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QR Codes are seeing huge growth in 2011 and are a great compliment to a mobile campaign when used properly.  The most common question I get is “when should I use a QR code and when should I use SMS Text Messaging?”

First, it’s important to check the stats.  According to Nielson and eMarketer, smartphone market penetration should reach 45% by the 3rd Q 2011.  Of that, 28% are using the mobile web.  In 2010, there were 6.1 trillion text messages sent.  The cell phone market has a 96% market penetration and 97% of mobile phones can text.  The important take away for small businesses is that the higher up you go on the Mobile Pyramid (see previous blog) the more consumers you take out of the mobile engagement.  For example, if you have a core base of 1,000 customers and are using QR Codes, 450 have a smart phone, and 126 are using the mobile web.  Right of the bat more than 1/2 of your clientale cannot participate and if 50% of your customers who could participate scan the QR Code you’ve reached 62 of 1,000 customers.  On the other hand if you sent a text message offer to 1,000 customers, 970 could participate, which is way SMS Text Messaging is the core of the Mobile Pyramid and needs to take a lead role in your mobile marketing strategy.

When to use QR Codes?  QR Codes just by their appearance say to the consumer “get more information NOW”.  If your customer is mobile savvy, a heavy mobile web consumer, you can provide more compelling information right now, and ideally you can complete the transaction through the mobile phone – then QR Codes are a great choice.  Examples include: making reservations, buying a product from your smart phone, ordering tickets, i.e. Mobile Commerce, which is at the top of the Mobile Pyramid.

The down side to QR Codes is an overall poor consumer experience: the QR code didn’t scan, the consumer had the wrong QR code software, the QR Code didn’t deliver relevant information, the link from the QR Code was not compatible with a smart phone or the was not mobile ready.

To ensure a good consumer experience the content you are connecting to needs to be mobile-ready: mobile web, apps, etc.  If you are trying to complete a transaction it needs to be secure.

When to use SMS Text Messaging?  SMS Text Messaging is ideal for building a relationship with your customers, and SMS does everything a QR Code does and more.  When someone responses to a text offer you also get their phone #.  Plus, you can send the person the link to the content, just like a QR Code.  If you’re looking to deliver mobile coupons, offers or reminders then you should use SMS.  If you want to build up a database of phone numbers and send offers in the future – SMS Text.  If you can take advantage of behavioral marketing – SMS Text.  If you want to do fun things that engage consumers such as voting and contests – SMS Text.  And, if you want higher response rates – SMS Text.

Bottomline, mobile, whether it’s QR Codes, SMS Text, Apps or Mobile Web, is a proven way to get more response and high engagement out of your traditional advertising and point of purchase signage.  Plus the fact that we are even having this conversation is proof that mobile deserves a place at the “marketing mix” table.  Deciding between a QR Code or SMS Text for your mobile strategy is a more relevant conversation than deciding on which radio station to use.

For more information on SMS Text, QR Codes, and Mobile Web: http://www.mccormickmobilemedia.com.

March 8, 2011
Google’s Android makes a splash at CES to ramp up
Android in space
Google’s Android operating system took the lead among smartphone platforms with 31.2 percent market share after two short months in second place, according to data from comScore Inc.’s MobiLens.
The comScore report focused on key trends in the United States mobile phone industry during the three month average period ending January 2011. The study, for which comScore surveyed more than 30,000 U.S. mobile subscribers, found Samsung to be the top handset manufacturer overall with 24.9 percent market share.
“These trends confirm the rapid rise of Android,” said Olivier Griot, principal of Blue Rain Media, Boston. “Apple had been maintaining share despite the large quantity of Android devices launched in the market.
“It will be interesting to see how the numbers evolve in the next three months, in particular the impact of the iPhone launch on Verizon,” he said.
“For publishers, the good news is the continuing rise in the number of people who browse the Web or use apps on their mobile devices.”
ComScore specializes in measuring the digital world and is a source of digital business analytics.

Posted By Dan Butcher On February 16, 2011 @ 5:00 am In Banks and financial services,Featured,Software and technology | http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com

 Hackers are going mobile

Analysts predict an increase in malware – malicious software – and other security threats that hackers spread through mobile devices, especially as sales of smartphones continue to explode worldwide.

While mobile viruses have been uncommon to date, hackers do have the ability to exploit mobile security, per Frost & Sullivan. Given that mobile users are increasingly surfing the Web, as well as downloading and using applications, many in the industry are not surprised to see a growth in malicious activity.

“TRUSTe believes that mobile apps and Web sites should only obtain information appropriate for the service provided,” said Janet Jaiswal, director and mobile product manager at TRUSTe [2], San Francisco. “In addition, sensitive information such as geolocation, credit card info and social security number should be encrypted before it is transmitted.”

NFC to lead to enhanced security?
Independent technology analyst Ovum has urged banks to understand the vulnerabilities in mobile payments at every level of its infrastructure. A strategy of “defense in depth” is necessary to ensure the integrity and success of the mobile financial services sector.

Companies such as Roamware have offered similar advice (see story [3]).

Last July, Citigroup Inc. responded quickly to correct a security flaw in its mobile banking application for iPhone, and the problem seems to be an isolated incident, not an alarming trend (see story [4]).

In addition, the emerging deployment of smartphones with near field communication and associated security processors for contactless payment may have other applications – as a security kernel for implementing hardware-based security protections on mobile devices, per Inside Secure. 

“As such devices are open, particularly in the Google ecosystem, they do expose hacking threats, which are best buttoned up via hardware protections,” said Charles Walton, Boston-based chief operating officer of Inside Secure [5]. “These security processors, called Secure Elements, have the highest levels of security used in banking, passport and other ID applications – providing support for authentication, encryption and digital signature services. 

“As well, data can be stored securely and applications securely executed within these security microprocessors,” he said.

“This is particularly appropriate to security suites that require a sound ‘touchstone’ of security for proper integrity of operation – for login/password secure storage, for authorization controls, for secure execution of applications and for secure updates.”

Human error
A recent New York Times report cited a case from September when a virus infected 1 million-plus mobile phones in China.

Ironically disguised as an anti-virus application, the virus known as “zombie” let hackers access the phone’s SIM card and automatically send spam text messages to people listed on the phone’s address book, per the Times.

Many of the points made in the New York Times article are valid, accourding to mFoundry Inc. [6], the company that powers Starbucks Card Mobile applications.

“It doesn’t surprise me at all that non-banking mobile applications fail to take security seriously,” said Rodney Aiglstorfer, cofounder and chief technology officer of mFoundry Inc., Larkspur, CA.

“At mFoundry, security is key to our business, and we are very diligent in our security testing efforts—but for solutions that aren’t security-focused, there is a serious issue,” he said. 

The weakest link in just about any security model is the end-user. Users tend to reuse credentials and passwords across services and platforms.

“When a user’s Groupon account is compromised, and the credentials used are the same as those for their banking service, that user is at serious financial risk,” Mr. Aiglstorfer said. “For this reason, education is the best weapon.

“The simple act of using a unique password that is only used for their banking account will go a long way to protecting that user’s financial data,” he said.

I’m the guest speaker next week for the Fresno Advertising Federation.  Here are the details if you would like to attend.

Fresno Advertising Federation

Hosts Mobile Media Lunch Seminar on November 3rd.

Featured guest speaker will be Eric McCormick of McCormick Mobile Media

FRESNO, CA – October 25, 2010 – The Fresno Advertising Federation (FAF) will host a luncheon on November 3rd at The Ramada Inn, where guest speaker Eric McCormick of McCormick’s Mobile Media will discuss emerging technology and the mobile market. The Seminar will be held from Noon to 1:30 p.m. Tickets are on sale now and can be purchased in advance by calling the FAF at 559-916-4436.  FAF Member price = $20, Non-members = $25. A limited number of tickets are available, so please reserve in advance.

McCormick will discuss the Mobile Pyramid, from the SMS reach to App engagement, as well as mobile trends, integrating mobile into traditional campaigns, and 7.5 things every business can do today to be mobile friendly. This seminar is ideal for local business owners who want to learn how mobile media can build their business and help them stay in touch with their customers. The event is open to the public.

Eric McCormick has been part of the local advertising scene for 15 years. He is a past-president of the Fresno Advertising Federation plus a Nancy Thielen and Silver Medal award winner.  Two years ago, McCormick launched McCormick Mobile Media_connect with text and provides SMS Text Messaging, Dedicated Short Codes, Mobile Web and Apps, and Custom SMS Code for companies throughout California. His website is http://mccormickmobilemedia.com.

About  the Fresno Advertising Federation

For more than 75 years, the Fresno Advertising Federation’s Ad Club has sought to improve the advertising industry through education, fellowship and direct community involvement. As a charter affiliate of the American Advertising Federation, our regional voices join with a nationwide chorus of industry professionals. Together, we demonstrate the social and economic benefits of advertising and protect the industry’s Constitutional right of free speech. The initiation fees for new members is $10.00. Annual dues are $90.00 per member. We offer Corporate Memberships for $75.00 per member, when three or more people from the same company join. Your first year’s dues will be prorated.          Visit http://fresnoadfed.org for more details. 

# # #

Think back to 1990’s and the experts said the web will make it possible to sell to customers all over the globe.  For most small businesses that was unrealistic.  Today Mobile, Social Media and Digital Advertising have turned the World Wide Web into Hyper Local and create tremendous opportunities for small businesses to connect with their core customers and neighbors and increase traffic and sales.

I’ve consulted with small businesses for more than 16 years.   The #1 mistake I see businesses make is spending $1,000 here, and $2,000 there in Low Reach, Low Frequency ideas.  Low Reach, Low Frequency varies for every business depending on the traffic and sales needed.  In general LR, LF means your ad is reaching 100’s of people, or only a few 1,000.  Examples include flyers on cars, neighborhood directories, yearbooks, sponsorships, tradeshows and in some cases even radio and print.  It also includes ads that at first appear to reach alot of people, but really don’t.  Like the ad on the end of grocery cart that others shoppers read as they pass by.  Or, free coupon books and directories that are left in hard to find racks.

Now, let me be clear.  There is nothing wrong with Low Reach, Low Frequency. The problem is the business’s expectations.  They expect a Low Reach, Low Frequency campaign to lead their marketing efforts, and are surprised when it fails to generate leads and sales.   The reality is that it fails because it can’t sustain enough reach and frequency to be make an impact, so the message is missed and forgotten.

Hyper Local, on the other hand, is building a relationship with core fans.   These are customers who use your product/service or are very likely to.  An additional critical element is that the advertising is permission-based.  Meaning, the consumer as opted-in (or given permission) to receive the message.  Examples include SMS Text Messaging (Mobile Coupons), Facebook and Email Marketing. 

A study by Syncapse said the value of a fan is $136.38, based on their brand affinity, product spending, loyalty and likelihood to recommend.   So, 1,000 fans equals $136,380 in sales?  Yes, in theory, but that number is debateable of course.  But, the concept is to spend the time and effort to develop fans.  Fans want to know about your business (they opted-in!).  Fans will tell their friends.  Fans want to support you. 

 Hyper Local is building a fan base.  Low Reach, Low Frequency is burning money.

Take a few minutes to evaluate your ad campaign using this 3 Tiered Approach.

Tier 1: Mass Media Advertising.  You should have at least one High Reach, High Frequency partner – TV, Print, Radio, Movie Theatre.  It doesn’t have to be the biggest TV or radio station, but it has to reach 10’s of 1,000’s of people (not 100’s).  In theory you should cancel all Low Reach, Low Frequency spending to accomplish this. 

Tier 2a: Hyper Local & Customer Conversion.   You’re Mass Media needs to create fans.  That way you can continue building the relationship with SMS Text, Facebook and email; and your Mass Media advertising can focus on sales and more fans. 

What’s the best fan solution?  Call me to discuss, but if you have repeat customers (QRS, Restaurant, Retail) and you want to reach them wherever they are, then SMS Text Messaging.  But, you don’t have to pick one.  Use them all!  Hyper Local Solutions (SMS Text, Facebook, Email) are all very inexpensive and affordable for any size business.  The idea is you want the person who hears the ad to (a) respond and/or (b) sign up for more info be that SMS Text Messaging, Facebook or email marketing. 

Tier 2b: Build your relationship with your Fans.  Make them feel special and reward them for being fans with exclusive offers, and behind the scenes information.  Remember these are your customers, friends and neighbors. 

Tier 3: Evaluate Low Reach, Low Frequency.   Re-evaluate your Low Reach, Low Frequency advertising.  You are going to have to eliminate some and re-energize others.  Kill the flyers on the cars. Use tradeshows to get fans, not as advertising.  And, keep the ad in the high school football program that you get as a sponsor (I’m going to).  But remember, it doesn’t lead your advertising campaign. 

For more info: http://mccormickmobilemedia.com.

Good article that highlights the impact mobile is having on breaking news and content in general.   If you have content, you need to be mobile and provide information in real time. 

By: Rimma Kats, Mobile Marketer

World Cup 

The FIFA World Cup presents big opportunities for brands to create successful mobile advertising campaigns, especially with the evolution of location-based and geo-targeting capabilities.

The event lets companies incorporate mobile into their campaigns. Brands can alert consumers via banner ads and SMS alerts and keep them up-to-date on all the happenings surrounding the World Cup.

“Big brands always jump at the opportunity to run campaigns against brand-name events like the World Cup,” said Bob Walczak, CEO of Ringleader Digital, New York. “The Cup presents opportunities across the whole mobile ecosystem – applications, mobile Web and SMS.

“We’ll see fans downloading World Cup applications so they know what’s going on in every game,” he said. “Sites like ESPN will have tons of traffic on their World Cup score pages, and for the diehard fans they’ll be getting SMS updates every time a goal is scored.

“We expect to see big brands running campaigns against all these mediums.”

Ringleader Digital is a mobile third-party ad serving network.

Mobile interaction
The Associated Press recently released an application that was specifically designed to enhance the World Cup experience for fans.

Users are able to browse the application in multiple languages such as English, Spanish, French and Portuguese and customize skins, which feature the 32 countries participating in the tournament (see story).

According to Mr. Walczak, there is an opportunity here for a brand to run a global campaign and target soccer fans around the world by simply changing the creative and landing page depending on what country the user is in.

“There is an amazing opportunity here for brands to create a strong presence across all of the screens we’ll be glued to throughout the event,” Mr. Walczak said. “Using mobile as a complement to more traditional advertising always increases the performance of a campaign.” 

Mobile kick off
ESPN Deportes also kicked off mobile coverage of the event.

ESPN Deportes Movil, the network’s emerging mobile platform is letting users sign up for free Spanish language text message updates to receive select scores and news.

Users can text the keyword FUTBOL to the short code 43776.

“SMS will certainly be one great way to follow the action,” Mr. Walczak said. “Here in New York most of the action will be happening during the day, so SMS updates will keep us connected.”

Crocs mobile marketing case study below.  Again, mobile marketing makes traditional advertising engaging and effective.  What else?  It’s simple.  Adding a text offer is as easy as adding a headline, a phone number or a URL.

For more info on mobile marketing check: http://mccormickmobilemedia.com.

Posted By Dan Butcher On May 17, 2010 @ 4:45 am, www.mobilemarketer.com 

Crocs taps Knotice for SMS coupon initiatives

Name and city and state of marketer
Crocs Inc., Niwot, CO

Name and city and state of agency or marketing services firm
Knotice, Akron, OH 

Campaign/program name
Instant Savings

Duration
Ongoing 

Common short code and keywords used
Text CROCS and a Crocs store number to 63103

Objective
To provide consumers with, and get them to redeem, an instant savings coupon for 15 percent off of a Croslite purchase.

Target audience
Consumers between the ages of 18-50

Strategy
Crocs’ strategy is to proactively engage consumers through timely mobile communications and provide a positive value exchange for its customers

Creative call to action
“What is a foot’s bestest friend? Find out and save 15 percent off today! It is as easy as one, two, three …

“1. Text ‘CROCS 1234’ to 63103 on your mobile phone.

“2. Instantly receive a 15 percent off coupon code answer.

“3. Show the mobile coupon code to the cashier at check out.”

Tactics
Signage with instructions, the store number and short code was placed throughout 185 Crocs retail locations nationwide.

Store associates were trained and motivated to support the program, spoke with customers about the mobile coupon, and encouraged them to stay opted-in to receive further communications and discounts from Crocs.

Results
Crocs received 94,000 requests for coupons during the first month of the campaign.

What next
Crocs plans to offer additional coupons and information via SMS to customers.

Also, Crocs plans to use SMS to drive traffic to retail locations and its Web site.

Additionally, Crocs plans to implement advanced mobile tactics such as sending targeted messaging to consumers based on anything from its previous shopping experience, purchase history, online activity and demographics.

Lessons learned
Mobile is an extremely efficient and effective way to engage consumers.

Consumers respond well to coupons delivered to their mobile devices versus having to print and bring in an email coupon.

Engagement and enthusiasm were off the charts.

Surprise finding
When store staff is trained and motivated to support an in-store SMS program, it is very successful.

Strategy quote
“Crocs customers are on-the-go, very active individuals,” said Jay Custard, global online marketing director at Crocs Inc. “Being able to connect with them in a meaningful way via their mobile device allows us to create a valuable shopping experience and to have a one-on-one dialogue with our customers.

“Mobile helps us reach our customers, regardless of their location, and provide them with valuable, useful information,” he said.

“Knotice worked with us to develop a strategy that allows us to better understand our consumers through the analysis of both known and behavioral attributes and proactively engage them via the mobile channel.”