, with only 5,000 people, small-business owners can feel isolated, she said. But on Twitter, she has learned business tax tips from an accountant, marketing tips from a consultant in Tennessee and start-up tips from the founder of several tech companies.

Anamitra Banerji, who manages commercial products at Twitter, said that when he joined the company from Yahoo in March, “I thought this was a place where large businesses were. What I’m finding more and more, to my surprise every single day, is business of all kinds.”

Twitter, which does not yet make money, is now concentrating on teaching businesses how they can join and use it, Mr. Banerji said, and the company plans to publish case studies. He is also developing products that Twitter can sell to businesses of all sizes this year, including features to verify businesses’ accounts and analyze traffic to their Twitter profiles.

According to Mr. Banerji, small-business owners like Twitter because they can talk directly to customers in a way that they were able to do only in person before. “We’re finding the emotional distance between businesses and their customers is shortening quite a bit,” he said.

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If after completing this article you’re still not certain how Twitter can be utilized to market your company, we would be happy to assist you in developing a customized program to promote your business.  Please feel free to contact us via our website or via email at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to schedule a FREE initial consultation.

Mobile Marketing is Topic for Radio Guest Appearance by Strategic Growth Concepts CEO July 22, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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BlogTalkRadio graphicGiven the precarious state of today’s economy, small businesses are on ‘high alert’ for new ways of increasing revenue. While recent technology advances provide a variety of methodologies that can be useful in achieving this goal, there is one that has only recently come to the forefront of marketer’s awareness – Mobile Marketing. This will be topic of discussion during Strategic Growth Concepts CEO, Linda Daichendt’s upcoming guest appearance on the ‘Small Business MBA Show’ on BlogTalkRadio. This show will broadcast live on Friday, July 31, 2009 at 2:30 p.m. EDT. Click HERE to learn the details about the program – and some interesting information about Mobile Marketing.

Top 5 Social Media Tips for Small Business July 16, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, FaceBook, LinkedIN, MySpace, Naymz, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter, Video Marketing, Web 2.0.
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Some content in this posting is from an article by Mya Frazier for Bankrate.com

A few years ago, using the Internet to market a small business simply meant to create a presence online with a simple, informational Web site.  Then came the demands of search engine optimization to ensure Google and Yahoo searches yielded top-ranked results for your company. Was your business’s Web site chock full of the key search terms that would bring it to the attention of customers?

Social Media graphicToday, social media is transforming the small-business marketing landscape. Social media are Web- or mobile-based tools for sharing and discussing information. It’s not just for seeing who your high school sweetheart married. Businesses can tap into powerful networking sites and other social media to drive customers to their shops or companies.

If done right, small-business owners might even be able to slash their traditional marketing spending to zero. Writing blogs (short for “Web logs”) or on-going online commentary using social-networking sites, such as Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube, can provide inexpensive but powerful online marketing.

Because it’s free, people think it’s easy to create a social media presence. But this attitude can lead to missteps. So before you dive headlong into social media, take some time to observe the customs and social norms of these new forms of communications, says David Spark, founder of Spark Media Solutions, a San Francisco-based firm that helps companies tell their story through social media.  “Also think about your strategy for effectively utilizing social media before you jump in,” says Linda Daichendt, CEO/Managing Consultant of Strategic Growth Concepts. “It’s easier to avoid costly mistakes before you begin than to correct them after they’ve done damage to your company’s reputation.”

“Think of social media as a cocktail party,” says, David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and “World Wide Rave,” books about how to create buzz online. “You don’t go into the cocktail party and go into the middle room and scream at the top of your lungs and say, ‘Buy my products.’ … What works is you have some meaningful conversation first. And that’s just how social media works.”

If you decide to take the social-networking plunge, here are five ways to harness social media to help your business.

1. Use free sites. Use free online services, such as the mobile short-message site Twitter, and popular networking sites Facebook and MySpace, to post significant news, specials or events. For example, you run a small Italian restaurant with a loyal following. You could create a Twitter account and upload the lunch or dinner specials via “tweets,” or short messages of up to 140 characters, daily to customers’ smart phones or to other Web sites.

“All you have to do is give a (Twitter) handle and start a conversation. You could put the Twitter handle on the menu or in the restaurant,” says Chris Abraham, Abraham Harrison LLC, a Washington, D.C.-based digital public relations agency. Granted, social networking sites are still for early adopters.  “You aren’t going to get Aunt Matilda to tweet about the experience she had at dinner,” Abraham says.

Abraham considers Twitter one of the easiest ways for a newbie to social media to get started.  “It’s more challenging to do Facebook,” Abraham says. “You have to create a personal profile, create a page and so on. With Twitter, if you’re Joe Smith with Motorcycle Emporium, you don’t have to create a page. And you can create Twitter updates via a phone or mobile device easily.”

“Don’t try to reinvent the wheel,” he says. “There are lots of people sold on really expensive solutions, but two of the best investments for reaching out to people and engaging with them are free on Twitter and Facebook.”

2. Shift marketing costs to social media. After learning how social networking operates, use social media to free up traditional marketing dollars for your small business by putting it online. You can quickly learn which of your Facebook or MySpace “friends” or online “group” members received and responded to your message.

Stanya Doty has cut her print marketing budget to zero. As owner of Simple Indulgences, a wine and high-end gift shop in Delaware, Ohio, she began using Facebook in December 2008 to communicate with her brother but quickly realized the online marketing possibilities.

“I thought, ‘Oh, my gosh, there are so many people here,’ ” she says. Indeed, Facebook boasts 200 million users worldwide.  In April 2009, she began promoting monthly wine tastings via a Facebook page for the shop that quickly attracted 100 members. Combined with an e-newsletter created using the do-it-yourself, e-mail marketing Web site Constant Contact, she keeps enough buzz going about her shop that her advertising budget for local print ads no longer seemed necessary. She usually sends out about 700 e-mails, with the response rate sometimes reaching nearly 50 percent. It sure beats a postal mailing.  “If I sent out a postcard with postage and paid for all that, I’d still have no idea who read it and who threw it away,” she says.

Indeed, unlike a print ad, Doty gets instant, measurable results. “On Facebook, you can see who has responded to invites,” she says. “It’s easy, it’s cheap and I’m actually appealing to people that at first know me from the store and then hopefully … pass the word along throughout their networks.”

3. Do your own social-media optimization project. Learn about the competition in your industry and geographic region that are tapping social networking. Spark recommends starting by researching the competition in the major search engines — Google and Yahoo.

“Type in keywords and phrases that people would use to find you, like ‘plumber’ and ‘San Francisco.’ If you don’t appear in the top percentage of pages, take a look at the Website of those plumbers that do show up,” says Spark. “Look at their pages, and usually they will have a lot of content on their sites.”

To increase a business’s presence on the Internet, Spark advocates companies create blogs, newsletters and other articles on their sites to bolster the number of keywords — terms that search engines recognize — to boost their ranking in all-important Web searches.

“That’s the way people discover you,” he says. “Take that plumber in San Francisco. The right search terms might just be ‘clogged toilet and San Francisco.'”  “That tells me I should write … in my blog about how to fix a clogged toilet and mention that I am a plumber in San Francisco,” he says.

4. Take social-network marketing to the next level. Create and post richer content about what your customers would expect from someone in your business. Don’t view social media sites as a place to simply hype your wares. It’s a place for conversation.

“Social media is about earning attention,” says David Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and “World Wide Rave,” books about how to create buzz online.  “What’s most important is to forget about what your company does. Instead, think about the people who are buying your products. Simply hyping products and services online and in social media sites completely backfires. People are not looking for products but for something fun. They are looking to make connections,” Scott says.

So it’s all about having something interesting to say or show. It could be a blog, or a video on the video-sharing Website YouTube.

For example, if you’re a caterer, instead of talking about your service, create engaging culinary content. Imagine positioning yourself as a gourmet magazine on the Web, complete with links to a video you uploaded to YouTube.

“A caterer could create a blog with information about how to create a fantastic party, and each blog post or YouTube video could be another installment,” Scott says. “On the Web, you are what you publish and being on the Web is about publishing information.”

So back to that plumber faced with the prospect of dropping an expensive Yellow Pages listing but worried about customers not finding him if they have a burst pipe or a misfiring shower head. Scott recommends the plumber post a list of “the 100 home fixes for common plumbing problems.”

“All of a sudden you are going to get indexed very highly in the search engines, and people are going to share that content with their friends,” he says. “When someone puts an update on Facebook asking if anyone knows a good plumber in Boston, a friend might point to your content.”

5. Use blogging to drive search results and help new customers find you. Lately, blogging has gained greater attention, with the advent of “micro-blogging” on Twitter. But consider the time commitment and strategy before launching an account.

Even with the spread of micro-blogging, Abraham remains a big fan of traditional blogs, which are lengthier and show up on Web sites. In general, no matter what form the blog takes, it should be consistent over time.

“If you can’t keep up one (blog) post a day or 12 tweets a day, do one tweet every Thursday. Consistency in blogging or tweeting will create a relationship of trust with your followers or readers. Do it once a week, but for the next two years,” Abraham says.

And don’t spend extra money on blogging software, technical help, or a ghost writer for your blog.  To get started, sign up with WordPress.com or Blogger – both are free blogging platforms which are easy to use for beginners.

Additional opportunities within the social media environment include:  online radio shows on platforms such as BlogTalkRadio, social networking sites such as LinkedIN, Plaxo, and FriendFeed, and a wide variety of additional tools as well depending on your type of business.

Following these social media basics for small business will get your company started on the right road to gaining new customers and increased revenue via social media.

If after completing this article you’re still not certain what your company’s social media strategy should be, we would be happy to aid you in it’s development – and implementation if you would like.  Please feel free to contact us via our website or via email at linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com to schedule a FREE initial consultation.

Time to Begin Planning Mobile Strategies to Aid Holiday Sales July 11, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Marketing Plan, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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By Mickey Alam Khan, July 6, 2009

It’s only three months before mobile can expect to play a significant role in searching and shopping for the holidays. Marketers, agencies and vendors should gear up for the traffic and the expectations.

As is customary, marketers are already working on lists for catalog, direct mail, insert media and email drops for the holidays, along with planning print, television, radio and online buys for those with the budget. Mobile should now be included in that media mix.

First it is key to understand mobile’s role in the holidays. It certainly won’t supplant ecommerce or the wired Web. It won’t take away from print, TV or radio’s branding strengths. And it won’t compete with the catalog, mailer, insert or email.

SMS msg on cell in hand - verticalInstead, mobile will give legs to those channels, through mobile advertising, mobile marketing and mobile commerce.

Long on short codes
Let’s start with catalogs.

Each catalog invites users to shop via phone, mail or by entering a SKU number on the brand’s Web site. Perhaps it would be wise to add a keyword and common short code on each catalog, inviting recipients to text and opt in to the loyalty program for alerts of new deals, shipping incentives or discounts during the holidays.

A similar effort with targeted direct mail and inserts – unique keyword and short code – can actually track the piece’s efficacy in case the customer or prospect responds to the call to action.

Mentioning a keyword and short code on marketing and retail email newsletters can also encourage enrollment into the overall loyalty program with the mobile number.

Adding SMS to print, TV and radio will help track the effectiveness of print and broadcast advertising at a time when the sales pitches are at their shrillest. After all, the holidays are the annual Olympics for retail and marketing.

It’s as simple as that: a keyword and short code. But start preparing now. Wireless carriers take their own sweet time approving SMS programs, and with new requirements in place, marketers have to provide every detail about their planned campaigns.

What the carriers don’t want – and certainly will prevent at all costs – is a collapse of their network due to a deluge of commercial SMS messages. Nor do they want to be accused of spam, even if it’s a perception issue.

At any rate, expect holidays 2009 to set a record for holiday-oriented SMS messages exchanged between brand and consumer.

Site to see
Another holiday marketing tool that requires immediate attention is a mobile or mobile-friendly Web site.

With the falling costs of creating a mobile site and the plethora of plug-and-play services out there, retailers and marketers have little excuse to dither on creating a mobile Web presence targeting consumers on the go.

What would consumers on the go like from their favorite brands’ mobile site? Several functionalities including a search engine for merchandise, store locator, gift-finder tool, list of best-sellers and prices, sales promotions, SMS signup, package tracker and, in some cases, the ability to buy from that site.

Smart mobile sites will also include the click-to-call functionality, linking the shopper to the pertinent store.

Obviously most of these functions would work well only on sites customized for smartphones. But it’s a necessary first step to create user-friendly mobile sites for the iPhone, BlackBerry, Palm Pre and more sophisticated HTC, LG, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Motorola and Nokia phone models.

A smart accompaniment to the mobile site is the mobile application incorporating some, if not all, the functionality available on the marketer or retailer’s mobile site.

Brands can use their store marketing or other channels such as mail, catalog, print, email or broadcast ads to urge consumers to download their app from the pertinent app store.

Make sure the app is compelling if it is not to be deleted within days of download. Occupying valuable screen real estate on, say, an iPhone, BlackBerry or Palm Pre, is a branding privilege that should not be abused.

Ads up
That takes care of the merchandising and mobile marketing sides of mobile. How about mobile advertising?

Well, now’s the time to make smart buys across leading media sites.

Brands such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Tiffany and Cartier as well as Walmart and Target should be locking up deals with trusted publications including The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. They should lock in key positions for their ads to run on those publications’ mobile sites.

These brands can also strike deals with magazine publishers such as Time Inc. or Hearst to incorporate mobile into their multichannel media buys. Mobile ads can run not only with the publishers’ sites but also within their apps as part of sponsorship deals.

All mobile ads, once clicked on, will link to special landing pages with the desired call to action or to the mobile site. As simple as that. It’s been done on the wired Web and there’s no reason why it can’t be replicated on mobile.

Look, it’s very simple: When one in 10 working-age Americans is out of work, when the nation’s mood swings between optimism and pessimism, when the national savings rate is going up, the only way that marketers will get consumers to spend is through marketing and its desired end – creation of desire.

These ideas are basic and require little effort but consultation and working with the brand’s agency or mobile marketing firm. The time has come for brands to recognize that if they want the holiday merchandise to move, they must be as mobile as their customers and prospects. Call now.

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

Mobile Marketing Campaigns to Inspire Ideas for Your Company July 1, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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2 comments

Below for your review are case studies of recent mobile marketing campaigns implemented by several well known brands.  Items of note in these campaigns are:

  • the integration with other aspects of their marketing program
  • the results tracking and analysis
  • the multi-faceted mobile approach that the firm’s utilized to maximize the marketing capabilities being presented to marketer’s today

As you read the article, consider the specific tactics being utilized and how they might be translated to benefit your business.   Should you be interested in learning more about mobile marketing and how it can help grow your business, please review the mobile section of our website, mobile marketing articles within this blog, or contact us directly via the website or email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com for a FREE initial consultation.

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David’s Bridal Takes Prom Dreams Mobile

Brian Quinton, June 10th, 2009

davids-bridal-prom-mobile-web.jpgI’ve just received congratulations on my successful high school graduation and been asked to share my memories of the senior prom. It’s a bit hard to think myself back to those days—to give a hint, the song for the graduating class of Manhasset High was that new hit “Bridge over Troubled Water”—but for the folks at David’s Bridal, I’ll try.

Of course, I’m probably not the target for their recent mobile marketing campaign built around high school prom-goers. I simply signed into the marketing initiative in early May because it struck me as a well integrated, easily understood campaign that promised some benefits to the user while raising awareness and driving traffic for the company’s Web site and its 300 retail shops—exactly what mobile seems to be able to do well, and quickly.

Basically, girls thinking about the prom as far back as last February were targeted with print ads that induced them to text the keyword “PROM” to a short code to get content on their cell phones.

But that content went beyond a simple brand awareness message about David’s gown inventory. Recipients were asked to connect via their phones to a mobile Web site, http://m.davidsprom.com, and to vote for their favorite among five prom dress styles, from classic and dramatic to exotic and fashionista. Participants whose phones couldn’t connect to the Internet were able to respond to the e-mail and get the pictures sent to them directly.

Asking users to choose among several options accomplished a few goals. First and foremost, it got users actively involved—always a good thing. Besides making their own choices, they could also forward either the e-mail with the pics or the mobile Web itself site to their friends.

In addition, the results of the voting gave David’s some early-season merchandising insight about what styles and categories were likely to be popular once buying began.

“David’s Bridal was able to gain access to insight that would not otherwise have been available until they were in the middle of the season. They very successfully polled the tastes of their customers going into the season. That gives them the ability to react and confirm their marketing mix.”

(Just to relieve the suspense, prom “classic” was the big style winner by far. I didn’t vote, since my own prom choice—a chocolate brown tux with flared pants and lapels the size of the tailfins on a ’59 Cadillac—wasn’t an option.)

Their mobile services provider was confident that mobile marketing in general would be an effective approach to the target audience of girls 13 to 17, but the provider wanted to make sure that the campaign’s impact would be felt to the fullest extent and in the easiest way for the consumer. That’s why it provided both an SMS option and a mobile Web site.

“Teenagers all text—that’s what they do. Research shows the average teen sends out over 1,800 text messages a month, compared to about 500 a month for the general population. But we had to allow for different messaging plans and accommodate both teens who could accept picture messaging on their phones, because that’s often an option or a service upgrade, and those who didn’t. We let those users click to the WAP [wireless application protocol] site to view the styles.

That kind of flexible approach is key to designing a strong mobile experience. Marketers have to be prepared to launch a broad campaign that gives the best possible experience over a range of phones with differences from screen sizes to functionalities. And they shouldn’t make too many assumptions about how their campaign will look at the other end of the receiver.

For example, the iPhone is one of the most popular handsets among the teen demographic, with a 24% intent to buy in the next six months, however right now iPhones can’t accept multimedia messages, a/k/a picture messaging. That function should come with a software update later this summer. But for now, simply assuming that you’re sending your campaign to a lot of high-end phones still requires some extra spadework to produce a high-end experience for the user.

That was one reason behind providing a specific mobile site for the campaign. David’s Bridal also had a prom-centric standard Web site and in fact promoted sign-ups for the mobile campaign at that site starting in late February. And of course iPhone users could reach that site without issues. But a full-featured Web site like that would take a long time to download to even a smartphone and might not work properly or easily once it did.

So the mobile services provider built out a David’s Prom site optimized specifically for mobile. If you’ve never seen one of these laid out, they look like a string of separate panes in a line rather than the usual single Web page with a number of modules. Time was, each pane would have to include navigation tools so users could click to the next one, usually positioned at the top so they were accessible even if the bottom was cut off by the phone’s frame. Now enough people have either scroll wheels on their phones or touch screen capabilities that those tools don’t need to take up valuable screen real estate.

Mobile sites also offer stripped-down functionality compared to a standard Web site. For example, the David’s Prom mobile site didn’t offer the video clips, product search or e-commerce options available at the main Web site: just photos of the dresses in the five categories, a link within each category to see a second dress sample, the DBprom.com URL and the “Forward to a Friend” link.

The mobile services provider did make sure to provide one function at the mobile site, however: a store finder that let users get locations and store operating hours by inputting their ZIP codes. Mobile users who responded to the gown vote via SMS were also sent a thank-you note that allowed them to text in their ZIP to get the address of the nearest David’s Bridal—making the mobile channel to drive in-store traffic.

Ubiquity is one virtue of mobile, of course; users are likely to have their phones available whether they’re home or out in the world. So making it easy to find a nearby outlet for something you’re already interested in buying or browsing can make a campaign that much more effective. In this case, per the mobile services provider, the mobile store locator saw heavy use—one indication the message was reaching an audience who were already heavily in-market.

(Of course, ZIP codes only work when you know them. Notifying customers of nearby stores when they’re off their home turf and may not know the ZIP code they’re in will have to wait until GPS phones are more plentiful—and may require a specific opt-in even then.)

What about metrics? The mobile services provider offers the standard measurements associated with a Web site, of course. In terms of measuring the effect of SMS, it can keep track of the delivery rate to the carrier networks and the number of “unsubscribes” received; and since mobile churn is a fact of life, the carriers report on the number of recipients who have moved over to other networks since opting in to messaging.

Unlike e-mail, SMS currently does not offer a technology to track the message open rate. But research studies suggest as many as 80% of recipients open the text messages they receive—and since many mobile users set a tone for incoming texts, many open those messages almost as they come in.

“Depending on the network, the bulk of the text message may show up in a preview pane without the user doing anything,” he says. “That tends to increase the likelihood that someone will open a message they’re interested in.”

 

Kodak mobile advertising campaign sees 1.7 percent CTR

By Dan Butcher, June 11, 2009

Kodak turns to mobile for rebranding effort: MMF kThe Kodak Gallery iPhone app

Kodak executives wanted to increase the customer base of the brand’s Kodak Express photo processing outlets in India, so they turned to mobile advertising.

The company conducted a month-long mobile advertising campaign based on an opt-in survey and a call-to-action to visit its Kodak Express outlets. To incentivize participation, Kodak offered prizes to those who entered such as a 2GB iPod Nano or a 1GB memory card. 

“The mobile campaign was a sort of experiment—promoting Kodak to people with camera phones. The goals were to increase footfalls to the Kodak Express outlets in India and to consolidate user profile and behavior understanding from Kodak Express users.”

Kodak is a leading global provider of conventional, digital and blended photo print production environments, with a brand that is recognized worldwide. 

Faced with a crisis of epic proportions—the death of film and the rise of digital photography—Kodak has shifted its strategy to mobile (see story).

Kodak turns to mobile for rebranding effort: MMF kKodak has embraced the camera phone and its marketing applications

Kodak Express outlets, located in cities worldwide, are a one-stop destination for photo printing, products and accessories, as well as photo customization and personalization.

Kodak executives, seeking ways to both increase foot traffic to stores in India and gather and consolidate user profile and preference information from Kodak Express customers, decided that a mobile advertising campaign would be the best option for getting maximum results for their ad spend.

The goals of the mobile campaign were to create awareness of Kodak Express, drive foot traffic and gather information about its customers’ desires and preferences via the survey.

Kodak mobile advertising campaign sees 1.7 percentA Kodak mobile ad

Kodak ran both text and banner advertisements and target its campaign broadly to men and women between 15 and 40 years-of-age throughout India, with no specific city or regional targeting.

For its mobile ads, Kodak went with simple, concise messages: “Kodak Express Shoot It Win It!” and “Print them now. Win them now!”

As an incentive for completing the survey, the company devised a contest that required users to make 50 prints at a Kodak Express outlet from a digital camera or camera phone.

Once potential customers completed the survey, they were entered into a drawing to win a 2GB iPod Nano or a 1GB memory card.

In order to complete their contest entries, they were prompted to enter their name, mobile number and camera capacity.

They were then redirected to the nearest Kodak Express outlet to complete the process by ordering the 50 prints. 

The results were impressive, and serve as an example of how creative, targeted mobile advertising can give companies a cost-effective boost to their sales and marketing efforts.

In one month, the campaign generated 11 million visits to the survey landing page, with a click through rate of 1.7 percent.

But beyond the numbers, Kodak gathered important information for future interaction with its customers through the survey component.

The Kodak team also gathered mobile numbers it could use for future SMS marketing, and was able to gather information about its customers’ camera capacities and functionality so it could better serve them in the future.

The advantages of mobile for the campaign were clear. Usage of the Internet on mobile phones is huge in India.

At the end of last year, there were more than 346 million Indian wireless subscribers and the market was growing by approximately 10 million new subscribers per month.

Much of the growth of the mobile Internet in India follows a trend we have seen in many countries throughout the world, where the mobile Web is used as a primary Internet connection by people who otherwise do not have access to a PC at home. 

That said, mobile advertising has several other significant attributes that made it an advantageous choice for Kodak.

Most importantly, mobile is a more active medium than other options, according to Kodak’s mobile services provider. 

Even though many people use the mobile Internet while at home or work, mobile still has perhaps the strongest call-to-action component of any type of advertising available, because it makes information literally accessible at the touch of a button, significantly narrowing the gap between the marketing message and action on the part of the consumer.

This attribute fit perfectly with Kodak’s desire to increase traffic to its Kodak Express stores.

Particularly important to Kodak was the fact that the selected mobile services provider’s network is global, and the company has experience serving the Indian market.

In fact, the Indian market is currently No. 2 in total mobile advertising page views generated though their network.

Kodak had the ability to target ads by geography, makes and capabilities of handsets, as well as more specific demographics like age and interests.

Kodak decided to target mobile Internet users in the “Community, Entertainment and Lifestyle,” “Information,” “Mobile Content (news and related content)” and “Search/Portal Services” categories.

Additionally, the providers network allowed Kodak to use different types of mobile ads and implement a mobile survey that would allow it to gather information from consumers.

Kodak wanted to attract a broad range of potential customers, which was reflected by its tactical approach to the campaign.

There were a couple of distinct takeaways from the campaign that advertisers can take to heart.

The first is that engaging potential customers in a multi-faceted mobile marketing experience is essential for strong results, according to mobile provider.

In this case, contact with the Kodak brand started with the banner ad, which redirected customers to a landing page that let them take the survey, enter the contest, prompted them to find the nearest Kodak Express outlet from the “store locator” and finally encouraged mobile Web users to become customers—thus completing the cycle of customer engagement.

The second lesson is comparatively simple but no less important: Use clear, straight-forward marketing messages—a particularly important piece to mobile marketing campaigns because of the inherent limitations of the screen size.

The results validate the strength of mobile advertising’s value proposition and its potential, if well executed, to help brands achieve an unprecedented level of bang for the advertising buck, according to the mobile service provider. 

 

HarperCollins launches mobile marketing strategy

Publishing firm Harper Collins is using mobile marketing techniques to promote one of its new books.

Smartphone users will be given the chance to access content related to Lauren Conrad’s upcoming novel L.A. Candy by scanning a 2D barcode on the sleeve with their handset.

Mobile phone users who do not have a copy of the book to hand can also access the content directly through a dedicated mobile internet portal, as well as through a special downloadable application.

Susan Katz, head of HarperCollins Children’s Books, said this form of viral marketing is likely to appeal to young people in particular.

She commented: “Teens use their mobile phones for everything.

“This is one more way we can offer them content to share with their friends.”

This comes after the Mobile Marketing Association predicted that spending on advertising through the mobile channel will go up by more than a quarter across the world during 2009.

 

Burger King enters mobile commerce full-throttle

By Giselle Tsirulnik, June 15, 2009

Burger King enters mobile commerce full-throttleTaking a big bite of mobile commerce

Fast-food giant Burger King has entered the mobile commerce arena by letting consumers place orders and pay for them their iPhone. Now that’s fast food.

The Burger King NOW location-aware iPhone application is currently being tested in the Queens, New York, area.

“The idea of the iPhone app is to go the full nine yards with a rich mobile ordering platform,” said the CEO of their mobile services provider. “This is the first case study that we have done with an iPhone application and we expect to launch these types of applications for other quick-serve restaurants we are working with.”

 The selected mobile services provider helps fast-food and restaurant chains mobilize their services via mobile Web sites, and now through iPhone apps as well. Other clients include Subway and Dunkin’ Donuts.

Burger King, the nation’s No. 2 burger-and-fries chain after McDonald’s Corp., has been known for its innovation with new technology, including its highly viral Subservient Chicken online viral marketing campaign earlier in the decade. Ordering and paying through the iPhone application is part of that DNA.

Burger King enters mobile commerce full-throttleRestaurant locator

The iPhone’s GPS functionality lets users skip the step of entering in an address into the app. Instead it automatically finds the Burger King location closest to them.

When users place their order and come in to pick it up, they can skip the line and just grab their food, since they have paid for it via the app.

The application also tracks and saves order history and then acts as a loyalty card by offering incentives and deals. 

Burger King enters mobile commerce full-throttleCustomize your meal

The goal behind this application is to drive incremental same-store sales – a key metric for the restaurant industry. To date, orders placed via the application have been 25 percent larger than in-store.

When customers start using the service, they increase their frequency of visits by 42 percent and the mobile offering takes existing loyal customers and increases their value by 75 percent.

The application is helping Burger King drive additional sales, since new customers can discover the stores near them that they may have not known about previously.

In terms of security, the application is fully secure. So, customers don’t have to worry about their credit card information being misused.

Also, the information is stored within the application, so that it doesn’t need to be re-entered each time the customer places an order.

When picking up their food, customers just need to give the last four digits of their mobile number, to confirm they are in fact the person that placed the order.

Also, their mobile services provider made it possible for the application to remember the phone ID and allowed it to pull GPS information.

“Traditionally QSRs have focused on the four walls concept, which means doing marketing within the four walls of the restaurant. They focused on what could be done in-store to make sure that patrons come back.”

“The mobile device allows them to extend where transactions take place and let customers make transactions from anywhere, therefore extending those four walls to the consumer’s hands.  It is also a much more efficient way of taking an order and the payment.”

Tweeting for profit; Smart entrepreneurs are now doing deals in 140 characters or less on Twitter. June 27, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter.
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By Jennifer Alsever, CNNMoney.com / Fortune Small Business, June 15, 2009

Always on the lookout for examples of small businesses making effective and profitable use of the valuable social media tools available today, we were very pleased to find this excellent article from CNNMoney.com / Fortune Small Business about several small businesses that have identified productive methods of utilizing Twitter to increase revenue.  It bears noting that each of these companies understood the need to make an investment of their time in building up relationships on Twitter, and that after having invested that time consistently, they were able to identify opportunities to achieve product sales on a continuing basis at what they consider to be an excellent ROI (the investment being the value of their time).

Reading this article should provide you with ideas for ways in which their strategies might be applied to your specific business, but if you need assistance in this area, we’re here to help.  Please feel free to contact Strategic Growth Concepts via our website or via email at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com for assistance in developing marketing strategies to grow your business utilizing social media strategies.

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A year ago Kris Drey couldn’t care less about Twitter.

With 13 years of Web site experience, Drey is no technophobe. He serves as vice president of product marketing at Fliqz, an online video-hosting service with 20 employees in Emeryville, Calif. But when he first skimmed Twitter, the popular micromessaging service launched in 2007, Drey saw a lot of mindless chatter and very little that seemed useful to a video business.

Still, with the economy taking a dive, Drey persisted. He was looking for ways to spread the word about Fliqz without spending any more of his maxed-out $15,000 marketing budget. Not only was Twitter the fastest-growing social media service around — its user base grew by a whopping 1,841% in 2008, to 14 million — but it also wouldn’t cost him a dime.

“The only overhead is your time,” says Drey, 40. “You need to pay attention.”

bird2_03He did just that. Drey started posting three or four updates a day as @Fliqz (all Twitter IDs start with “@”) and subscribed to (or “followed”) the 140-character updates (or “tweets”) of anyone he could find who seemed interested in the online video industry, even if the person was just posting links to stories on blogs. One Saturday afternoon Drey spotted a Twitter post from a Fliqz customer who was having trouble encoding video. After exchanging a couple of tweets with him, Drey called the customer on the phone, figured out that the guy had a corrupted file and fixed the problem. The customer posted a tweet of happy surprise.

 

 

Talk back: Are you on Twitter yet?

Fast-forward a few months, and @Fliqz now boasts 1,358 followers. Thanks to Twitter, Drey snagged 21 new sales leads, and Twitter also helped him seal one $6,000-a-year contract. Fliqz signs or renews up to 30 deals a month, so the company is hardly tweeting its way to massive growth. But it’s not too shabby a return for a free tool. Drey estimates that he spends eight hours a week on Twitter, or the equivalent of 2% of his marketing budget every year.

Call this the year business invaded Twitter. The service — which can be used on any cell phone or computer — has been a hit almost since its inception, with celebrities as diverse as Richard Branson and Britney Spears using it to tout their appearances and correspond with fans. But in the past year, @Comcast has set up what has effectively become a help desk on Twitter, while @JetBlue (JBLU), @Zappos, @WholeFoods (WFMI, Fortune 500) and @Starbucks (SBUX, Fortune 500) interact with hundreds of thousands of their followers.

“It’s the most conversational medium in the world,” says Jackie Huba, an online marketing consultant, blogger and co-author of the book Citizen Marketers. “It’s immediate, public and searchable. It’s never been easier to know what your customers and your prospects are saying about you.”

A handful of small retail stores rave about their success on Twitter. In Wichita, tea company 52Teas (@52Teas) has more than doubled its sales of handcrafted teas of the week since it started tweeting. The company has 3,403 users following its weekly announcements of new blends.

“In 2007 we shipped one or two packages every two to three weeks,” says Frank Horbelt, 38, founder of 52Teas. “Now we ship 52 packages a week.”

In San Francisco, Mission Pie bakery (@missionpie) sends tempting tweets about its seasonal organic pies. “If there’s a special and I tweet about it, it’s pretty common that we sell out,” says Ashleigh Cole, operations manager at the 14-employee bakery.

Of course, these are the outliers. Twitter has plenty of potential to be misused. For one thing, you get to sign up with any name you want that hasn’t already been taken. This can lead to confusion: A search for “Starbucks” reveals 16 Twitter users with that word in their IDs, such as @starbucksgeek and @starbucksgal. The coffee giant owns only @Starbucks, but Twitter has no way of telling you that. In theory, a competitor could use your name and post harmful messages from that account. You could sue, of course, but Twitter is a legally untested arena.

Such business-name theft hasn’t happened yet, and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone says one of his product managers is looking into setting up some kind of account-verification service.

“We’re hearing stories about these businesses using Twitter that are so inspiring, and we want to figure out how we can help more,” Stone says. One of his favorites concerns is Kogi Korean BBQ (@kogibbq) in Los Angeles, which sends updates to its 2,100 followers telling them where its taco truck will go next, prompting customers to line up before the van arrives.

Another problem: There aren’t many sophisticated ways to filter the increasing Twitter chatter, and the service can become a major time-suck. When Drey did his searches for “online video,” he had to spend hours crawling through tweets from teenagers about funny YouTube videos — not exactly his client base.

“You will waste a lot of time if you go about it haphazardly,” says Brent Arslaner, vice president of marketing at Unisfair, a virtual events company in Menlo Park, Calif. After hearing that friends and colleagues spent hours on the site, Arslaner limited his Twitter usage to a maximum of 30 minutes a day. He followed relevant industry peers and did searches for anyone mentioning Unisfair — and for tweets that might lead to new business, such as “event canceled.”

Even with that small an investment of time, Arslaner found 160 key analysts, partners, prospective clients, bloggers and other industry influencers. On Twitter he also came across a prospective customer who was asking the network for references on Unisfair. Arslaner responded immediately with a list of references, and his sales team closed the deal.

Tweeting too aggressively is a surefire way to become a Twitter reject. Use the service as an advertising channel or a newswire for press releases, says Huba, and you’ll blow your chances with a lot of users — who won’t even tell you it’s a problem. “There’s not a huge revolt, but people will stop following you,” she says. Your pitches may ultimately be heard by no one.

Other caveats from experts: Be responsive, especially to users who send you private “direct” messages. Be yourself, but as with any other business communication, be careful what you say. Some users have software such as Tweetdeck that download tweets, so there’s a permanent record of your ill-advised joke even if you delete it. Be timely and relevant, and cyberspace will reward you.

“Always bring massive value to the conversation,” says Joel Comm, author of Twitter Power: How to Dominate Your Market One Tweet at a Time. “Good things will come back at you.”

bird_03Erik Oberholtzer, a co-owner of Tender Greens restaurant in Los Angeles, got his good karma in March when he tweeted about construction delays at his new West Hollywood location. The city would not sign off on the building because of technicalities involving flushless toilets. A few tweets later, one follower called his uncle, who works in the health department. The pressure worked, and Tender Greens opened the next month.

“Twitter creates this culture that can extend way beyond your store,” says Oberholtzer, 40. “It’s really powerful.”

Please complete our Mobile Marketing Survey June 20, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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We have been asked to develop a variety of programs related to Mobile Marketing, and therefore would appreciate you taking the time to complete this brief survey.  It should take less than 5 minutes to complete.

Cheap-TV-Spots.com Now Incorporating Social Media in its Package June 19, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Marketing Plan, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Web 2.0.
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Cheap TV Spots, the award-winning, international, Internet-based discount TV advertising agency for entrepreneurs, says it’s aiming at Twitter these days.

“While Facebook, MySpace, YouTube and the like are all interesting ways for businesses to communicate with customers, we’re really fascinated by Twitter’s ability to take social media by storm,” says Ann Clark, Cheap TV Spots co-founder. “Twitter is doing for the web what Disco did for the dance floor. It’s all about stayin’ alive.”

Cheap TV Spots has developed a unique advertising methodology for entrepreneurs that helps link their television campaign with their online presence, creating a cohesive message that resonates with consumers. Cheap TV Spots can use the power of the bigger screen to channel customers to a Twitter page, website, or just about any online or mobile destination. Also, Cheap TV Spots can design TV commercials to be online-friendly, to complement a social website, company home page, blog or email campaign. With over 180 international awards, Cheap-TV-Spots.com has the proven expertise to design the ultimate media convergence.

Clark says, “It’s important to have an integrated plan. Social media is a great customer destination after you’ve gotten their attention with TV.”

Cheap TV Spots offers this recession-busting tip: To save money, stay away from automated, choose-it-yourself air time buying sites where the advertiser presumably picks her own airings from a list. Such sites can be deceptive, charging extra commissions in addition to the network air time cost, and selling air time that may not be available. That means the advertiser may get very little for her advertising dollar.

Ms. Clark says, “These so-called do-it-yourself sites give the impression that you can pick your airings from a list and pay a guaranteed price, when in fact the site cannot make such promises. It’s up to the networks whether air time is available, and whether they will even accept your commercial for broadcast.” Cheap TV Spots helps advertisers overcome these hurdles by negotiating with the networks on their behalf, and Cheap TV Spots never adds extra commissions. 

Cheap TV Spots produces award-winning, custom-made, national quality TV commercials for its low, flat rate. Cheap TV Spots also offers air time placement services scaled for start-ups and small- to medium-sized businesses.

Serving entrepreneurs since 2001, Cheap TV Spots is the world’s first global, Internet-based, discount TV ad agency. Cheap TV Spots is a registered trademark of Academy Leader, Inc., a privately held, multinational media company, which spans TV, motion pictures, radio, outdoor, publishing and mobile media.

Mobile Marketing Drives Customer Loyalty; and Now is Working in the Shopping Mall Industry June 18, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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As someone who spent many years in shopping mall management and marketing, I still have a keen awareness of strategies which drive consumer traffic and behavior in the shopping center environment.  As with retail in general, the name of the game is consumer loyalty, and malls have been utilizing email and membership card-based loyalty programs for years.  But now, mobile technology has provided a new spin on the shopping mall loyalty program and General Growth is the first national shopping center development/management firm to debut this cutting edge technology on a national basis.

The article below details the the new General Growth program and the strategy behind it.  For small businesses reading this article, these same strategies could be employed on a smaller scale to develop your own customer loyalty program to increase sales.  Further, this type of program can be enhanced by the integration of supplemental Social Media strategies to encourage interactivity between the members of the loyalty program and the organization.  The more “connected” the members of the group are with each other and with ‘the brand”, the more likely they are to be loyal customers and frequent users of “the brand”.

I encourage you to read the article and consider ways in which these ideas might be applied to your business.  Should you be interested in learning more about mobile marketing and/or social media and how these tools can help grow your business, please review the mobile section of our website, mobile marketing and social media articles within this blog, or contact us directly via the website or email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com for a FREE initial consultation.

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Nation’s No. 2 mall owner turns to SMS for retail traffic

By Mickey Alam Khan, Mobile Marketer Daily, June 18, 2009

General Growth PropertiesMobile finds place to blossom in Oakbrook mall outside Chicago

General Growth Properties, the nation’s No. 2 mall owner, has introduced what it claims is the nation’s first national mall-based mobile advertising network.

Working with mobile marketing firm Mobisix, the troubled mall giant has extended its email-based The Club program to include The Club Mobile, an alerts service that relies on SMS. General Growth’s marquee properties include Water Tower Place in Chicago, Fashion Show at Tyson’s Galleria outside Washington and South Street Seaport in New York.

“This program is also unique in that it is driven by consumer-controlled preferences and data and analytics decisions to ensure consumers receive only the most relevant offers, and according to their opt-in rules they establish,” said Michael Foschetti, managing director of Mobisix, Charlotte, NC.

Consumers who sign up online with mobile number and other preference data at http://www.theclubmobile.com will receive discounts and offers via regularly scheduled text messages. Those who sign up stand a chance to win a $1,000 shopping spree.

The goal of this loyalty program is to incentivize registered consumers and drive foot traffic to the more than 200 regional shopping malls with 24,000-plus retail stores that Chicago-based General Growth owns or manages in 44 states nationwide.

General Growth PropertiesDon’t discount mobile

Mobisix’s messaging platform powers The Club Mobile, delivering targeted, personal offers based on consumer-controlled preferences, data and analytics.

Here is what Mr. Foschetti had to say about The Club Mobile and mobile’s growing potential in driving retail traffic during these tough economic times:  

What’s the thinking behind The Club Mobile?
The Club mobile is an innovative new-media platform for retail brands to target specific audiences with highly relevant messages and drive store traffic. 

General Growth PropertiesWill mobile book returns for General Growth’s Jordan Creek mall in Des Moines, IA?

In these economic times, the more innovative ways we can use technology to inform the consumer of events and sales while utilizing the club the better.

The Club is a strategic extension of General Growth’s email marketing platform, The Club, and offers the similar value to on-the-go consumers and consumers that prefer to receive opt-in messages to their mobile phones versus email.

Who is the target?
Early adopters of The Club Mobile cross all demographic groups and comprise age groups 13-65.

Both male and female audiences have expressed significant interest and are representative of our subscriber base. Retail brands across categories will express an interest in learning more about the database.

Can we be sure it’s the nation’s first mall-based mobile ad network?
There are several SMS services out there within the retail space, but none to our knowledge that were launched on a nationwide basis among so many malls all at once.

This program is also unique in that it is driven by consumer-controlled preferences and data and analytics decisions to ensure consumers receive only the most relevant offers, and according to their opt-in rules they establish.

This program is larger than just one brand. It is a media network that many brands can choose to participate in based upon their unique marketing needs from national to local.

Why text messages to mall-goers? Any research backing receptivity to such messages?
Retail has always strived to find channels to get one-on-one with customers.

It’s also an industry that stands to really benefit from strategic applications, and on a larger, more macro scale, of mobile marketing.

Getting an offer in the consumer’s hands in that last mile to the sale and getting them in-store is happening today across the mobile and retail spectrum, and in highly successful ways.

Many brands are seeing success with mobile, but in some cases just cannot grow their lists large enough to really move the needle.

The Club Mobile, for retail brands, will really complement the brands’ existing mobile marketing programs and add another layer of micro-targeted activity to the mix.

Significant research was tapped to gauge consumer receptivity to mobile marketing messages within retail, and as long as consumers are in control – how often they get messages, what types of messages they receive and easy opt-out process – very positive feedback was found.

The Mobile Marketing Association’s research indicates approximately one in 10 U.S. consumers are highly interested in mobile marketing, and that is underscored among youth audiences and related to offers and coupons. Both play strongly to General Growth’s program.

When will those who register to The Club Mobile get the text offers?
The maximum number of offers that a consumer will receive is eight per month, or two times per week.

Can mobile help mall retailers? What can mobile offer that other channels don’t?
Yes, we believe it can enhance retailers’ existing mobile marketing efforts and more.

Mobile provides a powerful and efficient one-on-one communication channel for retailers to reach a specified customer base.

Mobile experiences incredibly high open and read rates that result in significant response rates. It also enables retail brands to continue to adapt for efficient and green marketing practices – accountable to ROI and the environment.

Franchising and Social Media: Integrated for Bottom Line Profitability June 17, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Web 2.0.
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BlogTalkRadio graphicToday’s broadcast of Strategic Growth Concepts for Small Business, featured franchising expert, Paul Segreto of FranchisEssentials discussing social media and its importance to the franchising industry. Areas of discussion included:

  • The ‘new’ franchise development business model
  • The ways social media can aid in franchise development efforts
  • What are the best social networks for a franchise to utilize and why
  • The importance of integrating social media marketing with traditional marketing
  • The role of women in social media and franchising

The interview with show host and CEO of Strategic Growth Concepts, Linda Daichendt, included a wealth of information providing value to franchises and other small businesses with regard to effective utilization of social media in growing your business. Be sure to download and listen to the interview at your convenience.

A Basic Guide to Social Media Tools Geared Toward Small Business June 14, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in FaceBook, LinkedIN, MySpace, Naymz, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter, Video Marketing, Web 2.0.
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Web 2.0 technology in the form of social media tools empower you to maximize your business’ exposure and interaction with customers, potential customers, vendors, employees, and the community at-large; allowing you to connect and stay in touch more often, and with more people, than was ever possible utilizing the previously standard methods of Marketing your business.  These tools are currently typically free, and therefore, the only investment required is that of time to insure that they are utilized effectively to promote your firm.

However, as I speak with small business owners, the question inevitably arises, “how do you utilize social media to market your business?”.  The answer begins with having an understanding of which social media tools are available, and of those tools, which are most useful for your business. In fact I’m often asked “what are the best social media marketing tools for small businesses?”.   So in this essay, we’ll provide a bit of an overview and our recommendations.

Social Tools

Communities   Social Bookmarking   Video Sharing
LinkedIn Facebook

MySpace

Friendster

Plaxo

Naymz

Hi5

AIM Pages
Badoo
Bebo
CyWorld
EarthFrisk
ECpod
Faves
Grono
iBritz
LiveJournal
Lovento
Multiply
MyWebProfile
NetFriendships
Netlog
Orkut
Passado
Skyrock
Tagged
Tribe
Trig
Windows Live Spaces
Yahoo! 360
Zaadz

Professional

APSense
Biznik
CitiAlly
Cofoundr – Entrepreneurial
CompanyLoop
DoMyStuff
Doostang
Ecademy
Fast Pitch
JASEzone
KillerStartups
Konnects
Lawyrs
MeetIn
MyCareer.ge
NetHooks
Ryze
Small Business Brief
StartupNation – Entrepreneurial
Startupping – Internet entrepreneurs
Synergy Street – Entrepreneurial
Tapped In – Educational professionals
Upspring
Venture Capital Network
Xing
Ziggs

  Digg    del.icio.us

Stumbleupon

Reddit

Newsvine

AllMyFavorites
Backflip
Blinkbits
Blinklist
Blogmarks
Blummy
BuddyMarks
BookmarkTracker
ChangeToLink
Chipmark
De.lirio.us
Diigo
Dogear
Favoritoo
Feedmarker
Foxmarks
FreeLink
Furl
GiveALink
Hyperlinkomatic
iKeepBookmarks
Jack of All Links
Lilisto
LinkaGoGo
Linkatopia
Linkroll
List Mixer
Lycos iQ
Mister Wong
Mobilicio.us
MyBookmarks
MyHq
Mylinkvault
MyPip
My Stuff (from Ask)
MyVmarks
Namakkal
Netvouz
Online Bookmark Manager
OnlyWire
Oyax
Shadows
Simpy
SiteBar
SiteJot
Snipit
Socializer
StartAid
Stufflinker
Sync2it
SyncOne
Turboclip
Windows Live Favorites
WireFan
Zurpy

  YouTube Blip.tv

Vimeo

Metacafe

Stickam

Broadcaster
Panjea
Revver
Tubearoo
Viddler
Video Bomb
Video Sift
Vimby
Xillian TV

         
Photo Sharing   Blogging / Micro-blogging / IM / Mobile    
Flickr    Fotolog

SmugMug

Zooomr

Photobucket

Webshots

  Blogger      Wordpress

Typepad

Twitter

BeeMood
Feecle – Japanese
FlickIM

Frazr – German & French
IMified
Jaiku
Komoo – Chinese
loopt

mbuzzy
Numpa – Dutch
Pownce
Radar
Robisz – Polish
Rummble
Zannel

   

Additional categories of social media include:

CONNECTING WITH FRIENDS:

Classmates
ConnectU
Friends Reunited
Graduates
Meetup
MyYearbook
Reunion
SKOUT

CONSUMER REVIEWS:

Cork’d – Wine reviews
Chowhound
– Food
Epinions

RateItAll
Yelp

All of these tools enable you to interact with people, but in each group a different kind of content is the focus.

Social Communities – in some ways the simplest because it is the content focus is YOU. Each individual creates a profile and the directory enables you to find and connect with people based on the information they supply about themselves in that profile. This has extended beyond individuals to “entities”. So that a company or group can also create a profile. One thing to be aware of about these social communities – that not all of them approach “entities” the same way and most of them don’t make it very easy to figure out how to create a profile for your entity. Facebook invites you to create a Facebook “page” for your business but does not want you to create a “profile” for your business even though pages and profiles can use many of the same features and tools (but not all). On the other hand, LinkedIn has a very limited “page” for businesses providing very limited functionality. Small businesses often struggle to figure out which kind of existence they should have in these communities (should it be me? Should it be my company? Should it be someone else within my company?) that allows them to stay within the terms of service and yet still maximize the tool’s marketing potential.

Social Bookmarking (also called Link Sharing) – these tools allow you to highlight and share individual Web pages you like by sharing a link to them. People can “vote” on each link that has been shared and the links with the most votes move to the top of the page making the site a portal to the “best” content as filtered by the participants of the community. Note that an individual profile is connected to the posting of each link so over time you can get to know your fellow bookmarkers by their sharing habits, genre, frequency etc. These sites are useful if you post a lot of content and would like that content to be found and read by more people.  Be aware though that in order to gain a following in these communities, it is best to post content of general interest and value rather than “promotional” content for your business.  Community participants can be rather unforgiving of those seen as “self-absorbed”.

Video Sharing – sites like YouTube are usually very straightforward in functionality. They make it very easy to upload your own video and once the video is uploaded, it is also easily viewed and commented on by others. YouTube also provides ways for the video to be shared and embedded in other sites increasing the video’s ability to turn “viral”.  Using video to market your business can be done easily with a minimal investment in equipment.  While editing can be an expense, it’s not really necessary for educational, promotional, or testimonial videos – shooting them live tends to give them an authenticity that is appreciated by consumers.  A recent video and PowerPoint presentation by Hubspot gives excellent information on ways to effectively use video for small businesses.

Photo Sharing – these sites are usually quite simple in functionality. Members can post photos which then can be viewed and commented on by the general public, or only by those who are invited to see them. Small businesses sometimes use these sites to share photo galleries instead of building photo gallery capability into their own Web site.

Blogging – the content is your creativity, your voice. You post content on a regular basis whether it’s text, video, photos, podcasts or all of the above. Blogs enable you to be an individual publisher, and usually enable readers to participate in the conversation by posting comments.

Of all the tools available, the top 4 in my list for small businesses to utilize would include:

  • Blogs
  • FaceBook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn

Slick Uses for Mobile Marketing as Showcased by National Brands June 12, 2009

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

The Lion King musical production

Disney’s Tony Award-winning musical “The Lion King” at the Mandalay Bay Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas used mobile to drive ticket sales.

Commercial spots on the Cox Media cable network encouraged viewers to text the keywords NALA or MUFASA to short code 269411.  The Lion King and Mandalay Bay were able to build an opt-in database of locals interested in receiving promotions in the future.

The strategy was to generate buzz about the Lion King musical production at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, as well as drive traffic to the outdoor shopping mall – Town Square

Lion King Text Msg

Mobile was suitable for this campaign because it provided the ability to engage the target market, be the medium for the scavenger hunt and provide extremely detailed metrics from beginning to end.

 This particular campaign was unique, as it was a scavenger hunt utilizing the mobile device.

Consumers that texted in NALA or PUMBA got a message that said, “Find Lion King Paw Prints near Your next clue @ Whole Foods in Town Square. Address: 6689 Las Vegas Blvd.”

When the consumer reached the destination, they were asked to text LION to the same short code to get the next clue.

Respondents that used the keyword LION got a message that said, “Get “ON” Your way and “sea” the latest clothing styles at Your next clue in Town Square!”

Once consumers reached Town Square and found the next clue, they were instructed to text TIMON to the short code.

In return they got a message that said, “It’s a walk in the “park” to a Tropical Time with “Tommy” for Your Final Clue in Town Square!”

The last and final keyword was MUFASA. Once consumers texted this keyword in the got a message that said, “Congrat’s! You finished the hunt! Winners will be contacted on 5/7/09.”

The double opt-in was then sent, asking consumers to reply YES for ten entries to win a $100 Whole Foods Gift Card and to subscribe to Cox exclusives.

“The goals of this campaign posed a unique set of challenges, and the mobile channel provided the ideal measurable solution,” said Isaac Naor, client services manager. “It allowed enough creativity to drive locals to the new [high-end] outdoor mall, provided engagement with the brand, and enabled the campaign to stand-out and become viral.”

 

Safeway / Randalls

Safeway - Randalls

Safeway’s Randalls Food Market has launched a mobile coupon program to help its customers save time, money and trees.

These days, money is tight and people are looking for ways to stretch their dollars, so Randalls is letting customers download manufacturer’s coupons onto their Remarkable Card. The Remarkable Card is Randalls’ loyalty card.

Shoppers can get discounts from brands and select Randalls-labeled products.

This opportunity is available at 14 Randalls stores in Austin, TX, 36 stores throughout the greater Houston area and 62 in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area.

To sign up to get coupons in the first place, Randalls shoppers just need to visit the mobile providers Web site to activate their account.

Digital coupons mean that no paper is used to distribute and redeem coupons.  “Eliminating paper from couponing not only saves forests, but also benefits the environment by reducing the water usage to produce the paper and ink, as well as the energy to move the paper out to homes and newspaper stands.  “So mobile and digital coupons are environmentally friendly and have virtually no carbon footprint themselves”.

No more searching for coupons in newspapers and magazines, coupon cutting, or riffling through coupons at the store. 

When customers present their Remarkable Card at checkout, coupon savings are automatically applied to the appropriate items in their shopping basket. The discounts are also shown directly on the receipt.

For grocers and manufacturers, this is a more targetable and efficient means of coupon promotion, not to mention the benefits of being able to market to consumers both in and out of the store.

Best of all, with redemption rates 5 to 40 times that of paper-based coupons, it’s highly cost-effective.

 

Victoria’s Secret

Victoria's Secret 1Victoria’s Secret is very good at keeping secrets. The retailer quietly launched a marketing initiative that uses the mobile Web and SMS text messages to promote its products and shopping on-the-go. 

Victoria’s Secret has launched a dedicated mobile Web site and is also targeting its mobile database of opted-in consumers with exclusive offers, event coverage and new product information.

“With so many consumers (94 Million in the U.S.) using their handhelds to read email, search for products (9 percent of Google searches are now on mobile devcies) and browse Web sites, it is a basic expectation that a mobile user will have a successful experience when they visit a company’s Web site,” said Jason Taylor.

Victoria’s Secret launches mobile commerce initiatVictoria’s Secret polls site visitors

Consumers can sign up for alerts on the mobile site at http://mobile.victoriassecret.com or text the keyword START to the short code 26435 (ANGEL).

All text message communication with consumers will include a link to the mobile site, in an effort to drive users there.

The Victoria’s Secret mobile site features different categories and shopping bags. The main menu gives site visitors a list of the “Most Wanted Bras.”

Victoria’s Secret launches mobile commerce initiatBrowse through products

Gift cards can be bought right from the mobile site and consumers are able to locate and map the closest Victoria’s Secret store to them.

What’s most impressive about the site is that women can actually browse and then buy products right from their mobile phones, with the same secure settings that the retailer’s Web site provides.

Customers that make purchases on the mobile site can come back to view their order status.

Additionally, the mobile site has a ‘special offers’ section where consumers can get discounts.

For example, consumers that place an order of $100 or more can use the code VSFRSHIP at checkout and all shipping and handling charges will automatically be deducted after the offer code is applied.

The mobile phone becomes much like a shopping assistant with the Victoria’s Secret mobile site.

In fact, users can even browse the print catalog and order using their mobile phone.

Victoria’s Secret went a little further with its mobile site and turned it into a great place for consumers trying to get their loved ones a gift. The mobile site doesn’t just showcase lingerie; it offers other products and services as well.

Additionally, the mobile site has a click-to-call feature that connects consumers with Victoria’s Secret customer service, should they need to actually speak with someone.

Another interesting feature on the site is the “Site Feedback” link.

Users that click on it are asked to take the Victoria’s Secret Mobile Site Survey, where they are asked some questions regarding the site and how well it works.

The site is full of pictures of various products from Victoria’s Secret and consumers can view what’s on sale and the most wanted stuff.

 

Procter & Gamble / Gillette

Procter & Gamble’s Gillette razor and blade brand is shaving away traditional marketing by using the iPhone as a means of communicating with its audience of male consumers.

Gillette has launched “uArt,” an iPhone application that lets consumers use the Gillette Fusion razor to shave and create any facial hairstyle they like. Consumers just upload their picture, choose a facial hair texture, length and color, and then start shaving.

“As a grooming company, we want to help guys be their best and to achieve that, we want to provide tools to help them find the look and style that is right for them so they can express themselves,” said Mike Norton, director of external relations at Gillette, Boston.

P&G is one of the leading consumer packaged goods manufacturers whose portfolio includes brands such as Tide, Iams, Pringle, Oral-B, Charmin, Pampers, Old Spice, Dawn, Camay, Tampax and Clairol.

Gillette is a brand of P&G currently used for safety razors among other personal hygiene products. P&G bought Gillette in 2005.

P&G's Gillette talks to men via iPhoneMake yourself beard

To shave using the uArt application, consumers just need to use their finger to guide the razor easily over the beard.

Users can create a chinstrap, handlebar, moustache, lamb chops and even design a totally new facial hairstyle.

By double-tapping, the user can get incredible shaving detail.

P&G's Gillette talks to men via iPhoneTry out different facial hairstyles

The application is geared towards males ages 15–34. It is being promoted via online marketing.

This isn’t the first time that Gillette has relied on the mobile channel to target its audience. The grooming brand used mobile for some other promotional programs.

Most recently, Gillette recently completed a program with New York Yankee superstar Derek Jeter where consumers could send in a text and be eligible to win a free Gillette Fusion Razor.

Gillette’s use of mobile is in keeping with evolving consumer habits. 

“The Gillette audience is doing more than watching TV or sitting in front of a computer — they are active and moving,” Mr. Norton said. “The app helps guys explore and achieve the look and style that is right for them. 

“Guys can interact with the brand through a medium in which they are most engaged,” he said. “Mobile is a big part of guys’ lives.  It’s a great medium.  It’s personal and guys spend a lot of time using their mobile devices. 

“Brands have the opportunity to reach their audience through entertaining interactive apps that deliver a message.”

 

Sherwin Williams

Sherwin Williams 3Paint and coating producer Sherwin-Williams Co. is using the mobile channel for branding and customer acquisition.

The company and its mobile marketing provider created an iPhone application that lets users isolate a color within any photo taken on their iPhone and get matching Sherwin-Williams paint colors along with a coordinating palette to complement their choice. The application is called ColorSnap.

“Our desire is to meet our consumers exactly where they are,” said Ellen Moreau, vice president of marketing communication at Sherwin-Williams, Cleveland, OH. “ColorSnap helps them capture inspiration as it strikes.

“The app not only makes it simple to determine the color, but to bring it home by easily locating one of our 3,300 stores,” she said.

ColorSnap was downloaded by thousands of users in more than 60 countries within the first week of its release. The application is ranked No. 35 out of 3,000 in the free utilities application category in the iPhone App Store.  

Sherwin-Williams taps mobile to reach younger demoColor Palette

The ColorSnap application is unique because it lets users capture a new photo the moment they feel inspired, whether within the application or using an image already stored in their iPhone photo library.

Then, consumers just user their finger to scroll around the image and locate the exact color they’d like to see matched.

ColorSnap immediately offers the closest matching Sherwin-Williams paint color and a coordinating palette.

Sherwin-Williams taps mobile to reach younger demoClick-to-call

“Choosing color is the hardest part of redecorating,” Ms. Moreau said. “Inspiration can hit a consumer anywhere and we are helping them bring the colors that appeal to home from wherever they may be.”

Users are able to find the nearest Sherwin-Williams store to begin their painting project. Or, they can save the color into “My Saved Colors” for continued reference.

Using iPhone GPS capability or ZIP code entry, users can find their local Sherwin-Williams store.  Users can direct dial or map the Sherwin-Williams location all within the application.

Colors include RGB values for architectural design professionals and Photoshop fiends, making it easy to recreate the colors in renderings.

The application is geared towards home owners, architects and designers and painting contractors. Sherwin Williams chose mobile because the company is trying to reach a younger demographic.

“Mobile is the ideal channel for this type of offering because inspiration is anywhere,” Ms. Moreau said. “We are trying to make it easy for customers to shop and buy paint.”

Sherwin-Williams has tested mobile advertising in the past. However this is the company’s first iPhone application.

 

Heinekin

By Giselle Tsirulnik; June 10, 2009

Heineken taps mobile for multichannel promotionText GREEN to short code 49737

Heineken and Heineken Light are using mobile as part of multichannel effort to get consumers to stock up on the beer this summer.

The program will run from June -August in retail outlets nationwide and invites consumers to elevate their traditional summer entertaining by hosting a Heineken “Blok” Party. The mobile component asks consumers to enter to win a sweepstakes by texting GREEN to short code 49737.    

“The Heineken ‘Blok’ Party program is true to our brand objective of delivering great beer and great experiences,” said Breege Murphy, channel manager at Heineken, White Plains, NY. “And it offers our retail partners a unique new way to generate excitement among consumers through engaging displays and in-store merchandising materials that will help drive purchase of Heineken and Heineken Light.”

 The sweepstakes will select two winners randomly on July 31.

These individuals will win a block party for no more than 50 guests who are over the age of 21.

The “Blok” Party prize includes live entertainment, top-notch catering and interactive leisure sports, giving them the ultimate “Blok” Party experience to be held in his or her neighborhood on or near Labor Day.  The retail value of each party is approximately $50,000.

Contestants can win 59,000 song downloads from the EMusic store.

Winners get their download codes via SMS if they entered the sweepstakes using the channel.

The “Blok Party” sweepstakes is being promoted in liquor stores via advertising which encourages consumers to stock up for summer entertaining at home.

The sweepstakes will also be promoted in supermarkets via cross merchandising offers on party essentials and unique party tips for creating the ultimate “Blok” Party experience.

In-store signage will tell consumers that that the ultimate “Blok” Party can be elevated with Heineken. 

Heineken has used mobile before.

The brewer ran a mobile campaign in which it distributed scratch-cards to bar customers. All the scratch-cards asked consumers to text message a keyword to a short code.

Each time a consumer texted in, they were entered to win different prizes. Whether the customer won or not, he or she was opted in to receive a WAP push with Heineken mobile agenda. 

This wasn’t the first time that a brewer turned to mobile for a promotion.

Irish brewer Guinness held “The Great Guinness Pint Contest,” an interactive mobile program meant to engage consumers with the brand.

The program asked consumers at participating businesses to rate their pint of Guinness via their mobile phone. Each time consumers rated their pint they were entered into a sweepstakes in which five winners received a trip for two to the Guinness Brewery in Dublin, Ireland, during the company’s 250th anniversary (see story).

“Through a wide range of elements including a consumer sweepstakes for the ultimate ‘Blok’ Party and cross merchandising offers, the program inspires consumers to make the most of every celebration by choosing the ultimate imported beer brand – Heineken,” Ms. Murphy said.

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If you are interested in exploring Mobile Marketing strategies for your firm, you can begin by visiting our website for more information or contacting us via our website or email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Excellent Example of Mobile Marketing Integration into a Multi-Channel Brand Campaign June 11, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
6 comments

One of the best ways to utilize Mobile Marketing is to incorporate it into a multi-channel campaign strategized to maximize the brand’s exposure to its target audience.  Mobile Marketing is a cost-effective method of dramatically increasing consumer interaction with a brand as part of the overall campaign strategy. 

The following is an excellent example of a comprehensive campaign strategy which maximizes the effectiveness of Mobile Marketing as a way to enhance the overall effectiveness of the brand’s total campaign.  As you review, please note the integration of the various channels and the way each element of the campaign continues to “build” to encourage continued interaction with the brand.

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Oberto beef jerkey targets alpha-male demographic via mobile

By Dan Butcher; June 10, 2009

Oberto targets alpha-male demographic via mobileOberto beef jerky

Oberto Sausage Co. is promoting its beef jerky with a multichannel campaign that relies heavily on mobile to get its target demographic to interact with the brand.

The company developed a promotional platform for its Oberto Beef Jerky products, including in-store, on-pack and mobile elements, as well as a promotional Web site at http://www.ultimatealphazone.com. The site provides an interactive environment for the brand’s male target audience.

“Our target guy is regularly plugged into what’s happening in the world around him,” said Ryan Post, senior brand manager for Oberto, Kent, WA. “He uses mobile technology to maintain a healthy balance between family, friends, sports, exercise, culture and his career, getting the info he wants when he wants it.

“From checking his mail on his mobile phone when leaving the gym in the morning to looking up sports scores and texting his friends to find out where happy hour is, an ‘alpha’ manages his life on the go,” he said. “We saw mobile marketing as an integral part of our latest campaign because it connects to the daily lives of our customers.

“Plus, Oberto is all about having fun, so the ability to playfully taunt ‘sidekicks’ on the go is right in line with our campaign and a fun, engaging way to let guys know what we are all about.”

Oberto beef jerkey targets alpha-male demographic A mobile call-to-action on an Oberto Beef Jerky in-store display

The promotion allowed consumers to register for sweepstakes and send taunt calls via IVR and the Internet to their friends, calling them “sidekicks.”

The mobile two-way “Taunt Call” IVR campaign lets consumers send unapologetic claims to their friends, and “sidekicks” can send props or insults—“smacks”—back to their friends to continue the conversation.

Oberto’s in-store call-to-action at the point of sale reads “Text / Taunt / Win, text ‘Alpha’ to 433339 for a chance to win and taunt a friend.”

The point-of-sale includes shipper header displays and on-pack stickers with the mobile call-to-action.

The first sweepstakes offered prizes such as a Nintento Wii, an Apple iPod touch, an air hockey table, a Home Depot gift card and a Blu-Ray player.

A second sweepstakes is offering a branded leather chair, two cases of Oberto Beef Jerkey and gift cards from various retailers such as Fathead.com.

Oberto claims that it has received more than a quarter of a million sweepstakes entries to date, and many of those consumers opted in to the brand’s SMS database.

The beef jerky brand touts the Ultimate Alpha Zone promotional micro site at http://www.ultimatealphazone.com/index.html as a place where “guys can be guys.”

There is another Oberto campaign portal, created by another vendor, at http://www.eatlikeanalpha.com.

Throughout the year, “man room” elements will be added to the site for consumers to engage with to earn extra sweepstakes entries and build their “alpha” status for more digital rewards from the brand, such as ringtones and wallpapers.

Visitors can also set up a taunt call to a friend to send smack talk and spread the word about the promotion.

During the second phase of the promotion, Oberto launched a loyalty program “Order of the Alphas,” where consumers were encouraged to log in and register to increase their “Alpha” status for digital rewards and exclusive Oberto content.

Once the user becomes a loyalty member, their engagement activity is tracked and rewarded with loyalty points.

A rotating leader board on the home page highlights Oberto’s top alphas daily.

The loyalty program and Web site will be refreshed throughout the year to highlight a partner promotion, introduce new prizes and interactive features.

Oberto and its vendor developed an integrated campaign strategy by using mobile, online and in-store POS and on-pack stickers.

“To engage consumers with the brand, we built the Ultimate Alpha Zone, where visitors can experience the brand online, in-store and via their mobile device”.

“The campaign’s objectives are to increase consumer awareness of the Oberto brand and its Eat Like An Alpha campaign, drive increases in market share and drive sales velocity.”

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If you would like to learn more about Mobile Marketing and how it can help your business, visit our website for more information or contact us thru our website or via email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com.