Archive for the ‘Mobile Marketing’ Category

Great Infographic to Share with Clients

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Looking to convince clients that they need to make a greater investment in updating their databases? Here is a great infographic that makes the point in a powerful (but sometimes funny) way. The infographic relates to business data (such as changing address or phone numbers) more than it does consumers, but the point is made regardless.

For example,

  • In the 30 minutes you spent checking your mail, 127 companies changed phone numbers.
  • In the 25 minutes you spent commuting to work, 40 businesses changed locations.
  • In the 15 minutes you spent eating breakfast, 27 business changed names.

It also claims that bad data costs businesses $600 billion annually and up to 20% of revenue. It’s a great attention grabber . . . and a great excuse for your customers to let you help them update their marketing databases!

The infographic was created by Infogroup Targeting Solutions and shared by Marketing Profs.

Day Worth of Data

QR Code Fail at Sweet Frog? Or Was It Just Me?

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

I’ve written a lot on the subject of QR Code fails, along with best practices for designing and implementing these codes, so I thought I was on to another example when I scanned the QR Code on the loyalty card at Sweet Frog the other day.

I took out my phone (okay, who am I kidding? It was already in my hand), scanned the code, and nothing happened. I scanned again, making sure it was the proper distance for the camera to focus, and again nothing. Must be the low light, I reasoned. I moved the card underneath the overhead light and tried again. Still nothing.

I tried several different times at different angles, and in the end, I input my email address into the low-tech, most unmobile fingerpad device. As I walked to the table in defeat, I wondered if I would have done better to scan the QR Code on the wall poster instead. Was the code on the loyalty card too busy perhaps? Printed too small?

I realized this morning, no, it would not have done me any good because the problem was not the code. The problem was that I had not launched the scanning software on my phone first. I had simply pointed the camera at the code and expected it to scan.

I can laugh now (and I’m sure you’re laughing at me now, too), and I’ve just embarrassed myself publicly . . . but to make a point.

It would be great if mobile phone cameras activated automatically to scan barcodes without launching software first, and I’m sure that some day, they will. But QR Codes won’t live or die by people who don’t have the software or forget to use it. They will live or die by the value of what they will receive on the back end. If the code doesn’t work or they don’t know how to use it, your clients should make sure they have another way to access the content.

Over time, non-QR-Code-scanning consumers figure it out. Once technology has reached critical mass (as it has with QR Codes), people always do.

Scanbuy Making the Back End of QR Codes Easier

Friday, March 21st, 2014

Ever since QR Codes have come on the scene, there have been complaints about the often poor experience scanners are receiving on the back end of the scan. Much has been made out of these poor experiences (although some codes lead to user experiences that are exceptional) as if such experiences, in themselves, will kill QR Codes.

Now Scanbuy has come out with a remedy, it believes, for the poor user experience. It has developed a new platform for refining the back-end experience of what the person sees after scanning the code. The idea is to start the process with what the marketer wants the user to see rather than starting with the code itself.

The platform uses templates to force — I mean, make it easy for — marketers (or their PSPs) to create more positive, useful experiences after a scan. Templates can deliver dynamic and customized results that change based on factors like device operating system, time of day, location, and consumer loyalty. Marketers can embed YouTube videos, Google Maps, and photo galleries. Other post-scan activities can be launched, as well, including making a call, receiving a contest winner notification, displaying a note or sending a text or email.

I’m not sure this solves all of the problems of back-end experiences, but it takes a positive step in getting marketers an their PSPs to think in the right directions.  Or they can just think about those things on their own, during the development stages of the marketing campaign. Still, having a template-based solution always makes things easier. When things are easier, people are more likely to do them.

For me, I just like having an excuse to remind people that back-end experience is really the most critical element. Just as finishing needs drive design, so too, the user experience drives the QR Code.

So when you think QR Codes, remember: strive for a back end everyone wants to see.

The Dos and Don’ts of Multi-Channel Marketing

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Building a successful multi-channel marketing campaign is a bit like making a cake. For the recipe to be a success, you need to add all of the right ingredients.

In order to help you do so, let’s take a look at some quick dos and don’ts for executing multi-channel campaigns that will keep your clients and their customers happy.

Learn how you can execute a successful multi-channel marketing campaign by downloading, “The Dos and Don’ts of Multi-Channel Marketing,” free for The Digital Nirvana readers!

Take a moment to read and share this resource at http://ilnk.me/DoDontMMC! Do you have any additional tips for executing successful multi-channel marketing campaigns? I’d appreciate your feedback below!

Can Social Media and Direct Mail Merge Seamlessly?

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

“Social media isn’t a fad, and I think we can all accept that,” said moderator Barbara Pellow, Group Director of InfoTrends, in January’s webinar sponsored by Canon Solutions America.

This we know: social media isn’t a new trend. It has an established yet evolving role within the marketing sector. So the question becomes, how does the print industry integrate social media into traditional marketing pieces, like direct mail, to offer optimal customer outreach?

Renée Hall, VP of Business Development at Dukky, and John Ortiz, Director of Operations and Sales at Your Preferred Printer, give an overview and case-study examples of successful, seamless integrations. The speakers touch on strategies and software tools for merging social media with direct mail, which ultimately bolster a client’s network and increase bottom line sales.

Let’s consider the facts. When 1000+ enterprises were surveyed in 2013, social networks were cited as the number one area in which media usage will increase. In addition, 47% of printed marketing materials were linked to a digital channel in order to reach broader audiences and boost response rates.

Now, how are these social networks leveraged?

In order to answer this question, printers must first start by defining their business altogether. Hall finds that most printers have either transitioned to become full marketing agencies with in-house printing capabilities, or they now characterize themselves as a ‘printer+’. As a printer+, the business presents itself as a traditional printer, but integrates online, digital components to complement mail pieces. “Embrace new technology, keep and expand your services, provide tools for measurement and analytics, and leverage what already exists” are just some of Hall’s suggestions for success.

After updating the business approach, printers must next consider the new role of direct mail. It’s no longer a one-way, exposure-oriented form of communication; rather, it’s an entry point to cultivate a conversation and gather information. Take Hall’s Chick-Fil-A example: 5,000 mailers were sent out to gather demographic information of potential customers and to inform them of the branch’s opening. The postcards featured free food promotions that required online validation. Once online, customers were prompted to take a short, information-gathering survey. Once completed, they were able to receive the promotion and “share” the offer within their social network. On opening day, 14,000 customers walked through the branch’s doors. 20% of which accredited the decision to the direct mailer and it’s online component ‘call-to-action’.

Sounds like one successful way to get customers engaged, mobilized and excited. For more examples of seamless integrations and for the complete list of tips, check out the recorded webinar here:


 

 

4 Marketing Channels You Must Invest In

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

No matter how large or small a business is, the following four marketing channels are must-haves for increasing brand awareness, growing product interest, and enhancing your online presence.

  1. Your Website: A corporate website should be your business’s first priority for establishing a strong marketing effort. Strong websites have the ability to promote all of your products and services, collect data from inquiries and leads, and help enhance your search engine optimization. Online searches are the primary way for people to find any type of business these days – make sure their first impression of your business is a positive one!
  2. Email: Whether your business is B2B or B2C, this channel is a must-have because people use their email every day, for both personal and business reasons. You can use it to announce new products, cross-promote services, and for follow-up campaigns from previous events. Email is a great way to stay in front of your audience, increase product awareness, and drive traffic to your website.
  3. Mobile: In case you didn’t notice, mobile devices are kind of a big deal right now and they aren’t going away. Businesses of all kinds need to review their website from mobile phones, tablets, laptops – you name it! If the user experience of your website is not mobile-optimized, you are losing your mobile audience.
  4. Social Media: There are many benefits of social media marketing for businesses. These channels are great for staying in front of your audience’s eyes on a daily basis, driving traffic to your website, and finding new audiences. Social media channels also tend to rank higher in search engine results because they are updated so frequently.

Each one of these marketing channels are essential for broadcasting your business’s capabilities to your audience.

What other marketing channels does your company invest a lot of its time into? I’d love to hear below!

Are We Making Cross-Media Accessible?

Saturday, January 11th, 2014

When we read about cross-media marketing, we are most likely to read about sprawling, comprehensive campaigns that involve multiple social media sites, TV, mobile, posters and billboards, integrated dashboards and real-time metrics from global brands. White papers abound from IT services and data management companies like SAS.

It’s as if cross-media marketing has to be big or it’s not effective.

But what is cross-media marketing really? It’s communicating a marketing message using multiple channels or moving consumers from one channel to another to reinforce branding or communicate a marketing message.

That means that QR Codes are cross-media marketing. Personalized URLs on direct mail or email are cross-media marketing. Direct mailers with email follow-ups are cross-media marketing. These are campaigns that are easily implemented, and as long as they are done well, they generally achieve much better results than a single channel alone.

In an ideal world, every marketer would be able to use big data, gain a 360-degree view of the customer, and start, monitor, and measure social media conversations relating to their brands. But if that’s the only way we talk about cross-media marketing, it makes these campaigns sound inaccessible to the average marketer.

It’s time to bring the cross-media marketing conversation down to earth and talk about real campaigns that are really implementable by even small and mid-sized marketers.

How are you helping your customers do that?

 

3 Places to Get Content for Blogs, White Papers, and Other Content Marketing

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

When it comes to marketing, content is king. Sure, you can go out and try to find customers on your own, but increasingly, customers are finding you. They know what they want, and they are actively searching for, filtering, and vetting their print and marketing partners based on the content they find.

But where do you get the content? Especially for smaller companies, this can be a real challenge. For SEO and differentiation, you need a constant churn of print and email newsletters, white papers, blog posts, Webinars, case studies, and content for social media. What if you don’t have the resources to pay a copywriter to produce them?

If you are not in a position to write your own content (or need more content than you can create in-house), here are 3 ideas for places to get it.

1. Third-party providers. There are a number of third-party content providers that offer content you can brand as your own. They write it. You brand it. Use your logos. Even lay it out in-house so it matches your own in-house style. However, as with anything else, not all purchased content is the same. For PSPs and MSPs, content should be 1) industry-specific, 2) reflect your company’s individual expertise and business focus, and 3) offer solid, useful information but not be text-heavy.

For example, I write the content for Great Reach Communications’ Market Builder and 1:1 Messenger programs. In the seven or so years I’ve worked with them, there has been a very clear trend. E-mail articles and blog content has always been short, but especially for print, the text is getting shorter and the graphics are getting more prominent.The print newsletters are now featuring shorter, pithier articles and standalone graphics with relevant data bytes. Readers can scan the page and get the main points very quickly. This increases the chances that the newsletter actually gets read.

2. Third-party providers . . . a la YOU. When you purchase third-party content, it’s yours. That means you can tweak the content to suit your company’s unique niche or perspective.

Clients of third-party providers will often use the purchased content as base, then add to it with their own data, metrics, resources, and case studies to create custom newsletters for less than they can write from scratch. As another example, I sell brandable white papers on the best practices of digital printing, personalized (1:1) printing, Web-to-print, QR Codes, and so on. Many printers will purchase them as templates, then I will do an interview with one or more people at the company to  customize the content. I will use that time to replace generic examples with their own case studies, their own perspectives, and their own technology.

3. Tap into your suppliers.  Many suppliers develop white papers and other content that you can brand as part of the value they offer as a supplier to you. Look not just to press suppliers, but software vendors, as well. Even if they don’t offer content you can brand as your own, you can often distribute it as a resource. They will often have case studies and white papers you can draw from or cite in your materials.

Contact your sales rep and peruse what your hardware and software vendors have available on their websites, then you can reference the highlights in your blog, social media, and other communications. If you see something you want to use verbatim, ask the company permission to do so. More often than not, you’ll find the answer is yes. You’ll often see at the bottom of blog posts and magazine articles “reprinted from . . .” and the original source. With permission, you can do it, too!

This industry’s need for content is voracious. Don’t think you have to write everything yourself. If you can, that’s great. If you can’t, there are resources to help you.

Interested in Learning about NFC Tags?

Monday, January 6th, 2014

Happy New Year to all! Now is a time to make resolutions and innovate. For those of us in the print industry, one of our resolutions likely involves making traditional print more interactive.

In this Printing Impressions webinar sponsored by Canon Solutions America, moderator Lisa Cross talks about where Near Field Communication (NFC) tags fit in accomplishing this goal. If you’re like me and you’ve wondered what NFC Tags are – this is the place to learn. This webinar defines NFC technologies, shows how they are creatively implemented, and provides statistics from recent studies of their success.

Let’s jump to the content. Lisa introduces Matthew Bright, the Chair of NFC Forum’s Retail Special Interest Group and the Technical Marketing Director of Kovio, who focuses on the importance of NFC technology and provides examples of its use. To complement Matthew’s expertise, Nate Mullikin and Jill Krueger from Corporate Graphics International tell their company story and provide interesting examples of print interactive products and solutions.

To set the scene, Lisa highlights how technologies have emerged to combine traditional print and digital media to maximize the communication experience; a combination referred to as ‘tradigital’. Like most of us know, the key challenge in navigating the tradigital space is reaching an audience that now has control over the media they consume. In an Infotrends study, Lisa points out that 47% of printed marketing materials were linked to online and digital channels. Specifically, mobile use is the fastest growing channel within spending distribution. Therefore, a market for NFC solutions exists to cut through the communication clutter and to make strategic connections throughout campaigns.

Building off of Lisa’s introduction, Matthew describes how NFC is a ‘magical technology’ for interactive print. There are three main cases of NFC use, but the focus of this presentation surrounds the ‘touch to learn more’ concept. The ‘tags’–or stickers—connect printed material to multimedia content uploaded onto the cloud. The stickers can be adhered to posters, mailings, and even embedded into product packaging. For example, with a NFC sticker on a wine bottle, the consumer can then touch his or her phone to the tag, which links to tasting tips and optimal meal pairings on an online interface. It takes a view from print to digital in mere seconds.

Nate and Jill add to the discussion by citing how Taylor Company has adopted the use of NFC technologies in the solutions they provide their clients. From networking with customized business cards to the creation of interactive digital booklets & registries, NFC technologies offer an enhanced gameification of brand, product, and services.

This blog really just touches the surface of NFC technology. Take a deeper dive and be sure to check out the webinar here:


 

Marketing Ideas You’ve Overlooked?

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

We’ve all got lists of marketing ideas for the new year, but are there a few you’ve overlooked? On its website, Great Reach Communications has just published its downloadable “10 Marketing Ideas for Printers,” and there were three ideas I thought were particularly interesting.

1. Blog content. Yes, blogs are the “in” thing right now, but the point made in the white paper is that Google’s Hummingbird algorithm is a game-changer when it comes to this investment. It used to be that you had to load everything up with key words to help with search rankings, but that’s not the case anymore. You no longer have to be an SEO whiz to get noticed. It also gives you more to tweet about.

2. Write a letter.  Yes, it’s old school and you don’t see this often, which is one reason why you should do it, Great Reach president Patrick Whelan writes. I thought this was funny because of how true it is. In our email, text, and social media dominated world, it’s easy to forget the most obvious (and truly personal) ways to contact people. Like the way I catch myself texting to make plans with friends all the time, forgetting that I can also just use the phone and call them.

3. Add downloadable content. Sometimes it’s easy to focus on social media and web content itself, forgetting that search engines find your downloadable content, too. So white papers, case studies, and other downloadable resources will not only help you track who’s accessing your site and how popular certain content / services are, but help with search engine rankings, too.

Happy marketing in 2014!

More Positive QR Code Data for the Naysayers!

Friday, December 20th, 2013

Just out from Mobile Shop Talk — new data from Marketing Land shows that 15% of shoppers are scanning barcodes or QR Codes as part of the shopping experience.  Here’s the range of what shoppers do:

  • 31% — Compare prices of products through Amazon, other online retailers
  • 30% — Look for offers and coupons
  • 28% — Call friends or family for advice
  • 27% — Look for product reviews
  • 18% — Found other stores that have a desired product in stock
  • 15% — Scan barcodes or QR Codes
  • 13% — Look for gift ideas

Granted, scanning other types of barcodes is not the same as scanning a QR Code, but increasingly, we see barcodes and QR Codes being lumped together in mobile shopping surveys. This tells me, not that QR Codes are going away, but that they are mainstreamed.

These days, I am no more surprised when I see a QR Codes on a label, postcard, product package, or magazine ad than I am a web address. They’ve become part of the landscape.

I see fewer and fewer codes with text above or below them explaining how to scan them or how to access a reader if readers don’t have one — less frequently enough that, in combination with the steady, consistent 15-30% rate of scanning among smartphone users, I’m considering removing the addition of “how to use” text from my list of best practices for QR Codes.

What do you think?

Improve Your Marketing for 2014

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

Happy holidays Digital Nirvana readers!

To help get you started and to welcome the New Year, I have a special gift for you all below.

As 2014 is rapidly approaching, all companies are getting ready to start fresh with a new plan for the New Year. Is improving your company’s marketing efforts a major part of your new strategy? It better be! This year, it’s your opportunity to make new connections and strengthen old ones, all while increasing marketing efforts and filling the sales funnel.

I’d like to share our special eBook, 12 Marketing Tips for the New Year, to get you on a path to marketing success for 2014!

On behalf of everyone here at interlinkONE and Grow Socially, I’d like to wish you all a happy holidays and a wonderful New Year!

[P.S. I'd love to hear your feedback as well as any other marketing tips you might have for 2014 in the comments below! Also, feel free to share this holiday special with others here: http://ilnk.me/NewYears, it's free!]

Tapping into the New Cross Media

Wednesday, December 11th, 2013

It’s a loud, busy world out there. With so much information available, getting your voice heard is a challenge for any company. For mailing, print, and fulfillment providers, cross media marketing is really vital right now.

A well thought out cross media campaign is one of the best ways to communicate any message clearly, consistently, and in a way that’s relevant to the hearer. Keeping up with cross media marketing trends is an important component of your ongoing success – and that of your clients.

Are you having trouble connecting with customers?

Learn how you can use cross media marketing to better communicate with customers by downloading “Tapping into the New Cross Media,” FREE for The Digital Nirvana readers!

Take a moment to read and share this resource at http://ilnk.me/NewCrossM; your customers will appreciate your dedication! Do you have any comments or opinions on cross media marketing or customer communication? I’d appreciate your feedback below!

Big Data: Success Starts with the Problem

Friday, December 6th, 2013

There as a great article on Forbes.com recently that talked about the key to big data. It’s not building better databases. It’s not integrating data silos. It’s not the use of multiple channels (although all of those things are important). It’s starting out by knowing what problem you want to solve.

It sounds simple, and it should be. Like QR Codes, personalized URLs, and all of the other hot buzz technologies in the marketing world today, big data is not an end unto itself. It is just a tool to get somewhere else.

The article gave some great examples of how big data solved real world problems, such as how UPS used big data to predict likely truck repairs and bring down its maintenance costs and how the U.S. Tennis Association used big data to draw its fans more deeply into the matches, and they’re worth a read. But how to take that focus and apply it to the world of marketing?

Start by asking what the client wants to accomplish. For example, I want to boost my sales on Tuesdays, my slowest day of the week. Or, I want to get people to buy maintenance contracts with my products. Or, I want to get sell more X to this demographic. Nail it down. Be specific. Then ask what data — specifically — is needed to accomplish that goal.

Do you have that data in-house? If not, where can you get it? Should you gather it in-house or is this really a list purchase with the right qualifiers?

It’s not about “Let’s do a big data program.” That’s overwhelming and meaningless anyway. It’s about targeting a specific problem, then bringing resources to bear on that problem.

Sometimes simplicity and focus are the most important assets you have!

Can You Scan These Pants?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

There are a lot of things in Garden & Gun magazine I’ve never seen before, such as recipes for fried rabbit and glorious interior shots of the most incredible Southern architecture imaginable, and last night, I saw my first QR Code in the shape of Bermuda pants.

It’s a really clever idea, thought up by the Bermuda Department of Tourism, to help promote the island destination to a high-end audience.

Of course, the first thing I did was whip out my phone to scan said pants, and to my disappointment, the image didn’t scan. At least at first. QR Codes are designed to be scannable even with up to 30% degradation of the image, which allows codes to be manipulated, branding added, and even turned into a pair of shorts.

Go BermudaLots of things can disrupt scanning, however. One of them is contrast. This image was in a dark red, which is fine. Not as good as black on white, but usually fine. But the marketer also degraded the image by creating the shape. Consequently, my phone had trouble recognizing the image in the lower light environment of our kitchen. I moved around a little, and on my third try, I found enough light to get it to scan.

That’s great for me (especially if I want to go to Bermuda), but will readers of this publication or any other publication in which it appears know to move to a brighter environment if they can’t scan the code? Or will they simply give up and move on to the next advertisement? Most likely the latter.

If your clients are going to degrade the image for branding or other marketing goals, test, test, test! Don’t just test on different phones. Test different lighting conditions, as well.

Got to give them one thing. At least they didn’t put the QR Code in the gutter of the magazine. But if the ad ad been on a left-hand page, they would have!