July 12, 2010

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7 Baby Steps to Bridge the Mobility Gap Smartphone adoption and use are growing with hockey stick proportions. The adoption rates are predicted to grow from a base of 162 million in 2008 by 35 percent year over year through 2013. Smartphone penetration, according to The Nielsen Company, is expected to overtake feature phone penetration by the end of 2011 when they predict half of all wireless devices will be smartphones; not that much of a stretch when you realize that twenty-one percent of wireless subscribers were using smartphones in Q4 2009, double the rate in Q4 2008. Unfortunately the user experience lags behind expectations. With each new phone and each new app, users expect smooth sailing when reading e-mail, accessing the web or conducting eCommerce. The reality is that often they are frustrated because content and functionality haven’t kept pace. We have a mobility-marketing gap. Everyone has had the experience of reading an e-mail on a smart phone where the frames and images appear in silhouette or are broken. Many of us are frustrated not only by the time it takes to access the Web but also by the half-rendered image at the other end. And increasingly just when we are ready to buy something on the go, the site isn’t ready, willing or able to accept our information or process the order. Litmus, an e-mail delivery service, reports that people are more likely to spend time reading e-mails on a mobile device than on a desktop. They understand that mobile devices serve as default boredom killers. People waiting, in-transit and hanging out are more apt to read e-mail to fill the time. Even so, among the 124 million e-mails they studied, over 50 percent delete e-mails within 2 seconds of opening. A lot of those are messages not optimized for the platform. Azuki Systems found that 52 percent of mobile users access the Web from their phones and 25% access video. Eighty percent say they wish it was easier to access the Internet from their phones. The leading barriers and frustrations are long download times and hard-to use navigation. Two-thirds would share content from their mobile devices if it were easier. A survey of 2255 adults by YouGov Pic found that e-mail use from smart phones ranges from 14% to 40%, depending on age and that 35 percent plan to read e-mails on mobile phones in the future. Forrester’s North American Technographics Benchmark Survey found that mobile e-mail users are more professionally oriented with incomes 14 percent higher than the national average. They are more likely to be employed fulltime, are interested in owning the top brands, are less price sensitive and less hostile to advertising delivered by phone. My friend and former colleague, Graeme Hutton, conducted a smartphone survey that yielded 1800 respondents for Universal McCann, that documented the growing use and importance of the mobile web for consumers. The most compelling findings are … 95% use mobile media to fill downtime 53% of smartphone users click on ads 54% said their mobile use increased by more than 25 percent over two years 35% are requesting more information or downloading coupons 24% are making purchases using their phones 82% use their phones at work 81% use them when out shopping 80% use smartphones at home 65% use them while commuting 73% search for maps or directions 55% use social networks via smartphones 50% looked for restaurant and movie locations or reviews 44% accessed national news or sports information Almost 1 of every 7 minutes of media consumption is done by phone 6 in 10 expect the range of mobile Internet services to expand by 2012 56% said they were driven to mobile from other media 42% said they were driven by mobile to other media 38% took action based on mobile ads 30% shared information on the basis of mobile ads 22% said mobile ads influenced a purchase decision According to the Acuity Group, it’s not much better for dedicated e-tailers. Only 12% of the Internet Retailer 500 have sites optimized for mobile phones and only 7 percent have downloadable apps. As you might imagine the Amazon, Best Buy, eBay, 1-800 Flowers, Barnes & Noble, QVC, Sears and Target are among the industry leaders. If adoption and innovation are driving mobile use and expectations anxiety about direction and cost are the factors holding back added mobile development of content and functionality. Consumers are finding more new uses everyday so marketers aren’t sure what will last and what will flame out. Similarly uncertainty about 3G capabilities...
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5 Rules for Online Coupons The Internet is a significant distribution device for coupons and promotional offers.8.6 million US households claim to regularly use online coupons while use of printable coupons downloaded from the web is growing at a triple digit rate. The web has become a place for deals and a forum for shopping the deals, sharing deals and finding new deals. In the first half of 2009, 10 million digital coupons were distributed. Almost half of American women report that seeking out coupons is one of their leading activities online and central to their shopping experience. This occurs at a time when the coupon itself its morphing from printed paper to promotion codes and ultimately to mobile memes. And although only 1.5 percent of all coupons are distributed digitally, 10-15 percent will be redeemed compared to an overall redemption rate of just 1.2 percent. Borrell Associates is forecasting that online coupon redemption rates will triple between now and 2014 accounting for $22 billion. They are calling couponing the first “killer app” for mobile media forecasting mobile coupon growth from $5 million in 2009 to $2.4 billion by 2013. Large numbers of consumers say they will increase coupon use if relevant coupons are delivered to them online. This has spawned a number of innovative functionalities that enable consumers to set timing, frequency and category preferences, specify products or desired brands, zero-in on price or sizes and have e-mails or alerts delivered as offers are initiated or changed. Look at some of these innovations at CouponCabin, RetailMeNot, Savings.com, Hot Coupon World, Coupons.com, Hey Its Free or Myzerr. Specialized, group and personalized offers are characteristics of Groupon, Jetsetter, Restaurant.com, PromotionalCodes and Sale it To Me. Or compare offerings at CouponScout. The demographics are impressive, too. More than half of online coupon users are 25-44 and college educated. Mostly women, a third of whom have household incomes of $75,000 or more, they see finding and using coupons as part and parcel of the online shopping experience and many report that their interests in discounts represents a fundamental shift in shopping behavior that will persist even after the recession. Maybe it’s the growth of coupon aggregators and distributors that are driving use. Three million Americans have registered with couponing sites and coupons are the subject of countless blogs and chat boards. So it’s a no-brainer for marketers to use this approach and these channels to better target and delight customers. There are however five critical rules of the road. Live in the Moment. Understand that coupons are entirely an emotional experience. Couponing is pure adrenalin. Everything you do and every message you send has to play into these familiar and expected emotions. Finding the brand or product deal sparks a serotonin rush. Getting the coupon creates a sense of accomplishment and anticipation. Applying or redeeming the offer yields a sense of success, accomplishment and satisfaction. Be conscious of the emotional rollercoaster you are on. Don’t let any part of your program prompt a boomerang of anger or frustration reaction. Remember that angry customers bitch loudly to more people more often. Focus on creating and maintaining a positive emotional state at each inflection point in the distribution-redemption cycle. Be Clear and Simple. Online shoppers scan. They don’t read. Make the offer BIG and bold. Make the time frame easy to see. Specify qualifications, shipping costs and if the offer can be combined with others. Put the terms and conditions upfront in big type. There’s no time or emotional wiggle room for switch-and-bait tactics or a million exceptions or exclusions buried in the mouse type. Shoppers are empowered. In a few clicks an expectant-turned furious customer can rat you out on social networks, chat rooms or even to regulators. Go Low Involvement. Don’t make customers download software to print coupons.. Offer PDFs and simple ways to print or store the coupon quickly. The more time that lapses; they less love you get and the likelihood of redemption decreases. Downloads prompt security notices from even simple firewall programs, which scare consumers away. Similarly if you want to reach working women, corporate firewalls make downloading coupon printing software impossible. This is an immediate gratification game. Any slight roadblock will drive customers to bail out. Do the Backend First. Millions of coupon lovers are frustrated dally because something doesn’t track, scan or register. There’s nothing worse that an expectant customer who can’t buy because something mechanical isn’t working properly. Its time, money and effort flushed down the tubes. Don’t even begin the coupon...

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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