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81 posts categorized "Mobile Tech"

April 17, 2014

Six of the Best: Mobile Marketing Campaigns


When devising a text marketing strategy, it makes sense to study successful campaigns pulled off by other companies. Not every tactic will be appropriate for your industry or business, but at least you’ll get an understanding of what works. Let’s take a rundown of our favorite SMS and mobile campaigns from recent years…


The fast food behemoth recently launched a ‘Merry Xmas in the Restaurant’ sweepstakes in Italian outlets. Customers could enter the competition while in a restaurant, and stood to win instant prizes. A classic use of short codes printed on packaging, prizes ranged from free mobile content to free burgers. Within five weeks, a million and a half people had participated in the event.


In 2011, Heineken introduced a ‘dual screen’ app that allowed fans to interact during soccer games. Predicting outcomes of set pieces and scorelines, trivia questions about teams - StarPlayer awarded points for them all. They even skirted the tricky issue of fans simply looking up trivia answers online by awarding more points for fast answers. The competitive element of the app ensured it was shared across social media, and Heineken gained huge exposure as a result.

Planet Hollywood

The Las Vegas hotel and casino ran an SMS campaign offering prizes to people who opted in to receive messages and upgraded to an A-List Player’s Club  membership. Prizes included free game credits on the floor. The campaign increased membership by 13%.


The food company offered new mobile signups a free sample of instant coffee. The campaign resulted in 400,000 requests for samples, and more than 80,000 mobile message opt-in offers.


When Adidas launched their Adizero F50 soccer boots, they had all the components of a winning marketing campaign. Top Argentine footballer Lionel Messi was the face of the promotion, and Penn Station in NYC was to form the centerpiece of a dramatic light show. In order to spread the word, Adidas targeted all mobile users within a 3-mile radius of Penn Station during the run-up to the light show. Their ad linked to a promo video describing the event’s location and time. By using an element of mystery, a free show and a famous face, Adidas attracted thousands of spectators to Penn Station.


In 2012, Arby’s used SMS as part of a campaign to raise awareness about global childhood hunger. They partnered with the ‘No Kid Hungry’ campaign, and encouraged users to opt in to their mobile contact list – all while promoting a good cause.

Text marketing really works for these huge brands – and it can work for you too. Get inspired by these success stories, and start your SMS marketing campaign now!

March 23, 2014

Three of the Most Successful Mobile Marketing Campaigns From Around the World


If you’re embarking on a new mobile strategy for 2014, it pays to look around at success stories from the world of mobile marketing to see how it’s done. Here, we take a look at three of the most successful mobile marketing campaigns ever conducted!

American Express, Foursquare and Austin,TX

In the summer of 2010, Foursquare and American Express teamed up to devise a mobile marketing strategy that would promote customer loyalty for local businesses. The results were launched in Austin during the Spring of 2011. Some 60 local businesses offered Foursquare users a ‘spend $5, save $5’ reciprocal deal – provided they completed the transaction using an AmEx card. This ‘Loyalty Special’ sent push notifications to participants, informing them that they had successfully redeemed the offer. The beauty of this campaign was the seamlessness of the user experience: the special offer happened at exactly the same time as the sale, without the need for further action, effectively closing the loop between consumers’ online and offline behavior.

Aer Lingus

Irish airline Aer Lingus used to rely solely on emails to inform passengers of any flight delays or cancellations. This was far from perfect, only reaching around 10% of passengers. The carrier’s solution? SMS. Within a month of implementing an SMS communication program, Aer Lingus successfully informed 75% of passengers of a problem with a flight, and have since largely avoided shelling out compensation and fielding tricky complaints. This is a classic example of an indirect mobile marketing solution that worked its magic by improving customer service. Word-of-mouth did the rest.


A great example of a long-running mobile marketing strategy that’s had consistently high results is the partnership between UK cinemas and communications company Orange. Launched in 2003, ‘Orange Wednesdays’ offers 2-for-1 movie tickets to all customers, every single Wednesday. According to research conducted in 2010, Orange had issued 23.5 million freebies to date. Many customers took advantage of the scheme multiple times, and Orange claims to have generated another three million annual ticket sales for movie theaters. The campaign has been an undisputed success, taking Wednesday attendance figures from the lowest to the highest in a few short years.

So take a leaf out of some of these books when you come to devise a mobile strategy. If you offer something of value, get it to the right audience, and improve your customer service using text message technology, there’s not limit to what you can achieve.

March 13, 2014

Text Marketing and the Protection of Privacy


Businesses of all stripes have found ways to make use of SMS messaging as part of their marketing tactics. Compared with more traditional channels (such as television or radio advertising) texting is affordable and easy to implement. Little wonder it’s such an attractive proposition – especially for small and medium sized businesses.

Equally, other forms of mobile-based outreach are taking hold as a primary form of marketing. A growing number of people own smartphones. Companies can now engage with consumers using sophisticated technologies like geo-targeting. Done right, such tactics are to the mutual benefit of businesses and customers.

But along with this boom in all forms of mobile marketing comes a raft of new responsibilities. Chief among them is the necessity for protecting consumer data. Businesses must now consider the impact that targeted, personalized advertising may have on ethical issues such as confidentiality and privacy. As exciting as the possibilities of data collection and geo-location are, they demand a whole new level of corporate self-regulation.

Clearly, to get the most out of many mobile services, consumers must surrender a certain degree of privacy. In the case of geo-targeting, businesses demand access to GPS locations in order to provide the service. The upshot it they have to be transparent and honest about the way in which they plan to use personal data.

Legislation has already evolved to deal with text marketing. New FCC regulations were implemented on October 16, 2013. Under the new rules, customers have to opt-in before a company can send text messages to them. By opting in, they have provided ‘express consent’ to be a recipient of corporate communications. Some of the obligations companies are bound by include:

  • Giving a clear description of the nature of the text programProviding the name of the company
  • Providing clear instructions on opting out
  • Giving an indication of the likely frequency of text messages
  • Giving an explanation of any additional carrier costs 

The federal government has considered introducing legislation to further protect consumer data privacy for mobile users. Some steps have been made at the local level - notably Senator Al Franken’s endorsement of the Location Privacy Protection Act in 2011, which would require businesses to obtain express consent before collecting or sharing data. The Senate has given the legislation the nod, but Congress has yet to deal with it.

Currently, the onus falls on companies themselves, so it’s vital that consumers are alert to the integrity of brands with whom they do business. As far as companies go, the existing situation provides a platform to build strong, personal, long-term relationships that are based on mutual trust. Do this, and you will develop true brand loyalty – without the need for ethical practices to be imposed by law from above.

March 03, 2014

Facebook Expects Instagram and WhatsApp to Drive Growth


Facebook experienced accelerated growth during 2013, largely as a result of its monetizaton of smartphone and tablet users via mobile advertising. The company is now trading close to all-time highs, and, with the recent additions of Instagram and WhatsApp, has plenty of room for growth during 2014.

Acquired for a billion dollars in 2012, Instagram was seen as a bold purchase for Facebook at the time, as it was not yet a revenue generator. Facebook changed that in 2013, and they are starting to reap big rewards from the photo-sharing network, which now has more than 180 million MAUs.

A key change to the Instagram model was the recent addition of video capabilities. Selective ads from leading brands were added, and Instagram cleverly focused on only the most creative impressions that would fit with the overall aesthetic of the service. With Facebook’s billion-strong user base, Instagram has the potential to grow further still, with some analysts predicting revenues of more than $500 million by the year’s end.

A bigger surprise in industry circles was Facebook’s deal for WhatsApp, the popular messaging service that primarily services the youth demographic.

The massive $19 billion deal highlights Facebook’s determination to remain innovative and stay in touch with the mobile app boom. Facebook sees – as many do – the future of web activity becoming increasingly mobile-based, and is seeking to assert itself as the dominant platform.

Moving forward, Facebook remains an expensive stock, but the firm is doing all the right things – growing its user base, focusing on mobile ads and apps, and investing in product development at a thrilling rate. Facebook’s ability to monetize its increasingly large audience is proving a real boon to revenues and earnings. They are showing no signs of slowing down, and with an appetite for innovation and growth this big, who knows what 2014 will bring?

February 20, 2014

How to Make Geo-Targeting Work for You


Geo-targeting or location-based marketing has fast become one of the most powerful tools at the disposal of retailers. This exciting new technology allows businesses to engage with consumers as soon as they – or to be more precise, their smartphone - enters a geo-fenced area close to a store or restaurant.

In the short time it has been available geo-targeting has proved immensely successful, with 58% of major brands employing some version of geo-location strategies during the first quarter of 2013.

Joe Public loves geo-targeting because it sends them relevant in-store offers only when they can actually use them. Businesses are finding increasingly sophisticated ways to use the technology. Some have begun using micro location-based techniques, whereby customers download an app to receive personalized offers as soon as they set foot in the store.

The benefits are patently obvious, and yet not all businesses suitable for geo-targeting have taken advantage. The technology is complex, and beyond the capacity of many small businesses. But there are a variety of ways to use geo-targeting, some of which are easier to implement than others.

One of the most attractive methods to marketers who don’t want to deal with privacy and legal issues is IP targeting, which identifies users based solely on IP address. There is no opt-in required, since the individual is not personally targeted, just the ISP infrastructure of which they are a part. Similarly, cookies provide a broad brush stroke version of geo-location, though they are notoriously inaccurate, being logged in one location before the user moves somewhere else. WiFi triangulation works in the same way, locating users MAC addresses and nearby wireless hotspots.

All of these geo-targeting methodologies have their perks, chief among them the fact that businesses don’t need to seek consent from their audience. To really get the most out of geo-targeting, however, you need to choose a more effective, precise and, yes, consent-based strategy. Location-as-a-service (LaaS) is a cloud based solution, triangulating users locations using mobile phone towers. Laas requires recipients to opt in, as do location-based proximity networks, which provide one of the most accurate forms of geo-targeting there is, capable of locating users within 200-900 feet of the point of sale. Location-based proximity networks are usually favored by malls and large department stores.

For the average retailer, GPS-powered geo-targeting is by far the best option, providing precision data to within a few feet of the mobile device. In most cases, persuading customers to opt-in to receive location-based offers and discounts via GPS is going to generate the biggest ROI. The only tricky part is convincing customers of the usefulness of the technology, whilst reassuring them that their data will not be used for any other purpose.

February 13, 2014

Canada Leads Global Anti-Spam Movement


Staying compliant with anti spam laws isn’t easy. Even if you’re a stringent i-dotting, t-crossing bureaucrat, existing legislation is complex and, due to the fast rate of technological evolution, always subject to change. 

As tough as it is for marketers, it’s twice as bad for lawmakers, who must keep pace with a rapidly-shifting digital landscape from the context of traditional legal infrastructures (where change is typically glacial). Our capacity to pass new laws remains hobbled by a post-enlightenment attitude of checks and balances, where legal stability demanded slow, steady progress.

In the pre-globalisation era of unilateral regulation, this approach to corporate law made perfect sense. In the Internet Age, it makes virtually none. Legislative bodies all over the world are ill-equipped to tackle the borderless, international context of e-commerce. 

So it is with great interest that the global community awaits the upcoming introduction of Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL). It will take effect incrementally starting on July 1, 2014. Parts of the law will not take effect until July 2017.

The principal aim of the Canadian legislation is to clarify many of the grey areas that have dogged previous anti-spam measures. Consistent with new global practices for commercial email, the guiding principal here is “explicit consent”. Historically, implied consent was regarded as sufficient. The main requirements of CASL are as follows:

  • Permission. Now, granting permission to communicate with potential customers requires explicit permission – although there are some exceptions, such as pre-existing business relationships.
  • Private right of action. From the consumer’s point of view, this is one of the most important bits of legislation. Individuals can now bring a lawsuit against companies that breach the law; they have the right to apply for compensation. This piece of legislation will not take effect until 2017.
  • Three year grace period for consent. Designed to streamline the legal process by preventing frivolous lawsuits, the grace period implies consent for three years, but requires explicit consent thereafter.
  • Recorded proof of consent. Businesses must offer a clear unsubscribe option. They must also keep records of consent granted.

The legislation is of major significance for lawmakers across the world. It unites two existing strands of Canadian law relating to privacy and telecommunications. Up until now, the legal infrastructure has lacked a comprehensive framework for online commercial transactions and web marketing practices.

Compared with other G8 countries, Canada’s legislation is the harshest of its kind. The most radical elements of CASL are the extra-territorial limits placed on web communications, which will mean any electronic message sent from a Canadian IP address will be subject to the law, irrespective of its destination. The first legislation of its kind in the West, CASL does not limit its jurisdiction to fraudulent or deceitful messages – it applies to any commercial message issued without the recipient’s prior consent, effectively sounding the death knell for spam.

It remains to be seen whether other countries will adopt similar legislation. Some analysts believe the United States will wait to see how CASL plays out before changing their existing laws (known as CAN-SPAM). The crucial difference between CASL and CAN-SPAM is that the latter still works according to the opt-out method, whereby businesses have implied consent to communicate until recipients unsubscribe from the contact list. It is this single change of approach that threatens to forever change the way online marketing is conducted.

If mobile marketers can bring anything to the table, it is their experience in terms of adapting – and in some ways spearheading – the era of opt-in communications. Text marketers in the US were far ahead of the curve in this regard, and were well-primed for their own industry’s tightened regulations, which came about as part of last year’s Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

The lesson to be learned from the way that particular transition was handled is that invention really is mothered by necessity. Mobile marketers were more than ready for the change in legislation. Web marketing enterprises across Canada will be hoping to emulate the US mobile industry when the first raft of CASL changes are introduced this year.


January 30, 2014

Is Text-to-Donate the Future of Fundraising?




Charity groups and non-profits are always on the lookout for new ways to raise money. There is a lot of competition for such finite resources as public goodwill and generosity, so it’s important to develop fundraising strategies that help you stand out from the crowd. 

One of the most exciting emergent methods of engaging with potential donors is mobile fundraising. Quick and easy for users, text donations have a proven track record, despite having only been around for a scant few years.

One of the first major successes was the United Way text-to-give campaign, which first aired during the 2007 Super Bowl, appealing to viewers on behalf of the recent tsunami in Asia. Using text-to-donate technology, the commercial raised around $10,000 within seconds, and quickly piqued the interest of other fundraisers who saw the potential of mobile campaigning. 

Another global cause to benefit from text-to-donate and mobile promotion was the Haiti relief effort. The Red Cross raised a staggering – and record-breaking - $32 million during the month following the earthquake. Observers put the success down to the simplicity of the donation process: donors could send $10 to the campaign by sending a brief text to a shortcode. The wave of public support for the cause extended to the corporate world, with numerous carriers waiving their usual messaging fees. 

The growing popularity of text-to-donate shows that, in many cases, the only barriers to fundraising are time and convenience, and not generosity. Compared to sending a check, making a phone call, or even visiting a charity website, texting is almost hassle-free for donors. With smartphone penetration expanding rapidly, and the vast majority of the public owning a cell phone of some description, potential donors often have their device to hand when an appeal comes on the television; text-to-donate eliminates the ‘manana-effect’ of even the most well-intentioned citizen.

Let’s say you want to donate to The Red Cross. By sending ‘REDCROSS’ to ‘90999’ you can donate $10 to the organization. The amount is simply added to your next phone bill (or deducted from a prepaid balance on pay-as-you-go handsets). By typing just 13 characters, donors have helped a good cause – probably without even standing up.

Like all mobile campaigns, a key benefit of mobile fundraising is the interaction with a young audience that is statistically less likely to give money to charity. And once they’ve opted in to your contact list, they’re more likely to donate again in the future. 

It’s important to be aware that not all mobile schemes are created equal. Charities don’t necessarily get 100% of the amount donated, and if the donation is deducted from a phone bill, it can take significantly longer to reach it’s destination than, say, a credit card payment made directly on a website. Inconsistencies in processing times notwithstanding, mobile fundraising works, attracting demographics who aren’t usually in the habit of giving money to good causes.

Done right, text-to-donate can help organizations develop long-term relationships with benefactors. And it’s as true for non-profits as it is for commercial enterprise: long-termer are more lucrative than one-timers.





January 24, 2014

Apple Seeks to Boost Share of Chinese Mobile Market


Apple’s CEO Tim Cook has promised the company’s 763 million Chinese subscribers “great things” in response to repeated calls for larger display screens.

Cook made the promise at China Mobile’s flagship store in Beijing - but he wouldn't go into specifics about Apple's plans for developing a device aimed squarely at one market.

“We never talk about future things,” Cook said. “We have great things we are working on but we want to keep them secret. That way you will be so much happier when you see it.”

China Mobile is the world's largest carrier, and Apple hopes to tap their user-base in order dominate the country's smartphone market, which is currently led by Samsung. Three home-grown companies trail Samsung but outsell Apple.

China Mobile could shift 10 million iPhone units this year, according to estimates from industry analysts.  According to China Mobile, pre-orders for Apple’s iPhone stood at around 1 million units on January 15th. 

Apple's slow progress in China has largely been attributed to the relatively high cost of the device. Consumers are opting for smartphones costing as little as $100. Apple hopes to overturn that trend this year, but is facing a major challenge in the shape of their iPhone display, which Chinese consumers insist is too small. Standard practice in China is to use one large-screen device for emails, web browsing and watching video content. Every other fourth-generation smartphone offered by China Mobile boasts a display at least half an inch bigger than Apple's four inch iPhone screen. 

Rumors abound over whether Apple will address those concerns specifically for one marketplace - albeit a huge marketplace. Some expect the company to introduce two larger-screen devices this year in order to pose a real threat to the big domestic hitters. 



December 13, 2013

SMS and Coupon Codes

Figuring out how to start an SMS campaign is not the easiest task for marketing managers. A great way to launch such campaigns is via the use of mobile coupons. There may be a specific offer relevant to your industry, or your might prefer to come up with targeted promotions for different groups of customers.

A Cellit survey recently indicated that buy-one-get-one coupons were considerably more popular amongst young consumers - around 68% of them prefer this type of coupon. A straight-up freebie with a purchase is more effective than a percentage discount.

Formatting the message in such a way that will engage your audience is a key part of any successful SMS campaign. Here are a few tips to help:

Keep it brief. When crafting your message ensure it is as succinct as can be, while still giving the customer all the instructions they need on how to use  your coupon codes. Use personal language, avoid jargon. Slang, sales-speak, they both stand out - and not in a good way.

Lead the message with your brand name so recipients aren’t just reading (and probably spam filtering) another faceless ‘special offer’. Make sure the offer can be redeemed immediately. Remember, text coupons should reflect the demand for instant value to which smartphone users are becoming accustomed.


November 25, 2013

Technology and Politics


How the soapbox went digital.

Ethics change with technology. So says sci-fi author Larry Niven. It's quite a thought in these uncertain times, when politicians' credibility as harbingers of ethics hinges on their canny use – or shocking abuse – of technology. The scrutiny they are under is enabled by technology, too. Statesman makes moral blunder. Voters film it and post on youtube. Statesman tweets his apology. Voters tweet their disapproval back. It's a sophisticated game of ethics Pong. 

Back when actual Pong was at the digital cutting edge, the marriage of modern technology and politics was very much in its honeymoon period. The televised debates between presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon are widely regarded as a watershed, the point at which public perception of politicians was based on the moving image, rather than the printed word.

But while television revolutionized personality politics, very little changed in the way technology was used to canvass opinion or harvest votes. Right up until Obama's 2008 nomination, the political campaign trail was paved with three-by-five index cards and soundtracked by the analogue click of phone banks calling potential voters. An index card would be created with the voter's details. A code denoting the voter's preferred candidate (or the direction they were leaning toward) would be added. Campaign organizers would be handed shoeboxes filled with cards that had been coded, and would call voters to rally support. 

The index card system used in field organization seems so quaint now, but it engaged voters in the electoral system – and that's exactly what desktop and mobile marketing strategies are doing in the 21st Century. Now, if anything's the dinosaur it's television, a medium barely touched on by the first Obama campaign. It was even said by some commentators that Hillary Clinton acceded her Democratic nomination because she ran an old-fashioned campaign.

By contrast, Obama raised half a billion dollars in campaign funds online, and gathered vital data on the electorate that allowed him to appeal directly to them. The president's team was young enough and canny enough to see the way the tide was turning. A combination of social media, YouTube, Twitter, mobile advertising and traditional forms of marketing helped the campaign deliver a more personalized message to voters. 

Some of the innovations developed and exploited by the Democratic presidential campaign were – and remain – at the forefront of mobile technology. A hyperlocal targeting app created specifically for Obama linked a google map to the neighbourhood in which campaign volunteers were working. Blue flags appeared on the map with targeted scripts that could be used to talk directly to voters about the issues affecting them. Mobile payments were also used to great effect, allowing supporters to contribute dollars via text message.

The Romney campaign tried similar strategies. One idea was a VP app that promised to inform supporters of the vice president pick before anyone else. In the end, traditional news media beat them to the punch. After the Obama victory, one Romney staffer said dejectedly: “We weren't even running the same race.” 

After the Republican's disastrous attempts to flirt with new technologies in 2012, it's unlikely the GOP adopt anything other than a full-blown mobile marketing strategy for 2016. After all, an estimated 1.2 trillion text messages will be sent this year, and almost every single American voter will have received at least one of them.

The beauty of text messaging for political campaigns is that those who choose to receive SMS broadcasts have granted permission by opting-in. This is usually done by texting a keyword to a short code or local phone number. Why is opting-in so good? It protects you from accusations of spamming, as everyone on your list has requested you contact them by text. This way, you know that everything you send is heading towards someone who wants the information. Add to that the fact that more than nine out of ten texts are opened and read, and you have a pretty effective platform.

Political campaign managers are using text messaging in all sorts of innovative ways:

  • Personally connecting with voters
  • Running polls and surveys
  • Announcing debates and party events, conferences and meetings
  • Getting feedback on hot-button policy proposals

These dramatic changes in the political landscape are profound. As Larry Niven pointed out, the technology itself has an impact on the way people think. It might be used to manipulate people. It might be used to empower them (as with the much-lauded application of Twitter during the Arab Spring). Either way, it's here to stay, and the Obama 2012 campaign is a perfect model of how to conduct a mobile marketing campaign that works. You should try it some time.