Friday, 11 December 2009


The holiday shopping season is here and many marketers are launching applications to beef up their mobile presence.  So which applications have really nailed it this holiday season? Mobile Marketer consulted some industry experts regarding which applications they feel have really nailed it.  Based on industry expert opinions, here is Mobile Marketer’s top 10 holiday mobile applications in no particular order:

Target - The Target application simplifies and streamlines consumers’ shopping experience at Target stores and on The application connects consumers to great savings, store hours and the perfect gift. Putting the power to save money and shop more conveniently into people's hands is part of Target’s "Expect More. Pay Less." promise. 

E-Bay Deals application - Available as a free download in the App Store, the Deals application features intuitive navigation, customizable search features and PayPal integration enabling mobile check-out. The application also lists holiday bargains.

SnapTell - SnapTell is revolutionizing the way consumers and marketers connect. Using a camera phone and SnapTell's image-recognition technology, users can easily and instantly access requested information and content. Marketers can effortlessly create campaigns using existing collateral and can alter their messaging on the fly in response to SnapTell-provided actionable metrics. 

Amazon - With the Amazon iPhone application, consumers get easy access to the millions of products available from Amazon and 9,000 other merchants. The user experience is great and the best part is that consumers can use it to skip long lines at the store.  

Yahoo Shopping – The application lets consumers search and buy from Yahoo’s catalog of products. Primarily the application functions as a tool for comparison shopping, but the application also features click-to-buy links to the Web sites of Yahoo’s merchant partners such as Target, Nordstrom, Amazon and Fossil.

Holiday Gift Guide by NearbyNow – This application is good for discovering gift ideas for hard-to-shop-for family members. There are 20 gift guides in the application, including Macys, Nordstrom, InStyle, Cosmo, Seventeen, Real Simple, Armani and etcetera. Users just type in a few things about their giftee, and it suggests products from all these guides. 

Christmas Cards by Hit Chili Apps - Instantly create an online holiday card and send. The customization is easy and it doesn't feel like you are spamming.

Black Friday deals by DealNews - Tracks all the Black Friday specials, great layout. Best because the content is great.

Kosher Cookbook – The Kosher Cookbook application gives users access to hundreds of recipes, custom meal plans and the ability to create personalized shopping lists. The Kosher Cookbook includes more than 300 recipes.

Best Buy - Best Buy’s Deals application allows iPhone and iPod Touch users to view weekly and mobile-only specials and find the nearest Best Buy store. The application features product reviews, exclusive content and click-to-buy features.

Research shows that 24 percent of smartphone users make purchases and they are proving to have greater purchase intent than PC users. It’s no wonder that marketers are so attracted to the Mobile application market.

Thursday, 10 December 2009


An exert from Geoff Livingston’s book “Now Is Gone
Many folks ask how to go about creating social media for their company. As a service to the industry, find here an open source version of a draft social media content development process.
This process is general enough to guide development of specific initiatives. It does not recommend blogging or video, per say. Rather the process allows content creation to move towards the market’s needs, and within the company’s resources. There are 14 steps in all:
1) Clearly articulate who your stakeholders are before you begin.
2) Clearly articulate the key issues these stakeholders care about as it relates to your offering. Use a bulleted list with no more than three or four words per item.
3) Begin by researching which, if any, top bloggers are discussing these issues. Use your bulleted list to search. The following are good places to start:
4) Inevitably, any substantial subject matter area has a back channel where top bloggers and influencers chat. For example, PR and marketing bloggers and tend to connect on Facebook, Twitter, and to some extent, LinkedIn. This back channel can yield powerful connections to highly influential minds who may not have blogs with top statistical ranking.
Marketers looking to find their subject area’s back channel should start with a basic search. Once your initial search yields important blogs, please visit them and note which social networks the bloggers use to connect. Join their communities. And learn what your stakeholders really care about.
5) Don’t just observe, participate. Comment on blogs and social networks in a non-promotional way. Become part of the community.
6) Note several things in your research:
  1. Top industry issues
  2. Top bloggers/thought leaders that write about your issues (you will need these for marketing purposes after your content creation process is done)
  3. Preferred content forms (video, white papers, blogs, podcasts)
  4. Ideal places to connect with the larger industry (social networks, etc.)
  5. Other companies playing in the space: Who’s successful, who isn’t? Why?
  6. Behavioral norms.
Write this information down in a formal analysis.
7) Using the analysis of your social media marketplace, identify the outcomes the organization would like to achieve. These outcomes will determine the measurement benchmarks once the company decides on its preferred communication tools. Possibilities include:
  • Influence
  • Awareness/changed perception on a particular issue
  • Third party credibility through Word of mouth
  • Brand awareness
  • Return on investment (sales)
8 ) Identify the company’s value for the marketplace. Specifically, the organization’s subject matter expertise as it relates to the top industry issues currently being discussed amongst bloggers and thought leaders.
  • Can the company provide enough information to add to the conversation?
  • If so, is it enough to consistently be a part of the conversation, or is it limited in nature? Will it only be valuable for a short time?
  • Can the organization afford to give away this information or does the information comprise trade secrets?
9) Based on the company/organization’s value offering and the marketplace’s issues and needs, draft an editorial mission to serve the community/stakeholders. For example, here is the Now Is Gone blog editorial mission:
Continue serving as a primer for those business executives new to social media or considering engaging with these new communications tools. The conversation should be educational, pragmatic and weigh the pros and cons of social media to provide an authentic, genuine viewpoint of social media marketing. We believe in social media’s potential to better communications, but do not think it will replace traditional tactics. Instead we believe social media will be integrated into the larger marketing mix and may influence change in other disciplines.
10) Now examine the company’s resources:
  • Time
  • Thought leaders
  • Technical capability and savoir faire: Blog, audio, video, social networking
  • Financial resources for some of the above, plus graphic design, SEO, web hosting, application development
11) Select the outreach mechanism(s) that best fits the industry’s preferred content needs (#6), can achieve outcomes (#7) the ability to convey the company’s ability to deliver value through it’s editorial mission (#8 and 9), and that the company can afford to invest in (#10).
There are Many, Many mechanisms. Each has its assets and detriments. And blogging is not a cure all silver bullet solution. Consider these more popular initiatives:
  • Launch a blog
  • Execute a blogger relations program
  • Podcast
  • Create video(s)
  • Develop social network community
  • Create social network application
  • Build your own social network
  • Build a widget
12) Determine who will create the content. Group efforts can help distribute load as well as protect the company from an individual departure. Assign a schedule and make the person responsible. Participation in larger networks should be part of your content development plan and resource allocations.
13) Select general content categories to provide guidance on a weekly basis (if the effort is ongoing). Remain flexible to allow for larger industry and community events.
14) Determine measurement based on outcomes, social media communication vehicle(s), and dedicated effort the company intends to commit to the effort. Select tools to attain measurement. Tools and measurement can vary greatly. Research what is right for you and your effort. Some are free, some are not.


US Medical insurance provider UnitedHealthcare has launched a mobile application meant to improve consumer access to health care.

The new DocGPS application for Apple’s iPhone enables users to tailor their search to their specific health plan and locate nearby doctors, clinics and hospitals within the UnitedHealthcare network using the GPS functionality of iPhone 3G and 3GS. The application can make searches on 23 types of health care facilities and 58 types of physician specialties.

“IPhone is a popular mobile device for consumers, but we're planning to make DocGPS available for BlackBerry devices as well,” said Matthew Yi, director of corporate communications at UnitedHealthcare, Cypress, CA. “UnitedHealthcare believes in making access to health care easy, convenient and useful for consumers, and we believe this product helps us take another innovative step toward that goal.”

UnitedHealthcare provides a full spectrum of consumer-oriented health benefit plans and services to individuals, public sector employers and businesses of all sizes, including more than half of the Fortune 100 companies.  After locating a doctor or hospital, the application can then show the office location on a map, provide detailed directions, and enable the user to call the medical professional or facility with a single tap on the search result.

Doctor specialties

DocGPS is ideal for individuals on the road who are not familiar with health care providers in their area, such as families traveling on vacation or professionals on business trips.  DocGPS also works with first-generation iPhones running 2.0 software or higher, enabling users to search UnitedHealthcare’s health plan networks by ZIP code, or city and state.

The application is available for download free of charge from the App Store on iPhone or at  Recently a lot of healthcare companies have been turning to mobile and the iPhone specifically.  DocGPS is UnitedHealthcare’s latest consumer-friendly innovation to modernize, simplify and make transparent health care information.  

An October 2009 study by CTIA-The Wireless Association showed nearly eight in 10 Americans (78 percent) said they are interested in receiving health care services via their mobile devices.  “With mobile devices such as iPhones becoming a bigger part of consumers' lives, giving them access to health care via their handheld devices only makes sense,” Mr. Yi said. “We hope all smartphone users would utilize this useful tool, which is available free of charge.”


7-Eleven is testing a mobile marketing campaign in San Diego, California with approximately 200 of its stores participating in the program.

The test runs through Dec. 31. During this time, local residents can send the keyword FAST (in Spanish, RAPIDO) to short code 72579.  In response, they will receive a message informing them which of 7-Eleven’s best-selling beverages they have won.

“We are experimenting with mobile marketing to see how customers will react to getting coupons from 7-Eleven for free proprietary beverages,” said Margaret Chabris, director of communications at 7-Eleven, San Diego. “Basically we are just testing to try and get a sense of whether customers like it.  “This test is part of our ongoing strategy of targeting the millennial demographic, which is tied to their mobile phones.”

Four of the convenience retailer’s most popular drinks are featured in the test – a free Slurpee frozen carbonated beverage, Big Gulp fountain drink, fresh-brewed hot coffee and the latest proprietary drink, Iced Coffee.  The promotion is limited to one free beverage per day at participating 7-Eleven stores.

Why Mobile?
For millions of people under the age of 34, texting has become a preferred method of mobile communication, in some instances replacing phone calls.  According to a 2008 Nielsen study, the number of SMS text messages sent has surged ahead of voice calls.  The report found that U.S. mobile subscribers sent and received on average 357 text messages per month, compared with making and receiving 204 phone calls a month.

The text message offers recipients two ways to redeem their coupons at participating 7-Eleven stores. Customers with Internet access on their wireless devices will be able to click through to a screen displaying a UPC bar code, which can be scanned at the cash register.  For other wireless users, the 7-Eleven sales associate can enter the selected numeric code on the cash register for redemption.  The codes are only good for the free beverage indicated in the coupon. The message also includes an invitation to receive future text messages with 7-Eleven news and offers. Recipients can opt-in by replying YES.

The mobile marketing test is supported by both general and Hispanic-targeted radio, outdoor, and mobile advertising.  Participating 7-Eleven stores will communicate the promotion with bilingual point-of-purchase signage.

The convenience chain is also testing mobile marketing for database building and customer relationship management.  "Our consumers are mobile; therefore, it’s critical that we communicate with them where they are," said Daniel May, marketing manager at 7-Eleven. "Our customers use their phones up to 18 hours per day and, to a growing population, it’s replacing their computer and home phone."

Campaign Metrics available include English / Spanish preference, media effectiveness, product-offering interest, redemptions verses participation, day-part participation, and phone and wireless carrier types.  "With the powerful metrics we can gather, we’ll be able to better hone our mobile strategy for 2010,"  "The mobile test with the optional opt-in gives us an opportunity to build a database of 7-Eleven customers through their most personal electronic device -- their mobile phone."  "Moreover, with the data captured in the campaign, we can continue to provide them with valuable offers and announcements of specials in the future," he said.


Tuesday, 8 December 2009


The goal of the mobile campaign was to generate brand awareness and interest regarding the reduced fare promotion and drive traffic to the Continental mobile site.

Target audience: 
The campaign targeted a mobile Internet savvy Smartphone audience between the ages of 25-54, with household income levels $100K+, and had traveled for business within the last three months.
Continental ran graphical banners targeted to reach their desired demographic audience across several premium network properties (including MSNBC, NBA, NBC Sports and NBC Local Integrated Media which also geo-targeted NYC mobile users) and concurrently hosted an Insight Express brand study for Continental to measure user perception and awareness of the Continental brand in mobile, and measure user purchase intent on the mobile Internet.  Ads promoted Continental’s inexpensive airfare.

Continental was successful at driving increases across all brand metrics, for example, ad awareness increased by 60 percent and Web site awareness increased by 15.4 percent.  Purchase Intent also increased by 22.3 percent and mobile airline ticket purchase intent went up by 22.2 percent.
Lessons learned: 
The airline industry spawned sophisticated advertising which was based on yield management – an approach to maximizing revenue when a business has a fixed, perishable resource and can segment customers into groups willing to pay different prices for the same resource.  For airlines, a seat is perishable as the revenue potential disappears once the flight has flown.   
Airlines simply want to sell the right seat to the right passenger at the right time at the right price.  
What better medium then mobile to accomplish this objective. It’s personal, easy to segment and easy to measure.
“Mobile is an ideal channel as frequent travelers are heavy consumers of mobile search, shopping and travel purchases," Mr. Johar said.  "As new mobile applications are launched on user-friendly platforms like the iPhone and BlackBerry, the travel industry has leveraged information distribution, travel alerts, destination guides and mobile booking capabilities.”