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

The 1 to 1 Marketing Relationship

I sat with a couple friends last night discussing business and future opportunities in several industries. Our conversation however found its way to talking about a local business owner which has run into a very rough patch of business in this economy and how marketing is no longer working for him.

As we debated and turned over in our minds the various issues he was facing it was clear to me that this business owner was likely blaming the media for his marketing failures instead of looking at how he was relating to the consumer in his message.

I have heard this from business owners for the past 10 years, being in the newspaper business. “Your product does not work anymore. ” I am sure there are thousands of media reps whom have heard those exact words from their clients. I want to challenge this myth in this blog and direct business owners attentions back to the 1 to 1 marketing efforts that they must now embrace in order to get the marketing funnel functioning again.

  1. First Myth – Media is broken. This is just is not the case. Media in every field can be wildly successful if you pay attention to two things. Who is the audience? How does that Audience like to make decisions on usage?  Let’s take newspapers as an example (everyone’s favorite dinosaur that just will not go away) Newspapers today are still read by more people on the average day than the number of people who will watch the Superbowl this year. The Superbowl is considered the single largest TV event to air each year. So the vehicle although changing and shrinking is still huge and not broken in the sense of reaching audience.  However, many businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to market in the media and think it is because no one is reading it.  The Truth is they are reading but the AD programs and marketing is Stale and uninviting. Or your message sounds too much like a gimmick and todays consumer just is not buying it.
  2. Second Myth – Word of Mouth Marketing is all I need. This is my favorite. The fact is the moment you decide that this is your marketing plan for the year you have decided to close your business. It might not be this year, but you have placed the end in your future. Word of mouth is great, and it is the ultimate goal for every business, but the reality is that consumers only value you until they find better value, and they will leave. With out a planned out marketing method for growing customer base you are counting on a false impression to keep your business running. In todays social networks it is even tougher, because one mis-step by you and the word of mouth will swing the other direction and provide instant death.
  3. Myth Number 3 – My Customer does not use that media.  Tricky one hear, because you just might be right.  If your business model is mainly people 65 plus you probably don’t have a current marketing need for mobile marketing. Or do you? One of the toughest challenges in marketing is consistently looking towards the future and not just analysing the current event. I firmly believe that all marketing has value. Your event may not have given you the ROI you were looking for but what is the overall growth of your company brand. Even markets that serve the 65 plus crowd might need to look at mobile marketing so that they can capture that next generation of consumer.  Yeah I know, you can’t afford to do everything. I have no answer for that, just don’t use it as an excuse and bury your head in the sand when discussing the future.

Ok I am sure you can give me a few more Myths in the media word. But let’s turn our attention to the 1 to 1 marketing methods that business owners need to embrace and how to keep the marketing funnel working for us in the process.

What is 1 to1 marketing?   1 to 1 marketing only refers to the methods in which you communicate and cater to individual customers in your marketing efforts.  You know customizing your marketing to the individual not the crowd.

There are hundreds of methods in which a business owner can employ 1 to 1 marketing. No doubt you have received this marketing from your favorite stores in the last quarter and may not have even know it. When was the last time you received a promotion from your bank offering you Free life insurance because you are a value member? How about the magazine which magically has your name screen printed onto your teams favorite jersey?

These are all tactics of 1 to 1 marketing. 1 to1 marketing is the process in which a business uses the information they gather on their customers and transforms that into a unique marketing  or communication with that customer. 

Example:  Lets say you are a veterinarian, you have a data base of 100 customers which own various pets.  You would send out a card to each customer with a picture of the type of pet they own (dog, cat, horse, turtle etc…) the card would not only have your name but the pet’s name on it also, (Charlie it is time for Skippers shots, come on in for a 20% discount this week only)  In that one hundred you might have 25 dogs 50 cats and 12 horses and 13 turtles. Each card is customized to that customer and the communication seems very personal.  That is an example of 1 to 1 marketing and mass customization.

So how does a local business use 1 to 1 marketing in the scope of  a business plan. First understand it is not the end all to marketing. It is only as good as the data you collect.  Second, it will not feed the funnel with new prospects unless you are really good at getting your customers to give you continual referrals. But 1 to 1 marketing tends to have a much higher rate of return. In the direct mail industry statistics suggest that 1 to 1 marketing is read at a 30% increase over standard direct mail.

What vehicles allow you to use 1 to 1 marketing:

  • Mobile marketing
  • Social Media
  • Direct Mail
  • Post Cards
  • E-Blasts
  • PURLS (personalized URLs)

Before starting or finishing your marketing plans in 2011, discuss with a consultant or business partners how you can use 1 to 1 marketing in 2011 to enhance and grow business.

Why do you need a short-code in 2011?

The sooner your business plan embraces mobile marketing the quicker you will see renewed growth in all your marketing efforts. Thanks to the  likes of American Idol and reality voting shows short code marketing is now a mainstream success.

Business owners in just about every field can find success using short-code and SMS  opt -in Marketing.

Imagine… a local bar offering a free drink by simply sending in a txt to the 123456 with a the key word margarita. They would instantly get results plus would capture all the text lines of their customers that opted in to the promotion for future marketing.

Or

How about the local retailer who post in their store to text in “save now” to their short code 234567, the customer receives a 20% one item in store today coupon creating instant urgency to buy an item, ( what if the discount only applies to an item which you are overstocked in) and the retailer now has a prefered discount club that they can send weekly sale events to via text.

There are thousands of possibilities, you just need a creative and thought out plan.

Are there pitfalls?  Yes there are, consumers trust is not to be messed with, and if you abuse the system the consumer will opt out and likely tell many about their displeasure in your efforts. That is why you need a written well thought out plan on how you would use SMS text marketing to grow business.

In 2011 get a short code for your business. They are affordable and depending on the plan can be re-used for many promotions.

Tips to buying newspaper in 2011 marketing plan.

Buying Newspaper

Things to consider when putting your print marketing plan in place for 2011.

 

  1. Is Newspaper one of the top two items in this year’s budget?  For all the talk of Newspapers death they still control the largest single mass audience locally in almost every marketplace. They should be considered a top priority at least in your peak seasons.
  2. Plan ahead and save. Newspaper is still a bulk buy opportunity. The beast rates are reserved for those who make the long-term commitment. Don’t just buy the next sale that they bring to the door. Demand an annualized schedule with the rate savings breakdown at various levels around your budget. Also consider using multimedia with the paper and you will often get even better discounts.
  3. Color.  Add color when ever available. I even suggest reducing ad size in order to afford color. Color ads are read 60% more frequently.
  4. Targeted Special Sections. – Newspapers are the kings of targeted special sections. They offer a great source for customized editorial content or at least content related to industry if planned out accordingly. Ask your rep to provide you in advance the Special sections calendar for items that most closely match your desired demographics.
  5. How do newspaper readers relate with your other marketing programs? Newspaper readers are still a more affluent and more educated group than most other marketing silos. However it is important to understand how they use other media. Do they watch TV or are they to busy. Do you need to include a website which caters to more information and less entertainment. Can you capture them online and in mobile marketing also.  Give some thought to how the consumer will interact with multiple media in your marketing plan.
  6. Make a good offer. Newspaper readers are the most loyal of all consumers. However they are also the most unlikely to try a new product or company unless they are given a really good offer. 20% off just will not cut it. If you are looking to grow market share using newspaper you have got to make it worth while for them to stop using their preferred provider and try you. Reality is if you have tried newspaper before and did not like the return then one of two things accord. Your offer was not good enough or your company has a reputation compared to the competition that prevented you from getting the business.  The loss of 100 subscribers this quarter did not change your results.

 Newspaper has changed. They now own the largest web traffic sites in your local community also, along with multiple offerings to reach the consumer. They should still be considered a major player in your marketing message in 2011. However Gone are the days that they are the only player in your marketing plan. You must diversify your marketing and develop online sources, direct mail sources and mobile sources for your consumers to find you repeatedly. Newspapers have tried to adapt and offer services but are often late to the party and are playing catch up.  

 

Branding in 2011 – Top five vehicles

As business owners peer into the New Year how will they measure their brand value in the coming year? How will they improve it in a culture that has limited stickiness to it in forms of loyalty? What vehicles of marketing will be most valuable in brand building in the coming years?

Here are my top five lists of Brand Building Vehicles for 2011.

1) A Viral Social Media platform – You cannot deny the massive movement in social media. Businesses large and small must invest and work on the viral effects of their social media. Contests, content, video, give-a-ways, consumer content… etc. If your company has not changed their hiring practices to either have a full time Social media talent on staff or have hired a professional to build and support these efforts in 2011 make this your first priority.
2) Community Branding – Attach your business to as many community functions as possible. In this economy consumers are going to be looking more and more to their community for family entertainment and feeling of a connectedness to their neighbors. Companies should update their brand marketing, Pens, calendars, t-shirts, etc… Plan to give out new (updated) products to customers and clients this year and freshen up your brand. Be a sponsor of a community event and pass out free items branded with your website and social media sites helping drive new traffic and increase brand awareness.
3) Mobile Web – The invasion of the Mobile App is contagious. Smart Phones will out number traditional phones 2 to 1 by the end of 2011. Consumers at this point don’t even know what they want to down load as an app. Consumers want a function that improves the quality of their lives all bundled up into the apps on their phones. Us this for your companies brand. The Mobile Web marketing engine has already changed from “you must be in the app store” to community based apps and web marketing. Local business must now have a functioning mobile web application that provides information, links, maps, special offers. Use the mobile web and app movement to build your brand loyalty and 1 to 1 marketing capabilities. Using a mobile app/Web platform to launch SMS text marketing campaigns and viral contests with new customers can become a complete marketing engine in 2011 that will provide not only brand loyalty but also brand growth.
4) Video Blog – A picture is worth a thousand words right? Well a video today is worth ten times that because if it has value to the consumer they will share it with the world. It is like word of mouth marketing on steroids. How many times in the last year has someone sent you a video from you-tube? Video Blogs can be added to most company websites and will create great results on search engines.
5) E-mail Marketing or Direct Mail Marketing – I am split here on this one because I believe there are two types of consumers that we need to be aware of here. The First is a “paper free believer” they want everything via electronic media. They are almost reposed to believe we still print newspapers and direct mail wasting our natural resources. The second is the “stop bugging me in my private space group” This group could be the traditional group that still has not embraced the technology, or the professional group that is still in the belief that people are wasting a lot of valuable time using the social media.
Whichever group you are targeting both media can be used to enhance all four above and can be effective ways of building up a base of consumers in 2011. Less competition has survived in the current economy that means your business has market share to capture. A good Direct Mail campaign can give you a fresh new group of consumers into the top of your marketing funnel.

Each of these Brand Building vehicles can be done on almost any marketing budget and be effective. In 2011 take action and start early, the greatest growth in market share will happen early in the cycle. Don’t let your business be caught on the sideline as your competitors steal the market. If you are not sure where to start check out a few of these sites for help: http://www.wcmobi.com ; http://www.copmanycasuals.com/valetbranding ; http://www.opvinc.com .