Friday, September 24, 2010

How Mobile Is Your Client's Marketing?

Email, social networks and mobile devices have become an integral part of our everyday lives. Just how much influence they have is apparent when you look at these facts from recent studies:
- 97% of US households use email.
- 75% of Internet connected homes use social networks.
- 91% of the US population uses a mobile device.
- 23% use a smart phone.

Mobile marketing gives your clients an opportunity to provide an integrated customer experience using all three - email, social, and mobile. But while social networks have been embraced by a majority of marketers, mobile marketing still lags significantly. Mobile marketing offers a great avenue for an agency to help their clients grow their business.

A new study from eROI, The Current State of Social, Mobile & Email Integration, provides a good snapshot on where marketers stand today, and offers some interesting insights on how marketers can better integrate mobile into their marketing strategy. Why should they consider mobile? As this study concludes, Once a good user experience and relevant content are present, consumer adoption is accelerated and, as history has shown, companies that are first to offer these things in untapped mediums typically benefit the most from them (think, Apple, AOL, Yahoo).

So here are some of the findings from this study of more than 500 marketers that you can use to alert your clients to this opportunity:

Mobile marketing is often a forgotten medium by online marketers. The study found that mobile marketing integration into email and online programs is relatively low, and few marketers are putting much effort on this channel despite the growing adoption rates of mobile devices (iPhone, iPad, Android, Windows Kin, Droid, etc.). Recent studies from Internet monitors predict that mobile Internet access will soon outpace PC access usage, so marketers must be prepared to adopt mobile or lose mindshare.

Only 1/3 of marketers surveyed consider mobile important.
When marketers were asked about the importance of digital marketing experiences and the importance of an optimized mobile experience, only 31.6% said that mobile-optimized experiences matter for their audiences. Another quarter of respondents (24.6%) are currently testing, while the remainder said they just weren't sure or that mobile was not important.

When asked if their companies were measuring the use of mobile devices for their email subscribers, nearly two-thirds (63%) of respondents said no and another 11.5% were not sure.

Not surprisingly, two-thirds of respondents do not use mobile versions of their websites or landing pages.
Since the majority of marketers surveyed were unaware of their customer/ subscriber audience usage patterns, as it related to mobile, it is no wonder that 77% of marketers are not offering , or are unaware of, mobile versions of their websites (67.6% not using; 9.4% not sure). Of those that are offering mobile-optimized websites, 68% are providing limited versions of their websites and 32% offer their entire website in a web-optimized format.

Now is the time for agencies to encourage their clients to start experimenting with mobile to determine its relevance for their organization. Based on this study by eROI, it would appear that the best way to begin to understand the mobile web is to look at website analytics. As the opportunities for mobile marketing continue to expand, marketers need to begin to understand more about the mobile web and how their customers are using it. Providing the right content in the appropriate context is a basic rule of marketing. Not every marketer needs to provide a fully functional mobile website experience, but how will you know if you need it if you don't have a clue as to your audience usage patterns.

Many marketers unwittingly believe that the only way to do mobile right is to provide a custom application, and they are expensive to produce. But as web standards improve, there is a big rise in the use of mobile web over applications. Email remains one of the most popular mobile Internet activities not just by time spent but also by penetration. According to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 34% of all US mobile subscribers used email on their phone in May 2010, compared with 23% who used a social networking site.

The overall conclusion from this study is that marketers need to invest more time and energy to understand if the mobile web can contribute to their marketing program. Those who do stand a better chance at keeping pace with their customer's media usage. Those who don't may be left behind.

The full study offers other insights and opportunities on integrating social media as well. You can access the full study at

As I have noted in previous posts, many clients are simply overwhelmed by the new digital tools and how to use them to their advantage. In today's challenging marketplace, clients are not saying to their agencies, "How can you help us make ads or a new web site," they're saying, "how much do you understand about our business in order to help us build a bridge between our brand and our customers." The question is not just how to effectively use email, blogs, podcasts, mobile marketing, viral marketing, pay-per-click, user-generated content, Twitter, etc., but how to mix them with traditional media to create the most impact.

Understanding the potential value of mobile marketing is another way agencies can help their clients compete.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Are you helping your clients to monitor their corporate reputation?

Are your clients doing a good job of monitoring and managing the online conversation about their company? Maybe this is an area where your agency can help them with a service they know they need but just can't afford to add the time and resources to properly manage.

In previous posts, I have discussed the need for agencies to broaden their service offering to clients and re-position themselves as more than just a vendor of ads. I have gotten responses to these posts that say they would love to help their clients in more ways, but too often it becomes an add-on cost without incremental income.

Managing their online reputation has become a critical need for many companies that simply can't afford to do it well. So here's an opportunity to approach your clients to add a new service (and build your relationship) for a small incremental fee -- monitoring the online conversation and managing their company reputation.

As we all know, the Internet and social media have shifted a significant amount of marketing power from the company to the general public. For many businesses, this is a terrifying prospect. As an example, a restaurant owner could be doing everything right, have one bad customer experience and end up with a negative review on Yelp or another review site. Just because their 19-year old server broke up with his girlfriend and is having a bad day.

On the Internet, peer reviews are increasingly important. According to a survey by the Opinion Research Corporation, eighty-four percent (84%) of Americans say online reviews influence their purchasing decisions. A negative review or disparaging comment can now be seen by hundreds, or even thousands of potential customers, and it can hang an albatross around your neck that never goes away.

On the bright side, positive reviews and happy clients are traditionally the best source of new business. That’s why it has become increasingly important for companies to monitor what’s being said about them online.

This is an opportunity for you to build a stronger relationship with your clients. By helping them with a problem that many know they have but just can't afford to hire additional staff to support, your agency can become a hero.

Popular sites like Facebook and Twitter have become essential components of many companies’ online marketing strategy, but there are hundreds of other sites where customers rant and rave about companies, products and services. The question you should ask your client is this: Do you know what they are saying about you?

There are a host of free and low cost social media monitoring services to help you monitor and manage the online conversation for your client. Google Alerts and Yahoo Alerts are free services that allow you to select keywords and topics to track and receive email updates whenever they appear on the Web. They aren’t new tools and have some limitations on where they monitor, but they can still be useful for keeping an eye on search engine and blog activity and other mentions of relevant content.

More specialized monitoring services like Social Mention, HootSuite and Addictomatic track a broader range of social sites like Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, etc. Their function is to give you a more complete picture of online conversations and help you to organize this information better by aggregating all of this user-generated content into a single stream of information or dashboard.

Is your client aware of some of the newer monitoring and aggregation tools that focus on small local businesses, like Yext Rep? This company offers a real-time feed of what people are saying about them on Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc. as well as local sites like Google Places and Superpages - all on one dashboard as it happens.

Companies like Trackur, Radian6 and Viralheat offer a feature-rich monitoring package with more sophisticated services for a fee. These more robust service companies can offer greater appeal to a company with multiple brands and numerous keywords to follow. They can provide detailed analytics with comprehensive dashboards that show precise details (date published, source, title) as well as a summary of each item discovered. Their analysis can also allow the user to evaluate the potential influence of each blog or news site discussing your brand or company by measuring and reporting statistics like coverage, Twitter followers, friends, etc.

In addition to helping companies defend themselves and their reputation, keeping track of online mentions can create new marketing opportunities. For example, Radian6 users can drill down into several layers of detailed information on their profile results to segment comments by media type and geographic region. This data can help your client as a business-building tool by allowing them to tie this dashboard into their database to create contacts and sales leads for the sales department.

There are many other tools and services out there that you should consider. These are just a few that I am familiar with. The important thing for you to understand is that you can help your clients, and make more money, by helping them monitor what customers, prospects, and peers are saying about their brand, their company, their industry, and their competitors.

Who’s talking about your client right now? Are their ears burning?

And for that matter, who's talking about your agency right now? Are your ears burning?