Archive | July, 2012

LBS Marketing Spotlight: Golf Courses

31 Jul

 

It wasn’t that long ago that a mobile phone on the golf course would be frowned upon, but it appears that the days of “phone free” greens might soon be over.

Golfers’ cries for gadgets are making headway — and they offer a built-in opportunity for course owner/operators to make mobile and location-based services an integral part of their marketing mix. An LBS approach can help to increase loyalty, engage more golfers and appeal to their love of the game by connecting with them and the tools their already using.

We’re already seeing a loosening of restrictions around mobile phone usage that will pave the way for marketing opportunities. This past week, the British heads of The Open Championship lifted a ban on mobile phone usage, freeing up the use of cell phones at the tournament for the first time in six years. The ban was originally issued because players found the obnoxious ringtones of fans’ cell phones distracting, and ultimately damaging to their performance. This will lead to much wider use of phones at major tournaments and on the everyday courses as well — and golf marketers must be ready.

So what’s the game plan?

The club opportunity
There are many ways to leverage the power of mobile to engage golfers and fans alike. Here are just a few:

– Request a tee time
– Book a special event
– Click to call for directions
– Engage in push notifications (group text messages)
– Order food & beverage before you finish a round
– View course maps(s) & rates
– Find courses nearby
– Take advantage of special promotions/discounts
– Follow your club on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube
– View membership opportunities

At the very least, if you operate a club you should claim your business on Foursquare and/or Facebook places. Chances are that folks are already checking-in there and you can use this information to get a better understanding of your customers’ behavior and what motivates them.

Retailer’s Perspective
Specialty retailer Golfsmith that is using mobile cloud technology from Moovweb to run its experimental mobile website and iPhone app. Golfsmith’s desktop website features premier branded golf merchandise, as well as its proprietary products, promoted with marketing techniques, including HD video, faceted search, daily deals and media-rich landing pages.

According to Jamey Maki, director of e-commerce & online experience, “With over 20 percent of our Web traffic now coming from mobile, our mobile e-commerce strategy is rapidly evolving, and the need for high-end, interactive mobile retail experiences among our discriminating customers had outgrown our existing infrastructure.”

Don’t Forget the Sponsors
Last month, Travelers Insurance struck an advertising deal with The Weather Channel to home in on the 250,000-some people expected to be in attendance at the Travelers Championship. Consumers in the Cromwell, Conn., area were greeted by Travelers’ trademark red umbrella logo and were targeted based on either the zip code they’ve registered on their phone or, in the case of iPhone and Android users, by the GPS coordinates accessed through the app on their devices.

With geo-location information increasing available, the ability to find new customers and sponsors has never been easier. The time to tee off on mobile is now.

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How Marketers Can Connect With Moms on a Hyperlocal Level

10 Jul

Moms have embraced mobile — email, apps, SMS, voice, and the mobile web — in a big way. This isn’t a burgeoning trend. It’s the reality right now.

Recently BabyCenter surveyed over 5,000 mothers for their Mobile Mom Report, and found that moms are 18 percent more likely than the general public to have a smartphone. And they are using them all day, every day. From researching family health questions to scheduling and documenting her kids’ lives to diffusing her child’s meltdown in the checkout line, mom’s smartphone is her constant companion. It helps her save time and money, and it plays into her sense of humor.

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The RedRover App is a private social networking website and application where you share events and whereabouts with your real friends in real time. Founder Kathryn Tucker says, “Brands are very important to RedRover. Of all demographics, moms understand best the reciprocal relationship they have with the brands they trust and rely on to provide goods and services to their families. They want to hear from their favorite brands. But the ad model, as we know it’s broken. It feels false and manipulative and is more often than not ineffectual. Can’t something better exist? There’s an incredible opportunity right now to initiate a more interactive, genuine form of communication between brands and consumers. A channel that is playful and useful, one where both sides can feel good about the exchange.”

On the new RedRover platform, which launches in September, brands will have a unique new channel through which to speak to moms, and importantly, to hear back from them. RedRover, in essence, is a publishing medium through which anyone hosting a time-based event — whether it be an institution with a great, kid-friendly activity or a brand — is able to reach moms that want to hear from them. It’s mobile, friendly and solves “What should I do with my kids today?” as well as “I am in this location at this time, what information is useful to me here?”

For brands, it would appear that mobile is the way to a busy mom’s heart: usage of mobile for product/brand recommendations nearly doubled in 2011 to 33 percent. With moms relying on smartphones more than ever before, brands may want to think about upping their mobile targeting ad campaigns to reach moms directly at the point of purchase through apps like RedRover.

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Another great app for parents is Hashtag Mom. It’s ten o’clock, do you know where your kids are? Moms who use the “Hashtag Mom” app do. While it’s not yet a branded app, HashtagMom is one those great tools that solves an obvious problem — how does a mom check in on her kids when they’re not quite old enough to fly solo, but a few years past needing mom for every social outing? In fact, the app is so simple and straightforward that it begs the question — why didn’t a mom-focused brand think of it first? After all, had a brand built “Hashtag Mom,” the app could have scored them a free media bonanza on sites like TechCrunch, MSN, and CNET, to name just a few.

Here’s how the app works. Using Foursquare’s location-based service, the app allows kids to check-in anywhere with the message “#mom.” After that, mom gets either a call or text to let her know that her child is safe.

Any app that helps moms and their teenage kids avoid scenes has got to be indispensible. And for brand marketers looking to use mobile to connect with moms, this relatively simple, straightforward app is a case study in utility.

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One brand, Bravado, which makes nursing bras, launched their own mobile app that helps moms find locations that are friendly for breastfeeding. In fact, it’s a perfect example of an app being totally on brand. But three things really set “Your Breastfeeding-Friendly Locator” apart and make it a hit with moms.

First, the app serves an obvious need. Finding places to breastfeed isn’t easy. And the difficulty of breastfeeding while away from home is something a lot of moms talk about, even though few brands take the time to listen. That’s where Bravado won big with this app. They listened to an ongoing conversation moms have been having for a while, and then the brand took specific action to address a common concern: Where can you easily breast-feed while outside of the home?

Second, the app’s content is driven by moms, for moms. Locations are selected and rated by the user community, which also has the ability to share tips and reviews on some of their favorite finds. Crowdsourcing makes the information highly useful, but it also gives moms a sense of the wider Bravado community, which in turn fosters a deeper connection to the brand.

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Today is the mobile inflection point, especially for mom. She’s already out there — smartphone in hand — staying in-the-know, scanning barcodes, checking in, sharing news and information with friends. Brands that can give mom superpowers through useful, context-savvy, fun mobile tools will find their own value soaring. Mobile ensures brands never miss a mom, location ensures she can get what she needs in the shortest possible distance.

Are QR Codes Here to Stay?

3 Jul

QR codes play an increasingly important role in the B2C marketing world. According to one 2012 study from Chief Marketer, marketing use of QR code and barcode scans grew to 68% of the firms surveyed — up 15% from last year. That makes it the top mobile marketing tactic.

Another study from The Temkin Group, found that 24% of U.S. consumers use QR codes. The coded images are extremely popular among a younger demographic who readily embrace mobile technology.

QR Codes Do What Very Few Other Technologies Can Do
They create a flexible, easy to use interface between print/physical and online content. Whether you’re talking about print ads, business cards, trade show content or direct mail, QR codes make it easy to move your customers from print to online — and thus into your marketing automation environment.

From a hyperlocal perspective, QR codes can be a powerful tool too. It’s important to consider them as an engagement vehicle to drive traffic to your local destination, whatever that may be. Local store, local event, doctor’s office or coffee shop — they can be leveraged to increase footfall and ultimately revenue.

Brands Are Embracing the Technology
Retail clothing chain Express is putting mobile in the center of its direct mail strategy, with a new initiative that lets consumers shop featured looks using QR codes and SMS.

Over the last few weeks, mailers were sent out as part of a campaign running through June 29 that promotes Express’ line of denim. The Express mobile bar codes appear on the back side of the six-page mailers in the bottom left-hand corner with an SMS call-to-action below. Users who scan the QR code are taken to a campaign-specific page on Express’ mobile site that showcases 12 pairs of jeans for men and women.

Another brand, Guinness, wanted to get more people talking about the brand, so they gave local bars some new pint glasses. At first glance, the glasses looked like a regular pints- but bartenders and patrons learned that when they were filled with a Guinness, the glasses were actually printed with a QR code. Created by BBDO NY, the QR code could only be scanned when a Guinness was in the pint glass; regular beer didn’t create enough contrast, and when nothing was in the glass, the QR code just looked like a creatively etched design on the side of the cup. When bar-goers scanned the QR code with their smartphones, the app shared the news to friends that they were enjoying a Guinness via twitter, Foursquare, Facebook, and Instagram updates.

Scanning the QR code even sent out the bar-goers’ locations — with the hope being that friends who saw the updates would join their pals at the bar for more Guinness drinking.

Get Creative in Your Application
Whether you are a big brand like Guinness or a small business, QR codes can be a great way to communicate information in a simple, cost effective manner.

Here are some quick ideas on other potential uses:

▪ Show them a video of your product or service in action. Visuals like this are perfect for smartphones.

▪ Show a customer testimonial or a 30 second collage of customer testimonials. Social proof in action!

▪ Link them to a digital version of your brochure

▪ Place QR stickers on your printed brochures that were created before you found out about QR codes

▪ Place them on the back of envelopes you send to your best customers, when they scan it, it’s a personal thank you message from you

It’s clear that QR codes are relevant and useful, however, there is a potential pitfall that must be considered — QR landing pages that deliver disconnected and/or dead-end content. Remember that a QR code landing page isn’t a destination. It’s a front door. Make sure your customers can open it and that it leads to somewhere interesting.