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Direct Marketing: Who Does It Well?


I was recently asked who I think are some of the best direct response marketers today.  This is what I said:

I have chosen four brands that showcase different aspects of excellence in DR marketing: American Express, JetBlue, Target and Starbucks.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.17.29 PMAmerican Express:

American Express is a good example of a marketer that uses modeling, and mail/offer testing effectively. It also uses a wide range of channels, from mobile/geolocation to direct mail, email, social and telemarketing, and has even experimented with addressable television.

American Express uses its reserve of transactional and other data to target and space offers and to reach customers through their individually preferred channels. I personally receive and respond to offers via my mobile device through the geolocation application foursquare. These offers are timely, relevant and easy to redeem. Once I have “unlocked” a special offer, American Express applies the discount directly to my statement. This program originated as a way to drive activity for AMEX’s small business customers; however, it is equally valuable for card members. The direct application of the rebate to a card holder’s statement resulted from research that showed that members often feel uncomfortable or inconvenienced by having to show a coupon at a restaurant or other place of business.

American Express offers are tied to segmentation such as the type of card or specific activity. For example, Gold card members receive a Platinum offer every 3-4 months, a customer who shops at Petsmart might receive a $10 offer for a future purchase there, and someone who travels might receive offers related to places he or she has visited or for a traditional AMEX product set such as Sign and Travel.

My understanding is that American Express dedicates 15% of its budget to testing. This reflects the brand’s commitment to continuous learning, using controls and checks, trying new things, tweaking, and defining and tracking measures of success.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.09.49 PMJetBlue:

JetBlue uses DR marketing more for relationship building than acquisition. They manage the relationship with their patrons in a structured and fun way that clearly reflects the brand’s personality.

JetBlue is a good example of brand that demonstrates its relevance to the customer, expresses itself in its own voice, and delivers timely and appropriate messages. In addition, the brand and the message stand out and add value to the relationship for both parties.

The JetBlue birthday email depicted here is simple, unexpected, quick and to the point. It recognizes the fact that people are likely to fly around the time of their birthday and offers a potential bonus for flying with JetBlue.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.23.04 PMJetBlue uses social channels such as twitter for both promotion and customer service. In this twitter exchange, you can see the airline’s promotional offer: “Spread yur wings & try an exciting new destination w/ flgts from $59.” The message is short and enticing with an effective call to action and means to take action by clicking on the link. Note that the reach of this offer has been amplified by being retweeted. In addition, this exchange demonstrates how JetBlue’s social customer care presence is consistent with its brand personality. The response from the JetBlue representative to M Schackne is energetic, playful, timely and personal – showing a consistency across channels.

19cover2-sfSpan-v3Target:

Target used sophisticated statistical modeling to identify mothers-to-be by mapping buying behaviors of loyalty card members to those who had signed up for baby registries – thus giving Target access to a highly profitable customer segment.

Because birth records are usually public, new parents are immediately inundated by all kinds of offers and advertisements, so the Holy Grail is to reach these parents before their child is born. Target was able to pinpoint customers who were pregnant and even estimate their due date. This allowed them to send extremely targeted offers to drive in-store traffic. Some say that this strategy of reaching new families and making them loyal Target customers was key to Target’s revenue growth of $44 billion in 2002 to $67 billion in 2010.

Target’s strategy became public due to a New York Times article that featured a story in which Target knew that a teenager was pregnant before she had told her family. This story highlights the fine line between relevant and “creepy” that direct marketers must navigate in this age of big data and personalization. DR marketing is permission based, and we must be careful not to impose upon customers’ good will and sense of comfort.

Screen Shot 2014-04-30 at 2.20.41 PMStarbucks

Starbucks uses digital, particularly mobile, channels to integrate itself into the day-to-day lives of its customers, from “home to store to home.”

Through its mobile application, Starbucks sends offers that range from value added items such as free music and applications to specific offers to try new products for free or at a discount.

Starbucks also uses this channel to provide loyalty rewards, which include free products. Other offers encourage and enable customers to serve as advocates by, for example, tweeting promotional offers to friends.

 


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Mobile Facts Change So Fast! – a repository for key mobile stats and facts (2011+)


On at least three occasions, I have written posts that incorporated a summary of notable stats about mobile apps and the mobile space in general to set the scene for a topical discussion.  But the facts change so fast that I was continuously updating the posts, and the posts had a tendency to grow and grow at the rate of foursquare subscribers.  (See here for 2010 post) So, I’m starting afresh and focusing specifically on notable mobile facts starting with these:

A mobile marketing strategy is a must-have for retailers – and, I would venture, anyone that sells products to consumers.  In fact, with today’s predictive marketing capabilities, retailers and marketers can target purchase intenders at the time and place of potential purchase.

Nine out of 10 smartphone shoppers use their phone for “pre-shopping” activities like finding store locations, comparing prices and reading product reviews. Source: Google via Shop.org Think Tank. 07/24/2013

Teens and Mobile (July 2011 data, except where noted) – Pew Research:

  • As of July 2011, 77% of teens have a cell phone (Teens, Smartphones & Texting).
  • Older teens ages 14 to 17 are substantially more likely to have a cell phone than younger teens ages 12 and 13 – 87% of older teens have a cell phone, compared with 57% of younger teens.
  • 23% of teens have a smartphone; 54% have a regular cell phone (or are not sure what kind of phone they have), and another 23% of teens do not have a cell phone at all.
  • Overall, half (49%) of all American teens have gone online on their mobile phones in the last 30 days.
  • The bulk of teens are 12 or 13 when they get their first cell phone (see: Is the age at which kids get cell phones getting younger?)(September 2009).
  • See more in the Teens, Smartphones & Texting report.

Teens and Communication choices (July 2011, except where noted) – Pew Research:

Texting dominates teens’ general communication choices. Overall, 75% of all teens text, and 63% say that they use text to communicate with others every day.

  • 39% of teens make and receive voice calls on their mobile phones every day.
  • 35% of all teens socialize with others in person outside of school on a daily basis.
  • 29% of all teens exchange messages daily through social network sites.
  • 22% of teens use instant messaging daily to talk to others.
  • 19% of teens talk on landlines with people in their lives daily.
  • 6% of teens exchange email daily.

Teens and Texting (July 2011, except where noted) – Pew Research:

The volume of texting among teens has risen from a median 50 texts a day in 2009 to 60 texts for the typical teen text user.

Older girls remain the most enthusiastic texters, with a median of 100 texts a day in 2011, compared with 50 for boys the same age.

Click here for more on what teens do with their phones.

26% of American teens of driving age say they have texted while driving, and 48% of all teens ages 12 to 17 say they’ve been a passenger while a driver has texted behind the wheel (September 2009 survey; see Teens and Distracted Driving)

This is the year of the Tablet:

About 68.7 million tablets shipped worldwide in 2011, according to IDC, which forecasts 106.1 million units to ship this year (April 17, 2012)

Smart Phones have reached the tipping point:

86% of mobile internet users are using their devices while watching TV.  Are people fast forwarding through your commercials or engaging with their smart phones while they’re on?  If so, has your commercial motivated them to do something related to your brand or prompted them to do something else to pass the time?

Android Apps Reach 400,000

In December 2011, Google celebrated their ten billionth Android app download, and now new research from mobile app analytics firm Distimo reports that there are 400,000 apps available in the Android Market. (Scroll all the way down for a post about Android apps reaching 90,000 in July 2010!)

Free apps make up a considerable portion of that 400,000, and Distimo’s research indicates that the ratio of free to paid apps has jumped from 60% to 68% over the last eight months. Distimo pegs the prevalence of free apps on the current popularity of the freemium  app economy, which also isn’t much of a surprise considering the potential payouts inherent to the model.

Mobile Is a Hotbed of VC

Mobile marketing was the most active segment within digital advertising for mergers, acquisitions and investments in 2011, according to a new report from marketing and media investment bank Petsky Prunier.

The iPad Revolution:

Only 13% of Web Traffic Is Mobile:

While mobile devices are expected to surpass laptops and desktops for accessing the Internet, they account for only 13% of web traffic today (still not shabby).  This is due in part to the lack of mobile optimized websites, a situation that is changing.  Within the 13%, more than 80% of comes from iPhone and iPads:

40% of Mobile Phones Are Smart Phones (Source: Nielsen)

Becoming the Primary Means for Accessing the Internet

Mobile devices and connected TVs are expected to overtake personal laptops within the next year as a means for accessing the Internet.  I hope your website is optimized for mobile and mobile search…

“I Love My MacBerry”  – Literally

  • A study using MRI scans showed evidence of not only addiction to iPhones but also Love.  (I admit it.  I’m hopelessly hooked.  I’m even willing to put up with the fact that my AT&T iPhone often hangs up on me.  Is that a sign of codependency?)

iPads, iPhones, iPods and More – How Many Were Sold in Apple’s 4Q 2011

  • The Company sold 17.07 million iPhones in the quarter, representing 21 percent unit growth over the year-ago quarter.
  • Apple sold 11.12 million iPads during the quarter, a 166 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter. (That’s 20.37 million iPads in Apple’s fiscal 2011 2H – ALONE, which does not include what will likely be a huge holiday purchase season for the device, and annualizes to 44.5 million per year)
  • The Company sold 4.89 million Macs during the quarter, a 26 percent unit increase over the year-ago quarter.
  • Apple sold 6.62 million iPods, a 27 percent unit decline from the year-ago quarter.

iPads, iPhones, iPods and More – How Many Were Sold in Apple’s 3Q 2011

  • 9.25 million iPads were sold during Apple’s 3rd quarter, 2011, up 183 % vs. year-ago (That would annualize to 37 million per year.)
  • 20.34 million iPhones were sold, up 142 percent vs. year ago (That’s a pretty nice stat – and impressive given growth of the Android.  A testament to the dramatic growth of smartphone in general)
  • (That means that nearly 30 million iPads and iPhones were sold this quarter.)
  • 3.95 million Macs, up 14 percent vs. year-ago (iPads cannibalizing Macs.  I would say, “yup.”  Especially laptops – by all manufacturers – and, perhaps MacBook Airs.  I think the Christmas season is going to blow the current iPad number out of the water)
  • 7.54 million iPods, a 20 percent unit decline from year-ago.  (I saw a young man on the subway today using the iPhone as an iPod with headphones – ironic as he had to hold the relatively large device.)
Observations,  Implications and Hypotheses:
  • Nearly 30 million iPhones and iPads were sold.  Compare that to less than 4 million Macs (laptops and desktops, up only 14 percent vs. year-ago) – and less than 8 million iPods, DOWN from year ago.  iPads and iPhones seem to be cannibalizing laptop, desktop and iPod sales.
  • More than twice as many iPads sold as Macs.  iPads are definitely cannibalizing laptop sales
  • iPad sales equivalent to 1/2 iPhone sales
  • In sum, iPads are HOT.  They’re starting to reach a tipping point from: it’s cool to have one to it’s not cool not to have one (I hope that made sense, i.e., it’s becoming embarrassing to not have one – I predict I’ll give into peer pressure within the year at most)
  • Quite a large increase in iPhone sales given growth of Android penetration; hence, it seems that the overall pie is heating up

Source: Apple 3Q earnings report

Being Mobile at Home

Don’t mistake mobile device usage with being mobile… A good chunk of time spent with smart phones, PDAs, iPads, eReaders and other such devices is spent at home.  Think about it.  Picture your well-wired friend – or maybe it’s you – with a laptop before you, a smartphone in your hand, an iPad on the sofa beside you, and an Internet connected TV shimmering its HD (or 3D) images from across the room.  In fact, the latest data from ComScore shows that tablets have the highest share of traffic for digital news consumption during evenings, beating out computers (as well as smart phones) in at-home news consumption. (Source: Moxie Pulse)  Moreover, GlobalWebIndex data suggests that, globally, half of those who access the mobile web do so from home or work, rather than while traveling or “roaming,” or while in a public place.

91 MM Americans Use Mobile Search

Overall, more than 91 million US consumers use the Internet through a mobile device at least monthly, and this increase in on-the-go web usage goes hand in hand with more search activity, particularly for local content.  20% of mobile search users do so almost every day.

Meanwhile, the debate between App and Wap (ok, browser) continues, with mobile search engine usage currently exceeding search via apps by 70% as of August 2011 – According to Yahoo! and Ipsos, via eMarketer.

Facts from Jimmy Wales at OMMA Global (September 26, 2011)

  • One out of every two Americans owns a smartphone [whoah, that’s DOUBLE the 25% shown for Q2 2010 if you scroll down]
  • 15.1 million tablets shipped worldwide (I have seen other numbers for this metric that I will add to this post… Ok, eMarketer is estimating 24MM for 2011 and 46MM in 2012)

Android is #1 U.S. Mobile Operating System – Q2 2011

  • As of June 2011, the Android operating system accounted for 39% of the total U.S. mobile market, making it the #1 mobile operating system in the country.
  • Apple maintains its share of 28% share, while Blackberry OS from RIM (Research in Motion)  has fallen from market leadership (nearly 40% in 2009 – scroll down) to third position with only 20% market share.
  • These three operating systems (representing 87% of the market) are followed by Windows Mobile/WP7 (9%), Palm/HP Web OS (2%), and Nokia’s Symbian OS (2%)
  • Apple is the leading handset maker in the United States whilst Android is the top mobile operating system. (Nielsen)
  • Apple overtook Nokia to become the world’s leading smartphone vendor in July (Nielsen research and IDC figures)
  • According to a report by the NPD Group, the Android operating system accounted for 52% of the smartphones sold in the second quarter of 2011, up from 36 percent sold in Q1 2011 according to previous data by Gartner.


Geolocation: What Art Thou to Me? Part VII


Welcome to the continuation of a day in the life of geolocation and me.  Not really a day but several years.  I started keeping this little journal (in chronological rather than blog order…) several years ago (three?) when I first met Baratunde Thurston and Dennis Crowley and joined Foursquare.  I was so fascinated by the “game” from so many perspectives: a user, the founders, national marketers, local retailers, data junkies like myself.  So, in the name of good ethnographic and social anthropological research, I started keeping this journal of my time with geolocation.  I welcome you to check it out should you like to share my thoughts:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Little to no mention of geolocation here at Social Media Week NYC thus far. Get Glue (not really LBS) was represented on a panel. No sign of Dennis Crowley. Pinterest and Instagram (which does have a bit of a geolocation aspect) are all the talk at the moment.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Facebook has recently enabled Near Field Communication (NFC). Is this this first step towards social commerce such that you can transact within the social environment as you can within the Facebook newsfeed?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Starting in August 2011, I have posted several entries about Amex’s foursquare program. (See, for example, January 13th above.) For more insight and information, check out this live stream video of a Social Media Week panel. As a consumer, I did not realize at first that the strategy came from the B2B perspective, i.e., as a value add/service for AMEX’s small business customers (AMEX Open). The consumer insight was that AMEX cardholders, especially affluent ones, don’t want to pull out coupons or even show their foursquare checkin to a waiter or clerk. This way, by activating a special offer by simply checking in on foursquare and getting the discount credited directly to the user’s AMEX account, it can all be done discreetly (and simply). Now that I’ve got it all connected, I really like it, although… I haven’t had any relevant check-in specials pop up recently. Maybe I need to get out more.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Dennis Crowley (the founder of Foursquare) is starring in an ad for Best Buy and Samsung smart phones.  Does that mean Foursquare is in the public consciousness or that smart phones have gone mainstream. Or both? I have to remind myself that there are people who don’t have smart phones. In fact there are people who don’t have access as to the Internet, as evidenced by a public service campaign I saw recently.  To the second point, I recently had a moment of insight during a recent trip to Atlanta.  As I sat on the MART public transport system with my new iPad, I downloaded an app of the public transport system to familiarize myself with the journey, mapped the journey from the transit stop to my hotel, sent “text” messages to my tennis partner, checked my email, thumbed through my digital photo album and listened to music, I looked up to realize that no one else on the train was using a mobile device.  Ok.  One.  There was one person using an iPhone.  For those of you in NYC, I invite you to count the number of smartphones and tablets in use in any one car of a subway, particularly in Manhattan.  I would venture to say 75-80% are “plugged in.”  Very useful, of course, because it’s completely taboo to make eye contact with anyone else on the train.

American Express continues to leverage and expand its program with foursquare – and twitter.  It’s expecially evident during these three weeks of restaurant week.  I was pleasantly surprised during a recent visit to Aquavit that AMEX would reimburse me $5 for my $24 meal if I checked in and activated the offer on foursquare.  In fact, when I check into four restaurants (on my way…), I will receive an additional bonus – $20, I believe.  Today, I checked into China Grill and was devastated to realize that I had left my linked AMEX in my office!  I had taken it out of my wallet to buy a cookie for someone in my office.  That $4 cookie just became a $9 cookie!

Similarly, I recently checked into Andy’s Deli and received a notification that I would get $5 back if I spent $10.  This is part of a “Shop Small” program to encourage small, local establishments to accept AMEX.  I immediately upgraded my $3 salad to a $10 expenditure that included extra add-ins as well as two big bottles of water.  Unfortunately, I realized the next day, when I unlocked a similar special at the nail salon, that I needed to click through one more screen to activate the deal.  I had not done so the day before.  Hence, my additional $7 in expenditures went unrewarded.  I contemplated going back to buy 4 bottles of water for $7 rather than $12 but didn’t want to mess up my pedicure on the walk home.

August 19th, 2012

I’ve just been ousted as Mayor of the Central Park Tennis Center.  Truly devastating after 212 check ins.  I’m not kidding. 😦

Always On: 2011 in review


The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 6,800 times in 2011. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

As of April, I am now trending more than 1,100 views per month.  Thank you, everyone for visiting and reading.  You are my FAVORITE kind of person!

 

Geolocation: What Art Though to Me? Part VI


Each day, geolocation has a unique impact on my life as I watch the way it influences my city, myself, and increasingly, my world. A few months after joining foursquare in 2010, I decided to keep a journal of my new life with geolocation.

You have now entered Part VI this ongoing tale – tracking the personal, sociological and historic milestones associated with the rapidly growing service/game/application. Click on the Geolocation tab for the full story or check my archives for Parts III,  IIIIV and V.

 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Eureka!  I’ve rediscovered specials and – in a way – trending on FourSquare.  And, in the process, I happened upon a tie in with Groupon.  It’s all so incestuous, these frenemies.  In the images below, please note: (a) “Special” next to my local designer pizza joint Freddie and Pepper’s  – tied in with Groupon (b) little person image next to the Beacon that shows that 12 people have checked in (c) This is new to me – “Show” icon next to the Beacon.  I’ll have to investigate that further.  Something GetGlue-ish???

Just arrived home from a phenomenal meal at a restaurant in Chelsea called Westville – an amazing meal thanks to all the people who left me tips on foursquare, from the scores of them who recommended the four market sides for $14 to a non anonymous stranger named Frank, who recommended the chocolate pecan pie.  My friend Nancy and I thank you all.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It seems that my taste in primetime television is on par with other GetGlue users – and that the app (which is not actually geolocation but was initially positioned as the foursquare for people who stay home..) is gaining serious traction.  I checked into “New Girl” along with 7,173 other viewers and joined 14,682 other Glee fans when I checked into that show.  I watched both via DVR.  Keep you eye on this one.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Have you checked out Square’s Card Case app. You should. If only to experience the art of what’s possible. You can pay for things by simply giving your name to the retailer.

Ok, so I’m working my way through Mary Meeker’s 2011 Internet trends and discovering all kinds of treats and terms along the way.  Many of which are mobile, and many of which are location based.  (I’ve even adopted a new phrase: “Geosocial networking.”  Nice.)  Here’s one I find intriguing: Shopkick. And here’s what they have to say about themselves:
“shopkick gives you awesome deals and rewards simply for walking into your favorite stores. You can collect your kicks™ rewards at millions of stores in America, and great deals at many of the top national retailers.

Collect walk-in rewards: Have you ever gotten rewarded simply for walking into stores – yes, just for visiting? Now you can collect boatloads of kicks™ in the kicks Reward Program and unlock awesome exclusive deals at your favorite stores. Just walk into 1,300 Best Buy stores in all 50 states, and hundreds of Target stores, Macy’s, American Eagle, Sports Authority, Crate&Barrel, West Elm, Wet Seal and the largest Simon malls! Open the shopkick app on your iPhone or Android phone in the entrance area, and wait for a few seconds. Your shopkick app will reward you instantly.  shopkick is adding more stores in more cities every month.

Get exclusive deals: Discover and unlock awesome deals in the shopkick app at dozens of national stores, many of them are exclusively offered to shopkick users only.

Collect scan rewards: Collect additional kicks rewards by scanning barcodes of featured products with your phone at 250,000 stores across the United States.

Redeem your kicks™ for rewards! Get rewards like iTunes gift cards, restaurant vouchers, Best Buy/Target/Macy’s/American Eagle/Sports Authority instant gift cards, Facebook Credits, movie tickets, or if you go all out, a 3D 55″ Sony Bravia HDTV or a cruise around the world! And if you want to change the world, donate your kicks to 30 different causes!”

Friday, November 18, 2011

The next (current) phase in location based services is Near Field Communication (NFC).  (I call it a LBS because the two devices need to be near each other.) Here’s how wikipedia defines NFC:

NEAR FIELD COMMUNICATION, or NFC, allows for simplified transactions, data exchange, and wireless connections between two devices in proximity to each other, usually by no more than a few centimeters.  It is expected to become a widely used system for making payments by smartphone in the United States. [Gosh, it seems like decades ago that I read about Japan doing this.  Oh right, it was.  It was commonplace as long ago as early 2006 when I did my first mobile study for BusinessWeek.] Many smartphones currently on the market already contain embedded NFC chips that can send encrypted data a short distance (“near field”) to a reader located, for instance, next to a retail cash register. Shoppers who have their credit card information stored in their NFC smartphones can pay for purchases by waving their smartphones near or tapping them on the reader, rather than using the actual credit card. Co-invented by NXP Semiconductors and Sony in 2002, NFC technology is being added to a growing number of mobile handsets to enable mobile payments, as well as many other applications.

And, here are some of the applications (by applications, I mean uses) – again, from wikipedia:

(1) Social Networking

NFC simplifies and expands social networking options:

  • File Sharing: Tap one NFC device to another to instantly share a contact, photo, song, application, video, or website link.
  • Electronic business card: Tap one NFC device to another to instantly share electronic business cards or resumes.
  • Electronic money: To pay a friend, you could tap the devices and enter the amount of the payment.
  • Mobile gaming: Tap one NFC device to another to enter a multiplayer game.
  • Friend-to-friend: You could touch NFC devices together to Facebook friend each other or share a resume or to “check-in” at a location.

(2) Bluetooth and WiFi Connections

NFC can be used to initiate higher speed wireless connections for expanded content sharing.

  • Bluetooth: Instant Bluetooth Pairing can save searching, waiting, and entering codes. Touch the NFC devices together for instant pairing.
  • WiFi: Instant WiFi Configuration can configure a device to a WiFi network automatically. Tap an NFC device to an NFC enabled router.

(3) eCommerce

NFC expands eCommerce opportunities, increases transaction speed and accuracy, while reducing staffing requirements. A Personal identification number (PIN) is usually only required for payments over $100 (in Australia) and £15 (in UK).

  • Mobile payment: An NFC device may make a payment like a credit card by touching a payment terminal at checkout or a vending machine when a PIN is entered.
  • PayPal: PayPal may start a commercial NFC service in the second half of 2011.[15][16]
  • Google Wallet is an Android app that stores virtual versions of your credit cards for use at checkout when a PIN is used.
  • Ticketing: Tap an NFC device to purchase railmetroairline, movie, concert, or event tickets. A PIN is required.
  • Boarding pass: A NFC device may act as a boarding pass, reducing check-in delays and staffing requirementsFr.
  • Point of Sale: Tap an SmartPoster tag to see information, listen to an audio clip, watch a video, or see a movie trailer.
  • Coupons: Tapping an NFC tag on a retail display or SmartPoster may give the user a coupon for the product.
  • Tour guide: Tap a passive NFC tag for information or an audio or video presentation at a museum, monument, or retail display (much like a QR Code).

(4) Identity documents

NFC’s short range helps keep encrypted identity documents private.

  • ID card: An NFC enabled device can also act as an encrypted student, employee, or personal ID card or medical ID card.
  • Keycard: An NFC enabled device may serve as car, house, and office keys.
  • Rental Car and hotel keys: NFC rental car or hotel room keys may allow fast VIP check-in and reduce staffing requirements.

The future (or past…) is here.
Sunday, December 4th, 2011

I’ve checked into the Central Park Tennis Center 88 times and into my apartment building 726 times.

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

On Monday of this week, Gowalla was acquired by Facebook.  That’s huge.  What impact will this have on foursquare?

Friday, January 13, 2012

The American Express tie-in with Foursquare has been simplified and is quite nice.  When you check into a participating location, you are notified of an AMEX special.  If you use your AMEX card there, you get a $10 credit on your statement.  Nice.  I’ve used it at a restaurant and a nail salon.  It’s a good promotion because it encourages you to use your AMEX card to pay – at the time and point of purchase.  Moreover, it gives you an incentive to spend at least $10, a requirement I met easily with my yummy chicken parmesan and lovely pedicure.  What will be especially valuable is to use it for an $11 manicure…

If you’d like to read more of my thoughts on geolocation, click on the Geolocation tab or check out Part V of this series.

Social Media Tidbits I


Visit me here for social media tidbits I find worthy of sharing.  Share with me your thoughts.

Do You “Like” Me?  Do You Really “Like” Me?

Much of both Advertising Week and OMMA Global was spent talking about the importance of being “Liked,” as in the Facebook “Like” functionality.  The conclusion was that (a) consumers don’t hate advertising, they hate bad advertising… (b) if you keep it under control, it can be powerful (c) consumers DO want to have relationships with brands they care about – as well as those who offer them something for being their “friend.”  So, ironically, today’s eMarketer article includes two charts about consumers attitudes towards letting brands/advertisers/companies into their Facebook worlds:

Discretion

We’ll move now to a personal admonition – things individuals should consider before posting on their social networking site (69% of prospective employers have rejected a candidate based on something posted on a social networking site).  Below, we get into what organizations should do at a minimum in social media – to avoid regrets.

The chart below shows the huge draw Facebook has on our time.  Far and away higher than any other U.S. Web Brands in terms of total minutes.  I was intrigued by the Facebook phenomenon back when I joined in early 2006  (as one of 7.5 MM unique users) – and suggested my media client take a serious look at it.  At the time, Facebook was just opening up beyond college students.  Here are some bullet points I put in my report in February 2006:

Overview:

  • Social network site for college & university students
  • Founded by Mark Zuckerberg; raised $500,000 from Peter Thiel in angel round
  • Raised $12.2MM from Accel partners in April 2005 (valuation of $100MM)
  • Began allowing high school students to join September 2, 2005: High school and college networks are kept separate.  There are 20K U.S. high schools.
Membership (info as of September 2005)
  • Must have .edu email address to join
  • Supports 1,120 colleges – 56% (Source: Scott Osman, 2/10/06 – up from 880)
  • 85% of students in supported colleges have a profile
  • 7.5MM unique users in January
  • 60% of members log in daily; 85% at least weekly; 93% at least monthly
  • Recent alums are maintaining same log in rates
  • Users can add favorite music, books, movies, quotes, etc. and see others who share same interests; can also form and/or join groups
  • Additional functionality: events, messages
Who knew!

Here’s an interesting post from ClickZ by Heidi Cohen:

What’s Your Social Media Marketing IQ?

As you make your 2012 marketing plans, consider what you need to do to take your social media marketing to the next level. To ensure your firm’s maximizing its social media effectiveness, now’s the time to check your organization’s social media marketing IQ.

Here are 30 questions to help determine your firm’s social media marketing IQ. These questions will help you assess where your organization is in terms of social media marketing maturity and where you may need to improve effectiveness. Depending on where your organization is along the social media adoptioncurve, some of these questions can help you develop plans going forward.

Listening

  1. Do you have brand monitoring and/or other analytics in place? If you don’t have the budget for professional social media monitoring, use free options such as Google Alerts, Twitter Search, and Google Analytics.
  2. Are you analyzing the information collected?
  3. Are you taking action where appropriate based on your brand monitoring? Remember, about 2 percent of the comments require any company interaction.

Social Media Guidelines

  1. Do you have social media guidelines for how employees should represent themselves and what they can say?
  2. Do you have guidelines for what’s acceptable for customers and the public to contribute on your organization’s website, blog, and/or forum? This doesn’t mean you can delete negative comments! Customers will say whatever they want on their own and third-party social media networks where you have no control.
  3. Do you have a crisis management plan? If so, do you review it regularly to ensure it’s up to date and employees know what to do? If not, here’s help to develop one.

Goals

  1. Do you have goals for your social media marketing? This is a critical first step of any marketing strategy. Don’t think it’s just a test and we’ll figure it out later. If it works, you’ll need to make a case for more resources.
  2. Are your social media marketing goals related to your overall business objectives? This is a must for any marketing plans!
  3. Is your social media marketing driving revenues? For many businesses, this is a sign of social media maturity.

Management

  1. Does senior management buy into social media as part of your marketing and business plans? Recognize this can be difficult to achieve. Research shows leadership at one in three businesses supports social media marketing after three years.
  2. If management doesn’t buy into social media marketing, are you bringing them up to speed? Chances are that you need to show how it drives results associated with business goals.
  3. Are you expanding buy-in beyond senior management? Think customer service, sales, product management, human resources, investor relations, and other organizational departments.

Social Media Marketing Strategies

  1. Do you have a social media marketing strategy? What do you want to accomplish?
  2. Are your social media marketing strategies integrated with your overall marketing plans?
  3. Are employees monitoring social media marketing implementation(s)? Customers will use every point of contact to reach a human being.
  4. Are you promoting your social media marketing efforts? To drive customers and the public to your social media marketing, you must continually promote it. Use internal media.
  5. Do you make it easy for social media participants to share your content? Think social sharing including Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
  6. Do you have tailored call-to-action and tracking mechanisms integrated into your social media marketing efforts?Prospects and customers need to be guided through your sales process.

Social Media Marketing Content

  1. Are you creating tailored content for your social media marketing initiatives? Since social media thrives on content, ensure your social media efforts have the fuel they need.
  2. Have you created a variety of content formats?
  3. Does your content support every stage of the purchase process? The information consumers need may cut across your organization. To support these efforts, use an editorial calendar and marketing personas.
  4. Is your social media-related content integrated into your search optimization efforts?

Social Media Marketing Budget

  1. Do you have a dedicated social media marketing budget? Social media marketing isn’t free! You can’t count on having a robust social media marketing strategy without financial and headcount resources. If you don’t have a dedicated budget, can you leverage other resources or hide your social media marketing budget?
  2. Do you have headcount dedicated to your social media marketing efforts? If not, are social media marketing activities incorporated into specific employees’ job descriptions? If no one’s required to do the work, it won’t happen.
  3. Do you have social media training to ensure employees understand how to engage on social media platforms and are consistent in how they represent your organization? Many firms overlook this important factor.
  4. Do you have a social media contingency plan to ensure you have personnel involved and monitoring social media 24/7?What happens if your social media manager’s sick or unavailable and there’s a problem?

Metrics

  1. Do you have established metrics to track social media marketing efforts back to marketing and/or business objectives?This is best done when you’re planning your strategy.
  2. Do your metrics include the full purchase process not just the last marketing touched? Social media can influence customers before you realize they’re shopping and after they’ve bought your product or service.
  3. Do your social media metrics go beyond marketing? Think broadly across your business such as customer service.
  4. Are you measuring the ROI of your social media marketing? Understand it takes time to have a well-integrated social media marketing strategy where you can measure your investment and results accurately. Short-term, determine whether your social media marketing contributes to achieving your business goals.

Social media marketing is a growing part of every marketer’s plans and budget. Regardless of where you are on the social media marketing continuum, you must assess the effectiveness of what you’re currently doing and implement strategies to enhance your results.

Geolocation: What Art Thou to Me? Part V


Each day, foursquare has a unique impact on my life as I watch the way in which it influences my city, myself, and increasingly, my world. I decided therefore, a few months after joining the network – May 20th, 2010 – , to keep a little diary of my new life with foursquare

You have now entered Part V this ongoing journal – tracking the personal, sociological and historic milestones associated with the rapidly growing service/game/application. Check my archives for Parts III,  III and IV.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It’s a 40-something sunny day in Manhattan.  I know that because of my desktop widget, but I also know that because Central Park is trending on foursquare, with 38 people currently checked in there.  This made it a lot easier and quicker for me to check in as I headed out for my fourth run this year.  The other times it was snowing and/or in the 20s.  I welcome the opportunity to check into something trending as it takes longer and longer and longer for Foursquare to catch up to where I actually am when I try to log in.  I have been working at Time Warner Cable since January 3rd, but Foursquare thinks I have been there half that time because I am able to successfully check in about half the time.  I suspect this is due in GREAT part to the AT&T network/performance of the iPhone on the AT&T network, and I know that this is one of the most frustrating elements of Dennis Crowley’s business plan, but I can’t help being a bit annoyed with Foursquare as well as AT&T as I stand on the subway platform waiting for my check in to pleeeease go through.

All that said, the fact that I was in fact able to check in efficiently means that I have a relatively accurate reading on how long it took me to run to and from the Park and make it around the (mostly uphill, it seems…) lower loop.  39 minutes is the time.  Please stop laughing.  My current goal is to outpace the horses, the bicycle cabs and the people who walk.  There will be a large celebration on the day I actually outrun another runner.  Thank you to my good friend Fred for running with me.  I shudder to think how slowly I would run without him!

A few months ago, I noticed that “Fall for Dance” at City Center showed up as a venue on Foursquare.  Great marketing.  And a few nights ago I saw another theater venue – Radio City?  or Carnegie Hall? trending.  Now that’s foursquare going mainstream.

This week is social media week.  How many new participants do you think there will be by this time next week?


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Last week, I used my first foursquare Nearby Specials.  And, I must say (a) it was quite easy (b) it influenced me to spend $40 more than I had planned.  I was at the Modell’s near my apartment to pick up one or two cans of tennis balls.  As I waited in line – thinking about a past “tip” I had left suggested that one might not want to come to this store if in a hurry… I decided to read the nearby specials.  I saw that if I spent $50 at this store, I would get $10 back.  Gee, I thought, I could use another sports bra, and I’m sure to use up any tennis balls I buy.  So, I did.  I added the sports bra and several cans of balls to my purchase.  I showed the special as it appeared on my iPhone to the girl at the register, and simple, I got $10 back.  Gee, I thought, I just got a bunch of free tennis balls.

This is in contrast to an experience I had the week before at Bed, Bath and Beyond. BBB has trained me to think that there is always a coupon available.  Hence, I am reluctant when in the store to buy anything if I don’t have a coupon with me.  Surely, I thought, however, there must be a mobile coupon available and so I dutifully googled BBB and promotion code.  My phone asked me for my phone number, and, as I navigated the escalator, I attempted to enter it.  Two rejected attempts – rejected rather rudely, by the way, in red font.  As I came to the top of the escalator and saw the huge line at checkout, I decided to buy my Vornado fan another time, which I have yet to do.


Wednesday, September 
21, 2011

My doorman just ousted me as mayor of my apartment building.  I never thought I would see the day.  Game On!

American Express is doing some very interesting things with “synced” foursquare and card accounts.  When you check in or check out a venue, you, as a linked AMEX member, are served with an additional list of special offers.  I first found out about this at the US Open.  AMEX had a huge presence there.

Saw my doorman on the way in just now, and he asked me about foursquare and the whole mayorship race… I feel kind of bad now.  He’s sweet and new to foursquare.  I shouldn’t make him think it’s a competition… but, am I willing to give up being mayor of the venue I created – still hoping for a swarm someday.  I told  him we could trade off.


Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Made my third trip to 16 Handles today, now that I’ve realized they have hot fudge sauce – one of my top 10 food delicacies.  Quite scary to know that HOT fudge sauce is less than two blocks from my apartment at any time.  I’ve settled into a small amount of  frozen yogurt with lots of fruit and a significant dollop of fudge sauce + some coconut shavings and a few chocolate covered pretzels.  (This could get dangerous.)  In any case, 16 handles uses a loyalty card app – check in 4 times and get $2 off the fifth purchase.  I’ve had 1 out of three successful check ins so far.  I’ll let you know the name of the app tomorrow.

Meanwhile, I continue to check into my apartment building diligently.  3 days away from reclaiming my mayorship!  (Though it’s probably more important to have a good relationship with my doorman…)

Friday, September 30, 2011

The AMEX sync program came up during one of the presentations at the OMMA Global conference this week.  I believe it was the one by Fred Wilson, co-founder of Union Square Ventures.  I asked about the popularity of the program given how complex it was to sign up.  He admitted/agreed that the sign up process could be more integrated – not even taking into account that I learn

ed about it offline and had to go online to even start the application.  I believe he said they have 300,000 participants, a number that would be higher if it were more turnkey but that it was clearly a successful program that is being renewed and extended.  (I’ll get the details for you when I have a moment to review recording.)

Here, by the way, is the message I received as part of the signup process (scary stuff): ‎”Connected accounts can build cool things on top of what you’ve done on foursquare. Approving this connection allows them access to do things like update your status, view your check-in history and look at things like your friends list, Tips, and To-Dos.”

On another note, I am now (finally!) mayor of the Central Park Tennis Center and have also reclaimed mayorship (an unelected government position?) of my apartment building.  The game continues, Diego the doorman…

Wednesday, Ocober 5th, 2011

A lot of wait time/delays trying to check into the New York Times Center during Advertising Week.  Quite frustrating.  Typically need to enter the venue manually.  I wish the Times Center would consider getting an AT&T booster.  I read on Twitter that someone had even worse luck with Verizon, downstairs.  Amazing, in a disturbing way.

OMMA and Advertising Week are both obsessed with Facebook, and perhaps rightly so.  What impact will this have on Foursquare.  More so, what will the open graph due to get glue, which, by the way, has gotten some significant traction through corporate promotions.  If I were still in my role at a major cable operator and still working on supporting their five ad-supported VOD channels, I would reach out to Get Glue – assuming I could get approval to use social media, which is currently frowned upon.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My doorman tells me with a big smile that he is going to be mayor next week (of our building), that he is 3 days away.  I can’t imagine that will be the case if I continue to check in multiple times or even once a day.  I think I am going to let him have it – the mayorship, that is.  Though I don’t plan to show that kind of generosity to whoever is looking to be mayor of Central Park Tennis Center.


So, everything new is new again.  New iCloud, new Facebook, new Foursquare.  I can’t begin to tell you how many new passwords!  One for iTunes, one for mobile me, one for my apple ID, one for wordpress on my laptop – that doesn’t work on my computer, one to unlock my iPhone, one to access my voicemail, one for each email account, one for facebook, one for foursquare – different IDs/emails, and different passwords.  I can’t keep up.  But I digress.  What I mean by what’s new is new again is that they all have new interfaces and capabilities again.  So… what happened to my targeted, local specials on foursquare.  I don’t see them.  Maybe I’ll find them eventually.  Am I really less technologically intuitive than the general social media and/or geolocation population?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Foursquare tells me that I have checked into the Central Park Tennis Center 72 times.  So how come that is not reflected in the quality of my forehand?

Monday, October 24, 2011

I don’t take a lot of taxis, but I thought I would indulge tonight after an evening of wine and pizza, chips, pretzels,  Ritz crackers and good conversation at the Harvard Club.  With time to spare, I decided to check in.  To save time, I started by entering the four digit cab ID number.  A year ago, it would have blown my mind to find that someone else had checked in in this taxi – see post front that era with the big photo of taxis.  Tonight, there were two entries.  The question arises, therefore, how many of our many NYC taxis have been catalogued in foursquare???  (p.s. it was a very nice taxi – I think it may be a hybrid.)

Sunday, October 29, 2011

Last night I earned the Greasy Spoon badge for checking into Cafe Luxembourg. a charming and pricey French restaurant on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  Whoops.  Here is what my award said: “Sticky vinyl booths, bottomless mugs of joe, apple pie fresh out of the display case… Does that waitress have syrup on her hairnet? Sounds like diner heaven to us. Now that you’ve hit 5, treat yourself to onion rings. Or a milkshake. We suggest both.”  I also received the Halloween swarm badge for checking into Snowcopalypse 2011 – on the Saturday before Halloween.  Nice idea.

I know it’s not geolocation, but it’s related: GetGlue, the application in which  you check into cultural activities such as watching a TV show or movie or reading a book, is getting more and more buzz and, as I believe I predicted, has and is starting to leverage huge commercial potential as a vehicle to drive tune-in and engagement.  I wish I had had more time and latitude to get Time Warner Cable’s  “Automotive On Demand” listed there.


For more of my geolocation musings, check out the Geolocation tab above and/or Part VI of this series.