Monday, May 28, 2012

Ask What ELSE Your App Can Do

As noted in the MarketingBrillo May 18 blog, the App industry's approach to customer service has implications for marketing strategy. As marketers learn to imitate the intrinsically functional nature of Apps, we learn to think like our customers.

A case in point: Qender Mobile Queue connects the dots for customers who have to wait in line for a service.

Developed in Singapore by co-founders SengHee Tan and Yew-wei Tan, this smartphone app registers customers arriving for a service, and then alerts customers when their place in the line is up. In the U.S., we see crowded restaurants hand out blinking, buzzing, flashing gizmos that signal diners when it's their turn to be seated. Qender goes beyond such clunky devices and contacts customers on their mobile phones. The portable Qender App means customers can "leave the premises" while waiting.

Aimed at small businesses that typically have long waiting times -- doctors, dentists, hair salons, restaurants -- the Tans believe Qender can affordably deliver a new level of service to and communication with loyal customers.

In short, Qender improves customer service. But that's just the beginning. The App also introduces an additional customer touch point and offers an opportunity to deliver marketing or informational messages to customers already waiting to buy or engage.

[App]lause, please.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Friday, May 25, 2012

Why One PR Pitch Added Up to PR Poop

Somebody who shall remain nameless picked up my email address from the Internet.

+1 for initiative

The pitch was pretty good two: flattering, personal, authentic, fair, to wit: "We saw your e-mail at The Digital Nirvana contributors page and we're wondering if you're interested in writing a feature article about [us] on your personal blog or at The Digital Nirvana. Your expertise in the field of marketing and public relations could help readers how to implement effective marketing strategies using our print products."

+1 for relevancy
Better luck next time, Tommy.
 But wait … there's more (and it's all downhill).
The email salutation says "Hello, Tom!" Ooops! Not personal after all; not even in the same dressing room!

- 2 for faking-and-failing
The final sentence reads "Your expertise in the field of marketing and public relations could help readers [alert: word missing] how to implement effective marketing strategies using our print products. In return, let us know your requirements before getting a post about us on your blog.

- 2 for poor grammar and presumptive schmoozing

Bottomline: Minus Two
Sincerely, I can't promote you if I don't believe in you. And I don't believe in you.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Monday, May 21, 2012

Now Is the Time to Try Barcodes + Mobile Because ...

According to eMarketer, the pairing of printed quick response (QR) barcodes and mobile marketing works.

Successful coding isn't difficult, says ad tracking firm Competitrack. Put mobile barcodes in attention-grabbing places and then give customers a clear link to content,  Once folks arrive, make sure content is easy-to read … and do consider video as a landing-page option.

The Trend Works Well in Retail, But Wait .. There's More
So far, mobile barcodes are attracting the most users in the retail (22%) and technology (13%) sectors, although Oppenheimer Funds -- an investment management firm -- has used more mobile barcodes than any other sector, with 85% of Oppenheimer's print ads featuring the small squigglies.

Buying and Entertainment Trends Add Up to New Barcode Possibilities
Even though Quick Response (QR) codes have yet to gain widespread consumer acceptance, by January this year, 50% of smartphone users had, indeed, scanned them, according to a Chadwick Martin Bailey study -- and even non-users recognize a QR when they see it.

As a marketer, remember, too, that mobile doesn't necessarily mean your user is "out and about." A March 2012 survey showed that close to half of all mobile entertainment gamers -- including both action/sports and puzzle gamers) -- play at home. 

It's time to think beyond retail shopping. More likely than not, your mobile user is at home, relaxed and ready to consider buying. The user could be watching television and still be on a smartphone or a tablet (check out this CMB research from February that confirms tablets and mobile devices are replacing traditional home entertainment).

Point is, when shown the code, savvy folks know the QR drill and will use it ... which is why smart marketers are offering the option.

-- scrubbed by Marketing Brillo


Friday, May 18, 2012

If You're A Marketer, Think Like An App

A piece in the New York Times by writer Nick Bilton describes a typical evening. He’s tired. It’s been a long day and the TV experience doesn’t appeal. “Every night, I get home from work, drop onto the couch and sit there surfing the Web or watching videos on my 3-1/2 inch iPhone screen. My big-screen HDTV sits powered off on the other side of the room.”

I had no idea other people felt this way. After a work day , my Kindle Fire can be more appealing than a mega-channeled television with it’s vast capability that never seems to work right.

True, the Kindle's screen is small, but navigation is simple and quickly delivers content with a few soft touches. If I want music, I go to TuneIn radio. For news, I have a choice of several newspaper apps. I can socialize on Twitter or Facebook or watch a movie on Netflix. Or even write something in Quickoffice and stick it in my Dropbox. Apps for everything -- but at the same time, apps for one thing. Yes? And that got me to thinking ...

Quite possibly, the future of technology interface will boil down to app-alikes — these little somethings, those whatevers —that do just one thing perfectly, but connect many things simultaneously.

That's brilliant ...

... which is why we marketers should learn to think like an app.

In terms of television, for example, your "dog" app might offer a one-stop spot to watch multiple episodes of Dog Whisperer Cesar Milan being calm and assertive. Or maybe the app would connect to other dog shows on other channels ... or connect to Oprah Winfrey's list of "17 books for dog lovers" ...  Or launch a live camera feed from the local animal shelter ... or show you dog training facilities in your area.... well you get the point. A Dog app would do all that because that's how how apps (and humans) think: in scattershot bursts crawling a web of possibilities.

Bilton thinks Apple will be the pioneer manufacturer to recast television interface by connecting software, hardware, and user appetites. Maybe. But, whoever rewires TV first, the  integrated approach to satisfying user thirst already maps the way marketers should think about gratifying customer needs.

As we marketers adapt the essence of apps, we learn to connect the dots for our customers. 

Human beings seem ever more eager to search for and glom onto "interlaced customer experiences," wherein a whole set of cross-functional, cross-channel experiences send the user spinning forward to fresh "real time" connections. In fact, isn't that what Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn have done so successfully?


-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Study Shows B2B Marketers Do Better with These Ten Skills

An article in this week’s B2B  reports that corporate marketers have 10 key roles in the organization:

  1. Devise a marketing plan that’s flexible, but tight.
  2. Act as your brand's advocate, articulating the organization’s big vision.
  3. Bring the voice of the customer into corporate strategy and planning.
  4. Help technology-trained staff understand business marketing.
  5. Deploy specialist teams within established business units, as needed.
  6. Share marketing perspectives with staff coming from a scientific or engineering background.
  7. Make sure “internal integration” means aligning the entire organization to an overriding objective.
  8. Communicate during a crisis.
  9. Keep up with and introduce new trends and tools to the staff and the organization.
  10. Master funding and measurement skills and work with the CFO.

Source: B2B article by Kate Maddox based on a study conducted jointly by the Penn State Institute for the Study of Business Markets  (ISBM) and Blue Canyon Partners, Evanston, IL.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

No Registration Required, So I, Too, Must Be a Segment

A few weeks ago, HubSpot offered me a report. They had me at “Hi, Nancy,” saying:

The best-performing email campaigns don't always have great subject lines. Or email copy. Or even calls-to-action … The experts at MarketingSherpa have discovered that two specific components greatly impact the success of your email campaigns: integration and segmentation.
I loved that copy, but the REAL treat was THIS Line: Get the Report Now (no registration required).

I’ve downloaded dozens of HubSpot’s great content over the past 18 months, but this was the first time I haven’t had to register all over again.

Perhaps I’m now in a “regular customer” segment. Whatever … it was sweet. And that was just the dessert. The meat followed: The report itself had great advice about how to segment your list, including these tips:

1. Be prepared to make your case and be patient. Email researcher Michael Wexler advises, "There's a high cost to entry for classic segmentation testing; it costs more than a simple test. However, this investment helps a lot. It stems lowered results, reporting of spam, unsubscribes, and it results in higher lifetime value per name."

2.  Gather your assets, namely these three: your email database, your process for testing, and great content.

3. Collect Data. MarketingSherpa identifies four types of data : endemic data from the subscriber; transactional data, behavioral data, and computed data developed from calculations performed on one or more variables.

4. Base your segments on long-term behaviors, for example:
    a) Were your customers brand-sensitive or price-sensitive?
    b) Do customers self-segmented based on the particular product purchased?

5. Identify segmentation types, for example: geographic, product type, lifecycle, personal data (self-reported, appended or behavioral).

6. Consider a variety of segmentation approaches. Even simple segmentation by customer profile or email activity can reap considerable rewards.

7. Start with a single segment (for example, subscribers). This tactic enables marketers to manage unforeseen challenges, adjust strategy, and prove the value of segmentation before getting too complicated.

8. Treat inactive subscribers as a segment, too.

9. Keep it under control; excessive segmentation can be wasteful.

10. Leverage and repurpose content to keep up with the demand of segments.

Download the full Special Report, “How to Segment & Integrate your Emails for Better Results,” from HubSpot. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Quickie Revelations for Better Blog Results

I downloaded HubSpot's "6 Deadly Marketing Myths Busted." Author Dan Zarrella is HubSpot’s award winning social media scientist and author of Zarrella’s Hierarchy of Contagiousness.

This free HubSpot download turned out to be a great analytical gem and I suggest you get your hands on it. In the meantime, here are seven revelations that popped at me while reading:

1. Zarella's research has found no significant correlations between the number of comments a blogpost received and the amount of traffic that blog post got. In the words, conversation doesn't drive traffic. Attracting visitors takes interesting content and "broadcasting" [letting everyone know about the content].

2. Zarella concludes that, on Twitter, “engaging in the conversation” doesn’t work to increase reach. That requires broadcasting more interesting content. Highly-followed accounts tend to share more content.

3. When it comes to blogging, more posts equal more traffic.

4. The words "please retweet" do work. Zarella concludes, "Make sure that your tweets, and all social media updates, contain verbs that prompt your readers to take an action and learn more about your organization."

5. Weekend emails have a much higher click-through rate (CTR).

6. Which self-descriptors (that is, which titles) garner the most Twitter followers? [In descending order]: officials, founder, speaker, expert, guru, author.

7. Remember The Seven Year Itch? Your new subscribers love you best. The longer a subscriber has been with you, the lower the response rate.