Move the barriers with mobile technology

August 23, 2017

mobile technologyFor the last couple weeks, we’ve been exploring the seismic shift in marketing that is being brought about by mobile technology and the new consumer attitude of “I want what I want when I want it.”

Fortunately the same technology can help us connect with and serve our audiences in a way that is meaningful to them. We need to remember that this is not about mobile technology. It’s about an evolution in our behavior as the world around us changes the rules of the game. And we need to evolve along with it.

I promised that this week we’d look at some examples of how brands are using mobile technology to solve problems that are creating buying or opportunity obstacles for their customers. Let’s take a look at a few:

Example #1: Mobile apps and alerts. One of the biggest challenges that doctors, pharma companies and pharmacists have is getting people to actually take their medicines on time and as often as they should. Not only does this impact the patient’s health outcomes, but from a business perspective, when people don’t take their meds properly, the providers lose out financially.

The solution? The Care 4 Today app was created by Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceutical company, Janssen. The patient or caregiver loads all of their prescriptions into the app and when the patient is supposed to take something – they get an alert on their phone.

Example #2: Augmented reality. We’ve all been there. You’re standing in a store looking at something you want to buy but you aren’t quite sure how it’s going to fit with what you already have. This is particularly challenging for big-ticket items like furniture or large appliances.

Ikea came up with a great fix. With their catalog app, you can preview their furniture in 3D, and you can also use your smartphones to see exactly how the digital items will look in your home. After selecting a piece of furniture, you put the catalog itself on the ground, where it behaves like an anchor for the 3-D image of the chair or table. If you need to rotate the chairs so they face the window, you just rotate the catalog.

Example #3: Wearables/mobile apps and video. The scarcest of commodities for most people is time. People are constantly on the go, traveling, working too hard and too long and still wanting to stay healthy. Those are some pretty big barriers.

This is a solution that most of us are already familiar with because we’re surrounded by it daily. Look to your left and to your right. Odds are at least one of them is wearing a fitness wearable like a FitBit or Jawbone Up. Or they might be wearing an Apple Watch. These devices pair up with a mobile app to track sleep patterns, step counts and other health metrics.

One of the smartest aspects of many of these devices is that it creates a community of wearers who can encourage, challenge and coach each other.

As marketers, all the examples I’ve shared with you over the last few weeks should be a sharp reminder that our audiences are now learning that they can expect real time access, obstacle-free experiences and time-saving customized conveniences. A daunting mix of expectations for sure.

But they should also serve to remind us that the opportunity to actually connect and be of genuine value to our prospects and customers has never been more robust. It’s pretty exciting to realize we’re just at the infancy of this new era and we’ll be the ones who get to concept what’s possible and to carve out the new norms.

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Connect to your audience when and where they need you

August 14, 2017

ConnectLast week we talked about these facts in terms of mobile technology in our world today:

  • 95% of all text messages are read and read within 90 seconds of receipt
  • 65% of all email is opened on a mobile device versus a desktop or laptop
  • Mobile is now the first screen worldwide – eclipsing screen time on both PCs and TVs
  • There are more mobile devices on the planet than there are people

Our new marketing reality is that consumers are now of the “I want what I want when I want it” attitude and we need to be able to connect with them at that level. Mobile was a major factor in creating this new marketplace and it will be a major factor for us as we work to stay relevant and viable to the audiences that matter to us.

Smart marketers will recognize that this is not about technology. It’s about an evolution in our behavior as the world around us changes the rules of the game.

I promised you some examples of how businesses are using mobile to make connections and want to deliver on that this week. Let’s look at a few:

Delivering time sensitive and/or location specific content to your target market

The truth is, people want to hear from brands when they need something. No one is sitting around, hoping to hear from you just because. So why not let them connect, telling you what and when they want to hear from you?

Example #1: QR codes done right. One of my favorite examples of this is how Robitussin does this. In pharmacies right by the huge wall of cough medicines, you can scan a QR code and you’re taken to a mobile website to diagnose exactly which version of their cough medicine is right for you and your family.

Just answer a few questions about your symptoms and voila, they will tell you exactly which of the bazillion versions is the best fit.

QR codes are like the redheaded stepchild of marketing technology because our industry has used them so foolishly without thinking about the audience experience. But Robitussin got it right. It’s actually helpful and using the technology for the right reasons.

Example #2: Geofencing. This is a feature in a software program that uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries. Think of it as a virtual barrier.

A great example of this is the Wal-Mart app. When you’re within a certain radius of a Wal-Mart, your phone will push special coupons, price decreases etc. your way. Not as big as Wal-Mart? Imagine being a locally owned chocolate shop with rabid fans. As they near your location, you could push out the flavor you’re sampling that day or your buy a pound of fudge, get a pound free special.

Example #3: Beacons. Beacons are a low-cost piece of hardware that is small enough to attach to a wall or countertop that use Bluetooth connections to transmit messages or prompts to a smartphone or tablet. They are beginning to transform how retailers, event organizers, transit systems, enterprises, and educational institutions communicate with people within a contained space (think exhibit hall, airport, retail location).

Virgin Airlines uses beacon technology at Heathrow airport to connect to their premium fliers with special offers for things like commission-free currency exchanges and directions to a private security screening area.

Apple Stores use them as well – sending notices about in-store events and helping customers expedite their shopping experience.

Next week we’ll explore how brands are using mobile to solve problems that are buying obstacles for their customers.

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The mobile revolution is not about technology

August 9, 2017

mobileThe truth is, we live in a permanent technological revolution. Remember when you didn’t have a cell phone because no one did. Granted some of you may be too young to remember that – but the majority of readers are not. That’s a pretty short window. We’ve gone from not knowing what a mobile phone was to 91% of adults have a mobile device within arm’s reach 24/7 in less than 25 years.

And if anything, things are just moving faster than ever, which means we’d better buckle in because we’re on a never-ending roller coaster.

Consider these additional facts:

  • 95% of all text messages are read and read within 90 seconds of receipt
  • 65% of all email is opened on a mobile device versus a desktop or laptop
  • Mobile is now the first screen worldwide – eclipsing screen time on both PCs and TVs
  • There are more mobile devices on the planet than there are people

Mobile has become THE place for media consumption. It’s where people connect on social media, it’s where they watch videos, read, search for where they should eat dinner and, based on their apps – renew their prescriptions, pay for coffee with a quick scan or board a plane. And that’s child’s play compared to what is coming next.

But the important thing for us to recognize from a marketing point of view has nothing to do with the devices. The real mobile revolution is about our behaviors and choices, not the device of the day.

This technology has changed how consumers behave. They are less patient, more demanding, have higher expectations and a lower tolerance for any sort of delay, disappointment or lack of options.

Forget millennials or baby boomers. We’ve become the IWWIWWIWI culture.

The “I want what I want when I want it” attitude is evident in how we consume today. Wait for a TV show to actually be on TV? Forget it. I’ll watch what I want, when I want and I will binge watch as many episodes as I want on whichever device I want. Wait a week for you to get something in stock? I don’t think so. I’ll just order it on Amazon and I’ll have it tomorrow.

A global survey asked respondents to assign a value to their smart phone and the average consumer came up with an implied value of $6,000. Which makes perfect sense, given how we’ve come to rely on the super computers we carry in our pockets every day.

Those are the consumers we’re trying to reach and sell to every day. How should we be taking advantage of this mobile revolution to win the loyalty and buying dollars of these consumers?

As marketers we can and should be using mobile to:

  • Deliver time sensitive content to audiences
  • Reach out to audiences with location specific information and offers
  • Solve problems for key audiences at the exact moment/location they need it
  • Create community around a passion or cause or shared need/experience
  • Develop a deeper, more meaningful experience or connection
  • Accomplish tasks in a faster, easier and better way

One of the realities of this new world is that what used to be unattainable for the average small to mid-sized business is now well within your reach, both in terms of access to the technology and affordability.

Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll look at some of the ways mobile is being used today to connect with consumers, build brands, and drive sales. We’ll look at B2B and B2C examples that are leveraging everything from SMS texts, QR Codes, augmented reality, mobile apps, location/GPS technologies and much more.

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How is showcasing changing your business?

October 5, 2016

ShowcasingShowcasing is yet another new wrinkle that the internet and mobile technology has brought to our culture. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s when someone goes to a brick and mortar store to look at an item but fully intends to make their purchase online. This isn’t a new behavior but it’s certainly been on the increase for the past decade.

Smartphones have really contributed to the increase of this practice. Now shoppers can compare prices on the go, right there in the store. In fact, “showroomers” as they’re called, use their phones in retail establishments 50-60% of the time.

They might be comparing prices, checking product reviews or even creating a shopping list for later.

Whether you own a retail establishment or not, you can see the rub. The retailer goes to the expense and time to stock the item, the person actually is in their store and yet – they still don’t buy it there. There’s no reward to the retailer at all for helping the shopper get exactly what they want.

When asked, the number one reason cited for showcasing is price. Almost 3/4ths of showroomers checked and discovered that they could get a better price online. Interestingly – very few of them had ever asked the retailer to match the lower price.

Almost 50% of the time, the shopper walked into the store fully intending to actually purchase it later but they wanted to see the item before they made the purchase or do a little legwork before they went home and made the buy.

One of the main reasons for not making the purchase? They did not want to carry the item home. Many showroomers have gotten very used to the convenience of home delivery and as we know – in most cases, they are not paying extra for that service.

Interestingly – these shoppers are different from the “I like to shop at 2 am shoppers” who rate the 24/7 access as the primary reason they shop online.

The retailers own some of this trend too. If 50% of the showroomers walked into the store intending to buy online, that means the other 50% intended to make their purchase right there in the store. So why didn’t they?

About half of them discovered that the store didn’t actually have the product they were interested in on their shelves. The store was out of stock or didn’t offer some of the conveniences (like free home delivery) that could swing the decision.

But this isn’t all gloomy news for retailers. There are also plenty of shoppers who are reverse showroomers. They do their research online but want to buy locally, for a variety of reasons.

So what should a retailer do, to encourage the showroomers to buy immediately rather than going online to shop and at the same time, to keep the reverse showroomers happy?

Increase the caliber of your sales staff: Make sure they know the merchandise and also have the tools in the store to get an answer if they don’t know. They also need more sales training so they can be genuinely helpful.

Over service to keep selling: Try a mix of price matching, free home delivery, extended warranties, tech support and checking in on customers after the sale. An online store can’t offer that level of service.

Leverage their phone time: Why not send time sensitive coupons and offers to their phone using geo-targeting to get them to buy right now? Invite them to use your in store wifi and help them comparison shop.

This connection between our mobile devices and shopping isn’t going away. This is the new normal and if anything – it’s going to get more pervasive. Retailers have to find a way to leverage showcasing to their advantage.

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Are you falling behind when it comes to mobile?

May 13, 2012

I think it is fascinating in a “I don’t get it” sort of way.  We all know that mobile is where digital is headed.  We’ve all repeated the “by 2015, the #1 way we will access the internet is through our smart phones” and yet… it seems like most people are lollygagging along when it comes to getting onto the mobile train.

Is your website mobile optimized?  Are you learning more about mobile ads?  Are you thinking about how you’re going to accept mobile payments?

Or do you look like this infographic?

Browse more infographics.

 

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