Mobile banking — trends for 2012

April 15, 2012

I recently gave a presentation to a packed house of bank and credit union professionals about mobile banking and where it’s heading.  And the “theme” of my message to them was — if this isn’t your top priority for 2012, it sure better be for 2013. (I’ll bet my pal CK Kerley would agree!)

The Federal Reserve just released some really telling research that not only shows how many of us are already using mobile banking – but how many people changed financial institutions so they could use mobile banking.  (download PDF of the research by clicking here)

Here were some of the key takeaways from the presentation (which you can click through below.  Email subscribers…click here.)

  • 20% of financial instutition customers are already using mobile banking
  • Another 13-20% say they will be by the end of 2012
  • 60% of new customers said that being able to use mobile banking influenced their decision to switch
  • 11% of users are using their phone’s camera to remote deposit checks

This isn’t optional for financial institutions that want to be in business in 2020.  It’s really that simple.

Here’s my presentation — I’d love to hear your thoughts.

[slideshare id=12548717&doc=mobilebanking2012-120415134306-phpapp01]
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Do you SoLoMo?

April 6, 2012

I know — it sounds like a line dance but it’s actually a quickly emerging marketing trend that you need to have on your radar.

SoLoMo is the combination of social, location and mobile. It takes the form of mobile phone apps that combine social networking and location data.

The blend of these makes perfect sense. We know that social is working for local businesses. A business with 100+ fans are experiencing a much higher engagement and click-through rates.

20% of all searches has a local intent, and more and more of them are happening real time on a smart phone (I’m looking for a shoe repair place near me and I have the shoe in the car with me.)

In fact, 70% of all searches done on a smart phone result in action within one hour. (read that stat again if you think you don’t need a mobile optimized website)

So people are using their phone to find what they need/want NOW. That’s where SoLoMo fits in perfectly.

Probably the SoLoMo app that most people are familiar with is Foursquare. You have an app on your smart phone that uses its GPS capabilities to allow you to “check in” when you’re at a specific location. Many people who don’t foursquare will often say…why would I do that? What’s in it for me to check in?

Beyond the ramification aspects (badges, mayorships etc) that Foursquare built into the app, there are often advantages that come through the merchant. For example this morning, I have a meeting at Gateway Market. When I checked in, I was greeted with a coupon for Gateway that I could redeem at that moment.

That’s SoLoMo in action. Offering the user an immediate reward for being in a specific place.

Another example of SoLoMo would a smartphone app that determines your location, suggests businesses close by, and even provided ratings/reviews of that business. After going there, you could post your own ratings/reviews and photos on their system or places like Facebook or Yelp.

One of the coolest applications that I’ve seen adds a geofencing factor. Geofencing is the ability to draw a virtual perimeter around a specific area. There’s a real estate company called DDR Corp that owns a ton of U.S. shopping centers and they’re using this technology in 25+ open air malls.

Their program is called ValuText and here’s how it works:

A shopper enters the mall’s borders (geofencing) and if they’ve opted in, they’ll receive text messages from specific stores about sales and promotions happening at that very moment.

Think of the win/win here.

  • The retailers love it because they can communicate with people who are literally a few steps away from their store.
  • The shoppers love it because they’re being served up deals they can take advantage of instantly.
  • The mall must love it because I have to think occupancy isn’t a problem when they’re offering their merchants this kind of perk.

One of the nice features of this tool is that it doesn’t even require that the user have a smartphone. By using text messages, it simplifies the technology requirements dramatically.  What could you do with technology like ValuText?

We’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible with SoLoMo.  I can remember watching the movie Minority Report and marveling at the mall scene, where Tom Cruise is being “detected” by advertising and it’s changing based on his preferences.  At the time, it seemed like black magic.  Today, it’s just SoLoMo at work.  (Granted in an advanced state)

Check out this :30 clip from the movie to see it in action. Listen for when the ads actually call out his name.  Incredible.  (Email subscribers — click here to view)


Want to learn more about SoLoMo?  Check out the SoLoMo manifesto by clicking here.  This is where were headed folks, so don’t get caught off guard.


P.S.  Full disclosure:  I know the agency that created ValuText and was awed by it when they shared it with me.

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Accept credit cards with 0% hassle!

October 31, 2011

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Accept credit cards hassle free!

Many small businesses struggle with the desire to accept credit cards but the hassle factor or the costs make it seem impossible.

I wanted to share a solution that we’re using at McLellan Marketing Group with great success.  It’s called Square.

Square is an app tied to your iPhone or Droid (or iPad).  When you sign up for the service, they’ll send you a credit card reader that fits into your smartphone.  You can either take credit card charges via swiping the actual card or by manually entering the data into the touchpad of your phone.

10 minutes after downloading the app and filling out some information so they can get the funds into your bank account — you can be accepting credit cards.  It really is that simple.

In terms of fees, you’ll pay 2.75% if you swipe the card and 3.5% if you enter the charges in manually.

No long term contracts, no up front fees, no waiting to be approved.  The only downside to Square is that, unlike PayPal, they don’t give you the tools to automate accepting credit card payments via your website.  But odds are — if you are making that many transactions — you need a more robust tool anyway.

This isn’t the solution for everyone.  But especially if you are a service based business who doesn’t have a daily need to accept credit cards — but when you need to, you’d like to do it quickly, easily and affordably — Square just might be the ticket.



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Creating smart QR Codes

June 14, 2011

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…An example of QR codes & my column

QR codes seem to be the media’s most recent marketing darling.  You’ll find lots of articles talking about how to use them, including a couple I’ve written (read here and here).  And in March, I shared Central Park’s incredible QR campaign to inspire you to give this technology a try.

Along with the various online places where you can find my marketing thoughts, I am a weekly columnist for Iowa’s business journal, the Business Record.  A few months ago, we started adding a QR code feature to my columns — to share extra resources and to demonstrate how QR codes can work.  (the screen capture is of one of my columns that has migrated from their print product to their website)

When we decided to add this feature, I decided I wanted a QR code creator that was a bit more robust than some of the free sites I’d been using.  We weren’t ready for custom shapes (check out these designs) — but I did want to know how many scans each code had and if there was a pattern to when the scans were occurring.

After reviewing many options, I am down to two choices.  The “must haves” for me were:

  • Could create a high resolution QR code (need it for the print publication and for some of our client’s work)
  • Reporting/tracking capabilities
  • Good customer support if we had questions

The first contender is QReate & Track by InterlinkONE.  They do offer a free membership/option but I opted for the $19/month version so I could get the reporting.  That reporting includes:

  • Number of scans
  • Scans by day, time and month, year etc.

Really, for most local businesses, that’s plenty unless you’re going to do some serious number crunching.  In terms of easy access for support, they have a forum, a blog and you can e-mail them your question.  They’re also here in the states so for me, that’s a time zone advantage.

The second contender is from the UK.  They too offer a free option but I went for the 6.99 GBP($11 something/month) because I needed to create more than 3 campaigns a month.  The big difference between the two is in the reporting.  With, I can track:

  • Realtime # of scans
  • Bounce rate
  • Pageviews
  • Unique scans
  • Time on page
  • What barcode reader was used
  • What type of mobile device was used
  • The geography of the scanner (down to the city)

Clearly a more robust reporting menu.  One of the other cool features to this site is the ability to set a goal.  For example,  my QR code could lead you to a landing page where I offered something for sale.  The goal URL could be the thank you page that you’d go to after making a purchase.  Now the reporting shows me not only how many hit the landing site and where else they went — but how many did what I wanted them to do — buy something.

As for support — they have a very simple online manual to answer the most basic of questions and I can open a ticket and submit a question/request to their team.

I haven’t quite landed on the best option for us at McLellan Marketing Group yet — but both of these providers have served our purposes for now but it’s hard to argue with PushQR’s in depth reporting and lower price.

How about you?  Are you creating QR codes?  How are you using them?  Do you have a favorite tool?


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Essential Twitter Tools

June 10, 2011

Twitter is an important part of my daily communications and community.  I use it to:

  • Share great resources
  • Chat with friends and peers
  • Share my own writing/posts
  • Access resources, articles, and keep current
  • Test ideas, vent, laugh and connect
  • Give myself a mental floss — you never know what you’ll see, read or jump into

But…I have a day job so I can’t spend all day, glued to the Twitter screen, waiting for someone to say something relevant.  So, I rely on a handful of Twitter tools that make it much easier for me to accomplish my goals and cover my day job as well.

Let me preface my tool talk with this statement:  Twitter is not about automated conversations between your bot and mine.  It’s about real interactions between real people.  But that does not mean all automation is bad.  It’s about finding the balance.

Twitter Tool #1: HootSuite.

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Re-arrange tweets into conversations

Much has been written about this software.  It allows you to manage your Twitter activity (follow the main stream, when someone directs an update to you or sends you a direct message) but what I appreciate the most about Hootsuite is that it allows me to schedule updates (on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) so I can be sharing resources, blog posts etc. throughout the day, even if I’m in a meeting or asleep.

It also lets me “re-arrange” tweets into conversations, as you can see in the screen shot to the right.

Twitter Tool #2: Boxcar

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Keep me in live conversations 24/7

Boxcar is an app on my iPhone and iPad.  It streams any message sent directly to me (I have it set just for Facebook or Twitter but you could set up Google Voice, e-mail and much more) right to my device and pops up with a portion of the message so I can decide if I want to read it, respond to it etc.   It’s very elegant and simple and very easy to set up and use.

This allows to to respond in real time — no matter where I am or what I’m doing.

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Pre-set a handful of blogs to autopost





Twitter tool #3: Twitterfeed

This is a tool I use very sparingly.  You create an account and then add URLs that post new content (typically blogs).  Then, anytime one of those sites has new content, it automatically tweets it out on your account.  (You can set it up to do Twitter, FB and others).

I would only add blogs that stick to their core content faithfully and consistently deliver A+ content.  In my Twitterfeed account, there are only about 10 blogs loaded up.  I can regulate how often it updates my status with someone’s new content and it tells me what my Twitter friends are clicking on.  I don’t want to bombard my Twitter followers, but I also don’t want to make them wait until I get to my feed reader to share the best stuff.

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Manage your followers with a click!





Twitter Tool #4: ManageFlitter

Oh how I love this tool!  With a couple clicks, I can see what tweeps I follow that have gone dormant, who are the super talkers (might be bots) and who has stopped following me, etc.  Then, I can unfollow or add people very quickly.

This used to be one of my most laborious tasks… cleaning up my Twitter followers.  But now I can do it in minutes and it keeps me connected to the people I want to follow and disconnected from those who got bored and haven’t tweeted in 6 months.

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What the set up screen looks like

Twitter tool #5: Tweet Old Post

This WordPress plugin allows me to tweet out some of my older posts from my blog.  I’ve been blogging for over 5 years, so in theory, there’s some good stuff in there.  This plugin randomly grabs an old post (I can identify categories I do/don’t want included) and tweets it out.  I can add a prefix like A golden oldie… or a hashtag like #GreatestHits so my followers will know what’s up.

This is a great way to breath new life into old but still relevant content.

So there you have it….these five tools (along with some RSS feeds for listening by topics and Twitter lists for listening to my favorite people) are how I manage my life on Twitter.  They let me connect in real time, share my favorite writers, schedule some of my tweets and manage my followers.

I hope that at least one of these tools is a new find for you and that a mix of them can make your Twitter experience even better!

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The mobile revolution is coming. Are you ready?

May 9, 2011

Consider these mobile facts:

  • By 2013 — 50%of web traffic will come from mobile devices.
  • 91% of mobile users consume social media on their mobile device.
  • The US population is approx. 306 million. 69 million of those people have smart phones today.

I’ve mentioned before that by 2020, the #1 way we will access the web is through our smartphones.  That’s only 9 years away.  Is your business getting ready for the mobile revolution?

Check out this video on the smartphone consumer and the mobile movement.  Notice how their behaviors are already radically changing and we’re in the infancy of this trend.

Are you poo pooing this because you’re a B2B company?  Better think again.  Check out this free PDF from my brilliant pal Christina Kerley — filled with case studies, video links and more — all showing you how mobile is affecting B2B.

Remember how the web changed the way you did business, marketed your business and in some ways — literally changed who your customers were?  Mobile is going to do the same thing.  If you’re prepared.

I’m curious — what are you doing to get ready?


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