AR vs VR

AR vs VR

Augmented reality is becoming a larger and larger part of the brand landscape now. Before we get too deep down the augmented reality (AR) rabbit hole, let’s do a quick vocabulary lesson — because there are other, somewhat-similar terms that often get confused.

First, let’s distinguish between AR and virtual reality, or VR. AR is the blending of virtual reality with real life; developers create images and applications that blend in with the world around the user. The most commonly known version of augmented reality in 2016 was Pokemon Go, which broke almost all Apple download records and likely created a rush for more brands to interact with AR. Virtual reality, by contrast, is the creation of a virtual world that users can interact with — by definition, it’s going to be different than augmented reality and not contain many elements from the existing world we see every day. Virtual reality is probably a little farther off in terms of driving business and brand behavior, but Oculus Rift (a well-known VR platform) being purchased by Facebook was a step in that direction.

The final component is artificial intelligence or AI. This refers to machines who learn from experience and repetition. Presently, you’re seeing this mostly with chatbots — but in the future, AI will shape much of how business is done.

Back to augmented reality. While the market is small now, it might grow to $90 billion by 2020. Brands are rushing into the space — in part because of the huge success of Pokemon Go, and in part because it’s a next logical step in our continued digital evolution. How exactly are brands working with augmented reality? Here are a few examples.

It may soon be in your iPhone camera: Apple is working on this with teams from several startups it recently acquired. This would allow, for example, a view of a city street to be overlaid with directions, price points for nearby restaurants, coupons, or — wait for it — some type of animated creature to make you giggle.

Smart glasses: At the same time Apple is working on integrating augmented reality into their phone cameras, they’re supposedly also working on “smart glasses.” This isn’t necessarily a surprise, as the biggest tech companies out there are working on the same. Facebook has one in the pipeline, as does Snapchat. (In a nice hipster throwback move, Snapchat will make their glasses available in vending machines.)

The smart glasses concept for brands will be the next tier of “making sure you’re on Google Maps” from 5-10 years ago. Now you’ll want users to be able to engage with you through augmented reality. That could be information about your store/product, coupons, offers, or random fun characters you sprinkle near your brick and mortar to encourage people to come in.

How brands are experienced: Think about live sports for a second. The advent of HDTV has driven down incentives for people to drive to a stadium, park, buy food/drink, etc. when the views are so stellar at home. (This is mostly true for football, but applies to other sports equally as well.) But what if augmented reality comes to stadiums, and fans can overlay the field with characters, images, and real-time stats? It might be coming soon to Gillette Stadium, home of the Patriots. It was possible at Gillette because of a Wi-Fi upgrade, which would be a necessary condition at other venues.

Sports is a specific type of branding, but this idea can be extrapolated out to any number of other concepts. Trade shows could be made more informative and entertaining. Lifestyle brands could offer real-time makeup tutorials. B2B salespeople could walk prospects through a demo (and pricing) more effectively. Much research in the last few years has shown that customer experience is more valuable than traditional branding now, and augmented reality is a great chance for brands to increase the CX.

Training: This is more an internal (focused on employees) idea rather than an external (focused on customers) one, but it’s nonetheless valuable. Microsoft’s augmented reality offering, HoloLens, has partnered with an elevator company to help train 24,000 technicians. They can see problems ahead of arriving at a client site, and less experienced techs can be guided by more-veteran ones. The techs can also pull up tons of information about the elevators in question via HoloLens.

From $0 to $90 billion is a giant market jump, and augmented reality is here to stay for a while. Understanding how it could help you deliver on your brand promise is crucial to the next 5-10 years of business.

What other applications of augmented reality have you seen and liked?

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AR vs VR

Augmented reality is becoming a larger and larger part of the brand landscape now. Before we get too deep down the augmented reality (AR) rabbit hole, let’s do a quick vocabulary lesson -- because there are other, somewhat-similar terms that often get confused. First,...

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

Even as recently as 15-20 years ago, the primary things most people wouldn’t leave their house without were wallet and keys. After all, smartphones didn’t debut until about 2007. While people had cell phones and Blackberries prior to that, those only came into vogue...

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Mobile applications are often considered a replacement for a website because of how quickly mobile got to scale. But is that the right approach? Nope. A website should still be the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. It should be mobile-friendly, yes. Someone...

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

Even as recently as 15-20 years ago, the primary things most people wouldn’t leave their house without were wallet and keys. After all, smartphones didn’t debut until about 2007. While people had cell phones and Blackberries prior to that, those only came into vogue in the late 1990s.

Flash forward to today: what are the three things you probably never leave your house without? Most people would say wallet, keys, and phone.

But here’s where it begins to get even odder: many people on business trips these days? They only leave their room with their phone. At many hotel chains now, such as Starwood, your phone becomes your room key. And at hundreds of businesses, your phone can also be your wallet.

This evolution from ‘standard wallet’ to ‘digital wallet’ happened relatively quickly. Because the rise of the digital wallet is an important aspect of how big a deal mobile has become, it’s relevant to look at the process of how we got here.

The first generation digital wallet
You can think of the first wave of digital wallets as the late 1990s. The big player in the space then was PayPal. These were essentially software solutions that provided an easy way to store cards for repeat online purchases. PayPal was such an important brand in the early days of the commercial Internet that many of its founders, the so-called PayPal Mafia, went on to become billionaires. (eBay purchased PayPal for $1.5 billion in 2002.)

The role of NFC
NFC, or Near Field Communications, is a set of standards for portable devices. It allows them to establish peer-to-peer radio communications, passing data from one device to another by touching them or putting them very close together.

NFC has been one of the driving forces of the digital wallet evolution. The first phone with NFC technology was actually released in 2006 — a Nokia — and at the time, the idea was considered game-changing.

Since then, however, there’s been a slow adoption of NFC technology as a standard-bearer for digital wallets. Only a percentage of the most popular phones come equipped with it, and oftentimes retailers have to shift their point-of-sale software in order to be compatible. In addition, per Wired, there are only about 220,000 live contactless merchant locations in the U.S. — out of 8 million vendors that accept credit cards.

The big three players in digital wallets — and “the beacon”
PayPal is still one of them. The other two are Google and Apple, although competitors are emerging at all levels. (More on that in a second.) Google, Apple, and PayPal are all exploring different options above and beyond NFC. Some of the notable ones are Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and QR codes. Bluetooth 4.0 has been considered a strong game-shifter in the last two years. That system works with a lower-power variant so that two devices can connect when they’re in the same range. However, no point-of-sale systems need to be changed at all. There’s something called “a beacon,” which is akin to a scannable sensor. Apple, PayPal, and Square (the device you’ve probably seen on top of phones and iPads at craft fairs) all use the beacon right now. It allows for longer phone battery life (compared to NFC) and a higher bitrate for data.

Security and user experience are the keys
The reason Apple Pay has gone above Google Wallet at the highest levels of digital wallet evolution is for this reason. The key deliverables — both for consumers and issuers — are security and user experience. Apple Pay now has tokenization of card numbers, biometric (thumbprint) log-ins, and on-device storage. In the process, they’ve been able to get a solid market share on the issuer side (credit card companies), because they offer a simple and private way to pay. Per Wired, they’re working with 11 credit card issuers who represent 83% of U.S. charge volume.

U.S. shift to chip and pin technology
If you live in the U.S., you may have noticed in recent months that many vendors are asking you if your credit card has a chip. If you’ve traveled abroad, you understand a little bit how this works — but in the U.S., we’ve predominantly had magnetic stripes on the back of our credit cards for a generation. The chip technology is called EMV, and most chip-card reading terminals can work with NFC. This supports contactless payment, which means a whole host of digital wallet options are opening up as the U.S. fully transitions to chip-based credit cards.

The next wave
There are different emerging concepts out in this space: Coin, for example, is a smart wallet that uses a physical card as opposed to storing data directly on your phone. Their website proudly displays that they’ve shipped over 250,000 devices so far. Their concept is similar to Wocket, billed as the ‘smartest wallet you’ll ever own.’ Lifelock Wallet, an app that scans 1 trillion data points per day for threats to its users, is another contender. Cuallet is one of the most interesting options on the market, in part because it’s multi-currency. One of the potentially great promises of the continued evolution of digital wallets is that they might make e-currency like Bitcoin easier to pay for goods and services with. Cuallet also allows for international and domestic airtime recharge.

A final important note on the evolution of digital wallets: companies don’t just operate in the first world, but in developing economies, people need methods to pay for things. Paper money is often not a viable option because of physical security risks (i.e. robbery), so new digital wallet concepts are developing to serve those markets. CBS’ 60 Minutes did a feature this year on M-PESA, a digital wallet/mobile payments solution taking Kenya by storm. The key difference between M-PESA and more familiar U.S.-based options? You don’t need to be linked to a bank account to use M-PESA. 8 in 10 Kenyans have a smartphone, but less than 20 percent have a bank account. Hence, this solution is ideal.

We’ll continue to see more and more evolution with the digital wallet — as a function of new credit card policies and technologies, as a function of new apps competing and interacting, and even as a function of the rise of connected devices via Internet of Things. We’re only scratching the surface with how exactly people will pay for goods and services in the coming years.

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AR vs VR

Augmented reality is becoming a larger and larger part of the brand landscape now. Before we get too deep down the augmented reality (AR) rabbit hole, let’s do a quick vocabulary lesson -- because there are other, somewhat-similar terms that often get confused. First,...

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

Even as recently as 15-20 years ago, the primary things most people wouldn’t leave their house without were wallet and keys. After all, smartphones didn’t debut until about 2007. While people had cell phones and Blackberries prior to that, those only came into vogue...

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Mobile applications are often considered a replacement for a website because of how quickly mobile got to scale. But is that the right approach? Nope. A website should still be the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. It should be mobile-friendly, yes. Someone...

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Mobile applications are often considered a replacement for a website because of how quickly mobile got to scale.

But is that the right approach?

Nope.

A website should still be the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. It should be mobile-friendly, yes. Someone pulling it up from a phone should have a relatively seamless experience with it. But you still need to focus on your website, for a few different reasons:

– You get several pages attached to a single domain.
– It is cost effective.
– You can build a website even by yourself by following simple instructions using tools like WordPress.
– Your business is accessible 24/7.
– Products can be displayed attractively.
– The payments are transparent.
– It helps you in branding.
– A strong online presence attracts customers.

It’s not all positives, though: attracting substantial traffic to your website is a bit difficult and takes time. However, a site once developed and promoted adequately has a far broader reach than any other form of advertising. It will always be the center of your online presence and will help you grow using other social networking sites or pay-per-click advertisement programs.

The website is like a pamphlet which convinces the reader to give the product a try. A website includes information not just about the product but the contact details, career options you offer, significant announcements, achievements you have made, FAQs, etc. It is a comprehensive model that smoothly glides from one page to another making sure that no information sought after is missing.

There is no substitute for a website by any other form of social media — and it is a reliable channel for creating a database of users or potential clients. You can add blogs to your website, increase your visibility by using search engine optimization (SEO) techniques, give a description of upcoming activities, organize events, etc. and spread your business across the globe. Many things can be taken care of just by making your web presence worthwhile.

Mobile presence is good, but web presence is even better. Your website serves as your salesperson, your brand ambassador, your marketing tool and a lot more.

So, next time you feel that your app is doing good and you no longer need to focus on your website, consider how functional you would be with and without a site.

Other Recent Works

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AR vs VR

Augmented reality is becoming a larger and larger part of the brand landscape now. Before we get too deep down the augmented reality (AR) rabbit hole, let’s do a quick vocabulary lesson -- because there are other, somewhat-similar terms that often get confused. First,...

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

Even as recently as 15-20 years ago, the primary things most people wouldn’t leave their house without were wallet and keys. After all, smartphones didn’t debut until about 2007. While people had cell phones and Blackberries prior to that, those only came into vogue...

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Mobile applications are often considered a replacement for a website because of how quickly mobile got to scale. But is that the right approach? Nope. A website should still be the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. It should be mobile-friendly, yes. Someone...

The Importance of Wearable Devices

The Importance of Wearable Devices

With the launch of Series 3 Apple Watch in September 2017 and the extraordinary craze for Fitbit wristbands, wearable devices are once again in the limelight. Though Smartwatches are yet not as successful as Smartphones, the journey from desktop to tablets evidently states that the size of devices is shrinking — but not the market or demand. Morgan Stanley, a leading global financial services company, reports that “Wearable Devices are A Potential $1.6 Trillion Dollar Business.”

The success of these wearable gadgets has paced up a revolution where the innovation is not just handy but influencing our lives to the core. People today appreciate devices which blend in with your body and work efficiently.

Wearable technology or wearable devices such as activity trackers, Bluetooth headsets, virtual reality headsets, Bluetooth rings, etc. have given a new dimension to the Internet of Things.

The popularity of wearable devices is increasing day-by-day. Digital watches came into existence in 1972 and today, smartwatches are the most fashionable form of wearable devices. Fitness bands — also incredibly popular — monitor health and focus on fitness by keeping a check on heartbeat, calories, etc. Smart shoes were developed to help visually-challenged people. The launch of Google Glass was itself a revolution. Though hearing aids, Bluetooth headset, etc. have existed, VR headsets took us to the realm of a virtual world.

Wearables are not just for the tech-savvy. It’s also a fashion statement, legitimately. There are jackets with earphones attached to the collar, neckties with a hidden camera and earrings with the microphone. Sony has even filed a patent for a SmartWig embedded with a variety of sensors which is capable of communicating with smartphones. The SmartWig also features built-in GPS, ultrasound transducers that vibrate when obstacles are approaching. The wig also comes with integrated lasers for remote PowerPoint presentations. (That’s not even a joke.) Nothing seems impossible. NeuroOn is another device that regulates sleep and works wonder for jetlag.

These devices are changing our world.

Which heart patient would not love to wear a gym vest which is comfortable and monitors your health? How easy would it be to watch and regulate blood sugar if something on your finger continually tells you when and when not to have a bit of chocolate or pudding? For those who always wake up late and fail to reach office in time, what if there is a ring that vibrates and gently wakes you up at the right time along with examining the quality of sleep you are getting?

The effect of these devices is going to be extensive, and they are already bringing overwhelming changes to the way we live and think. It’ll change everything. It’s not hype.

Other Recent Works

Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit laborum. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis.

AR vs VR

Augmented reality is becoming a larger and larger part of the brand landscape now. Before we get too deep down the augmented reality (AR) rabbit hole, let’s do a quick vocabulary lesson -- because there are other, somewhat-similar terms that often get confused. First,...

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

Even as recently as 15-20 years ago, the primary things most people wouldn’t leave their house without were wallet and keys. After all, smartphones didn’t debut until about 2007. While people had cell phones and Blackberries prior to that, those only came into vogue...

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Mobile applications are often considered a replacement for a website because of how quickly mobile got to scale. But is that the right approach? Nope. A website should still be the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. It should be mobile-friendly, yes. Someone...

When should you build a mobile app?

When should you build a mobile app?

Smartphones have not only changed our perception of using ‘thumb impressions’ but have provided the market with a vast scope for advertising and engaging potential customers.

Mobile apps have become a necessity for the business world. It’s no longer a “nice to have” for a company. It’s a “need to have,” generally. If you don’t have one, aren’t you lagging behind the competition?

The number of mobile users around the world should reach around 5.07 billion by the end of 2019. Currently, there are almost 1.6 million Android apps available in Google Play and about 1.5 million in the Apple App store.

Apps increase customer engagement by reducing the waiting period (loading time) consumed by websites — and can also be used offline. They reduce the cost of advertisement and enhance the visibility of a company’s brand.

Building an app may not be a big deal but making an efficient app surely is. Beware snake oil: there are any number of software “solutions: available on the web which promises developing an incredible mobile application in “a few simple steps.” Usually these are lies.

Developing an app is crucial, and one should invest in it if they must, but only after adequate preparation and research — since it is a costly errand and runs some risk.

There are several things to keep in mind before heading towards developing a mobile app:

Target Audience
Apps are built after websites, so existing customers can be approached to determine whether there is a market for your app or not. If your audience is operational on social media, this could be a yes for you. People are visibly active on different social media handles just because these apps analyze what they like and offer them things as per their taste. (That’s essentially how algorithms work.) One should not forget that hundreds of apps are downloaded and deleted on a regular basis. The content of any app is very audience-specific.

Purpose
You should also be clear about the motive of your app. What are you going to provide? Is it going to grab their attention? How will you improve the services? Customers are impatient; if you supply good, they demand better.

Time and resources
Investing time and money to something that is not valuable for the clients is futile. Apps not only need a superior budget for development, but need to be maintained and updated time-to-time. Cheap apps do not bring in business — and when there is a scope for other pocket-friendly options why go for an app?

Business requirements
Apps are more useful for businesses that require high customer interaction and engagement. If your competitors have an app, and it is performing well (you can check stats via Google and get a general sense), then it might be time to have an app of your own.

Features
An application with no enticing features and unattractive looks cannot help the business. In the absence of attractive features, the app may get downloaded once but will not be used again by the user. If you are providing customers with something fascinating, it is the time to get closer to the clients.

Technical aspects
Which tool should be chosen and with what theme? How much data will your app consume? Is it 3G/4G compatible or not? Will the app be supported by different smartphone brands? How long will it take to load?

Price
Another significant thing to keep in mind is – ‘is your app free or paid’? People like free stuff but apps of both kinds are downloaded considering their utility. If the concept you are providing is unique and you believe that the target audience might be willing to pay for the services, you need to mark the choice accordingly.

Description
The information being provided on the app should be a clear description of all what you have to offer. The representation is as important as the customer review and compels the reader to download the app.

Other than these, you need to appropriately choose the right platform (iOS/Android) for your App., develop a strategy to deal with negative reviews and other issues.

Is that all?

No.

Developing an app may seem like a relatively easy solution to all the marketing troubles but, several others are doing the same. If you have not made a strategic plan to increase the app’s visibility, you might eventually disappear altogether. You cannot straightforwardly build or launch an app randomly. Even the time of launch and platform need to be analyzed beforehand.

The services need to be provided to the right people at the right time and through the right platform.

Overall, an app makes sense when:

– Your product or service requires high levels of interaction with its user such as activities or Games (like Angry Birds) work better with an app.

– Your services are highly personalized and the content is supposed to be regularly used. e.g., language learning apps.

– You have a successfully running website to serve as the base for your app and you need to add value by increasing the size of your database.

– Your idea is of providing offline access to your users even when offline, a mobile app will work better.

– You need to access a user’s information like messages, location, contacts

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AR vs VR

Augmented reality is becoming a larger and larger part of the brand landscape now. Before we get too deep down the augmented reality (AR) rabbit hole, let’s do a quick vocabulary lesson -- because there are other, somewhat-similar terms that often get confused. First,...

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

Even as recently as 15-20 years ago, the primary things most people wouldn’t leave their house without were wallet and keys. After all, smartphones didn’t debut until about 2007. While people had cell phones and Blackberries prior to that, those only came into vogue...

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Mobile applications are often considered a replacement for a website because of how quickly mobile got to scale. But is that the right approach? Nope. A website should still be the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. It should be mobile-friendly, yes. Someone...

Mobile Impact – It’s Not a Strategy or Tactic

Mobile Impact – It’s Not a Strategy or Tactic

Millennials and mobile. It’s like Taco Bell and 3 AM.

As of early October 2014, there were more mobile devices on the planet than people. Considering that mobile phones only date to 1973 and smartphones only date to about 2007, that’s an insanely rapid growth rate — and it’s affecting everything.

Comedian Aziz Ansari has a section in his new book (Modern Romance) about how people now lead “real lives” (with their families, friends, and work obligations) and “phone lives” (with the content on their devices). Those lives aren’t the same.

For most people, this “phone life” is centered around apps. Most companies, products, services, and organizations have apps — as of July 2015, there were about 1.6 million Android apps available, and about 1.5 million in Apple’s store.

But there are a few fundamentally-flawed ways that companies are thinking about mobile these days. Let’s address a couple of those herein.

Mobile isn’t a silo

Many companies treat “mobile” as a silo or have a group of people designed with owning the processes and products of mobile. (Unfortunately, many companies also do this with “digital.”) The problem is … mobile cannot be a silo. Look at the first sentence of this article and click the link if you’d like. There are more mobile phones on the planet than human beings. There’s a good chance that someone will research your business from their phone, or click from an e-mail on their phone to something related to your business. If it’s a terrible experience, they’ll click away and likely never return.

Many companies get caught up and confused in the digital/mobile revenue problem: the ROI isn’t always as immediately apparent as some more traditional marketing approaches. That is true, although it’s changing and some companies — i.e. Facebook as a notable example — are reaping huge amounts of money from mobile.

If your concern internally is that a focus on mobile/digital is taking resources away from more traditionally-profitable areas, try shifting your thinking this way: how much money could you be leaving on the table with a bad mobile experience for a client/customer/user? If Google Analytics is showing you that 200 people come into your site via mobile in a given day but 93% of them bounce, well, you can do the math there — if even a fraction of those people became customers/clients/users, that would represent growth. And as of now, you’re losing them.

In short, it isn’t a silo. It needs to be baked in and considered with everything you do.

The on-the-go is a lifestyle

If you think of the goal of marketing as getting a message out to as many people — or at least the right people — as possible, then consider this: what things do people traditionally not leave home without? For most people, it’s their phone, wallet, and keys. (‘PWK,’ which is a joke on Broad City.)

Well, it’s hard to market to someone’s keys — although you could argue FitBit and similar devices are a form of that. It’s hard to market directly to someone’s wallet (aside from business cards, and that requires an additional step). But you can market directly to their phone — via having an app or having a good mobile experience.

Here’s the dividing line there: as noted above, there are over a million apps in both major stores. There’s also a major 80-20 split with apps; most people download about 20-30 over time and consistently use about 5-6. You can launch an app, but it’s hard to make yours stand out (not impossible, but hard — and hey, we can help you with that).

What you can control, though, is how people experience your product/service from their phone. Most content management systems have a mobile-friendly option that’s often as easy as checking a box (WordPress offers this).

A few weeks ago, we went to a small business expo with a series of vendors. One of the vendors was billing himself as a “marketing expert” and he had banners promising all sorts of things — turbo-charging our business, 8,200% growth, email list building, etc. Before we approached his table, we Googled him from our phone. His site wasn’t mobile-friendly at all. We instantly turned in the other direction and never went back. It’s hard to be a marketing expert if your online business card — i.e. your website — isn’t mobile-friendly.

Mobile isn’t a strategy
Mobile Drives Online TrafficThis is another issue at the enterprise level; people often call mobile “a strategy.” It’s not. Again, it’s a way of life for people now. Calling it a “strategy” implies there are set beginning/end dates, and there’s not. It needs to be part of everything you’re trying to do from a messaging and marketing and business development standpoint.
Almost 80 percent of the top news sites are getting more traffic from mobile, but only about 20 percent of them are seeing higher engagement. Why the gap? The experience is likely shoddy. This is a problem with thinking of mobile as “a strategy” rather than something you just do because it’s good business to please your customers however they want to get to your product.

The key to winning with mobile is to understand and put your user and their lifestyle first before the first pixel is pushed and the first word is created.

What challenges are you having to connect with the on-the-go user?

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AR vs VR

Augmented reality is becoming a larger and larger part of the brand landscape now. Before we get too deep down the augmented reality (AR) rabbit hole, let’s do a quick vocabulary lesson -- because there are other, somewhat-similar terms that often get confused. First,...

read more

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

Even as recently as 15-20 years ago, the primary things most people wouldn’t leave their house without were wallet and keys. After all, smartphones didn’t debut until about 2007. While people had cell phones and Blackberries prior to that, those only came into vogue...

read more

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Mobile applications are often considered a replacement for a website because of how quickly mobile got to scale. But is that the right approach? Nope. A website should still be the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. It should be mobile-friendly, yes. Someone...

read more

Paid Media is Still Alive Across Desktop

Paid Media is Still Alive Across Desktop

“The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” —The Desktop computer

The desktop/laptop computer is not dead. It’s alive and well and living on a desk, kitchen table or a lap somewhere.

Over the recent years, the digital world has been filled with some pretty bold statements: mobile is taking over the world comes to mind. Then there’s the desktop is dead as well as the esoteric line floating around the advertising world: desktop—the black screen of death. Yes, it’s true that users are moving holistically towards mobile and tablets as the comScore graph below illustrates.  However, this doesn’t mean the desktop is going away anytime soon.

Paid Media UsersStudies show that consumers are juggling multiple devices. The activities move from mobile to PC, mobile to tablet and PC to tablet. Yes, the majority of users begin on their Smartphone. But they often will move to their tablet or PC to complete those tasks that are difficult to do on a mobile device. Users are predominately banking, shopping/completing the purchase cycle and performing work-related activities on the PC. One of the main reasons for this behavior

is screen size. As the growth of the tablet surges, this will likely change the future of the PC and how it’s used.

There is no doubt the Smartphone will continue to take center stage, allowing us to be connected around the clock, which means advertisers have an opportunity to be in front of their audience 24/7. Which is why it’s typical to see a media plan heavy in mobile. But that thinking discounts a large part of the market not yet obsolete. In other words, advertisers should be working to target social, native and video users across all devices

The best way to reach those consumers that are crossing multiple platforms is to target that audience across Smartphone, tablet, and PC. Media plans should incorporate all facets of display and search by not only buying ads across devices but only targeting those devices to determine where their consumers are moving the needle against their ROI goals.

I’m not going out on a limb by saying that the laptop/desktop PC as we know it will all but disappear at some point. But until that time comes, we need to use it as a digital avenue so that we don’t miss out on a still large and relevant portion of the audience.

Mobile may be “it” as far as advertising/marketing goes these days. But the desktop/PC isn’t buried yet. So keep it in the media plan. As the famous poet Bertolt Brecht once said: “It may be a mistake to mix different wines, but old and new wisdom mix admirably.”

Cheers.

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AR vs VR

Augmented reality is becoming a larger and larger part of the brand landscape now. Before we get too deep down the augmented reality (AR) rabbit hole, let’s do a quick vocabulary lesson -- because there are other, somewhat-similar terms that often get confused. First,...

read more

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

Even as recently as 15-20 years ago, the primary things most people wouldn’t leave their house without were wallet and keys. After all, smartphones didn’t debut until about 2007. While people had cell phones and Blackberries prior to that, those only came into vogue...

read more

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Mobile applications are often considered a replacement for a website because of how quickly mobile got to scale. But is that the right approach? Nope. A website should still be the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. It should be mobile-friendly, yes. Someone...

read more

Yes, The 4 C’S Bring Sparkle, Clarity and Value to Diamonds Too

Yes, The 4 C’S Bring Sparkle, Clarity and Value to Diamonds Too

WHAT IDIOTS WOULD COMPARE DIGITAL MARKETING TO BUYING A DIAMOND…? THAT WOULD BE US. 

And with good reason. A dull digital campaign – a.k.a one that is unfocused and rudderless – will get you about as much attention and wow as you could expect to receive from a $400 engagement ring. In fact, digital marketing campaigns, like diamonds, can be valuable, glisten and stop people in their tracks. But, unfortunately, many are dull and forgettable with the clarity of soapy dishwater.

With the 4 C’s of digital marketing we always begin by practicing good, safe consumer relations. That means we always use a Concept. But all to often the “concept” concept is sidestepped in order to focus on what people think is most important — content. Everyone who can spell digital is touting content these days. Repeating like a carnival barker the ongoing refrain: content rules. And content is king. But without a strategy, without a tightly defined Concept to revert back to, content does not rule at all. Which means, like in the story of the emperor, the content king has no clothes.

Let’s put it this way: we can’t think outside the box unless we first have one. A box, that is. And a strong Concept is our box—the tightly defined strategy that content and breakthrough execution emanate from. As Bill Murray said: “Put me in a box and watch me work.”

When the starting Concept is strong and single-minded, all the content we put forth will be relatable and significant. Context is what makes our content relevant. When concept, content, and context are unified, the end result is a bond with the user that is united through relevance. The end result is the final C: “CONNECT”. They all work hand-in-hand. There is a mutually beneficial interaction.

We are living in the most productive, creative, and innovative time in the history of mankind.  We have limitless information available instantaneously at our fingertips. Literally. The unintended consequences of all these possibilities mean there is such a daily avalanche of junk, mediocrity, and jumble to filter through that we need a machete to cut through all the dross. More is not better. More is simply more.

In the end, Concept, Content, Context, and Connect will bring relevance, significance, and clarity to your digital marketing efforts. Just as the 4C’s of diamond buying is guaranteed to add value to a jewelry collection.

Other Recent Ideas

Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit laborum. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis.

AR vs VR

Augmented reality is becoming a larger and larger part of the brand landscape now. Before we get too deep down the augmented reality (AR) rabbit hole, let’s do a quick vocabulary lesson -- because there are other, somewhat-similar terms that often get confused. First,...

read more

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

Even as recently as 15-20 years ago, the primary things most people wouldn’t leave their house without were wallet and keys. After all, smartphones didn’t debut until about 2007. While people had cell phones and Blackberries prior to that, those only came into vogue...

read more

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Mobile applications are often considered a replacement for a website because of how quickly mobile got to scale. But is that the right approach? Nope. A website should still be the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. It should be mobile-friendly, yes. Someone...

read more

Social and Business Objectives

Social and Business Objectives

Here’s a stat you should know regarding the executive use of social media: somewhere between 61 and 68 percent of the Fortune 500 CEOs don’t use it at all. Or, as CIO Magazine has pointed out: “Most CEOs Still Don’t Get Social Media.”

This underscores a major problem with social media in many organizations: its bottom-line value is hard to prove. In some organizations, its bottom-line value might be hard for people to even understand. The CEO stat reflects that: the person with the largest amount of responsibility for the bottom line is, in 7 out of 10 cases, avoiding social media.

It’s a fraught exercise to do anything for a business without tying it to some form of business objective because otherwise, you create a priority vacuum. There, people are just checking boxes and accomplishing tasks — but those tasks may have very little value towards your actual growth and revenue objectives.

For social media to get attention as a powerful force within your company — which it can be — there are a few key rules you need to follow. None of this will be drastically different than what any marketing consultant worth his/her price can tell you. This is about understanding why you need to act certain ways on social media, then figuring out how best to do it within your organization. In short, it’s about aligning understanding, strategy, and execution.

Actually Be Social

Most businesses, upon arriving at a social channel, completely forget the first word of the term, i.e. “social.” To quote Neil Patel in Forbes:

What is social media about, really? It’s about the social. But social with who? Your users. To be effective, you’ve got to understand who they are, what they want, and how to get it to them.

Many orgs think of social this way:

  • Blast out content about yourself
  • Periodically RT or share from a popular person
  • Collect and report on impressions
  • “We have a social strategy!”

In reality, it needs to look more like this:

  • Share content from yourself and others in your vertical/industry, even including competitors periodically
  • Do Twitter chats and LinkedIn groups
  • Respond to conversations
  • Respond directly to customers
  • Constantly read articles about best practices in social and on new channels and tweak what you’re doing

In short, social is about conversations and moving ideas forward. It’s not about everyone rushing in, yelling about their product, and moving on. That’s actually what social ads are for, oftentimes — but that’s a topic for a different post.

Understand the ROI Implications

Even though social media isn’t a ‘traditional’ business channel — i.e. publishing or trade shows — it can be really effective. One study showed that skilled social media users are 6x more likely to exceed their quotas. Visually:

Visually

That graphic is from 2014, yes — but similar information exists as recently as July 2016. Sales professionals who use social media are 79% more likely to attain quota than those that don’t, for example.There are numerous examples of people using ‘social selling’ — yes, selling on social — to crush their quotas.

Now let’s do a quick math and probability exercise. (Don’t worry; it won’t be hard.)

Let’s say you predominantly sell your product in the United States. 58 percent of the adult population of the U.S. is on Facebook. Now, that’s not 100 percent, no. But 6 in 10 is a better probability of 4 in 10. And while all the U.S. Facebook users haven’t liked your page and may not see your content, but social media has a huge invisible audience. You may share something and, because someone who has liked your page shares it, a totally new person sees it. If what you shared was cool/interesting (which everything should aspire to be), you may gain a new interested customer via this “invisible audience.”

Organic social use (i.e. not social ads) and ROI is all about customer experience. You’re developing relationships with customers. Maybe they buy a ton from you down the road, or maybe they buy one item or service. It honestly doesn’t matter at the relationship-building stage. What matters is this, visually:

TotalReturn

There are hundreds of charts online about customer experience has gained in importance in recent years. The one above, from MarketingSherpa by way of additional research, has a good tie back to the bottom line. Notably, customer experience leaders are outpacing the market (or the S&P 500 Index). Customer experience laggards are falling behind. Those numbers will only grow — in both directions — over time.

Social media is a huge part of that.

Changing how you think about business terms and ideas

This is the hardest part for most organizations, but for social media to matter in your business, this has to happen.

To start, consider this quote from an article done by UPenn’s Wharton School of Business:

Employers also often underestimate the cost of layoffs in immediate financial terms, as well as in the lingering burden it places on remaining resources — both financially and emotionally. “There is definitely a huge problem in HR generally that the stuff that is easy to put on a spreadsheet outweighs the stuff that isn’t,” says Bidwell.

Ignore the word “HR” for the moment and replace it with “marketing” or whatever department you sit in. Would you say the last sentence is still true? “The stuff that is easy to put on a spreadsheet outweighs the stuff that isn’t?”

If that’s true in your business — it’s true in many — then you probably have a hard time getting going with social media as a business advantage. Why? Because you’re probably creating those ‘spreadsheet metrics’ for executives around things like impressions, likes, and shares. That’s typically called “social media engagement.”

Hard truth: it doesn’t really matter that much. The posts on social media with the highest levels of engagement? They still get 99 percent of their traffic from paid, not organic, reach.

If customer experience is relevant to your business, find a metric within social that tracks back to that. Monitor that. Report on that. An example might be: “New customer leads acquired via social,” divided by channel. Another example might be “Customer service issues addressed,” again by channel.

Track, monitor, and report those metrics. Now there’s a tie back to the business.

Baby Steps

Facebook got to 500 million users in six years. By contrast, it took about 35 years to build the highway system in America. Digital tools scale quickly. When something scales quickly, there are a limited number of rules around it and people are rushing in to define best practices and processes at every turn. To an extent, that’s what happened with social media — and that’s why “how to do social media right” and “how to tie social media to business goals” are still major stumbling blocks for companies, even 12 years after the founding of Facebook.

There are a series of steps you can take, some outlined above. You can always call us for more information or ideas, too. We love helping brands find ways to leverage social for growth.

Other Recent Ideas

Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit laborum. Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis.

AR vs VR

Augmented reality is becoming a larger and larger part of the brand landscape now. Before we get too deep down the augmented reality (AR) rabbit hole, let’s do a quick vocabulary lesson -- because there are other, somewhat-similar terms that often get confused. First,...

read more

What’s the future of the mobile wallet?

Even as recently as 15-20 years ago, the primary things most people wouldn’t leave their house without were wallet and keys. After all, smartphones didn’t debut until about 2007. While people had cell phones and Blackberries prior to that, those only came into vogue...

read more

Your Website Still Matters, Even In A Mobile-First World

Mobile applications are often considered a replacement for a website because of how quickly mobile got to scale. But is that the right approach? Nope. A website should still be the backbone of your digital marketing efforts. It should be mobile-friendly, yes. Someone...

read more