Category : Apps

Mobile Marketing

2014: The Year of Mobile

Seeing how the mobile explosion will affect your marketing campaign and your business is not simply a matter of building a mobile-friendly website.  Rather, it is a question of understanding how this shift towards mobile communications ultimately affects every corner of business, marketing and consumption.   Marshall McLuhan once suggested that “the medium is the message,” that the characteristics of the medium used are just as important as the content delivered by the media.  When taking the characteristics of mobile devices—cell phones, tablets and the like—into consideration, we are faced with questions of “who?” “how?” and “where?”

cell phone marketingImagine a young twenty-something year old commuting to work in the morning.  She reads her e-mail while waiting for a coffee at Starbucks, which prompts her to click on a link indicating a sale for winter coats.  Her coffee comes; she stuffs her cell phone in her pocket and heads to work. During her lunch break, she logs on to her e-mail on her desktop computer where she then revisits the winter coat sale.  She clicks around, maybe even “favorites” a few items and logs off.  Later that night she logs back onto the site on her tablet, shares the link with her friend for approval and purchases a winter coat.

Thanks to mobile-optimized websites and responsive design, consumers are able to enjoy the convenience of their mobile devices without feeling hindered.  To the extent that an integrated marketing campaign aims to be consistent across all platforms, a mobile strategy as part of this plan should without a doubt be considered.  Both responsive design and mobile applications are ways to boost e-commerce for small businesses by allowing consumers to move seamlessly between devices and match and meet conversion goals.

local search by device

The growth of mobile users also has significant implications for search engines and local search results.  While on the go, the likelihood that a search inquiry for a local service or business will be on a smart phone or a tablet is high. Local businesses, small or not, looking for ways to incorporate an SEO strategy or a pay-per-click campaign into their marketing plan should undoubtedly infuse their ads with local name-dropping and data.

Unlike my father, who refers to Internet Explorer as the “internet folder” on his “screensaver”, Millennials—the generation of people born between the 1980s and early 2000s and on the verge of ruling the world—use mobiles to do more than search.  For Millennials, mobile platforms are a source of social interaction, a way to engage brands and boost sales.

MTV millennials

The growing popularity of mobile applications such as SnapChat and Instagram imply that image-based mobile experiences are thriving.  Pay attention to the way this consumer demographic behaves, for it will provide a light into the way images, words and products are shared, perceived and used.

Lastly, less is more.

“Excuse me?” you must be thinking, “they’re talking Integrated marketing plans, responsive designs, interactive mobile applications, local search content and mobile optimized and trying to tell me that less is more?”

We sure are.  Life is chaotic – why clutter it any more with flashy design and hard-to-use and inconsistent features?  Consumers are much more likely to return to a website, blog or even a store when the experience was positive.  Distracting visuals and over-wordy copy has no place on a mobile site and is more likely to leave a consumer frustrated.  Mobile optimization should offer easy to read and even easier to use experience that is only enhanced by a simple design.

Your mobile optimization speaks about your brand – if you don’t provide mobile access/support/optimization, what does it say about your brand?  If you are interested in mobile marketing and optimization services, contact Strategis today!

RSS Feeds

RSS Feeds & Their Marketing Benefits

Reading through multiple news sites, articles and blogs for information about all of your interests can be a daunting and time consuming task. This is especially true to marketers who are trying to stay up to date on the latest trends and innovations. If you find a lot of your time is lost in these searches, you may be interested in learning about Really Simple Syndication (RSS) Feeds. The RSS feed is an online tool where users can view content about their interests from all over the internet in a single spot. Basically, your RSS feeds are a one-stop shop for your entire internet search needs.

Well, how do RSS Feeds work?
RSS
RSS feeds acquire multiple files and links posted by others on trending topics, blogs, videos or articles. These files are uploaded into a feed to which users subscribe, and users are alerted about the articles when they are published in a feed reader. If you won’t have access to the internet for a while, there are web and phone apps that automatically download content for you to read later.

RSS feeds give you a variety of options to limit your search to contain only the specific content in which you are interested. You have the choice of what content to subscribe to and the websites you follow; therefore eliminating the need to re-read through multiple news sites to make sure nothing was overlooked.

What are the benefits?

The major benefit provided by RSS feeds is staying on top of industry trends and topics, a very important tool for marketers. It’s important to follow your industry or your client’s industry as it changes, and what better way to stay up to date than receiving the latest news and articles as they are published? In fact, subscribing to marketing blogs is always a good idea. Keeping up with marketing innovations and trends will facilitate your company on the road to success!

RSS FeedsAnother plus for marketers focused on SEO is that RSS feeds are not limited to your feed reader; you can also track specific Google searches. Whenever a new blog or article is written in relation to that search, it will be directly sent to you. A RSS feed can also be created for your LinkedIn account, allowing you to see only specified updates from your connections. After establishing proper internet content for your own business, you can then upload your own RSS files to expand your company’s followers and grow your brand name.

RSS Feeds are a powerful tool that can integrate many online resources into a single place. By subscribing to the appropriate feeds, one can gain more knowledge about their industry and keep up with changing trends without having to waste time exploring multiple sources. For a marketer, a RSS feed will save you valuable time and easily keep you informed on the industry and your clients.

Need help with your RSS Feeds or marketing needs? Contact Strategis!

Tap Snap Deposit

Mobile Deposits Are Revolutionizing Banking

Convenient banking no longer requires you visit a branch. With nearly a quarter of all banking deposits now done remotely with Remote Deposit Capture (RDC), customers can deposit checks from the convenience of their own homes.

Mobile DepositThis trend is growing by a staggering 10 percent, while in-bank visits are dropping by the same margin. Our unwavering reliance on our Smart Phones allows for a more convenient method of banking that will be more cost efficient for banks in the long run.

The average cost of a Mobile Deposit Capture is $0.10, compared to $4.25 for an in-person visit. For a bank, this can amount to $50 in annual savings per customer, and over $1.5 Billion in industry savings.

Remote Deposit Capture works by having a user snap a picture of both sides of the check, easily and conveniently through a mobile banking app. The ease of use allows for a quick and seamless transaction on any major mobile operating system.

In August 2009, the San Antonio-based Insurance and Financial Services Institution USAA, which primarily serves military personnel, was the first to unveil mobile deposit with their “Deposit@Mobile” feature on their iPhone App. USAA Bank cited the program as a significant convenience for a large majority of its military clients who are deployed across the country and may not have access to a local branch.

Convenient BankingAs of 2013, the “Big 4” of American banking all offer some sort of mobile check deposit. Regional banks have also started to unveil similar services. The primary theme in marketing this new trend has been the convenience, ease and accessibility of the programs. Anyone with a smart phone can enlist and deposit from anywhere. Dedham Institution for Savings, a mutually owned financial institution with over a billion dollars in assets and over 180 years of experience, markets their program with “Tap. Snap. Deposit. Now you can deposit checks from anywhere with mobile deposit”. Citibank offers a similar slogan with “Sign, Snap, Submit. Deposit Checks from anywhere with the Citi Mobile app.” This trend is present throughout the industry, as ease of use and convenience are the main drivers in promoting Remote Deposit Capture.

Similar to other banking industry changes, smaller banks will follow suit of the “Big 4” and offer this service, creating an industry standard. As the trend grows, in-branch deposits might continue to see a sharp decline in favor of mobile remote deposits. Much like ATM withdrawals, mobile deposits may become the favored method of banking.

BP-instagram

Instagram Turns It Up a Notch

The upgrades continue! On August 7th, Instagram announced some new additions, including a video feature that will allow for its app users to upload videos previously taken on their smart phones (you can finally post that video from last year of you going skydiving!). As simple of an upgrade as it seems, it is a genius idea.

But what about Vine? The creative 6-second video-taking app seemed to spark major interest within a few weeks of launching, and just months later Instagram came out with its own video feature. So, is this copying or just smart marketing? Some people seem to think it was a smart and strategic move on Instagram’s part, while others believe it was a classic case of copying. There’s even a phrase that went viral after the upgrade:

“’Instagram, are you OK?’ ‘Yeah, I’m vine’ What was that?’ ‘I said, I’m fine…’”

As controversial a topic as this has become, most feedback claims that Vine won’t suffer, due to its large amount of avid and loyal users it already had. However, with Instagram’s newest feature, do you think that will change in the future?

In addition to Instagram’s new video ability, they also released a feature that allows you to balance/straighten the photos you wish to post, and a feature that now allows Android 4.0 owners to use the video feature on Instagram. With these constant new upgrades, Instagram is able to satisfy and provide more options for its users.

Now the question is, will Vine do anything in response?

Dun dun dun. The plot thickens.

 

BP-google-glass

No Advertising on Google Glass

Google Glass, which has no official release date to the public, could possibly be the most incredible piece of technology that will change the way we humans interact with each other. In an interview with Project Glass leader Babak Parviz, Parviz said that “at the moment, there are no plans for advertising on this device”. This is a very interesting development since advertising is a sure fire way for Google to make a small fortune off of Google Glass, not to mention that currently 95% of their revenue is from advertising. Also Google said the apps for Google Glass, or Glassware as they call it, at this point are also going to be released as free. While this seems like a bad idea for Google, fiscally this is a very customer friendly part of Google Glass.

            There are many reasons why Google should advertise on Glass. First and foremost, Google Glass is an entirely new platform that is destined to attract many new customers. This is instant exposure to many groups of people and there is no avoiding the ads. This could be similar to the way Apple and Android advertise on a smart phone. As a customer, we have grown to deal with the advertisements as a part of the phone and we tend to work around them. However, Google Glass is a completely different animal. Google Glass is at eye level, literally in your face. People may find ads on Google Glass to be invasive and cluttering. It could also take away from the whole experience of Google Glass. We’re not exactly sure how much of your sight line Glass will take up, but people only have so much vision space, and filling it up with advertisements is definitely not consumer friendly. Personally, I do not find ads on my iPhone all that annoying, but more just something that has to be contended with when you purchase free apps. As a person using an iPhone, you have a choice whether or not you want to click on the ad and investigate further, or just skip and move on to the next screen.. As long as they are not very frequent, quick, and do not take up too much of my vision, I do not have a problem with them. Advertisements are part of the world that we live in today.

            At this point, since Google is not allowing advertising on Glass, there could be even more opportunity for more branded apps for Google Glass. This would be a great way for brands and companies to get their name and make their mark on Google Glass. If companies can produce apps that are beneficial to consumers, and are non-invasive, it could be a great way for companies to gain positive exposure and engage with customers. One example of this is coming from the New Orleans Tourism Corp. Mark Romig, the company’s CEO, says that they are developing an app that will allow for potential visitors to “walk the streets, see architecture, taste the food, and hear the music”.

            Google has already distributed numerous pairs of the Google Glass to many CEO’s and developers so they can get a head start in producing apps for Glassware. A couple interesting ideas have already been developed. Two very intriguing apps have been developed by Mike DiGiovanni, one of the tech leaders for Roundarch Isobar. Since Google Glass does not lock like an iPhone or Android does, he saw a major security risk with this. As a result he created an app called Bulletproof that acts as a lock for your Google Glass set. He also developed an app called Winky that allows people to take pictures with Google Glass just by simply winking. This is quite revolutionary and there are reports that major social media platforms such as Facebook have already begun developing apps as well.

            For Google Glass there are still issues that they have to contend with. Apparently, a couple of the outside developers have successfully hacked or jailbreaked Google Glass. While Google has time to fix issues like this, they also still have time to decide if they really want to put advertisements on Google Glass. Would you care if there were advertisements on Google Glass? If there were advertisements on Google Glass, would it steer away from purchasing Google Glass?

#HappyTechsGiving! An Honest Reflection of Our Favorite Online Marketing Tools

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, we at Strategis have taken some time to reflect on the things that we are thankful for when it comes to online marketing. From social media management apps to online advertising tools, new developments in web technology have made our jobs much easier as the industry evolves. This is not to mention the innovative channels of communications that have completely changed the way that we interact with one another and with brands.

Although there are many different pieces of technology, apps, and tactics that aid in our day-to-day marketing efforts, we’ve chosen to narrow down our favorites to a list of five:

1. HootSuite:  A social media manager’s savior, HootSuite is a helpful tool when handling the social accounts of various clients. From Facebook to Foursquare, any major corporation or small company can manage and track their social footprint amongst followers. With this tool, you have the ability to schedule up to 200 posts across all social media accounts with just one click, in addition to analyzing the effectiveness of your social outreach. While there are many different social media management apps on the market, HootSuite has always been our go-to tool.

2. Google AdWords: When it comes to enhancing your clients’ online presence, Google AdWords are of great importance. The science behind Google AdWords lies in Google’s “contextual targeting technology”, which only displays your online ad to people are searching for content related to your offerings. You can also tailor your reach to target people of different demographics, from various geographic regions, and even during particular times of the day. This particular piece of technology, allows us to do a more efficient job at targeting the right audience for our clients’ messages.

3. Google Alerts: If you’re looking to keep track of news pertaining to your company or brand, Google Alerts is another useful tool. You can simply enter a query topic(s) and have Google scan and deliver web results as often as you’d like. This is especially helpful when tracking your online reputation and/or staying up-to-date about your competitors or developments in your industry.

4. Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Search Engine Optimization or (SEO) is the process of increasing traffic to your website through search engines like Google or Bing. A number of ranking factors are taken into consideration when boosting your web search prominence including, page content, external links, and social media shares, amongst others. Given the immense amount of emphasis that is placed on a brand’s web presence, SEO is crucial to maintaining a prominent image online.

5.  Basecamp: For a marketing communications agency with many clients, Basecamp project management software is a must-have when it comes to organization. Keeping all project members in the loop, Basecamp offers an array of features including management of task assignments and sharing important documents and files.

As the marketing industry evolves and changes, we look forward to even more developments that can aid us in executing the most effective tactics for our clients. In the meantime, share your most favored online marketing tools in the comments below or via Strategis’ Facebook or Twitter, adding the hash tag #happytechsgiving.

 

…And of course, Happy Thanksgiving from all us here at Strategis… :)

Spotify Leads the Way in Digital Music, Increasing Revenues and Expanding Market

Leading the pack in digital music, Spotify has been making strides in the business world lately. Posting increased revenues for the first half of 2012, returns for the online music streaming service are expected to more than double as we ring in the New Year. With a money smart business model, and a customer-centric music service, Spotify is certainly providing a sense of hope to the much troubled music industry.

Established in 2006, the self-proclaimed, on-demand music site stepped onto the scene providing customers with the ability to generate custom playlists for their listening pleasure. Hailing from Sweden, the subscription-based service also enables users to share their music interests with friends via social media. Spotify has virtually captured every music lover, enticing everyone from hardcore punk rockers to easy-going reggae lovers.

Spotify’s broad appeal to the masses lends a hand to the company’s financial success and subsequent growth within the music industry. Since the Internet boom in the early 2000’s, the music industry has experienced a difficult time in regulating (and profiting from) online sharing of music. The likes of Apple’s iTunes software has certainly reinvented the process of gaining profits for music labels and artists alike; however, Spotify has created a lucrative deal structure with music labels, requiring them to pay either a $200 million annual fee or 75% of Spotify’s revenues in exchange for their artists’ presence on the site. This is not to mention their subscriber based business model where users have three options to either stream music for free with ads, pay $5/month for ad free streaming, or $10/month for streaming without ads and mobile access-which is an absolute must if you ask me.
So, exactly what are the implications of Spotify’s portended success? Well for starter’s, the company’s label deal structure and subscriber based business model are inherently profitable for the company. These two key factors have the potential to reap financial success for the company in 2013, something to the tune of $500 million. Secondly, the service’s customizable offerings are a total draw for new and existing users. From an editorial app that enhances your musical experience, to an app that locates local concerts, Spotify has created a new and improved portal that (legally) gives you everything that you could imagine where music is concerned. This is vital for the modern day music industry that was rocked by the likes of Napster and other illegal sharing sites.

The fundamental takeaway from Spotify’s success is to create a service or product that is equally beneficial for consumers, as it is profitable for your business. Not only must your product or service be beneficial, but it must also carry distinctive qualities in comparison to what is offered in the market. In a nutshell, draw you potential patrons in with a new and innovative product or service, and keep them engaged with relevant and valuable features. For Spotify, up next on the horizon is a web-based version of its desktop software that will enable users to access their custom library while away from their computer or mobile device. This is truly one step for music lovers, one giant leap for saving the music industry.

The Google Crisis Map: A Storm Saving Grace

Just as Hurricane Sandy barreled towards the Northeast on Monday, Google unveiled a new crisis map that enables users to follow the storm’s path. Although the map is cool by nature, given its real-time, interactive capabilities, its availability is vital to those who lay in the storm’s path. This map also serves as a saving grace of information for long distance friends and family members who are concerned for their next of kin, and are unable to get in contact with them.

With the current death toll at 69 as a result of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction in the Caribbean, Google’s crisis map serves as an essential source of information for dwellers of the Northeast. Not only does the map offer real-time Doppler location of the storm but evacuation alerts, shelter locations, and flood warnings, amongst others. This helpful tool isn’t the first for the Google machine; they have also created maps and resource pages for the July 2012 California wildfires and the August 2012 floods in the Philippines.

 Now, although the map serves as a useful tool in the event of natural disasters, one important note is that you may not always have access to it via your computer or mobile device. Most times during a storm of this magnitude, many people are without power and thus a strong Wi-Fi connection needed to power the Internet. The crisis map is a web-based application that requires the Internet to fully utilize the features. This is not to say that the map is completely obsolete, given that there are people who have sustained power; but for the estimated 7.4 million who do not have that luxury, preemptive measures must be taken.

Helpful Safety Tool or Aid to Overbearing Parents: The Inside Scoop on this Halloween’s Trick or Tracker

This Halloween, parents have a new and improved tool to help their children stay safe. The Trick or Tracker App was created to ease the minds of parents while traveling in the dark of night for trick-or-treating. Compatible with many smart phones on the market, the GPS enabled app works as a virtual compass between parents and children.

While parents can download the app regardless of what smart phone they own, their children must have an Android OS phone in order to be tracked. The app is easy to navigate for both parent and child, where simple buttons like “Locate my parent” or “Where’s my child?” keep each person informed of their surroundings. Additionally, the app enables parents to establish a geo-fence that their children are allowed to travel within- if they wander outside of that zone the GPS will sense their movement and send an alert to parents.

For parents, this tech savvy app is a savior to their worrisome thoughts on All Hallows Eve. From a notable spike in fall and winter crimes to managing your disobedient children, this app certainly utilizes every scare tactic in the book to reel parents in.

It can be argued, however, that this app also leaves parents solely reliant on technology to look after their children. What happened to the old fashioned days when parents would accompany their kids while trick-or-treating? Or maybe, just allowing them to trick-or-treat alone with a well-communicated curfew? Although technology and social media have changed our lives for the better in many instances, this app leans towards minimizing the effort in parenting, which can be argued to have negative or positive effects. What are your thoughts on the matter?

 

“Your move, Instagram” – Mobli

Move over Instagram. There’s a new photo-sharing app in town and it is bound to change the game in the already revolutionary photo-sharing app marketplace.

Mobli is available for iPhone users, Android users and even you loyal Blackberry users out there. (Instagram is not available for Blackberry users at the moment.) Mobli lets you view and share pictures with the social media world in real-time. Unlike other photo apps, which only let you view a user’s photos if you are a follower or friend, Mobli allows you to view all content through channels sorted by location, subject, or person. This app works as a Twitter of photo sharing, as you can view trending photo subjects from around the world! It can also do what Instagram does, with image filters based on locations, events, and time.

The creators of Instagram have plenty to be nervous about, as Mobli looks to surpass the former in both versatility and functionality. Game on.