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Back to School Keeps Mobile Cool

There are conflicting results being published as to when consumers will begin their back to school shopping, but despite timing, there is one topic that everyone seems to agree on: the number of consumers turning to their mobile devices to shop and research products. According to the National Retail Federation Back to School Survey,  'Of those consumers who own tablets, 45% plan to research products on their device, while 31% will actually purchase products. And of those consumers who own smartphones, 37% plan to research products, while 22% will make purchases on their devices.'? Photo Credit: http://www.responsys.com/ Mobile Impacts In-Store Behavior Consumer mobile adoption continues to impact Ecommerce but is also impacting in-store sales.  Beyond the volumes of transactions taking place from mobile and tablet devices, comparison engines and mobile apps are literally at the fingertips of consumers while shopping in-store.  Shoppers can now compare prices while standing at-shelf to find the best price or discover coupons. This has steered retailers to put more weight on their mobile presence and better integrate their owned mobile tools into their complete brand experience. Reported by The Search Monitor, '78% of smartphone owners used their phones to perform BTS searches in 2013.'? It's evident from stats like this one that marketers must impress upon agencies or in-house resources that paid and organic content needs to be optimized for mobile devices with specific mobile-only offers. Mobile shopping will continue to gain momentum. To ensure maximum brand and product visibility, a mix of both Ecommerce and effort to influence consumers before and during their brick and mortar experience is critical.  Savvy shoppers who are already consuming media and content on their mobile devices will be more likely to also convert on mobile or seek out product information in-store if the experience is a good one. Leveraging Mobile Targeting to Influence Purchase Geo-fencing: One example of specific mobile advertising is 'Geo-fencing', which has become a popular means of reaching consumers on the go.  This method ensures that only users within a designated location radius (ex. 5 miles) are served an applicable advertisement, often stating in the copy, the proximity to the closest retailer where that product is sold.  These ads are served across mobile websites and mobile applications. Mobile Consumer Reviews: Consumer reviews also have their place and have a strong influence on purchase decisions; but on a small screen of a mobile device this element can be compromised.  Platforms like Google, Amazon and Facebook all make it possible to incorporate a star-rating system, which increases readability.  Even so, displaying reviews predominantly so they are easy to find and require minimal navigation increase the chances a user will have a positive mobile interaction. These are just two descriptions of many mobile earned and owned opportunities useful during 'off peak' or seasonal times. Back to School is a hectic time for consumers.  Smart marketers will meet them where they already are to make the shopping experience easy and enjoyable.

Mobile: It's Not About Us. It's About Them.

Mobile Shopping YOY Growth Back in September, AMP's blog post, '2013 Holiday Shopping Season Predictions'? reported that mobile is believed to contribute to 38% of in-store sales by retailers, and 53% of retailers believe the most significant transactions will be via mobile channel. Those predictions are not far off.  Mobile has proved to be a formidable factor so far this holiday season.  As reported by the WSJ, CIO Journey Blog,  'The figures for Cyber Monday are even more startling, particularly when broken down by category. Department stores, for instance, saw a '?¦ 52% growth in mobile sales [vs. 2012].'? Options for Mobile Marketing  So, mobile is a factor. No duh. The question is: how can marketers benefit from this explosive growth? Where should marketers spend to get the most bang for their buck. First let's break down some of the most common options for mobile marketing: Paid in app advertising Sponsored ads across mobile social channels Integration into couponing sites and/or apps In-store drive to retail mobile sites or apps SMS Mobile Display Ads Mobile Search Ads Mobile web video Mobile Usage Holidays 2013 Now the question is, how are consumers actually using their mobile device this holiday season?  In our unscientific, informal survey consisting of 45 respondents, we investigated which apps people are using most and how they perceive they will be using their mobile device over the upcoming weeks.   The charts above show us that Facebook was the most cited app used with Amazon and Instagram tied for second place. And, we found that entertainment was the top ranked use for mobile devices over the holidays followed by social sharing and directions. Shopping and purchasing related activities were ranked as lower priority. Stay with the Tried and True So, what does all this mean? Because there are more than 500 appssubmitted to the app store every month, in app advertising is becoming increasingly more fragmented. A marketer's best bet for mobile advertising is to stick to placements in the tried and true social, entertainment, and ecommerce properties (i.e., Facebook, Instagram, Amazon, Pandora etc.). Of course, many advertisers will know where their target audience is, which should dictate more niche mobile sites and apps. But, ultimately, it is safest to stick with the most popular mobile destinations and spend accordingly to ensure the reach and frequency the brand needs to break through the mobile clutter this holiday season. Bring in the Holiday Cheer While the mobile device has become a critical shopping companion, people do not look at themselves exclusively as consumers and thankfully there is more to the holiday experience than what or how people purchase or intend to purchase. People are continuing to celebrate the holidays with friends and family and their mobile usage supports this.  People want to share their experiences, get directions to visit family and friends, entertain while at home or visiting and they are using their mobile devices to help augment these activities.  For a marketer to succeed in the mobile marketing space, we can't just throw coupons and sale reminders at our target audience.  Rather, we need to engage them this holiday season with messaging and placements that compliment their holiday spirit.  Recognizing that mobile usage is still fundamentally about human interactions is the first step to a successful holiday marketing plan.  

What we're looking forward to at 2012 CES

This week a small cadre of AMP's most tech-minded individuals (nerds) will be going to the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. And fortunately for all of you, what happens there will not stay there, but instead be blogged, live-tweeted, filmed, twit-pic'd, and recapped for your viewing pleasure. While this isn't our first CES rodeo, this will be the first year that we'll be covering our trip there in such detail. Here's a quick outlook of some of the things we're looking forward to seeing next week: Microsoft's Last Keynote We're praying that it had more to do with Microsoft's product cycle timing and not because they heard we were coming and decided that the show jumped the shark. The next gen versions of everything Keeping our fingers crossed for hover boards, but will certainly settle for anything mobile, makes great use of social media, or can be used in an event atmosphere to improve a branded experience. 2011 was the year of the tablet, 2012 is destined to be the year of the Ultrabook. Having a sneak preview of the new generation of sleeker notebooks from our friends at Intel has us super psyched about the new ones that will be coming out in 2012. TV Wars In the past few years, mainstream TV innovation has been a mixed bag. HDTV costs have dropped quite a bit. 3DTVs have become more accessible (and all signs point to that trend continuing) but additional features such as connectivity and applications have been met with lukewarm response. This year it sounds like LG and Samsung may be unveiling their latest OLED (Organic LED) TVs ' a display type that has the potential to greatly reduce TV width and more importantly, cost. Additionally, it will also be interesting to keep an eye on MDTV (Mobile Digital TV) that hasn't quite picked up yet, but could become more widely adopted in 2012. Fewer Wires Wireless could be a big theme with more advances coming across a suite of consumer electronics from mobile phones hooked up with NFC (Near Field Communications) to allow mobile payments, Bluetooth 4.0 and a sneak peek at inductive charging. The Mobile Apps Showdown We're cool with anything that makes use of an Applause-O-Meter. The basic idea is that developers have 2 minutes to demo their app and audience applause determines the winner. Not a thing you can hate about that. We're also going to try to get a few video interviews with some of the ones that pique our interest and relay them back to you all ' so that will be fun. Feel free to follow #CES2012 throughout the week or stalk us via the usual channels (@AMP_Agency, Facebook.com/BrandAMPlification) to get live updates, photos and videos.

What's a QR Code?

It's simply a graphic device, similar to the ever-present UPC code, currently referred to as a 'quick response'? or QR code. The term describes any 2-D bar code that can be encrypted with large amounts of data that can be scanned by the consumer to retrieve information from it. So what exactly does this mean? Best way to explain it is this: picture yourself standing in the shampoo aisle at your local retail store trying to determine which shampoo to buy for your unruly thin, flat hair. Suddenly you notice a new shampoo for 'fine'? hair with a sign advertising that this shampoo is perfect for thin hair and will add a ton of volume to it. You hold up your cell phone and snap a picture of the black-and-white, matrix style bar code printed on the corner of the sign. Immediately, on your phone, a web page appears that contains testimonials from other consumers with thin hair saying how much they love this shampoo. There is also a message that the product has a 100% money back guarantee if you are not completely satisfied with the product. Happy with what you have read, you make the decision that this shampoo could be the solution your hair has been waiting for! You are now heading to the register feeling better about your purchase decision because of the additional input you have gotten from the QR code. Just gaining momentum in the US now, marketers have been intrigued with QR codes for years because of their ability to reach consumers instantaneously at the point of purchase. These codes are commonplace in Japan as well as Europe. Within the US there have been some technological barriers, the biggest one being the standardization of code readers in handsets. It's said that standardization will come in time but the consumer will ultimately determine the standard if they perceive the codes to be beneficial. In order for the codes to be effective, they need to solve a problem for the consumer. The positive news for manufacturers and retailers is that progress is being made with U.S. wireless carriers. By early 2011, between 40 and 60 million phones will have a bar reader built into the device compared to 2010, having a mere 5 to 10 million devices with the technology. Predications have been made that consumer scanning of 2-D codes in the future will be as common as texting. Once it catches on and consumers see the benefits, the technology will be there to follow. Currently companies such as Ralph Lauren and Gucci have chosen to use QR codes in mailers and in-store advertising to deliver mobile based information regarding new products and even events. Most recently, Johnson and Johnson used QR codes to promote its new Zyrtec liquid gels with on-site ads at CVS. The ads invited consumers to text or scan the code to redeem a $4.50 coupon off their next purchase of the product. Coke and Pepsi have already placed QR codes on product packaging overseas. It's just a matter of time before these beverage kings start using QR's in the U.S. Even though companies are still uncertain what type of investment they want to make regarding QR codes, consumers are hungry for anything that will help them make a better informed decision. Anything a company can do to provide additional information at minimal or no cost will be a home run for the consumer. Who knows, QR codes may someday even replace the small plastic rewards card we all have dangling from our key chains. Time and technology will tell. If your interest has been piqued regarding QR codes and you are now wondering how to incorporate QR codes into your marketing efforts, contact AMP and we can provide a POV on how to best use the codes for your business.

Mobile Marketing ' Test and Learn

We've been talking about mobile marketing for over a decade now, yet we still don't see the mass adoption for marketers to include mobile in their marketing mix. The share of marketing dollars toward mobile is only 1.8% (MMA market survey 2009), yet it has established itself as a dominant communications channel. Over 200 million Americans own a mobile device and the adoption of smartphones has increased the opportunities for marketers to go beyond text messaging and ring tones to engage with consumers. Given these evolutions, coupled with a recent report showing rapid mobile internet adoption (Morgan Stanley 2009), the opportunity to jump in and learn now seems stronger than ever. So where do you start? Dipping your toes into mobile marketing can be very simple. Here are three easy ways you can get started. SMS is still king - Text messaging by adults is outstripping the growth rate among younger generations. Adoption of text messaging between ages 45 to 54 has increased 130%. Favorite venues for texting are: The movies (58%); loud sports games or concerts (41%); lectures or classes (39%). Marketers can build a communication strategy around their target's lifestyle interests. Test and learn: Try a text to vote to get user input on your product or service. How about a WAP, do you have one yet? Contrary to popular opinion, Americans use the mobile web in large numbers. Actually 15.5% of ALL MOBILE consumers use the internet 'that equates to 40 million people (according to Nielsen). The growth rates are most notable among two segments, young adults 18 to 25 (as expected) and new smart phone buyers. Smartphone penetration in the US is 13.5% of all handsets. Test and learn. Build a WAP page (1). Think about some key information bits you can provide the mobile consumer. Keep it simple. Mobile App: News, weather and entertainment are top categories for frequency and loyalty of usage. This application doesn't have to be an iPhone app. Your application can be created to be utilized by the majority of phones. It can be the coolest apps that enable consumers to search your inventory, create recipes, or your application du jour can be as simple as a game. It might be helpful to ask your consumers how they would engage with your brand and what kind of information your consumer is seeking. Mobile apps development costs can start as low as $5,000. Test and learn. Build a Ping pong game. Good luck, if you're already ahead of the game, let's discuss how we can collaborate to build a robust mobile marketing strategy. Additional resource: http://blog.flurry.com/bid/26376/Mobile-Apps-Models-Money-and-Loyalty sources: Market-research firm, M:Metrics, 2009, CTIA, consumer survey 2008, Research report, Nielsen, 2009

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