The Mobile App War Is Over

The app world is the world, where competition is fierce! The fight between Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS is quite evident. They are two great platforms each with some unique strength and have access to vast quantities of apps. Who in the end will win the mobile app war?

Google pays millions to Apple to make their search engines the default search provider for iOS devices but Google collects more from ads placed on Apple devices. Apple and iOS only exist to serve the top 15% of the richest segment of the global population while everyone else is on Android. Research shows that Google’s Android enjoyed close to 78% of the market share, globally. A number of research firms show that the market is tilted towards Android. Market share alone is not the only overriding factor. Android OS phones are mainly low-end phones and the users in that location based marketing are typically not big spenders. Apple, on the other hand, works on the higher end and is reported to have 800 million credit cards on file in iTunes. That is a lot of money to grow its iPhone app business.

In the first week of January this year, iOS fans had spent around $500m on iPhone apps and in-app purchase, which is a huge amount. There are some obvious reasons for Apple’s success. Quality control is a very important, as Apple keeps a tight control on the smartphone hardware and operating system. In addition, Apple spends a huge amount of money on developers every year. But Google Play’s worldwide downloads are higher than that of the App Store as Android’s consumer base is huge. Google Play has now overtaken Apple’s App Store as the number of apps it hosts is more and also the number of developers working on the platform.

It is said the iOS app user are more app-happy and free-spending than Android users. There are plenty of stars that makes iOS app a far more attractive market than Android. Developing for Android is a hassle as – the obvious obstacle is the challenge of supporting a variety of devices from different manufacturers, with varying specs and hardware features and running a different variant of the OS.iOS mobile application development is comparatively easier than that of Android, even if you are new.

Both iOS and Android have over a million apps but both have their advantages and disadvantages. In some cases, the Android Apps available in the market lack the key features. For example, the TiVo app lets you manage your DVR’s recording but does not let you watch them. Many argue that Android’s outstanding market share will lead it to become the dominant app platform. Android’s growing popularity has had a positive effect on it app download. However, iPhone users can be sure of getting future updates at least as early as anyone else if the iOS mobile application is available on Apple’s App Store. But there are exceptions in the case of Android. When an app update comes, one has to wait for weeks or months before the update is available.

Apple’s key market is the US and Europe but it is increasing its revenue in emerging economies like India, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia, but Google’s growth is coming mainly from these countries. Recently China is becoming a major business hub for Apple as its app download is increasing every quarter.

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Omnichannel – The Next Big Shopping Experience

Imagine walking into a store to buy something and being greeted by name by a sales person. Not only that, but they seem to know you had intended to buy that TV from their website, got as far as putting it in the shopping kart, but had thought you might just pop into the store to see it working before making up your mind. You really like this store; you had even praised them on social media and always get their catalogue. Now it seems that they can read your mind, know what you have researched on your tablet on the way to work and have some brilliant ideas about what TV would suit you best. Actually, you are not many years in the future, you are benefitting from Omnichannel marketing.

There have been several stages in the evolution of marketing to consumers. In the first stage potential customers were provided with ad hoc, untargeted information about potential products. In stage two the market was segmented and people received product information according to their age, occupation, geographical location etc. Then marketing got a bit more sophisticated and loyalty programmes were started such as store cards. Potential customers received product information according to their past purchasing with that specific company. Omnichannel is the latest in marketing where companies can suggest products according to purchasing across many channels and many platforms from many retailers, consolidating this information into behaviour patterns and personalising it just for you.

Omni means many and the many channel approach provides a seamless shopping experience to the customer whether they are shopping from a tablet, a computer, through social media or in person. Click or brick, telephone or by mail the customer will be provided with the same experience. The retailer has the advantage that they have a greater understanding of the customer’s needs and can present suggestions to them as they shop. Within a retail building the retailer can map the progress of the shopper through the shop, following their eye line and seeing what they touch and what is of little interest.

All of this is possible due to the other word that really should be included within the name – integration. All the back end systems are integrated. So the database from the website is integrated with the shop database. The CCTV cameras are connected to the system so that the shopper can be viewed. A Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to their mobile phone helps track a customer. When the customer talks to the retail representative they will know everything about them and be able to make informed recommendations. The big difference from a multi channel experience is that the experience is seen from the customer’s point of view as opposed to the marketer’s view.

Omnichannel is a more organised, more joined up and more effective multi channel experience. Some say it is multichannel done right! It provides the physical interaction and personalised service that many people miss when shopping online and is a key differentiator for retail bricks and mortar retailers.

So how can Omnichannel marketing be achieved? First of all everything from everywhere needs to be measured, then that information needs to be sorted and understood. Lastly that information needs to be applied to each customer’s behaviour, wants and activities. Whilst online retailers have had the use of website analytics to understand what their customers do on the website and provide some insight into changes that can be made, until recently, a bricks and mortar retailer did not really understand the shopper’s experience in their stores. Why they bought and more importantly did not buy were not questions as readily answered for them.

In order to do this for a brick based retailer, there needs to be an appropriate technological platform and fully included and trained staff. As the name suggests everything needs to be integrated. However it also needs to be robust, upgradeable and easily understood by the non-technical who will be operating from it.

Only in the last few years that technology has been robust enough to support this kind of system. The sheer volume of structured and unstructured data that needed to be put together challenged hardware, networks and software.

Thankfully a few, innovative companies have sprung up that are able to use truly comprehensive in-store analytical platforms with a breath taking level of sophistication. These systems are able answer questions about shopping, aggregated across thousands of stores as well as the ability to drive deep down into this information. Retailers will soon be collaborating for the good of all and the customer will benefit.

Whilst it is the software that is driving Omnichannel marketing, the hardware is equally as important as it supports and enables fast processing and combines with the network to allow for fast data transfer and collection.

The technical platform needs to collate information from numerous, different data points which means an enormous amount of data being processed and collated. Surely we are in the era of Big Data! Some examples of data collection points include:

• WiFi and blue tooth enable devices

• Security cameras

• POS (Point of Sale) systems

• Payment cards

• Loyalty cards

• WiFi points

• Workforce Management Systems

• CRM (Customer Relationship Management Systems)

• Weather and timing systems

This information can then be processed, analysed and output to a number of tools, apps, reports and other software systems as well as produce real time alerts to phones and tablet. The type of information available is very wide and includes:

• Traffic measurements

• Buying profiles

• Buying behaviour

• Movements around a store

• Shopper demographic

• Poorly performing retail areas

In effect they answer the five vital questions that any retailer will ask themselves:

1. Are our shoppers engaged with us?

2. Are our promotions working?

3. Which bits of our marketing works best?

4. Where can I best use my staff?

5. The big one: What can I do better to become more profitable?

Some truly innovative companies are bringing buying power into the hands of the shopper and enabling the retailer to be very responsive to their needs. That is Omnichannel.

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The Current State of Location Based Services [Infographic]

In a desperate attempt to look for the next big thing in customer engagement, many businesses tend to overlook a critical capability offered by the most ubiquitous tool – the location tracking capability of the mobile devices. Thanks to customers’ obsession with smartphones, physical businesses can now get telling insights into customer behavior and preferences based on their real-time location and use Location Based Services (LBS) to engage and provide personalized experiences.

Location data is the missing part of the ‘customer analytics’ puzzle as it can reveal previously unseen patterns and improve business decisions. Physical brick and mortar businesses across industries can use location intelligence to understand and engage potential customers, fulfilling the true promise of location-based technologies – to turn every visitor into a happy customer.

The following infographic will introduce LBS technology and the endless possibilities it offers.


Our SaaS tool Proximity MX reimagines location-based services by combining the power of Location Intelligence, Actionable Insights, and Mobile Engagement.

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The 6 Step Marketing Campaign

Solopreneurs and Entrepreneurs are urged to periodically launch marketing campaigns designed to promote the products and services sold and the brand. The purpose of marketing is to drive sales and generate revenues and profits, the life -blood of every business. In support of that suggestion, presented here is a review of the core components of a successful Proximity marketing campaign.

Step 1: Identify your target audience

Understand who you want your campaign to reach and influence. List the industry categories (e.g., for-profit, not-for-profit, social services, IT, hospitals, banking, etc.) and the job titles of your most frequent clients and most promising prospective clients. Members of the target market groups must have the motive and money to use your products or services.

Step 2: Know the competition

As you create your primary and secondary marketing campaign messages, keep your direct competitors in mind. The marketing message should promote the expertise, experience, judgment and attributes that make you superior to others with whom clients and prospects might do business. Your message should be designed to overcome current or potential objections to you and persuade those with motive and money to choose you, because hiring you will make them look good.

Step 3: Identify the primary and secondary marketing messages

What do you need to make known to current and potential clients that will help them to develop the trust and confidence required to do business with you? Refer to your knowledge of your target market groups and the competition, remembering also to reference client priorities and concerns and their objectives when using your products or services.

In the marketing messages, find ways to enhance your brand, that is, your reputation. Clients do business with those they know and like; they do even more business with those they trust and respect. Building up your image, or (tactfully) bragging about your already noteworthy brand will become the central elements of your marketing message.

Step 4: Select the media platforms

Decide which media platforms you will use to reach current and prospective clients. Marketing campaigns are most effective when they utilize more than one platform to broadcast the message to target markets. Comprehensive marketing campaigns will include a mix of online and print media platforms that feature text, visual and audio options, based on what the target audiences follow and trust.

Sponsorship of local charity events is yet another potentially effective marketing platform. When charity event sponsorships are part of your campaign, send a press release to local media outlets to request inclusion in additional media platforms. Newspaper items or radio announcements are always trusted more than paid advertisements, because news items are perceived as unbiased.

There is also an indirect and ongoing brand promotion campaign that marketing specialists are advised to conduct. Providers of B2B services are recommended to periodically schedule appearances as a host or visiting expert on webinars; serve as a panelist or moderator in programs that address topics the target audience will find relevant; speak at conferences the target audience would attend; or teach related courses or workshops as a way to enhance the value of the intangible resources that you sell, meaning, your expertise and judgment.

Step 5: Create a budget

Once you have your version of the ideal marketing plan in draft form, calculate its expected costs and the roll-out timeline. Make sure that the campaign ROI makes sense for your marketing goals. Align your marketing efforts to projected gross sales and don’t squander resources on fruitless initiatives.

Step 6: Track the campaign performance

Establishing goals and objectives for your marketing campaign are worthwhile activities. The process will guide you toward making decisions that positively impact the campaign design and furthermore, will help you understand what kind of influence you can wield through marketing activities. Decide what you want your marketing campaign to achieve and confirm the metrics that will measure and acknowledge its success or shortcomings.

Thanks for reading,

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What Is Location Based Marketing?

Location-based services such as Foursquare, Gowalla, and Facebook Places have started creating a lot of buzz about a concept called “location-based marketing.”

What is location based marketing? Just another social media buzz word or something that has the potential to change the way businesses interact with their consumers?

Here is a definition from one of the leading mobile marketing gurus:

Location Based Marketing: A social media marketing strategy focusing on mobile check-in services, like Foursquare or Gowalla, to bring deals, promotions, coupons, discounts, or specials to customers in real time on their mobile devices.

At its core this strategy stands at the intersection of social media marketing and mobile marketing. Also known as “LBM” – location based marketing is creating a way for businesses to literally bring value to the palm of their customer’s hand.

Customers can “check-in” to at a store on their mobile device to unlock specials and deals. This takes the often mushy concept of “social media” and creates a way for businesses to quantify exactly how their Facebook or Twitter presence is generating revenue. Social media turns into a tool to drive real traffic into restaurants and retail stores.

LBM is a low cost and easy to use marketing strategy for small businesses and restaurants that uses cutting edge proximity marketing strategies to transform customer engagement from a small business perspective.

This is exactly why LBM has so much potential and has generated so much buzz lately in marketing circles sites – it is finally a way for brick and mortar businesses to generate concrete revenue with social media.

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Why Is Marketing and Advertising Essential for Every Business?

To survive in today’s competition, every business – large, medium, or small – needs to promote itself. It should make people aware of the products and services it offers. The availability of a variety of media sources like television, radio, print, outdoor media, the Internet, etc., offers businesses numerous opportunities to promote themselves with a little effort. Many businesses have already understood the importance of marketing and advertising. Businesses in US spent around $144 billion on marketing and advertising in 2011. Globally, it was $ 498 billion.

Marketing and advertising are not the same
Marketing and advertising are two unique concepts which are important for every business to succeed. Many people wrongly assume that they are the same. But, they are not. Marketing involves various activities like identifying the target markets, their needs and requirements; new product development, promotion, building brand image, etc. Advertising, on the other hand, is one of the marketing activities. It is a kind of promotion to make consumers aware of the products/services available under a brand.

In this article, we will discuss on how marketing and advertising help businesses.

• Marketing defines target markets: Target markets or target customers is a group of people who are more likely to buy products/services offered by your business. Unless a business identifies its target market, it cannot design its advertising strategy that is customized to serve potential consumers. location based Marketing helps the businesses effectively identify their target markets. Marketing involves research to identify people who you want to sell your products and people who need your products.

• Identifies customers’ needs: It is important to continuously monitor and produce products that suit the requirements of your target group. Marketing does this exactly. It identifies customers’ requirements by conducting various polls, campaigns and research, which enable the businesses to produce products that match the needs and wants of the consumers.

• Builds brand image: Good reputation makes a company stand-out from the rest. As marketing enables a company to produce products as per the customers’ demand, and helps it conduct various programs to promote the brand and its products, a kind of brand image will be established among the public.

• Advertising helps publicize company’s products and services: While marketing involves all the back-end operations like research, collecting opinions, identifying needs and requirements and so on, advertising is associated with publicizing the brand to the consumers. It creates an awareness of the brand as well as the products/services offered by it among people and thus makes the brand well known among the target markets.

Besides creating brand awareness, an effective advertisement does have the power to persuade the public to buy the products. The diverse means of advertising include non-electronic media like newspapers, brochures, journals, magazines, banners, posters, etc., and electronic media such as television, radio, the Internet, etc.

• Differentiates company’s products from others’ products: Another advantage of advertising is that it gives a company an opportunity to differentiate its products from its competitors’ products. Many of us might have seen advertisements which compare the effectiveness of their products with that of their competitors. A popular example is consumer product advertisements, which show comparison of the products. This kind of promotion helps people understand the specialty of your brand/product.

• Enhances your presence in the market: An advertisement campaign continuously reminds the prospective customers about the brand and its products. In a troubled economy, where so many companies are coming in and going out of business within months, an ongoing advertising strategy helps businesses reach their customers effectively. In the long run, it helps the companies build long term relationship with their target customers.

• Marketing and advertising both help a business increase revenues: The final goal of both marketing and advertising is the same – to improve sales and revenues of the company. While marketing improves sales by producing products that serve the needs and wants of the customers, advertising enhances the revenues by making people aware of the products offered by the company.

Any business can accrue these benefits by considering marketing and advertising as essential elements of business. Implementing effective marketing and advertising strategies customized to a business is, however, essential and works out better when both the strategies are integrated. To make the most out of them, it is better to take help of professional advertising and marketing service providers who offer tailor-made strategies designed to meet your business goals and help you prosper and grow bigger.

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The 5 Greatest Benefits of Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is the parallel web marketing for mobiles. It currently comes under four main types: SMS, MMS Advertising, Bluetooth Marketing, 2D bar codes and location-based marketing. Mobile marketing is still in an infant stage, but is extremely attractive and inexpensive.

Proximity marketing is on the front line in connecting potential customers to media advertisements. For example, the buyer might be at a supermarket, passing by a booth, or at a sporting event. In the event, consumers could receive a direct message on their mobile offering current promotions, specific discount codes, or other incentives.

This gives advertisers a powerful medium of communication through this new medium. First, it is crucial to understand the current rate of mobile users, currently the rate of mobile penetration is 87.6% in North America. This is the highest of all electronic media. So what exactly are the benefits of marketing to mobile users?

Benefits of Mobile Marketing:

Powerful: With the advance of the Mobile Internet, the consumer is available at any time, anywhere. It is precisely this point that the mobile is appealing. Geo-tagging allows you to make highly relevant campaigns for targeted ads. Depending on location, time or lifestyle, the messages may be different.

Relevant: Mobile marketing also offers accessibility and immediate communication with prospects. With this advantage, the messages can be customized to better promote the ad toward individuals.

Consumers: Consumers have a strong addiction to their mobile. Hence “mobile addiction” The advantage of this proximity is to be sure to communicate our messages to the mobile users in real time.

Profitable: Compared to rural radios or TVs, the introduction of a mobile marketing campaign is faster and less expensive because the consumer base is opt-ins and can be measured for its effectiveness by the advertiser quickly.

Versatile: The motive is not an object like the others. Besides its basic function, namely phone, users use it for many additional functions that can be used to conduct mobile marketing campaigns. For example, sending a game via the advertiser’s name, or dates of grand openings can automatically by synchronized to consumers devices when subscribed.

Medical professionals have jumped on mobile marketing’s versatility by connecting with patients. (Confirming appointments directly via sms, or offering outside products like seminars, or other web based products.)

Attracting a new audience that never visits websites via personal computers is another attractive reason. It may seem opportunistic, but the number of mobile terminals in the world far exceeds the number of computers and therefore users.

Before considering various mobile marketing tools, it is necessary to clarify that the legal rules are remarkably strict regarding the receipt of data on mobile. While consumers remain confused about the various provisions, the constitution and the qualification databases are governed by a particularly harsh opt-in. All these rules are consistent with the protection of consumers and must be followed exactly. Failure to do so will result in the severest punishments.

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Consumer Education Tips For Bluetooth Marketing

The popularity of Bluetooth Marketing continues to grow, but many people are still unfamiliar with the concept. Bluetooth Marketing sends coupons, flyers, or other content to cell phones using a wireless Bluetooth connection to a consumer’s cell phone, smart phone, or other Bluetooth enabled device. Consumers must be within the Bluetooth range of the server in order to be contacted by the server. Consumers receive a customized contact message and must opt-in to receiving the advertisement before it is sent. After the consumer has consented, the advertisement – which may be a JPG or GIF image, and MP3 audio file, 3GP video, or other content – is transferred to the consumer’s cell phone via Bluetooth. No identifiable information, including phone numbers, is collected during the flyer transmission.

This process is cost effective as there are no per-message fees for the consumer or the owner of the Bluetooth Marketing server. It is also environmentally friendly as it reduces the number of paper flyers that are created and distributed.

Since Bluetooth Marketing is still fairly new, consumers need to be educated about how to receive Bluetooth flyers and they need to be reassured that the flyer is coming from a trusted source. Using print signs along with Bluetooth flyers can significantly improve the performance of an ad campaign. The presence of the sign near the transmitter indicates the location of the Bluetooth transmission so the consumer can identify the transmission’s range and they know where they should be in order to receive the flyer.

A good sign should:

  • Reassure the consumer that the transmission is from a trusted source
  • Tell the consumer that no personal information, including their phone number, can be collected during the Bluetooth transmission
  • Instruct the consumer to enable their Bluetooth in order to receive the flyer
  • Tell the consumer the contents of the flyer they will be receiving
  • Tell the consumer why they want to accept the flyer
  • Provide the server’s PIN code in case their phone requests one
  • Be eye catching and stylish like any good advertisement

When used at an event, a representative can be used on site to generate excitement. Some Bluetooth Marketing servers are small and can be used as a mobile device with a portable power supply. A representative can easily carry a small server in a backpack while they stroll through a crowd at an event. The representative can engage with people, discuss the product that is being advertised, and show them how to use their cell phones’ Bluetooth. Representatives wearing eye-catching outfits will draw attention making it easy to interact with the crowd. The representative should then ask people to turn on their Bluetooth and accept the advertisement and offer any assistance needed by the consumers.
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Make It Stronger With Video and Location-Based Marketing!

Today the hot topic in marketing is video; and tomorrow it might be another component of video. It’s just how the pace goes today with digital.

Change is the name of the game in digital today. As video is diversifying its face more boldly into individual marketing campaigns, the number of users are not only effecting the expected returns but are also playing a huge factor in the manner in which small-medium business gravitate to marketing and directly impacting how Location-based marketing and technology is shaping itself for the present and future. Location-based services (LBS), otherwise referred to as proximity marketing, taps into smart-phones and mobile GPS’, and is becoming the desired highways for local information. So, the more users tap into these location services, the greater they begin to integrate these principles into normal marketing campaigns; and ideally become less foreign to the US market.

* Almost one fifth (19%) of the world’s six billion mobile users are already using LBS. 1
* Navigation via maps and GPS is currently the most popular application, used by 46% 1

It’s not surprising that video and LBS’s basically go hand-and-hand. Considering that all of the LBS’s platform’s data are powered via local GPS and geared towards attracting local audiences or targeted segments. These platforms rely on global positioning for geography. Doesn’t matter if one is using TagWhat, Viddy (now the #1 Free Android App as of 4/27/12), or other platforms like Foursquare and Go Walla; they all provide information to users based on their mobile location. So, therefore when utilizing video marketing, it’s even more crucial that business executive stay fresh with their aligned marketing platforms and campaigns and not be afraid to create highly engaging environments on these location-based platforms or utilizing the many services of Location-Based Advertising (uses tools such as GPS and geo-fencing to locate potential prospects and send them messages) and Blue-tooth/Wifi (this allows data transfer over short distances. If you’ve used a wireless phone headset, it probably was Blue-tooth or Wifi).

Say for example, you’re a consumer retailer or business that interacts with a high volume of event attendees; you might want to explore installing proximity built around blue-tooth and Wifi to increase your audience engagements with highly personal and individualized marketing promotions. So anytime a device comes within your vicinity (300-500 feet), your targeted audiences will receive a special call-to-action encouraging the desire to shop, interact or patronize the brand in a personal manner and in real-time. The returns and quantities of transmissions are not only unlimited but instant. As the main denominator is distance and/or range from the device and the receiving mobile phone. One main benefit is the ability to transmit various file types and formats to devices. Another benefit is the cost of this highly profitable and personalized marketing program; ideally totaling only a few hundred dollars each month and includes executive level reports and in-depth analytics on dwell times, traffic patterns and behavior profiles.

Maybe you’re considering additional marketing ideas, don’t be afraid to venture into the uncharted areas of location-based techniques and tools. Though these marketing techniques are still underutilized here in the US, they’ve been proven to instantly open up stronger communication channels and create uncharted opportunities that might be the deciding factor in your ROI’s.

The benefits are endless; but the returns offer all of the following:

* Its “Real-Time” analytics with detailed reporting metrics to track campaign initiatives and measure the overall success of performance.
* A developed strategy and marketing plan for execution; including creating the aligned elements and areas for creative or design; including mobile and web.
* Help set realistic and actionable goals that are attainable and aligned with the business plans & company’s strategies
* It’s an integrated (multi-channel) marketing tool that is used to increase consumer experiences, boost customer interactions and delivers instant returns.
* Real-Time Marketing with rich generated user-content for better customer engagement
* A cross balance between paid media (PPC, Display & Banner), earned media (Social & Consumer Interaction) and owned media (Content, Web/Mobile & etc).

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The iBeacon App Development Solution for Internal and External Corporate Functions

Apple’s iBeacon uses Bluetooth Low Energy devices such as tablets and smartphones to send information. It holds great promise for automating and personalizing several functions via compatible apps or operating systems. So far, it is being used by companies to trigger location-based services actions such as tracking customer location, sending personal offers etc. Three new iBeacon apps have been launched recently to leverage the beacon technology benefits for improving operations. These are –

1- iBeacon app for the exhibition industry : this application is highly advantageous for the exhibition centres to offer as a complementary service. The cost of Beacon applications is next to negligible and in the face of future competition, this will become an included deal in all service packs. With this application, the visitors of the exhibition or event will be guided through the course of the event without any assistance from an usher, all using a virtual device. It will save the employment of manpower and visitors can view the exhibition at the leisure. The application can be used to mark stalls or object of interest, locate it in the venue and to send personal notifications based on the visitor’s interest.

2- iBeacon app for your Enterprises activities : enterprises, irrespective of their size have some common operations that will only differ in size. The iBeacon application can be used to track employee activities, allocate tasks, measure work efficiency and productivity and even keep attendance records. The data will be saved on cloud for easy and secure storage and retrieval. Personalized messages and important notifications can be sent to individual employees or teams. This technology can be used to set work priorities and speed decision-making process. The application can be customized as per the individual business requirements of the company.

3- iBeacon app for an eCommerce Store : iBeacon has marked applications for the retail industry, both internally and externally in B2B and B2C transactions. Although this store has been designed for eCommerce stores, it can be used by brick-and-mortar stores with equal efficacy. Other than sending customer’s personal notifications on offers of interest, it can also be used to direct them to aisles where products they frequently purchase are placed, to direct them to exclusive sales among other things. It will not only enhance the shopping experience, but also free employees to manage the store operations as customers will not have to rely on them much.

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