[border]

Author Archive

Imagine having Bob Dylan as your brand’s spokesman.  For cents on the dollar.

Display advertising on the mobile web–or in-app mobile advertising–provides some of the richest opportunities for marketers to connect with consumers.

Here’s a mobile ad that converted me recently. And here’s why it worked:

photo1. Personalized to me based on a recent mobile search

2. Location-aware with a map to help me connect when I’m on-the-go

3. Strong call to action with the option to call (without expanding the ad)

4. Creative content connection thru Pandora internet radio (to which I’m addicted)

5. User review star rating authenticates quality via UGC/third party

This ad caught my attention initially because I was intrigued by a Dylan song I hadn’t heard before, on a station that was curated by a friend (bonus social connection~!).

This plumbing supply store gets two thumbs up for smarter, faster mobile advertising.

download2Each weekend in August, I cross the Chesapeake from Washington, D.C. to Delaware’s beaches.  And on the Sunday return, usually hit up a farm stand to gather produce for Sunday dinner.

It’s rural. Really rural.  No phone service. Just cornfields and cicadas.

This past Sunday, I stopped at Mason Farms to collect loot for this delightful  salsa verde  recipe.

Boy did they have their act together. Upon checkout, the farmer whipped out an iPad2  and ran my card to complete the sale. I used my finger to authorize the transaction with a signature.

Seamless. It felt like an Apple store. Only the product was tomatoes and snap peas instead of tablets and smartphones.

The lesson here? Even if  you’re selling to (or from) C&D counties–there’s still an opportunity to surprise and delight your consumer through technology.

Is your retail business keeping up with rural Delaware?

Join Brunner’s Shaun Quigley for Brunner’s latest webinar, “Realign your Digital Strategy” webinar.

A website overhaul can be expensive and time-consuming. Throw in all the factors like the convergence of mobile with social media, and you’ve got yourself a full-scale strategic initiative. Shaun will discuss the latest trends with website design and development as well as cover how to develop and optimize content strategy, take a deep strategic approach to planning, and align your social media properties.

webinar_04272011

statue9

Boxing promoters get paid big bucks for a reason–and it’s not to manage the bout. It’s to get people to the main event. 

Most websites get lousy traffic because all the effort is put into the site and people forget about promotion. And if there is promotion–it’s typically a few wildly-thrown punches that never land, with no sustained strategy beyond that. Draw your own crowd with these website promotion best practices:

(more…)

This is the first in a two-part series rethinking what it takes to make a best-in-class website.

We get a lot of RFPs for website redesigns. All of them are well-intentioned. Some are granular in detail. Others are more “big picture.”  Some have a clear sense of what they want to achieve. Others haven’t a clue. Some are so procurement-driven they feel like a tax audit.  But they all say “website redesign.” And whenever I see or hear this phrase—website redesign—it conjures up the same image:

lipstick-on-pig
Five years ago, I got a note from a former client who had just moved into a new job. I printed it out and put it up on the wall, because it challenged the conventional wisdom of what it takes to truly be best-in-class.

image1

A website overhaul is expensive, time consuming, and requires an enormous commitment from a client and the partner they choose to help them lead it. So with all that’s at stake, why redesign when you can realign? It may sound academic, but there are several critical distinctions.

A redesigned site:

is driven by a creative brief

understands the target

aesthetics first, then content

focuses on form

starts with design mock-ups

pleases mgmt in the short term

A realigned site:

is driven by business objectives

unlocks the key consumer insight

content strategy before aesthetics

focuses on form and function

starts with an idea

accomplishes business and user objectives

More after the jump.

(more…)

A friend tweeted today that he was going to start using Quora more…. if he could make the time.

Quora is the social Q&A engine where people write their own answers to questions and post questions of their own.  It’s like Wikipedia–in that it’s continually improving (in theory).

In our business, it’s important to make time to explore emerging things. I try and devote ~10% of my social media usage to trying something new.

But integrating something new into your regular work stream creates a problem. There simply isn’t time.

So here’s a simple solution: apply the law of conservation of social media.

The law of conservation of mass: a fundamental principle of classical physics that matter cannot be created or destroyed in an isolated system.

The law of conservation of social media: a fundamental principle of time management that social media usage (for heavy users) cannot be increased without going insane or living in complete technological isolation.

More simply, if you’re adding something new–do something else a little less.

Then get out for a walk and leave your phone behind for once.

This article also appears on MediaPost Publications.

Probably faster than any other technology in the last decade, mobile is changing the game for brands. In a flash, we’ve moved from a communication-response scenario to one in which we can have interactions with people anytime, anywhere (except for us Neanderthal AT&T subscribers). No longer do we wait for customers to walk into a store or visit a site to connect with them. It’s all right there, in their pocket, ready to go.

It’s more than a smartphone. It’s a personal assistant. I get free chips and salsa at the pub just for checking in through Foursquare, pay for my venti-skim-latte at Starbucks (only at Target) and download a coupon as I’m walking through the parking lot. I can find the cheapest price using RedLaser. I can get the real product scoop through Stickybits. And I can read hundreds of reviews on retailer sites to help me decide if your brand is right for me — or if I should avoid you.

Mobile has raised expectations for consumers, who now have 24/7 access to your brand and the entire category landscape. The greater the bandwidth, the higher the expectations consumers have of our apps, our mobile sites, our emails and text alerts. All communications — especially mobile — are becoming smarter and faster.

Mobile has completely disrupted the conventional path-to-purchase and has caught most marketers with their pants down. That’s not all. What’s most compelling about mobile are the astronomical expectations around anticipated usage.

So can mobile supercharge your customer relationship management program?

Yes. Maybe.

In terms of CRM, the immediacy of mobile will transcend customer goodwill. Mobile’s convergence with social media lets consumers ask questions and voice complaints at the point of sale. Brands should be there, listening, ready to address the next customer crisis, answer the next question, or amplify the most authentically fabulous consumer experience. Plus, real-time decision assistance through mobile will make the purchase process easier for buyers.

But it doesn’t happen overnight.

A fundamental shift must occur. CRM needs to move from the database marketer’s desk to the CMO’s radar. It can’t be a back-office function; it needs to be a front-office, customer-facing strategy. And it needs to be social.

New channels have emerged, but the basic principles of CRM don’t change. When someone buys something (especially for the first time), he or she enters into an open-ended relationship with that brand. Brands must be ready to capture that customer’s experience and start to understand what makes them tick.

Choosing the right mobile touchpoint is key. And that largely depends on who you’re trying to engage. SMS, for instance, has the widest reach and loyalty apps can bring real value to the customer experience, but do they make sense for your product or service?

Consider not only whether you have a plan in place to obtain mobile data, but also ask these questions when determining the right mobile touchpoint for your brand:

  • SMS: Do you have permission to engage with client/customers via SMS?
  • Apps: Would an app make it easier or more enjoyable to do business with your brand?
  • Foursquare: Are you in a retail or service industry where you engage with your customers in-person? On a daily basis?
  • Twitter: Does your business service customers by addressing their needs? Product concerns? Feedback?

Overall, there’s probably a place for mobile CRM in your marketing plan. But it’s not going to supercharge anything unless you’ve got the basics in place. So start small, hire a trustworthy partner, test and scale.

John Cilli contributed to this article.

Brunner attended the OMMA Global Conference in San Francisco this week.

Some of us produced content, we moderated a panel, and others watched the live stream remotely, or followed on Twitter (#OMMAGlobal).

We met new people, drank wine, and learned a ton.

The team arrived on Sunday, so we started with a quick tour of the city, including a trip up to Telegraph Hill:

Coit Tower
Coit Tower

(more…)

We get this question twice a week so here’s the big picture on making QR codes work for your brand.

What is a QR code?
Start here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code

How big should they be?
As a rule of thumb, codes shouldn’t be much smaller than a postage stamp. For print, about the size of a checkerboard square. If it’s on a skyscraper in TimeSquare, larger.  Perform a Google image search for “QR codes” and you’ll find myriad shapes and sizes.

What content should I drive to?
The content should deliver on your communications objective. Codes can  deliver all sorts of things:

  • Text msg
  • Website URL – is it optimized for mobile?
  • YouTube video
  • Telephone number
  • Email message
  • Vcard
  • Google map
  • WiFi Login (Android only)
  • PayPal Buy Now link
  • Social media (Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, etc)
  • iTunes link

(more…)

The more time a visitor spends on your site, the more likely she is to buy. Carts experience the highest drop-off in the first two or three pages visitors see. Once they’re into the process, drop-off rates decline precipitously. To improve conversion rate, focus on providing relevant and persuasive content based on understanding visitor intent. Persuade on every page. Link pages together, in a step-by step-fashion, to guide visitors through the buying process. Hold their hands, and anticipate their every move. Make them feel comfortable and in control.

Here’s a list of eCommerce best practices we’ve curated from some recent reading:

1. Reduce the number of steps in the process. Combine the logical steps first (shipping and billing address information as an example). But don’t make brevity a goal in it of itself. Once the user completes the first page, they are invested in the process. Long forms at the front end result in higher abandonment rates. But once the user completes they first page, they are more likely to finish the job.

2. Manage the user’s expectations. Always let the user know where they are. Add visual process indicators to the checkout procedure. In addition, use headlines and breadcrumb navigation to show shoppers where they are. Page elements like large text headings and subheadings can help customers establish which page they are on and what the topic of the page is. Breadcrumb navigation helps customers establish how deep they are within the site structure and what is available to view before and after. Breadcrumbs and page headings have SEO benefits as well. If the process takes longer than 5 minutes, consider telling the user that as a courtesy.

3. Give them someone to call. Keep contact information prominent and include it on each page. Place a customer service phone number in a clearly visible location with the text “Prefer to order by phone?” to help decrease cart abandonment. Sites that provide this assurance perform better than those that don’t.

4. Let users easily modify contents. Keep the contents of the cart accessible and easy to find, so they can be changed along the way. Don’t just provide a link back to the cart. Visually show the cart–and its contents–at every step during the path to purchase.

5. Don’t require registration to checkout. This is difficult for some stores to implement because of the architecture their cart is built upon. However, if you have the ability to offer what is often called a “guest checkout” feature, you should do so.

6. Make the experience social. Incorporate user reviews through a tool like BazaarVoice. Products are 10% more likely to be purchased when accompanied by a user review. Port those reviews to your Facebook page and to retailer sites. Use Facebook Connect to make the process even more social. In addition, remember users when they come back. When someone returns—even as a guest—their cart should be waiting for them.  And don’t forget to remind users of abandoned carts via email or through your CRM program.

7. Make error messages clear. Red is the most common color for error messages. Target is a one color brand and still uses red in its error messages. Blue text with an alert icon could work just as well. Look at a couple different options and test them.

8. Clearly display your security and trust seals. Customer privacy concerns are paramount. Provide this assurance.

9. Only cross sell relevant products. Cross sell before the checkout process and after items have been added to the cart. Grouping products, showing related items and cross selling is important for customers and helps lower shopping cart abandonment rates.

10. Test, measure and refine. To a certain extent, every experience is unique. Test different combinations. Study user behavior. See which ones produce the best results. And make small changes based on what you learn.

Resources (these guys deserve all the credit)
• http://www.clickz.com/2245891
• http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/03/23/designing-for-the-user-experience-in-ecommerce/
• http://www.grokdotcom.com/2008/02/26/amazon-shopping-cart/
• http://www.getelastic.com/measuring-cross-sell-success/
• http://www.ecommnewz.com/2009/07/22/decrease-cart-abandonment-with-a-sturctured-checkout-process/
• http://www.searchmarketingstandard.com/tackling-the-shopping-cart-abandonment-rate
• http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009/05/28/12-tips-for-designing-an-excellent-checkout-process/
• http://econsultancy.com/blog/1828-ten-ways-to-improve-online-checkouts
• http://www.elated.com/articles/10-ways-to-improve-your-store-checkout/