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Six Cool Trends I Think 2012 Will Bring Us

December 28, 2011 21 comments

2011 is coming to a close but before it does, I wanted to write down my thoughts on some cool trends I think 2012 will bring us from a marketing, mobile and technology perspective. Here they are in no particular order:

1. Near-Field Communication Becomes Mainstream

The biggest issue with NFC right now is the fact that we’re calling it NFC. This technology (RFID) has been around for years in fact, you likely already use it a few times a day to gain access to your condo, your office and even pay at the pump using your MasterCard Paypass. The introduction of Google Wallet in North America means that Google is helping to educate the mass market about NFC, but I think, as marketers, we need to simplify the message. Paying for everyday items is as easy as tapping your phone. Checking into foursquare will be as easy as tapping your phone. Sending someone your business card will be as easy as tapping your phones together. Accessing brand & product information, downloading music, videos, apps – will be as easy as tapping your phone. Just Tap It. Tap It. Simple.

The phones are here and the API & other applications are coming. Sales of NFC-enabled phones is set to hit 80Million globally in 2012. It’s a huge trend. Your wallet, loyalty cards, ID and gift cards could potentially live on your phone and this is going to really take flight this year. While this could be a scary concept for some, would you rather lose your wallet & have to replace all of your cards, or lose your phone and simply wipe it remotely and be able to restore all of your cards quickly and easily?

2. Diffusion of Engagement.
A marketing buzz word in 2011, companies everywhere were searching for ways to connect and create ‘engagement’ with their influential customers. The idea being that using services like Klout, Kred & others can help you reach the people who can ‘influence’ the purchase decisions of people within their respective networks. In 2012, customers will become increasingly savvy to this. We don’t like telemarketers interrupting us and we know what’s fake. We’ll sniff out that blogger that is only promoting a new brand or smartphone because they got a sample or got one for free. We’ll start to turn off the companies that are using social media like a megaphone to push their message out to people instead of truly connecting with and rewarding their loyal customers. At the end of the day, word of mouth needs to travel through trusted sources. People are more likely to buy something that one of their FRIENDS have recommended; not Justin Bieber.

3. A Mobile Advertising Platform for BlackBerry
If you are currently developing applications for iOS, Android or BlackBerry you know that iOS and Android come with many PAID methods of helping you gain distribution and promote your application to generate downloads an stimulate usage. ADMOB (Owned by Google) is likely the most efficient. It’s a Pay-per-click advertising platform for iOS and Android that allows you to target potential users through its mobile advertising platform (in-application) based on several user demographics. You can target on country, gender, age, even device & carrier network, set a daily budget and get a comprehensive report on how many impressions your ad generated as well as the number of click-thrus and downloads. If you’re familiar with Adwords, it works in much the same way but for mobile.

This is something that is really missing for BlackBerry. With over 75Million BlackBerry users worldwide; a mobile advertising platform whether in AppWorld or through free BlackBerry apps is important, relevant and realistic for two reasons. (1) It could be a potential source of mobile advertising revenue for RIM. (2) It presents a channel for the makers of the over 50,000 applications available in BlackBerry AppWorld to target and communicate to their base of users, gain feedback and offer increased value. Some find ads annoying, but for smaller application development companies – it’s a cost-effective way to reach potential users and is a great channel to gain and share information.

4. RIM’s Market share in the United States will climb aggressively.
This may seem like a #BeBold statement and is not intended to align with their current Bold campaign. I am still a firm believer in Research In Motion despite their 2011 blunders for a number of reasons:
1. They have over 75 Million subscribers world wide.
2. They are growing in other important markets (Asia)
3. They realized over $5B in Revenue last quarter
4. They are in a market that is only 3510% penetrated globally. We’re still in the early stages of mobile adoption.
5. They make a good product. The Playbook is a strong tablet & the Bold 9900 is the best device I’ve ever owned.
6. They have made a number of strategic acquisitions (TAT, Tungle, Gist, JayCut) that I feel will drive home the user experience and pull them back into the smartphone race.

Look, I get it. RIM has had some serious issues with leadership and execution. They have lost a few key people in key positions from downsizing and from attrition and I know the microscope is on them. They’re not going to zero, and in my opinion are not in a death spiral as the mainstream media would have you believe. Their developer channel is solid, they have great patents and IP, they make a great product and are growing in other international markets. As a PlayBook owner, I have a lot of confidence in the move to the QNX operating system. I think it will pave the way for some cool functionality and a reinvention of Blackberry as we know it.

5. Everything’s a game.
Gamification. Game Mechanics. Call it what you like, everything you touch in 2012 will have some sort of game component to it. Whether it’s checking in and earning points using Foursquare, or rewarding users for watching TV shows and shopping at certain retail stores – People will go crazier than ever before trying to outdo their friends and family by collecting rewards/badges/trophies and points for completing certain tasks and actions. Do we need another digital farm? Definitely not, but we’ve only just scratched the surface with respect to how the user experience can be integrated, ‘fun-ified’, changed and improved using competitive elements. Bigger trend – you’ll see many companies introducing rewards system for real world stuff. Points will become a form of virtual currency that you’ll be able to redeem for coupons, discounts and even purchase retail items. It’s not new (air miles/Petro points, Avion points), but it’s set to explode this year.

6. Experiential Marketing Comes to Retail
I recently purchased a pair of sunglasses from a sunglass retailer with over 2,000 stores around the world. This was a new location and it had been a while since I had been in this chain. I was surprised by the mediocre experience. Though the staff were helpful enough, the experience felt cheap. Glasses secured in closed display cases with the logos of brands scattered about, prices hand-written on tags attached to the glasses in blue pen. I had to write my name on a piece of paper to activate the warranty. Really? How does this get information get entered into their system? After begrudgingly shelling out nearly $300 for my new shades, the associate happily smiled and put my purchase in a little shopping bag. A cheap experience for an expensive purchase.

A good retail experience reduces buyer’s remorse. You feel valued. You feel special and you want to return to that store with your friends and family. It elevates and establishes your perception of that brand in your mind. I think starbucks does a phenomenal job of creating a great user experience. Being inside of a starbucks (The decor, the way the baristas speak to you, the ambiance) all makes me feel comfortable about shelling out $5 for a latte. It feels like a treat. They make you feel special even though at the end of the day, you’re just buying a coffee. I think 2012 will be the year that we see this happen at more stores – a greater focus on retail marketing. Companies will be further integrating their digital and social activities with retail locations. We’ll start to see individual stores reaching out to their customers to connect with them on a more personal level. Experiences will improve. We’ll see more integration with technology, more retail mobile payments and more linkages between the brand across retail, mobile and smartphones (Think Foursquare, NFC, Facebook like, Twitter, QR codes, SMS). The retail experience will be improved in 2012. At least, I hope so.

What’s a Twitterment?

August 31, 2011 Leave a comment

We came. We planked. We golfed. We Twittered.

The 1st EVER Golf Twitterment has come and gone but not without a lot of conversation, amazing memories and hilarious stories from participants, sponsors & organizers of the event.

You might ask the question, “What’s a Twitterment” or “Why a Twitterment”. Two fun questions that I love answering. First the what.

Twit·ter·ment/Twih-Tuhr-Mehnt/ [1] A non-traditional Golf Tournament that creates powerful conversations & lasting memories through social activities, challenges and the sharing of unique business and personal stories through social media.

The Why.

Because social media makes it possible. The Golf Twitterment was born out of a conversation between 5 individuals on twitter. We asked, “What if we were to create a Twitter-only golf tournament? One that breaks the mold of a traditional golf tournament with sponsors, participants & stuffy receptions. What if we gave sponsors the opportunity to run a fun, unique and interesting challenge at the hole they sponsor that connects directly with their brand and the products/services they offer? And finally, what if we we further ‘Gamified’ the tournament by assigning point values to each challenge, developing bonus challenges that teams can complete on to accumulate points & be proclaimed the winning Twitterment team?”

Giftopia Twitterment Twitterment Twitterment

At first we thought we were crazy. Fellow organizers initially thought that securing 100 golfers much less selling out the tournament would be challenging and take considerable effort & resources. With good reason. Not only was it the first time this was ever going to be attempted anywhere in the world, we had just over 6 weeks to put everything together. That meant finding prizes, securing sponsors, inviting attendees and scheduling volunteers to assist during the day.

We had all of the pieces of the puzzle – and we used twitter to help us reach our audience and create interest and awareness for the event. Within one week of promoting the event we had 10 teams registered and 10 sponsors confirmed. We knew we were on to something.

The sponsors kept coming and so did the participants & networking dinner guests. By the time August 22nd rolled around, we had nearly 25 sponsors, 20 reception-only guests and just over 100 participants for golf!

Special thanks to our GOLD Sponsors: ORYX Advertising, Charcoal Group, Groundhog Divers and Galt Country Club. You and our silver sponsors helped to make the event an unbelievable success! Just check out some of the quotes overheard from the day:

“This is by far the most fun I have ever had at a golf tournament” – Katie C.

“I’ve been to a lot of golf tournaments before, but this is by far the best” Avi M.

“The sponsors’ challenges were so much fun! It was great to meet so many business owners in Waterloo Region.” Max S.

“Whoever thought of drinking the grape juice as a challenge from The Wine Expert is genius. Sick, but genius!” Brittny S.

The list goes on. A local tech startup, GooseChase Adventures helped us keep track of all of the points with their mobile application (For BlackBerry & iPhone) GooseChase. Here’s a video that they put together from all of the pictures that were submitted during the event:

We awarded prizes for atypical ‘winners’. Individuals who tweeted the most. Teams that tweeted the most. Highest GooseChase score and most sunburned. Our amazing sponsors helped us secure great prizes such as Diving lessons from Groundhog divers, Gift Cards from the Charcoal Group, Home Theater System form Gibson’s Sound & Vision, brand new smartphones from Wind Mobile, and so much more. Participants not only walked away with great memories from the challenges and the event, but they actually walked away with something of value as well!

Of course, no Twitterment would be complete without recording every golfer’s attempt at re-creating the famous Happy Gilmore golf swing. Here are some of the top videos:

Here is a look at Scott M’s #WINNING Video:
Scott M. ID# 227 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happywinner
Here is the runner up Top 5 list:
Brent F. ID#234 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happy2nd
Avi M. ID#174 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happy3rd
Alex K. ID#239 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happy4th
Krista H. ID#198 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happy5th
Robert S ID#247 http://bit.ly/wrgt11happy6th
Celebrity appearance by:
MOOSE W. ID#212 http://bit.ly/wrgt11MOOSE

As you can imagine, we heard a lot of comments such as, “I can’t believe I missed this” and “Count me in for next year”. Count you in is exactly what we intend to do. Now that the First Golf Twitterment to take place anywhere in the world is in the books, we have no doubt that it will be bigger and better next year. Make sure you don’t miss out on this next year as we’re already starting to plan the #WRGT12 to see how we can top this year’s event. Follow us on Twitter and visit our fan page on facebook so you don’t miss out on the action! (if you have pictures from the event, post them on our facebook wall as well!)

Cheers!

Your Waterloo Region Golf Twitterment Organizers
(Matt, Michelle, J.R., Karl, Alex, Greg, Amanda

Why Mobile Marketing needs to be a part of your mix – Now.

If it’s not currently a part of your company’s marketing mix, start now. Start thinking about how you will stay ahead of your competitors by reaching the increasing number of smartphones & tablets being carried by your target audience. Is your website optimized for mobile? How about your blog? Is there a customized application you could develop that would provide additional value? How can mobile marketing be integrated into your existing marketing mix?

“Consumers are 25% more likely to respond to advertising, (print, billboards, bus shelters, etc) if they are able to do so via a mobile response” ~ BusinessWorld

“Based on 74 campaigns during Q4 2009, and with a huge 69,854 respondents, the research revealed that on average, 22% were aware of a mobile advert — leading to a purchase intent rate of 5.4%” ~ Brandchannel

Together, these two data points indicate that consumers are not only responding favourably to mobile advertising from an awareness standpoint, but that this technology is translating into genuine purchase intent and sales. It comes down to making it easy for your customers to buy your product/service. Each step in between your customer and that customer purchasing your product decreases the likelihood that they will buy from you.

So, what can you do now to improve your mobile marketing efforts and increase your conversion rates in print and traditional advertising? Try playing to a person’s curiosity by adding a QR code to your ad. Link it to a customized mobile landing page. Provide them with a means of discovering what makes your product or services, awesome. QR Codes are very robust and can be used to store links to websites, videos, audio files, images and even SMS messages, so think about how you could integrate these into your existing advertisements.

Recently, we ran a small, local promotion designed to raise awareness for QR codes, local businesses and most importantly, to have some fun with mobile marketing & communications! Over the course of 5 days, we hid prize baskets at 5 different businesses across the city. Using social media (Twitter, facebook and a customized blog), we shared a QR Code clue as to where the prize basket was hiding that day. The first person to arrive at the secret location, claimed the prize. We also installed ‘digital ballot boxes’ at each location in order to reward subsequent visitors for playing along. This ballot entered them into a draw to win some amazing grand prizes including, VISA gift cards and a Blu-Ray player.

After the promotion, we analyzed the data and developed a report that outlined the success of the mobile campaign and how similar campaigns could work in the future. Here are the results of the case study:

QR code

QR Code Project

We learned that not only is awareness for QR codes high, integrating them into existing marketing and advertising activities is an excellent way to add a layer of interactivity on top of your ads.

Adoption of smartphones will increase exponentially in the next few years so you need to begin allocating resources to mobile marketing. Email me: matt@oryxadvertising.com to chat about how we can work together to develop a successful mobile marketing strategy for your business. For starters:

  • K.I.S.S. Keep It Simple, SIMPLE. It’s not just about making a QR code link to your Web page or your Facebook page. Even if those pages are optimized for mobile, chances are the content isn’t. Mobile content needs to be easy to access, to appreciate and to easy to share. If it fails the user on any one of those counts, it won’t create the reaction you’re hoping for.
  • See. Scan. See you later. I’m a big fan of integrating QR Codes into existing activities because taking a picture is faster and easier than looking up a twitter handle or keying in a URL into your mobile browser. Other technologies will arrive making things even easier (See NFC), but right now, QR Codes are king as they’re readily available & easy to use.
  • Let context dictate content. Make sure your mobile content is useful to consumers in the same location you expect them to experience it in. Don’t offer them videos in a location where they won’t be able to watch them right away.
  • We’re still early in the cycle. People won’t buy anything or fill out long-winded forms via your mobile site. It’s just another touch point in a series of consumer touch points designed to keep your message consistent. Great mobile sites serve up awesome content and create a means for your customers to connect with your brand through their desired platform – later if they wish. Your mobile site is a powerful medium for you to wow your audience, raise awareness and keep your brand top of mind for when your customers are ready to buy.

Content from list derived from “How to blend mobile marketing with Social Media” article. Credit: Jesse Stanchak, June 15, 2011

How To: Transfer Files over Home WiFi Network From PC to Playbook

June 2, 2011 13 comments

I’ve had my BlackBerry Playbook up and running for just over a week now and I continue to discover new things about it every day.

One of my favourite features thus far I sort of found by accident: Transferring files (music and movies) from my PC – Playbook over-the-air using my home WiFi network. 

One of the most overlooked benefits of BlackBerry in comparison to other devices is the ability to drag and drop media files from your computer through USB (or a wifi app) without having to use a proprietary music service such as iTunes.

Transferring music, videos and pictures to the playbook is easy. In fact, I discovered it’s even easier than I had expected. After connecting the tablet to my PC with the USB cable, here’s what I found when locating the directories I wanted to open:

Network Settings

That’s right! I Immediately noticed that the playbook was registering as a device on my wifi network! Curiously, I clicked on the playbook icon and it opened up sub directory files…and eventually… the location of where media and music would be stored on the device:

Playbook Folders

From here, all you need to do is select the folder where you would like the respective media file to live. In order to accomplish all of this, you need to ensure that you have network sharing enabled on your PC as well as enabling file & Wifi sharing on your playbook. Which is also super simple to do. Here’s how you enable file sharing on your playbook:

Enable File Sharing on Playbook

You can transfer any type of file from PC to Playbook using this method. Even work documents such as: presentations, client creative, invoices, spreadsheets, word documents, press releases, flash documents – whatever you need to customize your tablet experience.

This activity really highlighted the multi-tasking ability of the playbook for me as well. As I was pushing nearly 4GB of files to the Playbook over my wifi network, my wife was busy playing Papa’s Burgeria and also had the browser (Youtube), appworld, camera application, a stock video and facebook running in the background. There was no degradation of performance and she had no idea that I was uploading those files to the device.

QR Code Egg Hunt – Location Four: WeSellIt

April 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Congratulations to all of those in KW who used their QR code scanner on Thursday to find the fourth secret location, WeSellIt in Waterloo! Krista, Will and Barry at WeSellIt offered up some cool prizes in addition to the hidden Easter basket. For finding the secret location, several people were rewarded with an electric weed wacker! Perfect since gardening season is just around the corner!

Congratulations to Caryn who was the first to find WeSellIt’s store location in North Waterloo by using her QR Code reader to scan the secret clue:

QR Code Easter Egg Hunt

Secret Location

Here’s a picture of Caryn with her prize:

QR Code Easter Egg Hunt
There were also three others who found the secret location and walked away with special gifts from WeSellIt:

The final KWeggHunt location will be revealed on Friday! There are chances to win a Blu-ray player, $25 Visa card from ORYX Advertising, or a signed jersey from the Kitchener Rangers! Happy hunting!

QR Code Egg Hunt – Location Two: Subworx Waterloo

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Congratulations to all of those in KW who used their QR code scanner to find the second secret location, Subworx in Waterloo! The clue was scheduled to be shared around 11AM however, due to Amazon’s EC2 server outage last week (which affected Hootsuite, the platform used to schedule these messages), a scheduling error caused the clue to be shared a few hours earlier. Even though the messages were deleted within 2 minutes of them being posted, a few speedy people managed to find the secret location and claim the prize!

Here is what the clue looked like:

QR Code Clue

Secret Location

Congratulations to Erika for finding the secret location, two days in a row!

@EVanholst

Day Two Winner of QR code Egg Hunt

Since the day’s prize was found so quickly, we decided to run another promotion in the afternoon with Subworx. The above clue was shared again and this time – the first person to arrive would receive a $25 VISA card from ORYX Advertising and Lunch from Tim at Subworx! Many people may not have been expecting a second #KWeggHunt giveaway, and the prize was claimed just after 5PM by BenWinner of the $25 VISA card from ORYX Advertising!
Response to the promotion has been excellent thus far and people around Waterloo Region are definitely tech savvy, having no trouble finding the secret location using QR code readers on their smartphones.

There are still more baskets hidden around the region with clues being sent out Tomorrow and Friday this week. Also, watch for a special QR code in today’s Waterloo Chronicle from Gibson’s Sound & Vision!

Stay tuned for special goodies being given away by ORYX Advertising this Friday! Follow the KW Egg Hunt on Twitter and on Facebook for details on the upcoming secret locations!

QR Code Egg Hunt – Location One: Fairview Mall

April 26, 2011 Leave a comment

Congratulations to all of those in KW who used their QR code scanner to find the first secret location, Fairview Park Mall in Kitchener! The prize basket was claimed within 30 minutes of the clue being shared across Facebook and Twitter. Here’s what the clue looked like:

Fairview Park Mall

Use your QR code scanner to find the secret location!

Erika was the lucky winner who, in addition to claiming the basket of goodies, also walked away with a $50 shopper card courtesy of Fairview Park Mall!

Response to the promotion has been excellent thus far and people around Waterloo Region are definitely tech savvy, having no trouble finding the secret location using QR code readers on their smartphones.

There are still more baskets hidden around the region with clues being sent out every day this week.

Stay tuned for special goodies being given away by ORYX Advertising this Friday! Follow the KW Egg Hunt on Twitter and on Facebook for details on the secret locations!

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