Category Archives: Mobile Marketing

Part I of Mobile Marketing Trends: C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R Experience Gap

A common prediction among 2014 mobile marketing forecasters is that SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) marketing will materialize in a big way. Much has to do with big data solutions and the mobile device boom. But should this bullish forecast rely on device and data enabling or on a growing base of consumers expecting better experiences?

Evidence is mounting that consumers expect more than SoLoMo technology is able to deliver. In this first part of four series on Mobile Marketing Trends, we examine the growing demands in customer experience as well as the lack of marketing initiative that seems to be holding it up.

SoLoMo

Gap in Mobile Customer Experience

As the number of smartphones now exceeds 1 billion, it is not surprising that mobile is rapidly overtaking desktop access to the internet. One obvious consequence of this trend is the growing number of online marketers embracing a “mobile first” design philosophy. But more research is suggesting these intentions are not materializing into a distinct mobile customer experience. Instead, efforts are often limited to screen optimizing and mobile friendly interfacing.

mobile trends

What’s evident in many mobile websites is a marketing myopia that fails to appreciate the mobile user’s end-to-end journey. Consider the role of research, for example, in a mobile setting. The demand to instantly research products, competitive pricing, ratings and reviews has far greater relevance to mobile users especially when they are in close proximity to a marketer’s place of business. And with 50% of mobile web searches now being used for local businesses, these demands for real-time research build a strong case for a mobile-first web design philosophy.

Mobile customer experience

The good news to marketers is that efforts to convert on online marketing initiatives becomes more promising. The buying stage of a mobile users tends to be closer to the bottom-of-the-funnel (e.g., shopping checkouts). And with mobile message responses averaging around 15 minutes as compared to 48 hours for a desktop delivered email, marketers should have more opportunity to stay engaged throughout the buying cycle.  This should translate into more personalized messaging, relevant mobile apps and responsive mobile websites. But we are not seeing this.

 “…Marketing is failing to prioritize the mobile customer experience…”

-          Amy Bishop, Digital Marketing & PR at Digital Relevance

A Vibes study, for example, found that 89% of consumers want personalization, but only 18% see it frequently from retailers. And the mainstream adoption of local context has yet to materialize, leaving a gap between what consumers have now come to expect and what mobile marketers are actually providing. The criticality of this gap in mobile attention becomes an even greater concern as trends support a predominantly mobile world in years to come.

Mobile Users Want Less and Expect More

So what is keeping marketers from addressing these mobile experience demands? Experts attribute most of the sluggish response to the following:

  1. A desktop first, ‘mobile second’ design philosophy
  2. A failure of marketers to adequately understand and map a mobile customer’s end-to-end journey
  3. Continuing technology maturing across mobile payment apps, geo-fencing and in-store shopping infrastructures

What should be an alert to all mobile marketers is the damage done when consumers have a bad mobile experience. According to Compuware and IAB, an estimated 40% to 61%, respectively, will visit a competitor’s site when this happens.  

Mobile Friendly Websites

At the same time, consumers are clamoring for less functionality to accommodate their smaller screens and reduced attention span when on mobile devices. This often goes beyond the obvious reduction in links and text required for a mobile display. The more simple and direct end-to-end journey of a mobile user typically translates to far fewer navigation steps as well.

Overall, the unique experience expectations of a mobile user can be defined in an acronym that spells C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R.

Mobile Customer

Convenience of Payments, Calls and Directions

Consumers expecting quick-and-easy mobile experiences. This includes having instant access to product and service research, locations triggers and the ability to make mobile payments in hassle-free steps.

 “We like mobile devices because they make our lives more convenient.”       

Chris Horton, Content Creator and Digital Strategist at SyneCore Technologies

Mobile Marketing

Mobile consumers expect far more in real-time research and context relevance in comparison to their desktop counterparts. And with a growing number of apps primarily aimed at simplifying the mobile experience, these expectations will become greater. Steps like linking local addresses into contact listings, or automatically mapping directions, will become commonplace as mobile users experience this elsewhere.

Mobile payment, in particular, is one area where users have been enamored with the convenience of merging coupons, loyalty cards and credit cards into one NFC swipe. And while Apple and Google work out the differences in their proposed payment technologies (e.g., Bluetooth LE/iBeacons vs. NFC), mobile marketers need to gear up for some type of iWallet. At stake are the many pull-through loyalty perquisites and behavioral tracking that comes with mobile wallets.

Mobile Convenience

Utility for Real-Time Self-Help

In his book, Youtility, Jay Baer builds a strong case for utility as the future of marketing. Utility marketing is defined here as “putting content and information in your marketing material that your target audience can utilize.” One way to accomplish this is through mobile apps.

By using apps to help consumers with useful problem solving in real-time, mobile marketers stand to gain far more in brand loyalty. Imagine, for example, an app offered by a grocery chain that offers free advice on dieting habits or by a bleach manufacturer helping you decide the best way to remove a wine stain. The key to applying this “friend of mine” marketing approach is having brand credibility in the area of advice offered to the mobile user.

Apps for Friend of Mine Marketing

Showrooming for Better Deals

Perhaps the most demanded mobile user experience relates to showrooming or the practice of examining merchandise in a traditional brick and mortar retail store often with the intent to purchase the merchandise elsewhere. Mobile users can now get ample research in-store on competing prices as well as on ratings and review. It is at this point that retailers in particular should consider personalized offers as a way to thwart away any temptation to buy elsewhere.

Showrooming

According to a recent Vibes Study, the number of consumers who purchased a product from a competitor while in a retail store has increased 156% since 2012. The study further demonstrated that:

  • 47% move onto complete a transaction
  • 45% go elsewhere to purchase items
  • 7% do not make purchases.

Timely Reminders

But these timely offers apply to more than just showroomers.  Mobile users “on the go” are far more prone to look elsewhere in dealing with any online task at hand. And with the average adult will now spending over 5 hours per day in mobile activities, expect an “instant response” mentality to become increasingly important.

 “…When conceptualizing mobile marketing strategies, it’s essential that you understand timing is key to converting mobile leads to buyers…”

-          Martin Jones, Editor of CoxBLUE.com

Timely Mobile Marketing

The same applies to timely alerts outside of, but in proximity to, store shopping. Mobile users in close proximity to a marketer’s place of business often don’t benefit from local offers out of their reach. So timing becomes everything especially in light of the high number of users in shopping mode. And when done proactively, as in the case of reminding customers of upcoming events or appointments, mobile users will often credit the mobile marketer with a convenience benefit as well.

Special Offers & Rewards for Mobile Efforts

Much like the case of rewarding social media fans for the privilege of accessing their news feeds or inbox, mobile users expect something for their efforts. After all, marketers are asking for time spend downloading apps.

They are also asking to interrupt a mobile user’s journey with SMS messaging and other alerts often when the mobile user is in the midst of pressing business. So special compensation is should be expected in the form of exclusive mobile rewards. 

Mobile Offers

The good news to mobile marketers is that 90% of users who enroll in an SMS loyalty program feel they gained value from it. Why? When you send timely, relevant and useful information to them during the shopping stage of their buying cycle, you may be credited with expediting their decision. An even more surprising statistic is that 70% of them say they would actually like to receive offers on their mobile phones.

Mobility in Addition to Mobile

As the global workforce become more mobile, consumers and employees will count on devices like tablets and smartphones to do their work at the office, at home, and while travelling. Conceivable, more workplace information will be transferred from desktops to tablets as portability becomes critical to workplace efficiency.

Mobility

This same portability is also gaining favor among mothers needing to multi-task when on the run. And when packed with photo messaging apps, mobile devices provide them more real-time social networking as well.

Ease of Use for Shorter Attention Spans

In his podcast interview with Amy Porterfield, Greg Hickman shares some startling statistics on mobile user intolerance for unresponsive web designs. For example, he points out that 74% of consumers will wait 5 seconds for a web page to load on their mobile device before abandoning the site. Perhaps even more startling is that 46% of them are unlikely to return to a mobile site if it didn’t work properly during their last visit.

Responsive Mobile Websites

Among the ways to optimize mobile sites for friendly user interfacing are the following:

  1. Touch interaction that avoids “fat thumb syndrome”
  2. Video and other imagery that replaces text
  3. Shorter route “calls to action”

Responsive Mobile Websites

Relevance for Space, Time and Opportunity

On a more positive note, retailers, brands and even small businesses have made strides in developing mobile friendly websites compatible with the multitude of smartphone and tablet configurations. Progress is also being made with mobile wallet solutions that expedite in-store shopping experiences while enabling cross-device loyalty programs. And with more advanced audience targeting and cross-platform re-targeting underway, mobile users are rarely greeted as “Dear Valued Customer.”

But fulfilling customer experiences on smart devices goes well beyond loyalty programs and personal greetings. Mobile users expect far greater context relevance that taps into who they are, where they are, what they are doing and when they need help. This is why the role of native ads has become even more important to mobile users than to desktop users. And if marketers know why they need help, the mobile user can further benefit from anticipated needs as well.

Context Marketing

Conclusion

The mad dash towards mobilizing our marketing efforts is well justified.  Mobile has traditionally taken a back seat to desktop internet marketing. But as mobile access surpasses desktop access, marketers seem to be dragging their feet in designing customer experiences that are meaningful to a mobile consumer’s journey.

Statistics show that many marketers still see mobile simply as an optimization exercise. Some are indeed stepping up to responsive web designs as a top priority. But missing from many mobile marketing strategies is a very different customer experience that extends beyond the demands of a desktop user.

And as SoLoMo matures to SoLoMoNative and SoLoMoVideo, don’t be surprised if mobile web access becomes the defacto standard for internet access in retail, at home and in workplace settings. Those who embrace this “mobile first” philosophy have a significant advantage in light of the higher receptivity of mobile users to personalized messaging and offers.

The key to implementing  a responsive mobile strategy is a recognition of the distinct customers experiences expected by mobile users. In particular, mobile users place greater emphasis on:

  • Convenience
  • Utility
  • Showrooming
  • Timeliness
  • Offers
  • Mobility
  • Easy-of-Use
  • Relevance

So are you buying into this unique CUSTOMER experience? Are their experiences missing from this C-U-S-T-O-M-E-R acronym? And do you feel this gap in customer experience is due more to marketing reluctance or technology bumps?

Contextual Mobile Marketing – A Day in a Life 2018

The day is Friday, Feb 25,  2018, and Claudia and I are planning a night alone in West Palm’s Cityplace. Meanwhile, Madison is left alone at 16 years old. I am sure I could trust her. Our favorite spots in Cityplace are Muvico, Sloan’s, Lost City Cigars and of course, Macy’s.

Photo9

Around 4PM, I check on the movies and noticed there are no exact matches for “an action thriller where a Navy Seal with a dysfunctional nature falls in love at the end.” Muvico does, however, match our combined movie preferences as close as possible by rank ordering our list based on combined Netflix, Amazon and cable preference histories.

Photo10

As I arrive within the 5 mile geofence surrounding Cityplace, I search for available parking spots and select one near a trolley stop.  Meanwhile, Muvico shows a crowd building up for one of our chosen movies, thereby  suggesting we wait for the 8PM showing instead.

Photo11

As we approach the trolley, Claudia puts on her Google Glasses and is having a field day on offers through Facebook Local Search.  Sure enough, she gets an offer from Macy’s on a new line of shoes. Earlier in the month, she had scanned a Macy’s purse through an Apple iBeacon to follow them on Twitter and embrace Facebook with a “love.”

Photo12

She then checks her social currency account and sees she has enough reward points accumulated from her AMEX check-ins, loves and rewards.  Meanwhile, I kill some time checking on local attractions. My new Apple Watch app is pinging away with deals at my favorite spots.

Lost City Cigars has Patron 1926 Shorties in stock! Right then, the owner livestreams me a short video with: “Hey, Jim, stop by and check out our new cigars…Do you want me to hold the Patron?…I also have Rocky Patel’s and Alec Bradleys for less than $10.” He holds the Patron and uses my social currency for payment.

example livestreaming

Meanwhile, I check on dinner reservations through Facebook Local Searches while waiting for Claudia’s shoes. Opa Taverna is one of the choices for available seating and food choices. Looking at their menu, I recognized some fried cheese thing called κεφαλοτύρι σαγανάκι.

Photo14

The menu also shows kefalotýri saganáki, but that doesn’t help much. Nor does the “KEE-fah-loh-TEER-ee  sah-ghah-NAH-kee” pronunciation shown at the bottom of the screen. Reviews look good and they are serving Zorba shots.

We confirm our reservations for 7PM, which gives me plenty of time to pick up the cigar. Claudia has finished her shopping and gets pinged with a promotion from CityPlace as we cross the street toward Opa Taverna. On June 22nd , CityPlace is sponsoring a Tropical Latin Music Festival which Claudia acknowledges with a “love.” This gives us 50% off an hors d’oeuvre at Opa Tavernas.

Photo15

As we get seated, my Apple Watch cross-references my movie end time with the trolley schedule, and it alerts me about the departure time of the trolley that will get me to the parking lot before the meter exceeds my Sunpass credits.  We then book a ticket, but not a seat.

As we finish our meal, I catch a review on what desserts not to touch. And it’s from a friend I trust. Meanwhile, Claudia mentions there is enough time to get an ice cream at Sloan’s next door. I try to talk her out of this as I notice an old talkative acquaintance of mine heading that way through Apple’s check-in geofence.

Instead, I check on the movie crowd and recommend a snack at the theatre. Of the seats livecasted on Facebook Live, we have a choice between a talkative lady and a guy with a hat. But further up in the center there seem to be two good seats. I quickly reserve them. I am about to order 2 small buttered popcorns when Claudia reminds me we could get them on the way home.

Photo16

We pay for both the movie and dinner with Claudia’s social currency; and a credit for attending both goes toward my parking. The credit was from a poll. During the movie, I answer the text poll on who gets killed in the end. I guessed right, so Muvico offered me 50% off parking. We show love for the movie and it updated our Netflix choices.

As we embark the trolley, I tweet my parking location to the driver. We then leave the parking lot where Sunpass acknowledges the credit. Shortly after departure, they notify me via Apple Maps of an accident blocking the intersection of Australian Ave. and 95S. No problem, we take Southern Blvd. instead.

As we approach the Lake Worth geo-fence, Publix pings Claudia with an offer for oatmeal and blackberries at 50% off. Before we enter, Claudia updates her short grocery list and is instantly generated a maximum savings opportunity using outstanding reward points and deals for items and quantities entered. Some of the credits came from Claudia’s scanning NFCs off a truck promotion earlier in the day for Proctor and Gamble.

Photo17

As we enter Publix, we are alerted in each aisle as to what items to consider as bargain alternatives for our short-term shopping list. I remind Claudia of her suggesting we get popcorn on the way home.  I then find a reasonably good deal. Unfortunately, Claudia finds a more nutritious selection.

Photo18

Meanwhile, Madison sends me a “love you” text just to calibrate my ETA. She now knows I am 5 minutes from home, where there is plenty of time to send off the boyfriend.

day in 2016

But it is too late, I noticed from my embedded Facebook Live app that the boyfriend is 5 feet from her geofence check-in. Then I see that they have been  “Shazaming” reruns of Walking Dead. I respond to her text knowing I left the cam on in the iPad. I turn on my cam and respond “Hi, sweetie; I love you , too!!”

So how would you describe your day in a life 2018?

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

Do Mobile App Freemiums Influence Social Funnel Advancement?

Freemiums are often the content of choice today for company’s seeking to advance their customers through their social sales funnel. But do they help more than they hurt revenue generation?

With an estimated 90% to 99% of the 1 million apps downloadable free of charge, consumers are quite accustomed to receiving free services. So businesses see this as a content marketing strategy for the bottom of the sales funnel (i.e., BoFu content). The intent here is to engage customers through trial use of a business solution that allows service providers to showcase their competence while getting sales ready prospects to consider an offer.  

shutterstock_95420284

In the mobile app business, freemiums are generally applied in the following manner:

  • Feature limited – start with a reasonable set of functions
  • Time limited – free trial typically of entire feature set that expires over a 30 day time period.
  • Capacity or subscription limited – free offering applies to a limited set of subscribers

Freemiums have been employed very successfully in social networking arenas. Popular examples include Skype, Hoovers, LinkedIn, Dropbox and most email service offerings. Proponents of the freemium model suggest that providers of apps and other digital offerings deliver a base set of services free of charge in order to reach high internet traffic. A fee is then charged for specialized services or future activation of paid service (e.g., time limited trial subscription).

freemium

Example of Freemium-to-Premium Mobile App

Trial use apps, along with free audits and assessments, are widely used in BoFu content strategies where users need a free look before purchase. During this trial period, suppliers can collect significant research information in a social CRM data base.

In total freemiums offer the following benefits:

  1. Rapid customer acquisition (click away) – If you can convert trial users without forcing them into a purchase decision, you can build a customer base fairly rapidly and efficiently. Some research supports the notion of simplicity in purchase. i.e., Users are adverse to pulling out credit cards or even completing registration forms. It is therefore suggested that these actions be deferred until after initial interaction.
  2. Promotional tool with reduced marketing expenses - The freemium model can be an especially effective promotional tool online because customers easily spread the word throughout social media outlets. When offered free of charge, the free product can be easily recommended to friends via Facebook, blogs, LinkedIn, Twitter and industry forums. Moreover, if the download link goes viral, marketing expenses are drastically reduced. 
  3. Validation of business model – Freemiums provide opportunities to prove market potential for a company’s offering as well as to prototype the offering for product research.
  4. Search engine effectiveness – Freemiums provide far more valuable and popular blogging content as users link to the site hosting the free download. Consequently, more opportunities are provided to bump up search engine results (e.g., through fresh content and greater audience reach). In addition, research shows terms like “free” to significantly boost the effectiveness of PPC ads as well.
  5. User confidence – Much like a money back guarantee, a giveaway is often perceived as an expression of confidence on the part of the service provider. i.e., By offering a freemium, a company is essentially expressing its confidence in product effectiveness while imparting some goodwill to its sales ready audience. In effect, the introductory price is a signaling mechanism. A low entrance price signals that you are confident that your product will create value for the customer.
  6. Overcoming customer reluctance for untested experience goods – Many digital products or services need a period of use before the customer can determine its usage value. Since customers tend to underestimate the value of a product, the optimal pricing for an untested experience should include a low introductory price which is then increased when the customer realizes the full value of the product.
  7. Tiered pricing rationale – Freemiums also provide a rationale for premium offerings. For example, if priced by the number of shared app users or the number of activated features, users have a baseline in which to justify pricing from the most basic to enterprise-level platinum support.
  8. Valuable research - Freemiums allow early research of a product’s or service’s feature demand. And by tracking downloads from their source, information can also be gathered about target audience characteristics as well. Finally, freemiums are normally provided at the bottom of the sales funnel. As a result, the downloading of a free app provides a trail of conversion data often missing from middle of funnel content (e.g., blogs, eBooks, Podcasts, webinars, etc.).
freemium

Freemiums Serve as Bottom-of-The-Funnel (BoFu) Content

But despite their growing popularity, freemiums typically suffer from the following:

  1. Slow time to monetizeThe conversion from free to paying customers can take months to years for freemiums to be profitable. Statistics show that paid adopters typically range from 1% to 10% of total app downloads. This would imply that a freemium model often hinges on an aggressive up-sell of feature upgrades or user base expansion.
  2. Competitor imitation The more viral a freemium offer spreads, the more exposure it has to competitive scrutiny.
  3. Psychological perception of perpetually free – Free is a huge accelerator of adoption. The flip side of this is that after using the product for free, it is very hard to get the customer to start paying for it. 

So how do you stand on freemiums?  Will they continue to grow in popularity? Which of the three most commonly administered formats show the most promise (e.g., feature limited, time limited and capacity limited freemiums)?

 

 

 

 

Why Apps will Jump-Start “Friend-of-Mine” Marketing

You may know that over 1 million apps are downloadable on an iPhone. But did you know why businesses are counting on these apps to reshape their marketing?

Just at the point where you may feel comfortable sporting your inbound marketing badge, you may want to research this new generation of Friend-of-Mine marketing.

As explained well in Jay Baer’s book Youtility, smart marketers are finding clever ways to befriend consumers addicted to “self-help” apps while reinforcing their brand image in the process.

From “Top-of-Mind” to “Frame-of-Mind” to “Friend of-Mine”

Let’s first rewind. For years, marketers counted on Top-of-Mind awareness to reach audiences. So after constantly hearing AFLAC!, AFLAC!, we would remember them if and when we become a prospect. This assumes a great deal of consistency, channel breadth and cash.

But along came search engines and social content marketing. This shifted “Top-of-Mind” to “Frame-of Mind” awareness. The goal here is to align your problem solving content (e.g., webinars, eBooks, blogs, etc.) with targeted audiences precisely when and where they are in their buying cycle. This inbound marketing approach is less intrusive than Top-of-Mind and is based on the generous giving of helpful content.

Enter the “App” Generation

Big brands see the move toward mobile apps as a way to engage in Friend-of-Mine marketing. The concept works like this. Charmin’s “Sit or Squat” app allows you to download a map of rated restrooms in your area.

Sample Apps

Why would they do this? Hopefully, you will associate Charmin’s brand with helpfulness while inviting them into your circle of friends. Okay, that might be a stretch. But imagine seeing only this brand name at the time of need.

The Geek Squad is often questioned why their self-help electronic repair videos don’t jeopardize their own repairs. Instead, they find the typical overextended gadget fixer searching for a bail-out. Upon witnessing the Geek Squad’s expertise, they make the call. This “Let me Help” form of marketing” is not employed as a sales tactic but as a way for the Geek Squad to become a friend. But in the process of helping, they undoubtedly generate new demand.

A widely downloaded app for stain removals is sponsored by Clorox. Although much of their researched advice goes well beyond the scope of their offerings, they can actually stimulate new demand as users consider new possibilities for stain removal. Similarly, Ortho has an app that will help you identify and treat harmful weeds in real-time. Whose weed killer and fertilizer are you going to remember?

Friend-of-Mine Marketing Offers Entrepreneurial Advantages

Small businesses are also capitalizing on low cost app development to offset the high costs of top of mind advertising.  Consider how Columbia Gear has an app to explain the various knots to tie when engaged in outdoor excursions. Rather than sporting ads for their outdoor clothing, they are banking on your befriending them at a time when you might consider their products.

In effect, we have introduced what some call Sideways Marketing. 

So what cool apps do you think can qualify as an exemplary use of Friend-of-Mine marketing?