This is a GUEST POST by Bob Bentz. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
North Pole – Who’s the greatest businessman of all-time?
No, it’s not Henry Ford, nor is it John D. Rockefeller. Bill Gates? Donald Trump? Richard Branson? Mark Zuckerberg?
Give me a break.
The greatest businessman of all time is, without a doubt, Santa Claus.
Think about it. His customers return year after year. He has a factory that churns out toys 24/7 with little overhead. He has loyal employees; of course, there aren’t a lot of jobs in the world in this tough economy, so imagine how hard it is for elves these days.
Santa Claus has a promotions department that secures prime visibility in crowded malls and gets him grand marshal positions in parades all over the world. He also has a public relations staff that writes songs, poems, and even produces movies and television shows with him as the star. His stamina is amazing and there are no banned substances in his body, unless you count thousands of chocolate chip cookies!
He’s an advertising genius. Just watch TV in December and see how many commercials he’s on. I’ve seen him drinking Coca-Cola for years now and am still amazed how he can balance himself on that Norelco razor after all the junk food he eats!
And talk about customer service. It’s the best in the world. No waiting on hold to talk to his telemarketers that are actually “Bob” from India. He knows what you want, often without your even telling him.
But, sometimes I think Santa Claus is slipping a bit the past few years. He hasn’t really embraced html5, smartphones, social networking, or any new technology very well. I think he’s one of only about 15 Americans that don’t have a Facebook account.
His workers still use basic tools from the pre-Industrial Revolution. His mode of transportation still involves harnessed livestock that takes a treacherous route around the world. Call the ASPCA!
And, don’t tell me one animal with a light bulb on his nose is innovative. His ordering process is downright archaic. I mean, who writes letters any more?
What Santa Claus needs is mobile marketing. Worldwide, 5 trillion text messages are sent each year, but how many of you have ever received one, or sent one, to the North Pole? Even Verizon can’t hear you now at the North Pole.
Did you know that 18% of those 5 trillion text messages are considered commercial text messages? Don’t you think a broadcast text message would be a great way for Santa to get rid of some of his closeout inventory? I hear there’s a warehouse at the North Pole that still has half a million eight-tracks and cassette tapes in it!
Did you ever watch the late news on television on Christmas Eve? There’s usually some cheesy graphic there with a picture of Santa flying over some other country. In the eastern United States, I think he’s usually in the Czech Republic during our 11 o’clock newscast.
Well, I’m an insomniac and I often stay up late multi-tasking on my laptop while watching the History Channel or ESPN—even on Christmas Eve. I would love to get a text message to know when Santa is getting close to my hometown so I can get to bed on time. If Southwest can notify me of its flight arrivals by text message, I would think Santa could announce the progress of his reindeer with all those clever little engineers he has on staff.
Ordering is another issue. How many of you still have envelopes and stamps in your house? It’s been so long since I sent a letter that I have no idea how much it costs to send a letter. How much postage do you need to put on a letter to the North Pole anyway? It’s not even on the USPS.com web site; I checked. Plus, there’s the issue of the post office losing your snail mail which happens an awful lot this time of year.
By the way Santa, I’m still waiting for the Benz I asked for last year. I knew I should have sent my Christmas list by Fed Ex.
With text messages, we could send in our Christmas lists to Santa Claus through a short code, say 72682 (S-A-N-T-A). With an easy-to-use mobile marketing solution like this, Santa could confirm receipt and even tell you if you’ve been…bad or good.
Maybe that’s what happened to my Benz.
Bob Bentz is president of Advanced Telecom Services which provides a do-it-yourself mobile marketing network (84444.com) to advertising agencies. He is a father with two children and he still believed in Santa Claus until last year when his Benz never arrived.
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I saw James Pearce recommend this slideshare presentation by Benjamin Joffe, CEO of +8*(Plus8star.com) and just had to share it with you. It is fantastic. Don’t worry that there are 90 slides. It will go fast and you will find it very entertaining and enlightening.
What was your favorite part?
I was watching this video (see below) of Laura Marriott, President of the Mobile Marketing Association being interviewed by Michelle Sklar of bnetTV.com at the CTIA Wireless show earlier this year. At one point they begin to discuss what they feel is the biggest obstacle facing mobile marketing right now. While Laura gave a much more detailed answer in this video, her take on it can be summed up in one word – consistency.
She pointed out that mobile campaigns and the way they can be launched and tracked is not consistent across vendors and therefore brands are not able to get apples to apples results in reporting. I agree this is a big obstacle. Do you? What other obstacles do you see and, more importantly, how can we overcome them?
When times are tough every penny in a marketing budget has to count. Even more so than when times are easy and the market is good, companies need to use smart marketing to reach consumers. Every single outreach needs to make as big an impact as possible. There is really no room for marketing that doesn’t have a solid return on investment.
With mobile being the newest kid on the block it may seem prudent to let it wait. Just stick with the tried and true methods. Keep it safe. My take on it is that it is the perfect time to jump in with mobile marketing. It is actually the perfect marketing tool for tough economic times because there is no better time to use a tool that is a direct response mechanism that is timely and relevant to consumers. The results you get from mobile marketing are trackable and can make your other marketing trackable. Plus you can beat your competition to the punch with mobile.
Six Reasons Mobile Marketing is the Perfect Tool for Tough Economic Times:
It is a Direct Response Tool
Mobile marketing is a direct response tool – people can quickly and easily respond to your marketing by using their mobile device. This is perfect for tough economic times because if you set up your marketing campaign to be direct response you can measure what is working. And when you build your campaign around the response being a revenue-generating activity then you will be actively bringing in business that you know came from a specific campaign.
Done Correctly, It is Relevant to Consumers
When you offer something of value to consumers and provide it to them when they need it wherever they happen to be, you are the hero. In rough times consumers are looking for ways to save money and they always want to save time and be smart. Give them these things via mobile and you both win.
Nothing is More Timely
There is no faster way to reach consumers than through mobile. If they are looking for you on their mobile browser having a mobile-friendly website makes that possible. If you have enticed them to be on your mobile alert list you can contact them when even email is too slow.
Mobile Marketing is Trackable
Not only can you track your mobile marketing efforts, you can use mobile marketing to track results of you other marketing efforts. By adding a mobile response option (call in on your mobile now, text in to win or even browse to a certain mobile-friendly URL) you can see which of your marketing is getting a response. If you find that a particular marketing effort is simply not paying off you can stop doing it and thereby save money on ineffective marketing.
It Helps Your Other Marketing Be More Effective
Adding in a response mechanism to your advertising and marketing adds a level of excitement and interaction to your other marketing that is unusual. Instead of just staying with the tried and true which may have become boring to your customers, you can bring mobile to the table and step things up.
Your Competition is Not Using it Yet
Because mobile marketing is the newest marketing tool in the toolbox not very many businesses are using it yet. You have the chance to jump in first and reap the biggest rewards. Mobile is as new and exciting to consumers as the internet once was. The opportunity is ripe to be one of the first businesses to get going. Just do it. Really.
In my post over at MobileMarketingWatch today I wrote about an interesting discussion I had with a colleague about when mobile marketing will be completely integrated into consumers’ lives.
What do you think?
Does it depend upon where you live? I bet this question even seems odd to those of you in Asia, Europe or Australia.
As I posted about on Mobile Marketing Watch, I was disappointed in the mobile-focused Superbowl commercials this year and I really hope the Olympics will step up to the mobile plate a lot better. Here are my three wishes for mobile marketing to be integrated with the great world games:
Text to Cheer
Let’s see athlete support spurred on via mobile. I’d love to see a way to vote for a favorite athlete or even cheer for someone with text messages. NBC could use the votes to decide which athletes to give more coverage to and which ones to tease the show with. Sponsors could see who is really worth the big sponsor dollars based on their texted in cheers. As a consumer it would be so much fun and would make me feel like I was more a part of the excitement.
Athlete Bios on Mobile
The Olympics are all about the athletes and when someone is competing I love to know a little bit about them. I’d love to have access to athlete bios on the mobile sites so I can find out some fun details about my favorites. This seems the perfect opportunity to drive a lot of traffic to a mobile site. The commercials that told viewers about this source of information would then blend in with the content of the games and cease to be interruptive.
Olympic Trivia Contests
Wouldn’t it be fun to engage with the sportscasters interactively as they share what’s going on in the competition? It would make it more interesting to listen to the sportscasters and make the games all that much more exciting. Plus if there was the added chance to win something it would be fun. Maybe anyone who guessed the right answer would get their national anthem played on their phone.
What do you hope to see during the Olympics as it relates to mobile?
Much has been said about the death of the mobile web since Mowser’s founder Russell Beattie announced he was closing down his company. The reaction has been everything from agreement (here) to saying the mobile web is misunderstood, complete disagreement (here, here , here and here) and a lot of conversation about how the iPhone has/will change everything (including here).
My take on the mobile web is that it MUST survive. Not because any of us in the mobile industry need it to, but because the ultimate customers (the everyday guys and gals on the street using their phones to access the Internet) do.
While I do absolutely love the iPhone commercials and think the marketing team behind them is brilliant I also think they are confusing a lot of folks. They make it seem like people want to browse the Internet on mobile in the exact same way they do when they have a life-size (not pocket size) computer. I just don’t think that is true.
Think about it for a second, the reason a person goes online with their mobile is to find something or do something specific because they ARE mobile. If they had access to a full sized computer monitor and a keyboard their fingers actually fit on, they would use it. Maybe they do have access to a full sized computer, but think that jumping online on their phone will be quicker. This means they are looking for something specific, not leisurely browsing or researching. Consumers need to find that something and be able to consume it easily.
Make no mistake about it, I’m not saying the mobile web is WAP, far from it. The mobile web at its best is sites like m.redbook.com, m.tvguide.com, mobile.allrecipes.com and tarotreading.mobi. These sites are designed specifically for consumers to use them while they are mobile. The best features of their sites that people want are there, ready to be consumed easily via mobile. Ta Dah – this is the mobile web.
As Giff Gfroerer, i2SMS commented amid all this discussion:
Simply put, one can not put their entire Internet site onto what people see when they pull up their site from a mobile web browser. Figure out what content your consumers will need from their mobile device and make that front and center.
Yes, that’s it. I couldn’t have said it better myself.
It will be even better when consumers don’t need to choose a specific mobile URL but will automatically be directed to the proper content for how they are consuming it. And if they want the full site on their mobile to be able to choose that too. That is the future of the mobile web as I see it.
It is our job as mobile industry professionals, marketers and businesses to help consumers get what they want and need as quickly as possible whether they are using an iPhone, smartphone or flip phone. It really isn’t about what phone anyone is using, it is about the experience they have. If we want that experience to be good then the mobile web must survive.
Forget your carbon footprint; do you know what your digital footprint is?
Tomi Ahonen wrote a very interesting blog post about how companies can utilize consumers’ movements, mobile activities and social interaction (their digital footprint) to more effectively market to them. As with pretty much everything Tomi writes, it is worth a read. It is also worth some time actively considering the implications of digital footprints and their use in marketing.
First of all, he talks about how a digital footprint is created:
Take a typical London resident, working in the City. He (or she, we don’t care at this point) spends most weeknights and weekend nights at one area of London, regularly. Lets say the Earl’s Court area. If this customer spends most nights there, that is the real home, the real address. While we don’t know necessarily the street address of this guy, we know at least by cell identity, which section of Earl’s Court the person lives in.
He goes on to explain in a lot more detail about this concept including how to know a person’s interests, lifestyle and decision making processes by what they do and where they go with their mobile phone. It is fascinating reading.
I don’t know about you, but I read these kinds of things differently depending upon whether I am thinking like a marketer or a consumer at the moment I’m reading it.
As a consumer I am shocked to think that someone would be tracking all of my movements and activities based on the fact that I happen to have my cell phone with me at all times. It feels like 1984 all of a sudden (and not in that good-I’m-still-a-senior-in-high-school kind of way).
As a marketer I am excited by the possibilities of being able to use mobile marketing in such a way that it adds so much value to peoples’ lives that they don’t even realize it is marketing. After all, if all marketing/advertising that was presented to you was actually valuable to you, it wouldn’t even feel like marketing. It would feel like life.
After all, providing value with mobile marketing is critical (with or without the whole digital footprint concept) and one I strongly advocate. As I’m explaining in my series about what value to provide with mobile (started here), consumers simply won’t engage with mobile marketing unless there is something in it for them.
What do you think about this digital footprint concept? As a consumer? As a marketer? I’d love to know.
In my book The Mobile Marketing Handbook (coming Fall 2008), I make a case for having two versions of websites – one for viewing from a full size computer and one for viewing from a mobile device. My friends over at Situational Marketing summed it up perfectly:
As a normal cellphone user – I don’t want the full internet. I want what I want, when I want it. Information from Rss feeds, the ability to browse a few mobile-friendly sites and blogs, and the ability to make transactions at my bank or other vendor safely and easily.
I’m not writing full documents out in public. I want quick viewing that loads quickly and gives me what I want. I want 20-30 minutes of easy reading time when I’m standing in line, or waiting for the wife to shop, or looking for sports scores. I don’t want ESPN.com – I want the mobile version of ESPN that gives me the football scores, some video, and columns I want to read.
So what do you want on the mobile web?
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