Mobile Marketing Can Work Well in the Recession

Due to the recessionary environment, consumers have been willing to forgo their favorite brands to cut household costs. Could mobile marketing offer a new access point for brand engagement and marketing opportunities.
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With the economy reeling the consumer’s willingness to “trade down” to lower-priced brands over the past two years has been increasing. According to research by comScore a decline in loyalty to consumer goods brands is typically one of the byproducts of a recession as consumers give greater consideration to price.

“While every brand is different, some of the potential uses of mobile might be special offers and discounts sent via mobile, games and mobile apps,” said Andrew Lipsman, senior director of industry analysis at comScore, Reston, VA.

“There is also significant potential to leverage location-based services for highly targeted communications that could reach the consumer at or near the point of purchase.”

The study evaluated the change in brand loyalty within a number of consumer goods categories, including health and beauty aids, over-the-counter medications, apparel, food, household products and house wares.
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As the economic downturn has continued, the percentage of shoppers who typically buy the brands they want most has steadily declined across the categories examined.

In March, less than 50 percent of shoppers reported purchasing the brand they want most.

In some categories, particularly CPG household products and house wares, consumers were already more likely to buy a brand they did not “want most” at the start of the recession. Higher ticket items have seen large increases in trading down possibly due to larger absolute savings on a single purchase.

Despite shifting consumer dynamics, research has repeatedly shown that premium brands that invest in marketing and promotion activities aimed at maintaining buying at preferred levels are able to minimize short-term erosion of share to less expensive brands and position themselves for a bounce-back

I think brands have only scratched the surface of what is possible using the mobile channel to drive increased consumer engagement and long term brand loyalty. Let’s see what improved mobile browsing and location based applications do for the market.

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Advertising on the iPhone

This video will give you a few ideas how to take advantage of the power of the iPhone for marketing and advertising.

Marketing in 2009, Don’t Panic.

Don’t panic.
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The earth will keep spinning on its axis and marketers of all stripes will need to communicate and persuade customers and prospects. Focus on the basic issues in your business. Invest extra time and energy to find new ways to conceive, craft and transmit messages that better differentiate and more clearly communicate the value and the urgency of your brand.

Don’t Get Distracted.

The economy is in a free fall. Most of us hope Obama knows more than we do. We pray that he and all those new appointees have a really good plan. He might.

But whatever he’s got up his sleeve won’t make things better on January 22nd. So focus on the stuff you can affect yourselves. Ignore things you have no control over. We all have to assume the notion that most things are out of our control so we have to use our time and energy wisely to impact the handful of things we actually can exert control over; mostly ourselves. Take a short-term focus. Cover each month’s bills. Take one step forward after the next. Try to ignore the daily doomsday screeching and then endless warnings that the sky is falling down.

Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.

Great relationships are forged in adversity. Now is the time to stick close to your clients and your people. Mine and harness the energy, the goodwill, the advocacy, the insights and the ideas that often go unexploited during the normal course of business. Invest in each other. Hold up your value proposition to a 360 SWOT analysis. Find new and better ways to reach out your customers.

Don’t Ignore Your Network.

Social networking demonstrates that we are linked together. We are navigating this crisis together. So leverage your connections. Reach out to others. Ask questions, share ideas and share resources. The whole is stronger than the sum of the parts, so leverage the whole. Remember that the value of a network expands exponentially with use. An unused network degrades rapidly.

Don’t Bring Coupons to a Party.

Social media is evolving, emerging and morphing everyday. You wouldn’t come to a party at my house and pass out coupons. We’d think you were rude and gross. Facebook, MySpace and others are the digital online equivalents of that party. Understand the media and enter cautiously recognizing that the brand is NOT in control, consumers are. Take your cues from them and respect their sensibilities.

Don’t Stop Experimenting.

We are in the “wild west” phase of social, mobile and online video media. There are no ideas that are too crazy especially since our technologists are inventing, extending and mashing up new things daily. The recession makes these platforms and the creative content to fuel them affordable and measurable. So get below your competitor’s radar and play around with images, messages and media. Who knows maybe your “wild” idea will become the new “best practices”?

Don’t Ignore Mobile Media.
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The new generation of Blackberries and the iPhone are important steps on the evolutionary path toward a single multi-purpose device that combines, integrates, synchronizes and aggregates computers, the Internet, telephony, credit and debit cards, digital photography, and who knows what could be next. And while it might take a few years for the number of daily users to reach hundreds of millions, this phenomenon will be upon us before you know what hit you. That means NOW is the time to get familiar with mobile media. Begin thinking about the idea of constant access to the Net and constant consumer motion and communication. This development will forever change they way we stimulate brand awareness, preference and purchase and change shopping expectations and behavior in ways we can’t yet predict..

Don’t Write Off Direct Marketing.

When marketing money gets tight, bean counters rule. Direct marketing continues to enjoy great public acceptance, strong ROI, measurability and an under-exposed degree of creativity and inventiveness. Direct mail, DRTV, telemarketing and other DM tactics are proven result-getters which can be pulsed or turned off, and on at will. Expect smart marketers to default to direct marketing and look for smart DM players to do well in hard times.

Don’t Forget to Measure What Matters.

Most marketing is assessed two ways. We measure effectiveness in returning profitable business results and we count efficiency in terms of the value received compared to the cost, usually expressed in some form of ROI calculation. There are millions of other distracting and partially relevant things to count, sort and calculate. But in a recession focus on two simple questions; “How much profitable new business did this drive?” and “Was it worth it?”

Don’t Abandon Customer Satisfaction.

Acquiring new customers costs a multiple of delighting and retaining existing ones. In tough times you need the efficiency of happy customers referring their friends. Focus on customer service. Talk to customers. Listen to them too. Solicit their ideas and feedback. Institute loyalty and reward programs. Do whatever you can to encourage them to buy more. Emphasize customer service and include the voice of your customer in your product and marketing plans.

What Obama Can Teach You About Millennial Marketing. Part I.

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Baby boomers and Gen Xers declared mass marketing dead long ago. We live in a world of fragmented media surrounded by cynical consumers who can spot and block an ad message from a mile away. But what Gen Xers and boomers may not realize is that the unabashed embrace of select brands by millennials, from technology to beverages to fashion, has made this decade a true golden era of marketing for those who know what they’re doing. And when it comes to marketing, the Barack Obama campaign knows what it’s doing.
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Mr. Obama’s brand management, unprecedented in presidential politics, shows pitch-perfect understanding of the keys to appealing to the youngest voters.
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Perhaps inevitably, among the first apps introduced for Apple’s new iPhone — the latest success from another millennial mass marketer — was an Obama “Countdown to Change” calendar that ticks off the seconds until Election Day.

So what’s the appeal to the under-30 set? True, the youth vote traditionally skews Democratic, but the difference this year is that Mr. Obama has actually motivated turnout. His success, it seems, is a result of both product and the branding behind it. The qualities he projects — a cool, smooth aura, the communal values of hope and unity, his teeming crowds and his campaign’s seamless graphics — are the essence of appealing to millennials.

“Millennials want someone smart, funny and with a slight edge,” observes Allison Mooney, who tracks youth trends for Fleishman-Hillard’s Next Great Thing. Mr. Obama’s occasional prickly moments, as when he dismissed Mr. McCain’s recent ad comparing him to Paris Hilton — “Is this the best you can do?” — shows them he gets it. “Obama’s kind of mellow. He doesn’t have polarizing views.”

Activate and Experiential Marketing

Customers are every company’s most valuable asset. What attracts new customers and retains loyal current ones is the customer experience that a company provides for its customers.
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To succeed today, companies must manage the customer experience at every “touch-point”, whether it’s in the store, face-to-face, through advertising, on the web, or through innovative products and services. Creating the right customer experience spurs growth, increases revenues, and can transform the image of your company and its brands. This experience is key in any industry, whether selling to mass consumers or B2B buyers.

The following points provide an introduction to some of the key principles and concepts related to customer experiences including:

Brands as Experiences

In the 1990s, branding arose as a crucial new business task for building and sustaining competitive advantage. Brands were seen as identifiers for customers that signify ownership and guarantee quality. We call this “BRAND=ID.” When brands are seen as identifiers, brand equity is based on customers’ awareness and knowledge of the brand. Strategy focuses on building brand associations before purchase.

But times have changed. Customers today seek out brands that deliver experiences that appeal to customers’ senses, heart, and mind. For customers today, brands are, first and foremost, providers of experiences.

When brands are seen as experience providers, equity is measured in their sensory stimulation, emotional bonding, and lifestyle value.

Strategy focuses on creating and enhancing experiences for customers before, during, and after purchase. To build and sustain a great brand, companies need to ensure an integrated customer experience that is delivered through communications, products, service, personnel, and every customer contact.

Sense, Feel, Think, Act, Relate

Experiences involve our entire living being-our senses, feelings, intellect, bodies, and how we relate to other people.

Activate helps managers to create a wide variety of impactful experiences for customers via marketing campaigns that reach any of five distinct “Strategic Experiential Modules”: SENSE, FEEL, THINK, ACT, or RELATE.

Many marketing campaigns that we create combine one or more SEM’s, and the most successful ones combine all five to create “holistic” experiences. “Holistic” marketing combines sense, feel, think, act, and relate to connect to customers in a broad variety of ways.
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Experience Providers

The customer experience happens at many different touch points. Every time a customer interacts with a company, this interaction shapes their perception of the company’s products and brands.

To create great experiences for customers, companies have at their disposal a range of different experience providers.

At Activate we help you to integrate the experience provided at each experience provider into a consistent customer experience.

Apple’s 3G Instruction Video an Advertisement?

One of the most talked-about aspects of the Apple iPhone 3G is an approximately half-hour instructional video on Apple.com that lovingly details each new feature and function. But if you really think about it, it’s a 30-minute advertisement, said Charles Golvin, principal analyst at Forrester Research.
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“Even though it’s educational and you’re giving people an experience, it’s this really sort of deep immersion in Apple’s brand and approach and there’s huge value in that. How often do you get more than a minute of customers’ undivided attention?” Golvin asked.

The educational strategy is not the first time the company has done this, but it’s the longest tutorial to date for Apple.

The biggest takeaway may be in how effective it is at building interaction and engagement with customers who are either preparing to buy or are thinking about it.

“Anytime you have advanced technology it’s important to help consumers understand how to use it and the benefits you get from it. And I think this will be an important tool moving forward,” said Josh Martin, senior analyst within the media and entertainment unit at The Yankee Group.

Gentemann on Activate Japan

“There are hundreds of ways to sell cars that don’t require TV commercials. We want an agency that understands that.”
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“To build my brand I need communication that shows brand leadership but also increases transactions.”
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“To strengthen one of Volvo’s core values “Enjoy Life” we must increase lifestyle brand value as we build traffic to our dealers.”
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Clients can no longer depend on their traditional advertising agency to communicate to consumers one to one. One to one in the client’s mind is communication anywhere the consumer meets the brand.
Experience marketing, branded entertainment and even brand environments are “natural” chances for the consumer to meet the brand. Handled effectively these channels are often considered by the client to be the real “selling machine” for their brands.
Activate Japan is a new breed of marketing company in Japan that understands how to activate sales while building a brand.