Amex – Catalyzing business with social media

Consumer behavior has changed tremendously after the digital revolution. The way today’s consumer is shopping online (at least in India); this wasn’t the scenario a decade ago. Consumers today are highly engaged, they are keeping a tab on the latest offers, deals & discounts more than ever before.
Responding to this shift in consumer behavior, organizations are gearing up with their digital initiatives. Many research companies claim that more than 90% of companies are shifting from traditional investment to digital ones and I would second that!
Recently in SXSW conclave, American Express (Amex) has been appreciated for encouraging use of social media. They not only to engage their customers, but also for encouraging business to offer their products and services to amex card members enabled with geo targeting ads. And making a couponless solution.
Amex Sync
Amex strategized it well, as they not only engaged the users by asking them to retweet to earn benefits on the amex card. Also, they opened the platform so that newer business can place offers. Making use of crowdsourced methodology.
Imagine if the same approach is adopted here in India. Will this re-ignite sales for the brand/business? Does that change the customer behavior in India? What will be the fate of the online shopping portals?
Whatever the case maybe, but it will certainly give an edge to customers by keeping their personal data to themselves while looking for deals. And businesses a new tool to infuse sales.

What is your Mobile Strategy in 2012?

What is your Mobile Strategy in 2012?
Mobile has become one of the important and integral part of the communication strategy for business in recent years. Storming growth of mobile and internet has opened chance for business’s to be a innovative participant in the digital space. Mobility now is like how social media was few years back. Companies that invested in the early social media strategies are now, claiming higher returns. In my view there are greater gains to be achieved in both platforms. Mobile is one field which is mushrooming* (*India is still a developing market compares to other mature markets).
The shift from basic mobile to smartphone, was earlier dominated by the Palm’s, iPhone’s and Blackberry’s. Now Android has changed the game. As per comScore data the android is nearing 50% of market share in the US and is rapidly increasing in India. While, India and China both have 30% of mobile subscription of the world closing to 1 billion subscriptions.
Here are some of the facts
• According to Gartner’s prediction, over 85 percent of handsets shipped globally will include some form of mobile internet browser.

• comScore estimates that 90 percent of mobile subscribers in US and Western Europe have a phone that can access the mobile Web.

• ABI Research predicts that 2.1 billion mobile devices will have HTML5 browsers by 2016 (up from 109 million in 2010). HTML5 will help to deliver a richer, more interactive mobile Web experience, including being able to play video without needing a plug such as the Adobe Flash Player.
While, these pointer’s suggest the growth of smartphones in the coming future. It strengthens the fact of having a mobile strategy in today’s exploding digital ecosystem, is a must. While there is a growth in this sector, we haven’t seen the true mobility (read mobile enablement) at any enterprise level. (since, I don’t consider emails and calendaring as true mobile enablement.) We need to have apps & mobile enabled sites for both internal and external audience.
The complete mobility will happen when an enterprise, will enable its workforce with the work environment which uses mobile for more than emailing and blocking calendars for meeting. At present mobile is seen as data security concern for many enterprises. And, that’s why there is a shift in using mobile for external audience.
Knowing that – this opens up a separate debate – Mobile apps v/s Mobile site
• Which is better for business?
• How one would makes a choice between the two?
Here are some pointers to help you out,
• If you want to publish informative information which keeps static most of the time; then you should opt for the mobile site; as it’s involves in the small development cost.
• And if, there is data which will be constantly updated and requires user interaction to order/buy then you need to have an mobile app
How can we create a Mobile website?
I have compiled a list of easy-to-use tools for creating mobile sites. These are aimed to small business site owners who don’t have any web development team to support or any member with coding experience. It’s a good solution for small and medium business.
These tools have the UI with editor which allows you to copy-and-paste of code blocks that can easy to setup on mobile site. These tools have the scripts which identifies if the visitors are using regular web browser or a mobile web browser. If user is using their mobile, the script will redirect the user for the mobile version of your website.
The common practice is to have a sub domain of your site as your mobile version – which will help you segregate the traffic and will help user to have a better browsing experience.
Tools are:
1. Mobify
2. Onbile
3. Mofuse
4. iWebkit
5. Mobile Press
Most of the tools below have graphical user interfaces and copy-and-paste code blocks that can be installed on your site quite easily. If you can install a tool like Google Analytics on your site yourself, you’ll be able to use these tools. {MASHABLE Extract start} Once you use one of the tools above and have your very own mobile version of your main site, it’s a good practice to ensure that everything’s in order. Here are additional tools and resources for testing and evaluating your new mobile website.
• W3C mobileOK Checker – W3C has an official tool for checking a mobile site’s “mobile-friendliness”.
• iPad Peek – Don’t have an iPad? That’s quite alright; you can still see how your mobile site looks through the popular Apple mobile device using this tool that emulates what people see on the iPad.
• Mobile Web Best Practices 1.0 – W3C, the standards body for many of the web’s technologies (such as CSS, HTML and JavaScript), has a document that outlines mobile web best practices. This is aimed at web developers and can be a pretty dry read, but it’s worth a few moments to read and look over it.
• mobiReady – This tool will test your site for dotMobi compliance and W3C mobileOK compliance, sets of mobile website standards that ensure an optimal and accessible mobile-site user experience. It also looks for errors and gives you a user-friendly report of any errors discovered. It’s easy to use — just plug in the URL of your mobile site.{MASHABLE Extract ends}

So, What is your Mobile Strategy in 2012?

Share your views on this article.

Gamification – an innovation concept

Gamification is not about games or about gaming (i.e. Xbox, wii or ps). It’s about applying a gaming concepts, involving game design thinking into a non-game applications/process or systems, to encourage and engage people to adopt their thoughts/learning’s into their daily practices.
Gamification is the not so new but never been ‘so popular’ as of today as was in earlier times. The term ‘gamification’ is now much like ‘social media’ in the recent past (around year 2005) – and then it became the next best thing for web and mobile.
[As Read in Wiki] The technique can encourage people to perform chores that they ordinarily consider boring, such as completing surveys, shopping, filling out tax forms, or reading web sites. Available data from gamified websites, applications, and processes indicate potential improvements in areas like user engagement, ROI, data quality, timeliness, or learning. [end of extract]
According to a Gartner 2011 report it is estimated that by 2015, more than 50 percent of organizations that manage innovation processes will gamify their processes. Yet, 84% of marketers have no plans to use games in their marketing efforts (according to Forrester). Both research firms agrees to the volume of the audience accessible through gaming is simply staggering.
Gaming (non-Xbox/PS) is around everywhere as was there even before the terminology existed. Frequent flyer miles, hotels loyalty-rewards program, or if you remember Microsoft Office a decade ago you will know how that clip – used to give you tips to work smarter and better. These are few of the examples from the past.
Over past couple of years the people’s consciousness have changed the mindsets of the organizations to review their marketing strategies. Organizations with old-school practices are failing – as people today are more aware and engaged than ever, they want to achieve more rewards points more experiences. Today’s generation is more attuned than the previous generations.
Gamification trend is popular today, as our line of thinking to know more through digital world is keeping updated at every nano second. Success of start-up like Foursquare, Zygna and Groupon resonate this thought. While these applications can get you discount and rewards. Run Keeper & Nike+ are other two gamify apps that keeps people motivated and stay fit.
What can be leveraged from Gamification?
Gamification can be leveraged, specially for consumer goods marketing and customer retention.

Share your thoughts on this with me at pankaj[dot]kashyap[at]gmail.com – or suggest what you like to share/know more about, i will be happy to share my perspective.

—————Adding further more in this———— in Jan 2013 ———————————————————————————–

Samsung.com shows a great example of how gamification is applied to engage customers and make them brand promoters from a basic users. There gamified approach helps them maintain the interest level of the user and keep them returning for more rewards points. The brand also award them with their top of the line products if they reach to certain milestone and further participates in challenge. This level of practice will be future of online engagements.

 

QR Codes: Bridging gaps between offline and online world

Thanks to real innovator who initially developed the QR code in for the digital universe. I am adding some of my thoughts and the process how and what we did with the QR codes, which possibly can help you for your marketing campaigns.

QR won’t make your marketing campaign a success in-a-flash! it would be a nice touch if you try to reach out to offline audience – you might just win them all.

To keep it short and simple for more historic information please visit this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QR_Code or Google the same for the new updates on this technology.

If you are looking QR code to be placed on the offline piece (Direct Mailer / physical brochure) then first thing you should have is the landing page. The landing page should be the one where you want your user/clients to reach and want them to consume the information.
If you have the above mentioned landing page, then it would be a very long url something like the following example
http://www.sitename.com/language/product/campaignname/landing-page 1.php (.asp/.aspx/.dom etc. ) or in some cases would be much longer than this if you have an omniture campaign tag setup for this.

You need to use a shorter url for your QR code. And you have it via bit.ly or tiny.url. While the former will also generate QR code directly when you shorten your url and will also come handy for tracking. Still if you need to create it go to http://qrcode.kaywa.com/ and select the url option to create it. (mind it! if you select txt – the data will only be readable, it won’t trigger it back to your site/landing page) – also there is http://zxing.appspot.com/generator (in which you can do more than just URL and SMS). Once done, test it thru your phone – if it’s working for you or not. If you follow correctly it will be working just fine as you want it.

If you won’t find it working – do check if you have the application to read these codes. Most of the smart phones do have such apps. If not, then you have to download it. Here are some QR/barcode reader apps that might be useful for those who don’t have it – these are also available on respective marketplace.

I-nigma reader, by 3GVision
Install via mobile browser: http://www.i-nigma.mobi or download to a computer and transfer it to your mobile device from http://www.i-nigma.com
NeoReader, by NeoMedia Technologies / Gavitec AG – mobile digit
Install via mobile browser: http://get.neoreader.com

UpCode reader, by UPC
Install via mobile browser: http://www.upcode.fi
or download to a computer and transfer it to your mobile device from http://www.upc.fi/en/upcode/instructions/download

Semacode reader, by Semacode
Install via mobile browser: http://semacode.org/ota
or download to a computer and transfer it to your mobile device from
semacode.org/software/

QuickMark reader
Download to a computer and transfer ir to your mobile device from
http://www.quickmark.com.tw/En/basic/index.asp
(NeoReader – works on iPhone and Nokia – For Android – QRdroid)

What Are Some Examples of How QR Codes Can Be Used?
There are numerous ways that QR Codes can be used to strategically bridge offline and online media. Here are but a few examples:
• A business card for professional consultant contains a QR code that links to a landing page with enthusiastic client testimonials, or a VCard (business card) to download contact info.
• A public awareness poster provides a QR code that links to a mobile website with a self-assessment quiz and links to community support resources.
• Advertisement of an e-commerce portal, offering there deals and products under the subway/metro station – so that people waiting, can actually use their time to shop the important items.
• A local business displays a QR code with a link to their Google Places page with customer reviews and coupons.
• A retail store displays a QR Code next to in-store products to view product demonstrations and reviews.
• An advertisement for a nonprofit organization includes a QR code that links to a volunteer and donation page.
• A restaurant includes a QR code on a takeout menu, which links to a mobile restaurant website for online reservations, orders and interactive directions.
• A home-repair product includes a link to a how-to video with installation instructions.
• A campaign sign for a political candidate contains a QR code that links to an audio file with a message from the candidate, or a mobile landing page with the candidate’s bio, campaign platform and opportunities to volunteer or contribute.
• A vendor at a conference places a QR code on their display booth so that attendees can conveniently scan and save the vendor’s information as they pass by.
• A realtor places a QR Code on For Sale sign in front of a residential property, which provides additional home specifications, interior photos and Google Maps location for later reference.
• A promotional poster for a movie contains a QR Code with a link to a video of the trailer and form to opt-in to notifications when the film is released.

For the good experience;
• One should know where to place the QR code
• Where to put those poster/advertisement containing the QR code
• Legibility of the QR code
• Alternatives to the QR code (success of the campaign does not work on the QR code and its implementation)
• Do test before going live

Hope this had helped you.
In case you find trouble setting it up or have any further question regarding this please feel free to write to pankaj[dot]kashyap[at]gmail[dot]com

Facebook Timeline and social marketing

Facebook has been game changer from the day one. Here again they come up with new look as Facebook timeline. Ever since its preview at f8 conference, in last September – there been lot of buzz about it. The entire digital guru’s community was busy making their predictions – as when this will be launched and what impact do they see on the people.

This timeline feature can impact massively on the brands/business Social CRM, since one can go back to day one of their post. (If the brand keeps it that way)

Facebook timeline will give great opportunity to business to use it cleverly for their branding.

Having a facebook application will engage new and will keep the loyal fans entertaining/engaging – as more they ‘talk’ more help they will do for the brand/business.

How this impacts you? – It’s cool, if you are on facebook get a new fresh look to your digital life.

Does this change your life? Probably no… but it will make your life a bit interesting

What about privacy? Why are you on facebook on the first place? Anyways you can select which part of information you would like to share and which you don’t.

Do share your thoughts on this writeup.

Facebook Timeline preview is now open for public, and will be published/made live by 26th Jan 2012. If you haven’t already received an invite to Timeline, you can enable it now by following simple steps.

(once logged on Facebook)
Step1. Search for Timeline
Step2. Select the Timeline App
Step3. Like the app
Step4. Refresh your page.

(this worked for me, in case you face any issue contact pankaj[dot]kashyap[at]gmail[dot]com)