New Mobile Marketing Offerings and Outlook

Mobile-Marketing-Infographic-2014Over the past few years, we’ve experimented with mobile marketing (e.g., text marketing) on a limited basis, but are now ramping up our services big time with not only text marketing, but mobile websites and native mobile apps and other forms of location-based marketing.

We’ll keep you posted with our mobile capabilities as we progress into 2014.

For now, check out our Infographic of the week which highlights the Mobile Marketing Landscape of 2014.


Social Media Builds Small Biz Awareness

Nearly 40% of American small businesses use social media marketing (SMM) to build their brands – up from 10% last year and since everyone is looking to more effectively and efficiently hook up with their customers and its no surprise to me to see the growth of active brands in SMM.

Among brands using social media marketing, 39% say it has increased it’s brand exposure however 17% say their  brand has seen no benefit at all.

Why the difference? My bet is that it all comes down to strategy, execution and measurement.

Here’s how the the social media tool usage breaks down by the numbers: 27% – Facebook, 9% – LinkedIn, 8% – Twitter, 5% – Blog.

In my personal brand experience (e.g., with my own brand site and client sites) if only 5% of SMB’s in the study are using Blogs, then I’m not surprised to see their disappointment. Blogs ROCK by adding rich search engine friendly copy and help guide and customers. A Blog is a natural extension to your Website and email marketing and to not have one is a big mistake.

Blogs are a low cost platform for 1 to 1 and 1 to many conversations and discussions and they boost website traffic and help you manage your online reputation and so much more. And, I can’t think of a brand that could not benefit from having a Blog. And, a better Website! Lots of small businesses are not keeping up with putting forth a great Website presence – all of this interactive/social stuff needs to be integrated people!

You need to  remember that your customers now have their own audience and are a communication channel and the more you can improve your brand experience and customer relationships and be connected to them via social media marketing you will build bridges between you and them and their friends and family.

Sure this stuff takes time, but anything worthwhile usually does! And, the multiplier effect of this low cost communication tool (remember this stuff can help you save on advertising spending) will pay off far more than the time you invested in it if you truly ‘bring it.’


As people move more to mobile computer use, social media communication will skyrocket and all communication networks will be social.

We’re getting there pretty fact already – about 30% of Facebook users access their accounts via their phones now (check out Facebook Connect)!

Sources: eMarketer the American Express OPEN fall 2010 “Small Business Monitor.”


NHL Scores Clutch Marketing Goal

Growing up in the city of Pittsburgh in the 60’s and 70’s, hockey wasn’t the hot sport it has become, and even today I’m what the NHL calls a “casual fan.”

However, when it comes to NHL hockey marketing, I’m a rabid fan. After the lockout season of 2004-05, the NHL has put forth an amazing marketing power play. The NHL has become more relevant, is skating with a cool, new swagger and is scoring huge marketing goals!

This New York Sports Journalism feature outlines several of the key marketing initiatives the NHL has embraced such as getting back to the roots of their game with the Winter Classic, embracing and communicating player’s unique stories, creating special events aligned with sponsor brand needs, taking full advantage of the 2010 Olympics in Canada, becoming an online category killer and more. Their social media strategy is a killer one too.

The NHL offers great marketing lessons to all brands in search of a comeback.

As an added bonus, here are a few mobile marketing insights from the Chicago Blackhawks featuring an SMS case study and the New York Rangers $1 million dollar mobile sweepstakes.

P.S.: More good news.  Brand NHL has got it’s groove back and introduces its cool new NHL iPhone App announced via NHL.Com

Go Pens!


Small Biz Benefits of Social Media

If you’re feeling confused about the benefits of social media marketing,  uninterested or if you lack subject matter knowledge that’s OK. A lot of your peers feel the same way. Research on the effectiveness of social media marketing is mixed. Check out this recent chart by eMarketer and Ad-ology.

Again, it’s OK. Anything relatively new is bound to have mixed results.

For me, I’ve learned a long time ago that a few marketing best practices are to pay attention to new trends, don’t always follow the crowd, be an early adopter of new technology and to “fast fail” in my efforts.

I fall in the 16% of those who find that social media marketing helps me drive leads, stay up to date with industry shifts and competitive intelligence. And, like any form of exercise, the more you do it, the better you become.

For me, lead generation has been my biggest benefit of social networking driven by the thought leadership of my  Blog and showcasing our good works.

Small businesses rated Facebook the most beneficial social networking site, but I’ve found LinkedIn to be as effective and I’m surprised YouTube isn’t ranked higher.

We use YouTube a ton for Web site storytelling, email marketing, product demos, and customer testimonials and find it incredibly effective. You get out of things, what you put into them.

My recommendation with new technologies to clients is to set up a small team (or you take the reins by yourself) responsible for executing a plan and challenge them to understand the subject matter better, jump into it, experiment and lead.

Don’t believe your customers aren’t into social networking, because all research points to the fact they are and your next new round of younger customers are already fully immersed in it.  Or, aren’t you interested in surviving and thriving in the next decade?

Everyone’s busy and no one has the time for anything new that’s a fact – but, another fact is that you need to find the time, because these technologies aren’t going away and consumer use will continue to grow via new technologies that make it easier to understand, access, and use on a daily basis.

Can you say, “IPod, IPad and Smart Phone?” I Thought so!

Get on the bus and enjoy the ride!

Sources: eMarketer, Ad-ology, Citibank


The Kids Are Alright Part II

In an earlier post, I reported that it was great to see the Gen Y kids driving the tremendous outpouring of financial support for Haiti relief via texting.

I’m happy to report that the American Red Cross “Text ‘Haiti’ to 90999” campaign has raised $24 million to date. See the DMNews story here.

Think about this campaign for a moment. It has achieved some amazing accomplishments – in a short period of time – since this devastating earthquake hit Haiti just last week on January 12th:

  • $24 million has been raised via $10 individual donations to help the Haitian people – 1/5th of the amount the American Red Cross has raised to date – breaking all records by a huge  margin.  Reference note: After Hurricane Katrina – a mere 4.5 years ago – the ARC only received $120,000 via texting – and Katrina occurred on American soil!
  • The ARC has built a valuable mobile text database for future marketing communications and financial appeal efforts
  • The ARC’s core donor base skews older and texting gave the Gen Y folks an easy, quick and convenient channel to offer their support (marketing lesson – treat different people differently)
  • The campaign execution of  the ARC and its mobile firm partner mGive was flawless – amazing too – considering the fact that they started to work on the texting campaign the evening of the earthquake
  • The viral goodwill spread of the “Text ‘HAITI’ to 90999” campaign in Social Media channels such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter (100K tweets/retweets)

I’m far from being in the Gen Y segment, but I did text a donation to the ARC and will tell you that it was easy for me to participate. As important, I felt comfortable donating because of the supportive and reinforcing messages I saw on TV news and various high profile broadcasts such as the NFL playoffs and the Golden Globes.

Also, after texting the shortcode “HAITI” to 90999, I was asked me to respond “yes” to confirm my donation and then I received a nice comforting thank you too – nice touch.

This overwhelmingly positive experience led me to spread the ARC’s good word and to feel more comfortable using this channel in the future.

Strong brand promise, ease, convenience, simple message and trust are the hallmarks of success for the ARC’s texting campaign and they could be put to good use for your brand’s future success too.

Photo by CollectiveGood.


The Kids Are Alright

If you think young people these days are inconsiderate, selfish, concerned with only themselves and wear their “pants on the ground“…think again.

Soon after the devastating Haiti earthquake hit, @RedCross tweeted: “You can text “HAITI” to 90999 to donate $10 to Red Cross relief efforts in #haiti.”

Kudos to the Red Cross marketing folks for being prepared (excellent online disaster newsroom) and recognizing the fundraising opportunity available to them in this terrible time of crisis.

And, much more kudos to the kids that drove this “texting bus” because they’re the ones credited with leading this Red Cross effort which has raised over $10 million for the cause since this record breaking mobile fundraiser was launched last Tuesday.

This is a great example of using technology to build rather than destroy.

Watch text marketing grow from this effort and put in on your list of things to test for your business too!

P.S.: Here is a list of 8 ways you can help Haiti by texting:

  1. Text HAITI to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross
  2. Text HAITI to 25383 to donate $5 to International Rescue Committee
  3. Text HAITI to 45678 to donate $5 to the Salvation Army in Canada
  4. Text HAITI to 20222 to donate $10 through the Clinton Foundation
  5. Text HAITI to 864833 to donate $5 to The United Way
  6. Text CERF to 90999 to donate $5 to The United Nations Foundation
  7. Text DISASTER to 90999 to donate $10 to Compassion International
  8. Text RELIEF to 30644 (to connect with Catholic Relief Services who will instruct you how to donate money with your credit card)

…the 9th way to help is to pray.


Top Ten Consumer Trends for 2010

Back in June, 2009 I presented my Top Ten Consumer Trends for 2010 at Duquesne University’s 11th Annual Entrepreneur Growth Conference in Pittsburgh.

I still believe these trends are on track, but I also believe in Pittsburgh-based Heinz Chairman and CEO William Johnson’s view that the he sees a long-lasting consumer shift to thrift and must carefully balance its business strategy in response.

I’m totally tracking with him and have dialed up my recommendations to clients that they need to create more value and more transformational quality experiences for their customers.

Brands need to recognize that when the economy does return to the positive, consumers are going to be more conservative in their spending, looking for more value and more unique, quality experiences than ever before. They do not feel safe with their careers or finances now and I doubt the majority ever will again.

Lastly, one other trend that we all need to dial up, recognize, learn, test, implement etc., is the “easiness” trend which is being driven by consumer’s lack of time and resulting in technology advances especially in mobile marketing and television entertainment and its Web-based convergence.  More to come on this trend and Web 3.0 (see Jessi Hempel’s January 8th article in Fortune Magazine) advances in future posts.


Papa John’s Million Dollar Mobile Sales

In late November , 2008 Papa John’s International Inc. (love their Web site) said it has surpassed $1 million in
sales from mobile-phone Web orders since launching the technology in

This amazing statistic proves that consumers are increasingly open to and using new tech

Since 2001, Papa John's online sales have grown more
than 50 percent each year and reaching almost $400 million in 2007
alone. In fact, more than 20 percent of all sales come online
or through text messaging, digital widgets or handheld devices and Papa John's believes that one day sales via alternative access channels could surpass traditional telephone orders.

WOW! I'm sure today's Super Bowl will be another record breaking day for Pizza Chains like Papa John's.

And, record breaking successes could be in your future too if you're wise to watch, follow and implement mobile into your marketing strategies too.


Text Marketing On The Loose

Nielsen: Text Marketing to Become More Prevalent

Text message marketing is high on my list of new marketing tools to offer my clients and here are just a few reasons why.

According to Nielsen’s Telecom Practice text messaging is starting to catch on because of consumer's heavy use of texting.

Check it out:

  • U.S. consumers now use their cell
    phones for text messaging more often than for talking
  • The average
    U.S. wireless user makes 204 calls and placing 357
    text messages each month
  • 70% of consumers who've responded to a mobile
    marketing offer say they’ve responded to a marketing text message vs. 41% who’ve responded to a survey and 30% to
    email offers

Marketers are using SMS marketing in a
number of creative range of ways such as simple information messaging, rewards
programming and couponing.

Here are some impressive national SMS campaign results:

  • Coca-Cola’s My Coke Rewards program engaged 1.1 million AT&T and Verizon Wireless customers as of
    Q3 2008
  • Radio station Alice 97.3 KLLC-FM in San Francisco
    invited listeners to send messages to the station to make requests, win
    prizes and enter polls. According to Nielsen, more than 1 million
    transactions with the short code A-L-I-C-E were sent.

A recent Nielsen study found that U.S. consumers now use their cell
phones for text messaging more often than for talking, with the average
wireless user in the United States making 204 calls and placing 357
text messages each month, writes CourierNewsOnline.

Some 70 percent of consumers who have responded to a mobile
marketing offer say they’ve responded to a marketing text message –
compared with 41 percent who’ve responded to a survey and 30 percent to
email offers – according to the Direct Marketing Association.

Check out this eMarketer chart showing how text messaging has overtaken phone calls.

Text messaging overtakes mobile voice calls

Now these numbers may have shifted a bit due to our current economic crisis, but you can be sure that the amazing trend for Mobile advertising will continue.

U.S. Mobile Advertising Spending

Sources: Adweek, eMarketer, CourierNewsOnline, Direct Marketing Association, Nielsen.