Where does Mobile Marketing fit in Local Marketing?

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

We got an App for that!

Raising two teenagers I often wonder about changes in the world that they will someday see as significant for their lifetime.  Has Apple and the Droid marketplace created such a technology that it transforms life for generations to come?

My generation it was the Microwave oven, MTV and the Computer. The list of invention in technology since then would take weeks to type so please just let me jump ahead and generalize a bit.

The Mobile App, is it this generations microwave oven?  If it is How can local businesses use such a powerful tool to transform there own marketplace and potential marketing practices?

Technology seems to suggest that the APP feature on your phone or Facebook page is a cool tool that one would use to add entertainment or function to ones busy life or schedule. The the premise of building an App may seem difficult and confusing to most local business owners in a marketplace. However just as building a website today does not take a rocket scientist, mobile applications, mobile web pages and mobile marketing has changed at a rapid pace and is now doable with very little knowledge base to start with.  AD services such as, ADMOB,and WCMobi,  have developed services that provide platforms for local business to build a Application that is functional for the I-Phone and Droid systems, A customized web site made to fit all mobile phones and includes the important features of I Tap connections with , mapping, social connections etc…

So if the technology is available at an affordable rate how does local business use this technology to drive business and create the buzz about there APP.

  1. Keep it Simple – Stay true to who your best customers believe you to be.  If you are local restaurant build an app that features your menu and your chef. Maybe offer a monthly recipe from the chef that they can try at home, or offer a VIP club Thursday night take home item that is posted each Thursday and allows app users to reserve there dish by 1pm for 5 pm pick up and take home.
  2. Connect it to your Social Media- Biggest reason is Growth potential and additional clients reach.  Make sure your App customers can send it to their friends and share there new toy.
  3. Map out a quarterly Mobile Marketing Plan. Include: offers, frequency of updates, growth goals, responsible party.
  4. Create VIP Buzz with your best customers- Ask them to down load your app and try it out for you. Give them a Discount on their next order for filling out a satisfaction survey after a short trial.  Mobile is just like Social, you must listen to the clients and adapt strategy where needed.
  5. Add Text Marketing communications and create weekly or monthly exclusive event for Mobile users. (Weekly Mobile only Coupon, Mobile VIP After-hours Event,  Monthly Mobile Only Professional Advice.) Make sure your mobile users feel like they are receiving a special deal because they are members of your club.  State up-front the frequency and reason for sending them texts then make it worth there time.

If you are a local business owner feel secure in the fact that your app does not need to be on the Apple Store for you to be successful. Just as your local website has little value globally, you really only need your local marketplace to capture your app and share it for you to make this rather small investment pay big rewards in marketing.

Local apps should be considered 1 to 1 marketing tools that allow you to communicate with a close group of customers and their friend s easily, the goal to capture that one extra purchase or use monthly  that they might be spending elsewhere, and to increase your share of market with your circle of influence.  For more information and a Free Mobile consultation contact Valet Marketing at www.1to1valet.com or get a started with your own unique Keyword at www.wcmobi.com


Transform from Dot Marketing to Dash Marketing

OK, first a little definition before I get into my point.What is your Strategy

Dot Marketing – I think I made this one up but let me give you my definition. Dot Marketing is the practice of focusing so hard on a single item, (the Dot), that you can’t see the bigger picture and miss incredible opportunity. Perhaps you are familiar with the parable of the Fly who is so fixated on the window, (insert pile of Crap here), that he continued to beat his head on the glass until he dies, however at the same time five feet away there was a door wide open that would have allowed him to reach his goal.

Dash Marketing – The process of working a marketing plan through a complete life cycle. You know the dash, you were born on this date – your were deceased at this date (1959-2011).  In business and in life the dash is all we have. We can view it as a journey that will change and adapt or we can view it as a prescribed time in the future to end what ever venture we are on. The point is that is a period of motion and does not stay in the same spot  until it ends.

I see many businesses today fully focused on the Dot marketing. They jump from one trend to the next and are always blaming to last media for their slow growth. Dot Marketing, Target Marketing, undeveloped Marketing, what ever you want to call it is just a little short sighted.  Most businesses forget to develop a marketing plan for their product or service which includes who the target audience is, and how that audience will react to certain media.  They buy the marketing package because they like the sales rep or because it is what they think everyone else is doing and forget to check if it one has the right audience and two if the audience size being offered is a good value for the investment they are about to make.

By ignoring these two simple pieces of marketing they often find results that are not up to expectations, they design marketing campaigns that don’t fit the audience and they blame the media for their lack of results. This causes a negative feeling and a very powerful mistake in marketing.  They focus on the negative results and decide that the audience or vehicle are broken and move on to the next DOT. For this reason I often recommend a Marketing consultant or coach for most small business.

Developing a complete Marketing plan and labeling your target audience is crucial to your marketing. But if you do not evaluate your marketing buys to determine how it is a match to your targets how will you ever get the results you desire. It is like being a local merchant who sells windows only to a 50 mile radius and buying PPC ads programs on Google for everyone in the United States and wondering why all the clicks you get are not buying your items.

To transition to Dash marketing practices you must develop a marketing plan that includes:

  1. Business Goal or objective
  2. Time Table for achieving
  3. Target Audience
  4. Target Market Assumptions and Facts
  5. Routine check ups and adjustments

Realize that every marketing plan has a life cycle and that every product you carry as a product life cycle.

I am a firm believer that all media works in marketing. However businesses often over pay for the audience based on target and audience size, and they do not create customized marketing for that vehicle and that audience.

Dash Marketing takes the entire life cycle into consideration. Dash Marketers understand that once a product response starts to grow and explode that they can introduce new and exciting marketing that helps it grow even faster and wider. Conversely once a product or marketing campaign slows they need to adjust the marketing campaign to see if it can recreate energy or if it is time to change marketing strategies, brands, products etc…

To move your business from a Dot marketer to a Dash marketer, start by reviewing or building your marketing goals sheet.  What do you want to accomplish. Then evaluate to tools you are currently using, do they match, does their audience really fit who you are targeting? You might consider a Marketing Consultant that will give you honest opinions on what they see in the marketplace and how your marketing is on or off course. Design a multiple messages for different audiences and evaluate response. (Remember the media works or they would not have an audience, you just need to figure out how that audience reacts to that media and customize your message to them properly.)

Last, Stop focusing on the DOT. Take a look around and look for opportunities that you may not have thought of before. With  the development of Social Media, Mobile Marketing, Localized PPC search, Local Directories etc.. there are many opportunities to get your message out to unique targeted categories of audience.

Link Building, Directories, and Ad words

a chart to describe the search engine market

Image via Wikipedia

This is not an article that is going to fix all your ills and make your website zoom to the top of your search engine. Sorry!

This is not even a how-to article, however if you are considering spending your advertising and marketing dollars on link building, directory listings, and Ad words please read on.

I have spent all of three month’s working in the social media, SEO development world, and I am amazed at the different values companies are charging for these services.  (Yes I have found after three month’s that I am already ahead of the curve in online marketing knowledge.)

The time to get your business listed is valuable, I get it, these companies know what they are doing and will save you a tremendous amount of time. But before you pay that monthly fee ask yourself this question?  What knowledge will you have learned and how have you improved your company in the process.

See I have come to realize that these services are extremely valuable in saving me time. However I have also come to realize that by doing it myself (once) I save money and I learn a valuable asset that gives me control, and knowledge to grow in the future. I spoke with an account the other day which was going to spend $695 a month to have her Web-site Optimized and placed on all the major search engines plus run an effective ad word campaign  to guarantee her traffic to her site. As I looked at this package and started to add up all the services which are Free to her if she does it herself I started to get a little baffled.

Then I started searching her company on search engines and she was already in the top three locations in four of the five local search categories most relevant to her business.  So she was basically paying someone $695 a month to manage an ad word program.  Is this a fair price? Maybe, I can’t tell you that. But I am certain this account had no idea that the services she was being sold had little to no expense involved and her company will not be moving up very far in search results that are with in her buying area.

So what do we do, capitalism and free enterprise are the life blood of America. I have no complaints about any company that is charging for these services.

But I am trying to educate small business owners about the savings that are all around them with just a little searching. You can truly capture share of marketplace with a shoestring budget if you are willing to give it a little effort.

  • Directories will take you about three to four hours. Most if not all have a Free listing you just need to claim, and many have low-budget link builders that can be purchased to help you rank higher.
  • Links can be complicated but can be done for free in many cases.  Often starting a simple business blog and setting a routine schedule of blogs will get you the desired results and give you a place to exchange links.  Want to learn check this site out, it is filled with great links that will get you the information needed.  http://www.verticalmeasures.com/link-building/top-100-link-building-resources/
  • Ad words – a Google account is free and the dashboards they have are easy to operate and manage. Just set a monthly budget and target the customers of choice.

Alright I know I have done nothing but add to your already busy schedule. Do yourself a favor, before your next purchase talk to some one who has done this and get an evaluation of your goals and where you are at first. You might just save yourself a ton of expense and still reach your desired goals.

I offer local businesses a one hour FREE consultation to discuss Media Goals and options. Give me a call . http://www.1to1valet.com



Where does Social Media fit in the marketing funnel?

Social Media Landscape

The past two years I have had an internal conversation going on about the choices business people are making in regards to social media, mobile media, newspapers, direct mail ect.

As our economy started the slide I saw businesses start to blame their media outlets for the lack of response they were receiving and decide to jump to newer and trendier media selections. Unfortunately I also saw a rise in businesses which lost brand value and often found themselves in that place where going out of business would be more delightful than staying in business.

Let me try to clear up where I believe Social Media Fits today in the Marketing Funnel. I am big believed that Audience size does matter. Those elements such as timing and buying cycles in your industry must be used to increase the effectiveness of your marketing ROI. If you are just beginning your social media experience, you know all to well that your Audience is very small at this point. So making a marketing decision that represents this as a base marketing program at this time is reckless and will be damaging to the momentum of your company.

Before I share my ranking of sort let me tell you a little story I once heard to illustrate a point.

This story takes place back near the Great Depression. Mr. Wrigley, Wrigley Spearmint Gum, was on a train heading West with several of his trust business executives, they were discussing the decreasing revenues and profit statements of the company, A young accountant speaks up and tells Mr. Wrigley that he has a wonderful idea on how to reestablish a positive bottom line for the company. He suggests that they cut the marketing campaign budget until things improve. It is at this point that Mr. Wrigley displays great leadership and ponders this thought for just a moment. Then he asks this question of the young man. “Son how fast do you think our train is moving?”

The Young man says “35-40 MPH?” Mr. Wrigley Walks him to the front of the car and then asks, ” So if I pulled that pin out at the front of the car that attaches us to the main engine how long what do you think will happen?” “Well Mr. Wrigley we would coast to a stop” said the young man.

Mr. Wrigley then turns to the entire staff and exclaims, ” that is precisely what will happen if we cut our marketing efforts, we lose all momentum and come to a stop, Marketing is the engine that creates our movement!”

I tell this story because I think many businesses today are facing this same question, not only because of finances but because media and Audience has become fragmented and is responding differently than in the past.  See the Media that is out there still works, but the audience is smaller and the Audience has changed the expectations for responding.

So how do we design a marketing funnel for today’s audience?

Basic Marketing Funnel principles can still apply.

  1. Broad Based Marketing – The use of large audience impressions to place any possible customer in the funnel and building them to a potential customer.
    • Newspapers – Still have some of the largest Audiences in every Metro Marketplace
    • Television – Very Large Audience in a Region or Nationally if you have the budget.
    • Facebook Ads – non-targeted, you ever looked at the size of audience if you set out your message to all users? Pay per click options make this very attractive.
    • Google, Yahoo Ad Words – Similar to Face Book you can capture a global audience.
    • Direct Mail – Saturation Mailing has become easy and more affordable with the USPS new simplified mailing programs.
  2. Target MarketingAfter filling the funnel with potential clients it is much easier and more cost effective to target market to groups of customers or potential clients. Many businesses think they can just jump to targeting and skip the first step, however I would argue that they do it at the expense of future growth and will eventually spend much more trying to find that additional market share. Target Markets tend to move or dry up and then leave businesses in want for their attention.
    • Social Media Ads – Facebook etc., now allow you to zone in geographically, demographically etc.
    • Google and Yahoo Ad programs you can target very effectively, with these programs and again the pay per click model allows even small budget firms to take advantage of practice.
    • Radio – Demographic profiles of stations make this more of a targeting vehicle.
    • Cable TV – Same as radio
    • Direct Mail – Not as cost effective as Saturation, but lists today will allow you to slice and dice a zip code in various ways to get the right target.
    • Zip Code Insert Programs – Newspaper, Still one of the cheapest ways to reach a Zip Code and have a good client demographic reading your material.
    • Web Ads – Pick your site
  3. 1 to 1 Marketing – Any marketing channel where you have the ability to personally talk with your customers and or clients.  Social Media has now made this Marketing level very affordable and is now changing the workforce in many large companies around the world.  This step does take Data, and Audience and is not effective till you have both.  The secret is in accumulating Data on your customers from the first two stages and then building relationships with an audience, which trusts you and will share their love for you with all that they know.

Free Spots = No Audience

Example of an American grocery store aisle.

Image via Wikipedia

Beware of the Free Spot. You know the ones, the ones on radio, TV, Classified Sections, Internet Directories etc… which you purchase x and get X+ Y and you are supposed to be thankful for them.

I had the privileged of sitting with an account today and listen to a media rep sell her on the value she was getting from his company, because every time she ran with them she got twice as many spots as she paid for. Man he made it sound fantastic.  I listen quietly and went along with his program until he was finished and we asked him to follow-up with us later. When the account asked me what I thought, I had to intervene and bring us back to reality.

The reason company X is giving away twice as many spots as what we paid for is can boiled down to a couple of points:

1) The original spots are over priced.

2) The Free Spots have no Audience listening of Value

3) The Audience that we are being sold is of little value in the marketplace because the best audience would never be given away FREE. The Big boys would have taken all they wanted of that Audience.

When Buying media it is important that you analysis the deal you are being pitched, for its merit in the market place, for the audience you are reaching and for value of the product compared to the norm.

Let me explain a little deeper.

1) Merit of the media in the market place.  If you are a small or medium-sized business and you are being pitched a product for marketing that seems really under priced or a really great value, stop and think a minute about why it is available. Are the biggest advertisers in the marketplace buying this package?  What do they know that you don’t?  Now that does not mean don’t buy it, this might be a great fit for you in your audience mix and for the price you are more likely to be able to afford enough to make a difference, just don’t allow your media rep to push into over believing in the media.

2)Free Spots traditionally don’t run during Drive Times, Prime Times, Featured Sections or Front Page Headlines. Free spots run when the inventory is not sold, in most cases when the audience is so thin that the Value even at FREE is questionable. Again don’t refuse them, even ask how many can be run in prime times or placement, but don’t let the FREE spots be sold to you as a bill of debt to the media company, they gave them to you because they needed to fill the void.

3)Audience is King. If your Free spots run when your target Audience is not their or is never there what value have you gained? Any guess as to why the largest grocery stores don’t buy late night Radio or TV spots? Could it be that the minimal audience that they might reach are not target grocery consumers?  If you are a small business, I understand you may not afford prime time or page three placement, however if the audience you buy must be the right one or you have wasted more money than the big guys who may have a budget that allows mistakes.

I am not a media basher. I believe all media works. If you target the right Audience at the right time, with the right message you will get results in every media out there, You just need to analysis the media buy up against the audience received and calculate its value towards your ultimate business goals.

Often this is why Media agency‘s and Media planners are so important to have on retainer, so that they can help you analysis the media plan and product mix and give you feedback on direction.