Last Updated on May 7, 2019
The Face of Today’s Executive
It’s important to realize just how much wireless devices, particularly smart phones and their counterparts have changed the way we do business. Today’s business person has more options and can be more productive and more flexible at the same time. Meshing business life and personal life is easier than ever, because the world is your office.
Gone are the days when the executive reports to the corner office everyday with his secretary planning his every move. Today’s executive reads and writes his own email, makes changes to his calendar while watching his son play soccer and works from home in his pajamas once a week. Today’s executive is selling a multi-million dollar contract in a customer’s office in Miami while ordering a cake for her daughter’s birthday party in San Francisco over the web during meeting breaks. Business and personal life is mobile, and today’s wireless devices are more critical than ever.
Case Study: Barack Obama
The face of the new executive became powerfully evident during this year’s election campaign.
Barack Obama was constantly photographed by the news media using his Blackberry or talking on his cell phone. Such obvious dependence on wireless technology has never been evident in a political candidate. And, by all evidence, it helped make him successful.
Obama literally ran his campaign via Blackberry. Certainly, there were times when it was intrusive, but it also helped him enormously. Obama responded to staffers, answered email, and kept abreast of news articles regarding the campaign. He also used his cell phone and Blackberry to make recommendations and keep involved during the financial bailout that went before congress during the campaign. He phoned senators and congressmen to rally support for the failed bill – completing his senate responsibilities while on the campaign trail for president.
Further expanding his cyber-presence, Obama also used Facebook extensively. Obama currently has over one million friends on Facebook, and the forum was widely used to disseminate information regarding his plans and to rally his supporters. He also used LinkedIn, a business networking site. Today, Obama is also “LinkedIn” to business people from every industry and level of business.
Obama’s foray into the digital world intensified when he became a senator for the state of Illinois. The Illinois legislature posted all bills and amendments online and all senators were issued laptops. While in session, senators could keep abreast of local news and use the internet to attend to personal and senatorial business. Soon, Obama saw the benefit to easy web surfing and began using a Blackberry along with his cell phone. When Obama ran for US Senate in 2003, his entire staff got Blackberry’s and they became a primary tool for communication. Obama’s senate campaign even had a blog, which was very unusual in politics at the time.
By the time Obama ran for president, he and his staff were dependent upon the Blackberry and other technology tools to keep up with the frantic pace. And, Obama’s command of technology has certainly contributed to his success. It would, of course, be unfair to say that Obama won the presidential election over John McCain because of his Blackberry. However, it is fair to say that Obama’s message was the most widely disseminated in US history.
He was able to use every tool in the toolbox to make sure that potential voters knew his plans. He used these same tools to create excitement about his plans for change. And, there’s no doubt that the excitement generated about the change Obama promised played a large part in his election success. In this regard, he was the ultimate advertiser.
Contrast Obama’s technical savvy to that of John McCain. McCain admitted he rarely used the internet, and had just begun to get online on his own. However, he was an ardent user of his cell phone, and didn’t hesitate to call senior officials to discuss issues and plans. But, this was not the face of John McCain that the American people saw on a regular basis; certainly not the same way we saw Obama regularly communicating via Blackberry and cell phone.
Could it be that Obama enticed people to get online and read his message simply because it was so obvious to us that he was putting information out there? Did he appeal to the business person who, like him, seemed tied to their Blackberry? Did he appeal to young voters simply because he was technologically savvy compared to his opponent?
US Presidents have traditionally been sheltered from technology such as email and cell phones, and have instead lived in a bit of a “bubble”, without independent access to the outside world. Obama seems intent upon maintaining his wireless connectivity and appears to be negotiating ways to stay tuned in to the American people via the web and email. Obama’s fight to get out of the presidential bubble may seem cutting edge, but it is actually a fight to get back to a time forgotten. You see, many years ago, presidents like Abraham Lincoln stayed in tune with their constituents by hosting “open houses” at the White House.
Ordinary Americans could visit with the president and share their views. Modern presidents have been so shielded from the outside world for security reasons that they’ve had ample opportunity to become estranged from the very people they’re in office to support. Relying on only the opinions of closest staff before making decisions can be dangerous.
If Barack Obama is successful at maintaining his connection with the people by using the latest in 4G technology, he will again make presidential history.
So, how can you be a Barack Obama when it comes to getting your message out to the people you want to connect with? In the coming chapters, we’ll explore using today’s most popular applications to increase communications with your customers and increase business. We’ll also talk about how to create your own niche applications to set you apart from your competitors and keep your marketing fresh and consistent with your company’s overall message.
Now that we’ve established that there is a very large group of consumers using 4G wireless devices on a daily basis, it’s time to talk about how you, as a business owner and advertiser can get to these consumers through their ever present wireless devices.
Wireless mobile advertising may be one of the most important advertising vehicles in the coming years. Wireless usage and applications are only expected to grow and smart business owners will take advantage of this trend. There are a number of ways you can get your message out to mobile users today; and you can be sure that each year will bring a variety of new applications and marketing possibilities.
IBM conducted a survey with mobile phone users asking if they would be willing to receive ads on their mobile phones in order to receive free digital content. Most responders indicated that they would be interested in such an option. In addition, responders said that they would be willing to share their personal information with mobile advertisers in order to receive incentives, such as discounts, coupons and air or hotel rewards points.
Advertising to the wireless user can be quite simple, and most businesses can begin quickly, using tools you already have. You may be able to make some simple adjustments to immediately give you more visibility. Then, over time, you can apply new techniques and use new applications to increase your visibility even further. First, we’re going to talk about your most obvious advertising vehicle.
When you created your website, you did so because you wanted to create visibility on the internet. Well, now that everyone takes the internet everywhere they go, your internet visibility is even more important than before. So, if by chance you don’t have a website, creating one should be your first task.
Depending upon the size of your business and your own technical savvy, you may choose to create your website through one of three methods:
- Outsourcing website creation to a company that specializes in this service. They can maintain the website for you, as well.
- Using internal IT employees to create and maintain your site (assuming you have them)
- Creating your website yourself using one of the many software tools readily available.
Regardless of how you create your website, you’ll then need to develop content to be posted there. This is where you want to showcase your products, services and expertise in a fashion that looks attractive and professional. You may want to outsource the layout of your website to a professional web designer and you may want to use a professional writer to create content for the site.
Keep in mind that an ugly, poorly designed website with buttons that don’t work and copy that is full of typographical errors will simply turn off potential customers. If you’re not willing to dedicate the time and resources to develop and maintain a fully functional, attractive site that gives valuable information to your visitors, you shouldn’t waste the money creating a website at all.
Now that we’ve established that you have a website, and that it can provide information about your products and services, let’s talk about how the mobile user will view your website.
Keep in mind that mobile users are viewing your site from a very small screen. This means that your website must be optimized to accommodate these visitors; if your website is not optimized for viewing on any size and type of device, mobile visitors to your site will have difficulty reading the content and navigating through the pages.
Professional web designers with expertise in Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) will have the skills required to make your website easy to navigate and read from mobile devices. And, it’s important to note that there are a wide variety of types of mobile devices out there. In order to reach a wide audience, including those users that have two year old phones as well as those with brand new phones that boast high resolution and colour screens, you’ll have to make a decision.
You can either then your web pages must be optimized either limit yourself to the most basic markup, which means that your page can be viewed on any phone, or you can identify the specific capabilities of each phone that you want to be able to view your content. This sounds very tedious, but many content providers do it, and the protocols are not that different. Once you have the current list coded, you just add new models as they become available. This method allows you to offer rich content, most like viewers get from their desktops.
You may also elect to make some changes to your content aimed at mobile viewers. Every business is different, so it’s difficult to give specific recommendations about how you, personally, should change your content. But, consider this: would a person visiting your website from a remote location, such as his car or in an airport, need or want anything different than a person accessing your site via his home or office computer?
Attracting Visitors to Your Website
It’s a wise choice for all businesses to take steps to increase traffic to their websites. Simply put-the more visitors to your site, the bigger your business. There are several steps you can take to increase both mobile and fixed traffic on your site.
Don’t Sleep on SEO
If you haven’t taken the time to ensure that your website is optimized in the popular search engines, such as Google and Yahoo, it’s time to do so. This simply means that you’ve taken measures to ensure that when a user searches for businesses in your industry or with your name, your business pops up – preferably first! Optimizing your website for better ranking in the search engines will improve traffic to your site both from mobile users and from users at fixed locations.
To improve your ranking in the search engines, you’ll need to spend some time getting “search engine optimized”. This includes making changes to your meta tags and title tags within your website’s code. Don’t assume that your website builder did this for you, because, in most cases, they don’t. You should also ensure that your site is registered with the most popular search engines and that your site contains copy that uses the words most frequently searched for your type of business.
For example, if you sell golf clubs, your website should contain written copy that contains phrases like “buying golf clubs” and “good deals on golf equipment”. Having such phrases in the copy on your website helps your ranking in the search engines because these are the types of phrases users search with.
Advertise a Gadget
Business related “gadgets” on your website are a great way to increase traffic. For example, if you own a mortgage company, you might consider offering a mortgage calculator on your website. In addition to having your website search engine optimized for phrases such as “get mortgage”, you would also optimize it for “mortgage calculator”. This creates traffic on your site from visitors who are looking for mortgage calculators, as well as from visitors looking for mortgage companies. Then, you can advertise your mortgage calculator on other websites, linking the advertisement to your own site.
Gadgets such as this can foster a significant traffic increase on your site, both from fixed users and from remote wireless users.
Accept Mobile Payments
If you sell products via your website, make sure that you’re set up to take those payments via mobile devices versus just fixed desktop browsers. One of the easiest ways is by simply accepting Paypal on your site. Paypal is a popular web based payment program. Mobile users can set up mobile payments through their mobile numbers and pay anyone accepting paypal payments right through their phones. If you already accept credit cards via your website, these functions should also work for mobile users, as long as your website is optimized for mobile usage.
Text messaging is widely used by wireless customers as a quick way to communicate and receive small bits of information. For advertisers with access to their customers’ mobile phone numbers, it’s also a great way to send messages about specials and sales and updates on products and services.
Subway Restaurants has been extremely successful advertising via text messaging.
Interested parties can “opt in” to Subway’s mobile marketing campaign and receive the restaurant’s most recent coupons via text messaging. Subway is even smart enough to send the coupons out right around lunch time!
This marketing campaign is accomplished through simple “mass text messaging”. All that’s required is maintaining a database of the phone numbers of your interested customers and sending periodic mass messages to these numbers. There are several “mobile marketing” companies that specialize in handling such campaigns for their customers.
In their mass messages, Subway sends customers a string of numbers and letters to be presented to cashiers at their restaurants in order to redeem the text message coupons. In order to encourage participation in the campaign, they used table tents and signs on the cash registers in their restaurants telling customers how to sign up.
Subway has seen phenomenal success with these text messaging campaigns. The campaigns have been used in several Subway markets and have seen a coupon redemption rate as high as 8% in some markets. Though they may be contacting a smaller number of people than a typical direct mail advertising campaign, the success rate is much higher.
Subway notes two keys to its campaign’s success. The first has been creating a campaign that requires users to “opt in” and gives them the opportunity to “opt out” at any time. This ensures that everyone who receives the advertisements has actually requested them. Sending unwanted text messages could actually turn off prospective customers, and could even be viewed as “spam”.
Secondly, Subway only sends out coupons three or four times a month. The coupons have a very short expiration date, fostering a sense of urgency among customers to use the coupons right away. Subway restaurants in Buffalo New York, for example send the coupons out on snowy days, when their restaurant traffic is at its lowest. The coupons have been successful in encouraging folks to get out for lunch on a day when it would have been much easier to stay in. The short expiration date gets traffic into the Subway stores just on the days they need it most.
Creative thinking like Subway’s is the key to using simple mobile applications to increase business. In the coming years, such innovation will remain critical to business in a technology savvy world. It’s important to note, however, that this sort of campaign is targeted to current customers, aiming to increase the frequency of their visits to the restaurant. Since you have to know about the campaign and sign up to receive the coupons, this sort of campaign doesn’t attract new business. Subway’s primary means of advertising to attract new business is through television commercials and sponsorships.
If you’re looking to find the perfect company that can meet your needs, check out: The GoMo News Advertising Directory – 220 mobile marketing companies. This is a huge resource that can even be downloaded as a PDF for further research.
Success in Mobile Advertising
While there’s no question that mobile advertising is a relatively new concept to most business owners, there are quite a few other success stories out there. New and innovative ways of advertising to users via their mobile devices are cropping up every day, and many have been extremely successful. Let’s take a look at some other very successful mobile advertising strategies.
Facebook Mobile Ad Market
We all know what a monster money maker FaceBook has become and all of the attention it has been getting after its recent IPO. As of August 2nd 2012 the FB share price hit a new low at just under $20 a share and close to half its IPO price, but that does not affect its value to mobile market advertisers.
In June of 2012 FaceBook launched which are known as mobile only “Sponsored Stories”.
These ads can be purchased via the mobile ads API Power Editor in the FaceBook system. Here’s Facebook’s statement on their mobile ads launch.
Today, Facebook announced that marketers will have the opportunity to buy sponsored stories in News Feed separately from other placements through the API and Power Editor. Now, marketers can choose which placement (independent of any right-hand side buy) they would like whether it be in News Feed on desktop, News Feed on mobile, both, or in combination with the right-hand side.
Facebook is always looking for ways to improve products and has responded to requests from marketers to control the placement of their sponsored stories. As companies are promoting services more frequently on mobile, this option gives them the opportunity to focus on specific placements that will impact them most directly.
A quick rundown on the various placements Facebook will allow advertisers to choose from in the API and Power Editor:
- All placements: this option includes right-hand side +News Feed desktop+ News Feed mobile
- All desktop placements: this option includes right-hand side + News Feed desktop News Feed (desktop and mobile): this option includes News Feed desktop + News Feed
- News Feed desktop: this option includes News Feed desktop only News Feed mobile: this option includes News Feed mobile only
Business owners are always concerned about creating new business and repeat business. In addition, it’s critical in today’s technology savvy marketplace to appear fresh and up to date, regardless of your specific business.
The 4G network for mobile phones and all the capabilities this system brings is truly creating a revolution in how consumers and business people work and live. Mobile devices that are internet capable have significantly expanded the computer age – which was a revolution in itself.
It is difficult to know what the future holds in wireless innovation. However, it is clear that this technology is continually evolving and becoming more of a force in our lives. The time to determine how you will use this force to increase your business is now.
Last year, the Vice President of Google, Vince Gert, stated that he believes that the future of the internet lies in mobile users, not users from the desktop. If this is true, business owners, particularly those that rely on their websites for business, cannot afford to miss out on this segment of the population. It’s critical to keep up with the trend as it grows, and before your business appears out of touch.
It is our hope that we have helped you understand how useful wireless applications can be to your business and that we have given you some ideas for how to find your own niche in the world of mobile phones and computing. In addition, we hope that we’ve helped you to see that making changes to your business to help improve your presence with wireless users is not so difficult.
There are many companies out there that can help you succeed in this arena, whether you want to advertise with popular existing internet applications, use text messaging to your advantage or create your own unique application to set you apart from the crowd. The possibilities are as unique as your business itself.
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