On Sunday, I ran 10 miles without stopping, save for a quick pee on the bushes surrounding the Kennedy Center (more on that later). Yes, this Michael James Barber and all 235 pounds of me ran an average pace of 10:45 per mile for almost two solid hours in the Cherry Blossom 10 Mi Race.
I (re)married my parents this past week. It was an experience I will never forget.
Last week I had the opportunity to speak about mobile marketing at the Tucson American Marketing Association’s April networking event. I thought it best to focus on two key components, the why and the how. More specifically, why these marketers should care about mobile and how they can integrate it into their current marketing plan. The presentation and some thoughts on it are below.
5 Reasons Why You Should Care About Mobile
1. Massive opportunity now, as in this very second.
If you’re an agency (or brand alike), take note. Forrester Research estimated 2010 mobile spending to be $534 million back in 2009. Not a bad estimate considering there was no way they could have expected the meteoric growth of tablets (even Apple didn’t). However, it turns out brands actually invested just north of a billion dollars in mobile initiatives last year. Surprised?
If you’re an agency, you should be looking at those numbers like a kid in a candy store. They represent multiple additional revenue opportunities (given the right talent) including acting as a strategic adviser amid the highly fragmented mobile environment (more on that later) or helping your clients develop mobile apps, sites or campaigns.
If you’re a brand and you haven’t thought about or invested in mobile initiatives, you might want to think about kicking yourself first, then reading the rest of this post. 😉
2. Consumption patterns are changing, dramatically.
Digital consumption patterns are dramatically shifting given the rise of smartphone platforms and tablet devices. Some food for thought:
- By 2013, 50% of web traffic will come through mobile devices.
- Year over year, daily email consumption via a mobile browser increased a full 40%. You think consumers will continue to read your lame email campaigns. Wrong. Timely, targeted and relevant becomes even more important within a mobile environment.
- 91% of mobile users report they consume social media on their device; 71% use their desktop.
- Almost the same amount of US households access the internet via a smartphone as do those via their home internet connection.
3. Smartphone domination
Bye, bye feature phones. The most recent published stats on mobile phone sales tell the whole story. 45% of phones purchased in December 2010 were smartphones and by that time 63.2 million Americans owned a smartphone; a 60% increase when compared to the previous December.
What do these numbers mean? More and more US consumers are ditching the flip phones for an iPhone, Android or Blackberry device. The more smartphone users, the more likely they will leverage the fancy smartphone features to interact with their favorite brands.
4. Mobile now affects all channels
Pre iPhone, mobile barely affected other digital channels such as search, web and email. Sure, we had a miniscule amount of early adopters ferociously using their Blackberry’s, but marketers didn’t have a reason to care. There simply wasn’t enough consumer usage in the marketplace.
That has changed.
Mobile now affects every digital channel. From paid to organic search, to mobile banners and email consumption on mobile phones, the effects of mobile are far reaching.
5. Mobile is changing in-store behavior
If you think that just because your business operates within four walls that you are safe, think again. Smartphones give consumers easy ways to research products (including your competitor’s) and find better prices elsewhere.
On the bright side of things, mobile gives retail an opportunity to be sexy again. QR codes, apps with in-store integrations and augmented reality could all give consumers a reason to open the door.
7 Steps to Integrate Mobile into Your Current Marketing Plan
1. Determine your goals.
Mobile marketing can help brands do a lot of things. Taking the time to set your goals and objectives for your mobile initiative(s) and integrate those into your current marketing, or better yet your organization’s goals. It will not only help you sell your mobile plan to internal stakeholders, but it will provide a method to gauge the performance of that plan.
2. Understand where your customers (not your CEO) are & what they want.
Just because your CEO wants an app doesn’t mean your customers do. Chances are you already know who your customers are. Your job as a mobile marketer is to determine where you can start conversations with those customers within a mobile environment. Figure out where they are and then integrate appropriate mobile tactics.
3. Audit your content
Yeah, I know we all hate the word “audit”, but it may help you do less work in this case. You’ll want to audit your current digital content and figure out if it’s mobile friendly, what needs changing and how it can be optimized for mobile.
4. Perform a competitive analysis
This is marketing 101, but it’s worth a mention. Take a look at the competitive landscape and answer three important questions:
- What are my competitors doing?
- What aren’t my competitors doing?
- What opportunities exist to differentiate ourselves?
You may just find an insight or competitive advantage that could drive your mobile decision-making process.
5. Determine budget
Mobile can be expensive. You not only have to develop your mobile initiatives, but you must also support them over the long-haul. So, think about what you have, not what it will cost to build or do something, and work within those constraints.
Also, front load your budget. Costs associated with mobile tend to decrease once you’ve made the initial effort.
6. Decide on engagement channels
The mobile environment is highly fragmented. Unless you have deep pockets, you will not be able leverage every mobile opportunity. Figure out what you can afford and where you can play that will impact your consumers most.
7. Determine success metrics
Determine the metrics or KPIs that you are trying to move. Ensure by moving the needle within those metrics your efforts will help achieve the organization’s marketing or business goals.
8. Promote, promote, promote
The isn’t a Field of Dreams scenario. The single largest downfall of any mobile initiative is lack of awareness. Make sure you build a promotional plan as a part of your mobile initiatives.
What other reasons should give marketers pause & make them think again about integrating mobile? What other steps would you recommended for integrating mobile into the mix?
Five years ago I moved to Phoenix. It seems like only yesterday when I packed my bags at UofA, loaded up my car and drove 100 miles north to a city I had never visited, save for the few job interviews the month or two previous.
I didn’t ever expect to feel like I was a part of this city. After all I had no roots here and Phoenix has a severe lack of that community feeling that I’d grown to love in Tucson and San Diego. I saw Phoenix as an easy place to start my life and save myself from having to crawl back to the comforts of my Mum and Dad in Southern California.
But something happened. I grew to love this city, and I hope in some small way it grew to love me.
Next week I’ll be calling Los Angeles my home for the most part (more on that later). It has been an incredible few years filled with not only enormous personal growth, but success for many of my friends, family, colleagues and employers. I would be remiss to not take a second and thank some of those people for their friendship and guidance.
Employers and Colleagues
My Sitewire Family – Bret Giles, Margie Traylor and the entire team at Sitewire were the best thing to happen to me in the early days of my Internet marketing career. I learned some of the most important life and business-related lessons there, and made lifetime friendships with many of my colleagues. For that, I am eternally grateful.
Emarketing/Nomadic/PrizeLogic – While I worked some of the longest hours in my career at Emk/Nomadic/PrizeLogic, I enjoyed every minute it. The team there are some of the smartest & most creative brains I’ve ever encountered, and I’m also lucky enough to still call many of them friends.
Mighty Interactive/Off Madison Ave – Jay Baer and the folks over at Mighty/OMA gave me my first marketing internship. I talked about that internship experience in a previous post. It was a tremendous opportunity to learn from the ground up from many of the smartest digital minds in the space including Jay, Chris Sietsema, Chris Book, Maggie Young, Jenna Broadbent, Megan Sandidge and many more. Again, many of my colleagues there are still close friends and mentors in the own right.
I am forever indebted to my mentors including Bret Giles, Scott Kaufmann and Jay Feitlinger. These men were always there to point me in the right direction, lend a helping hand or tell me when I was flat out wrong. Many of them not only were sources of sage advice, but employed me and gave me the financial means to enjoy life.
The Ignite Phoenix Team
No words can describe my admiration for my fellow Ignite Phoenix Team members including Jeff Moriarty, Oden Hughes, Matthew Petro, Jana Knapp, Dannie Moriarty, Erika Delemarre, Alan Dayley, Brian Carson and Andy Woodward. This team has worked the butts off to bring one of the best community building programs the Valley has ever seen. I simply love the team and the platform we have helped to build.
Last, but by no means least. I am immensely lucky to have an incredible circle of great friends. You all know who you are, and I look forward to more laughs, beers, glasses of wine and dinners in the near future.
Thanks again, Phoenix. The last five years have been a great run, and I look forward to the next five.
A few weeks ago I had the awesome opportunity to join Kade Dworkin on his meetmyfollowers podcast site. The concept for the podcast series is simple. Each day Kade posts a new interview with one of his social network followers. If you don’t know Kade, take some time to introduce yourself. He is a knowledgeable, down to earth type of guy who is sincerely interested in the happenings of your life. He has channeled this interest into meetmyfollowers and I love the concept.
What’s happening to email marketing lately?
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve been seeing more crappy email campaigns the last few weeks. Bad subject lines, poor targeting, bad timing, poor segmentation, horrific designs etc. You name it, I’ve been seeing it, even from some of my favorite companies with email marketing programs. Are we forgetting the tried & true email marketing mantra of timely, targeted and relevant or are marketers spending too much time with their Facebook and Twitter customers that their email campaigns are becoming second thoughts?
It’s no wonder open rates are declining. Check out my friend Chris Sietsema’s post on email marketing service provider’s Mailer Mailer results for open rates over the past five halves (Chris’ LOVE insights are brilliant too). Their report indicates open rates have declined almost 3% since the second half of 2007. That may seem inconsequential, but it isn’t. A 3% decline in open rates can mean significant decreases in metrics that drive sales.
What worries me more? More companies that ever are using email as their top lead generation tool. According to a recent survey from CSO Insights, respondents said 62% of their companies use email marketing as their top-lead generation tool, compared with 59% who said the same thing a year earlier.
It’s potentially a bad SPAM storm coming together all at once.
So, I thought it was time to dish out some email suggestions that can help make your campaigns awesome–again. And by awesome, I mean worthy of your customers opening and getting them to do what you want.
Make Your Subjects Lines Mean Something to Me
First impressions mean everything and with email you have two opportunities to make a great first impression, your From Name and Subject Line. While your From Name is important, I’d argue that that your Subject Lines will affect your email metrics more. Good subject lines typically have three characteristics.
- Important words should be front loaded. Want to tank your email metrics right off the bat? Put your most important words at the end of the Subject Line. We live in a world of smartphones and busy consumers. By my count, I only see 31 characters of a subject line on my iPhone. If you aren’t loading the most important message within those first characters, the likelihood of a consumer opening your email is slim. It’s easier to simply delete it.
- Generalizations don’t exist. Here are things I (and your customers) don’t want to read “New (insert brand name here) Products”, “Learn more about our new products.”, “Newsletter”. They are generalizations and while they may mean something to you, they mean nothing to your consumers. You want me to open your email, tell me what is in it with your Subject Line.
- If you personalize, you use the right variable. My first and last name are Michael and Barber, respectively, but yet I get a few emails a month that say “Barber, 15% Off (insert product name here)”. If you are going to personalize Subject Lines within an email, please make sure you have scrubbed your data. Bad personalization can lead to a quick click of the delete or spam button.
Really an image? I mean really, your entire email is an image.
Look I get that you love your brand and the lovely typography that goes with it, but spare me the sob story. When I take the effort to open your email, please reward me with your most important content in text, not an image. This way I don’t have to click another button to view or display the images.
See a recent email I received from west elm. I love west elm, but without loading all the remote images I know nothing more about the their new mobile shopping site.
I’m a man and I don’t have a handbag so why am I getting your handbag emails. Good segmentation matters.
A couple of years ago, I bought the misses a pretty sweet handbag. She loved it, however, my Inbox didn’t. Apparently if I buy handbags from a certain Seattle-based retailer, I should receive all female-related product emails. How does that make sense? I don’t wear the latest Jimmy Choos, sexy bikinis or summer’s hottest sandals under $100.
If you want to see immediate increases in your email results, take some time to segment your audience by demographic questionnaire, buying habits or any data that you can get your hands on. The better you can segment your customers and understand who they are and what they buy, need or may want, the better performance you will see from your email campaigns.
I’m not going to lie. If you are years into your email campaigns with hundreds of thousands of email subscribers, data segmentation of those customers could be a huge investment of time and dollars. Consider bitting off chunks of your active subscribers, segment them and test.
Timing is determined by your customers, not my opinion or historical data.
If there is one email-related question I’m constantly asked by marketers, it’s when they should send their email campaigns. Back in the day, I would have given you specific times of day that provided better results, but that doesn’t hold true anymore. Timing of your email campaigns is determined by your customers. If your customers convert higher at certain times of day, then send them emails around that time.
Additionally, think about your emails messaging and how it relates to timing. If you are sending me weekend deals, I don’t want your email Tuesday midday because I have about 60 hours of work left before I can care.
Birthday emails make customers smile & drive dollars.
I’m a sucker for birthday emails. They make me smile and research shows they make other customers do the same. Email service provider Experian CheetahMail recently published research that showed total opens and clicks on birthday and other event-related celebrations such as anniversaries garnered upwards of 150% higher rates.
Lesson of the day. When your customers opt-in to receive your email campaigns, ask them what day they were born. All you need is month, date and a triggered campaign in your email service provider and you’re golden.
Bottom line. There are no excuses, minus laziness.
Simply put, I can think of no other reason for poor email campaign performance other than laziness. If marketers take the time to truly understand their email subscribers and provide them with timely, targeted and relevant emails then their email metrics will reflect that effort. If they don’t, then expect to see email metrics continue to suffer because it’s 100x easier for customers to press delete or unsubscribe then spend the time reading your crappy email.
Are you seeing the same poor email campaigns? What other tips would you offer to email marketers to improve their sluggish metrics?
Check out my guest post entitled 6 Tips (with examples) for Your Next Augmented Reality Project on agencyside’s site today. It provides 6 tips for your next augmented reality project, along with a few decent AR examples and growth statistics.
If you aren’t familiar with agencyside, they offer training and consulting on how to implement digital marketing services within more traditional advertising agencies. Their annual conference, BOLO 2010, is coming up in a few months. Along with tiny little me, they have some fan-freaking-tastic speakers scheduled including Ze Frank, Pam Slim, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, the delightful Susan Baier of AudienceAudit, content strategist extraordinaire and owner of Brain Traffic Kristina Halvorson, my mentor and friend Brandon Willey and many others.
It’s only $799 per person for 3 days of awesome sessions and Scottsdale sun. I also have a discount code for $100 off. If you are interested, just leave your contact information in the comments and I will send it over to you. I’d also appreciate your thoughts on my AR article, but do me a favor and post them over at agencyside.
A couple of days ago I attended Social Media Day Phoenix. The event/day was created by Mashable to “celebrate the changes in media that have empowered us to stay connected to information in real time, the tools that have enabled us to communicate from miles apart and the platforms that have given a voice to the voiceless.”
According to Pete Cashmore of Mashable, the event brought together 5,000 people in 500 different locations across the world including one right here in Phoenix. The local gathering was organized by Social Media AZ (SMAZ), Social Media Club Phoenix and the City of Tempe (primarily the great Kris Baxter).
Lots of New People: When you go to enough local social media networking events, you tend to stumble into the same people, but this event was different. It was an odd gathering of young and old, business owners, marketers and bloggers most of whom I didn’t know well. It’s good to see a more diverse group of social media lovers.
The Organizing Team, or Should I Say Kris Baxter: I could say something about SMAZ and SMCphoenix here, but this event happened for one reason and her name is Kris Baxter. If you don’t know Kris, she is the Community Development Marketing Specialist for the City of Tempe, and a wonderful, generous person. She saw an opportunity to show how Tempe can support the larger community and made it happen. Nice job Kris!
The Band: The Bears of Manitou were awesome. Check them out here.
The Not So Good
The Venue: I want to love MADCAP. It could be an amazing meeting & movie space, but once again it disappointed me. The A/C wasn’t working well causing myself and everyone to sweat their butts off and, for this germaphobe, the dirty seats made my skin crawl. I hope the City or an investment group will one day return the theater to its glory days.
The Ridiculous Story Telling Time: While I appreciate there were some great stories of people using social media change the world, I could have done without some of the grandstanding by teeny bopers talking about how the met their girlfriend or boyfriend through mySpace. Go back to Match.com. Thanks.
The Slide Show: It was all over the place. I think someone had one too many brews at Robbie Fox’s before operating the slideshow.
- Do we really need a social media day? One of the things I have struggled with since hearing about the day was the idea of an official social media day. I thought every day was social media day. Why can’t we celebrate every day that gives us the opportunities this medium provides by simply using social media? The optimist in me believes it is a good way to connect the social media crowd offline. The pessimist part says it was good way for Mashable to promote themselves and gather some more data (names & email addresses) about us.
- An Annual Event is Enough. Based on a follow up email I received from Mashable and some murmurs from a few friends, it sounds like there are plans to make this a regular event. I think our time can be better time spent finding out ways to create meaningful on and offline experiences via social media than simply celebrating the medium. Once-a-year is enough for me.
Am I way off base here? If you attended, what did you think? Would you attend a monthly social media day? Why or why not?
Take 5 seconds and think about the brands that you love. For me, there are a few that come to mind, Southwest Airlines, Apple, In-N-Out, BMW (time’s up).
Then think about why you love these brands. Maybe they have awesome products or customer service. I would also venture a guess that these companies have another characteristic, and that is they have probably never disappointed you. And, there’s probably a reason they haven’t disappointed you because they are really good at setting your expectations.
Why Customer Expectations Matter
Customer expectations matter for one simple reason. If you don’t set them, customers are likely to be disappointed. Disappointment leads to frustration, anger and allows your customers to think of alternative companies that can do that same thing for them. Disappointed customers can also hop onto their social media profiles or blogs, and vent those feelings with a few hundred characters.
AT&T iPhone 4 Pre-Orders: A Classic Example of Missed Expectations and How It Could Have Been Avoided
If you haven’t heard, Apple’s iPhone 4 comes out on Thursday and last week’s AT&T pre-order process was a freaking debacle of epic proportions. Why? AT&T simply failed to set their customer’s expectations.
Now you would think that with Apple estimating 10 million or so iPhone 4 orders by the end of the year and AT&T allowing any customer who has the ability to upgrade this year to pre-order the phone, that AT&T would have done 1 of 2 things. Optimized their website and servers to handle a boatload of traffic or set their customers’ expectations appropriately.
A simple email to all iPhone customers leading up to the pre-order date telling us that the process may take a while and you might not get the phone when promised would have been nice. Hell, an official statement from AT&T that they were working their hardest to resolve issues would have been nice, but that never came. Instead, AT&T disappointed tons of customers, proved they don’t really care what type of experience their customers are having and inspired thousands news articles, posts, Tweets and status updates about the issues from popular news websites and blogs. High five AT&T (note sarcasm here).
5 Rules to Follow to Set Customer Expectations
- Timeliness Matters – If you know your store is closing for remodeling or menu is changing, telling your customers 24 hours before doesn’t cut it. Give customers time to learn about the upcoming change.
- Notify Your Customers How They Want to be Notified – If your customers have opted in to receive email or text messages from you, then let them know through those channels.
- Why, why, why – Tell your customers why something is happening. There is nothing more infuriating to me then when I don’t understand why something is happening. If my flight is departing two hours late, telling me that is departing two hours late without telling me why makes me want to pull my hair out.
- Don’t lie – Need I say more. If you tell your customers that you are closing for remodeling, but they learn it’s due to another reason the likelihood of them trusting you with their business in the future is slim to none.
- Learn How to Say Sorry & Move On – Of course, no matter how well you try to mitigate customer expectations, there will always be that one person who continues to kick up a big fuss. Apologize, sympathize and move on. It won’t matter what you say to these types of people.
In an age where organizations can communicate directly to their customers via social media, text messages or email, and blogs/new sites can get stories up in a matter of seconds, companies have no excuses not to try and manage customer expectations. The more organizations do, the more customers will continue to trust them and, hopefully, embrace them even when crap happens. You’ll never see me post something negative about Southwest or BMW because even when negative things happen, they’ve proved to me that they care, or at least they try to care.
Do you think companies should be trying to set expectations better? If so, how? If not, why? What other rules should companies follow to ensure they set expect expectations appropriately?