Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Recycling To a New Level – Blog Clog

If you’re a regular visitor to LinkedIn I’m sure you’ve seen scores of them – alerts, feed posts and the like – urging you to read some monumental insight into the world of business. If you’re like me, catchy headlines easily draw you in – The Top 5 This…the Fastest Growing That…  

It’s all good – to a point.

Fact is, most folks who tend to be a tad overzealous on the blog front also tend to take liberties with various plagiaristic tactics and are simply regurgitating commonly known materials – or worse, publishing the most rudimentary or common sense facts that every syllable sounds like ‘duh’.

I get it. The word’s out. The more you’re out there, the easier it will be for business contacts and search engines to find you. But please be original. Say something of value. Make yourself stand out. And while you’re at it, don’t bother with another ice bucket challenge. It’s been done.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Interspecies Ad Targeting and Marketing

A Seattle-based private company, FELINE announced today the release of a revolutionary new development in interactive advertising and marketing. Combining game-changing mobile ad units designed specifically for cats with a substantial network of tablet publishing partners whose interactive experiences have attracted a considerable feline audience, FELINE has developed the first ever interspecies ad targeting in media history.
Developed by ’s Functional Excellence Lab of Interspecies Network Engagement [FELINE] this tectonic shift in audience targeting and interactive mobile advertising reaches a completely new and highly-engaged consumer segment that have significant influence over household purchase decisions.

Americans spend more than $41 billion every year on their furry family members [BusinessWeek Magazine] and the ability to reach, engage, and track our pets’ tablet behavior has effectively changed the way advertisers connect their cat products to the feline audience segment. With over 86 million cats in the United States and 31% of American adults owning a tablet computer, the feline tablet audience growth has been outpacing the human one.

FELINE spokesperson, Morris DelVecchio revealed the revolutionary platform was first discussed after  Some key tam members at FELINE noticed that brands like Purina Friskies had developed tablet games for cats such as “Cat Fishing” and “Tasty Treasure Hunt” and then discovered there were 75,000+ results for cat iPad videos on YouTube alone.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vaif2uq_0Vc.

An independent group or data scientists and UX experts assembled the FELINE initiative as a pet project then quickly formed the FELINE work group and created the cat network by combining a series of publishers, applications and experiences targeted at cats. A variety of ad servers and other targeting technology provided the technical backbone while the team developed interactive cat-centric tablet advertising units optimized for felines based on extensive research on how cats react to stimuli. Caching technology then stores the interactions with the interspecies-optimized ad units and then publishes this to a ‘meow list’ reporting interface that can then be viewed by the cat’s owner, effectively delivering a ‘shopping list’ of products and services paw-picked by their pet.
"The introduction of these innovative ad units and assembly of the exclusive publishing partners adds to the impressive utility of this innovative technology and gives brands a completely new way to reach species beyond humans," said Morris DelVecchio,  Executive Vice President, Sales and Services at FELINE. "Cats now have the ability to impact household purchase decisions that include everything from cat food and kitty litter to consumer durables such as furniture and bedding. And we’re currently exploring forays into how to apply the same mechanics to canine behavior and other domestic species in the animal kingdom.
The Cat Network currently reaches nearly 9MM UF [Unique Felines] a month and traffic is growing monthly 10%-20%. The average PTR [Paw Through Rate] is well over 4%, reinforcing the value of this highly-engaged and influential consumer segment.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

QR - Quick, Responsive, and Here for a While

I’ve read a bunch of things bashing QR lately and quite honestly I think the tech is getting a bad rap. It’s the old ‘don’t shoot the messenger” in bold underline if there ever was one – that is, when someone points to a weak consumer experience at the other end of a QR, the tech gets blamed for tepid results. 

The truth is QR is not going away anytime soon. It’s pervasive, easy to use, cheap to execute, and can tag along with multiple traditional media. To top it off, many handsets get loaded with a QR reader out of the factory, eliminating one step for the tech to actually get used by consumers. 

Yes, AR and NFC are the new mobile buzz kids on the block, but AR requires tagging and building of the image database and NFC is just making its way to market on the latest handset releases and isn’t really in the same ballpark in terms of function. 

QR is growing rapidly. According to one article, US QR scanning shot up over 4500% in Q1 2011. 

As smart phones follow their path of sales domination in the handset space and make feature phones obsolete while tablets chew away at the laptop market, QR use is going to continue to explode.  At the very least, it should be considered for every marketing and advertising program you roll out. 

Now to do QR right there are 8 things to consider before jumping on the QR train:

  1. Use a universal QR code that is reader agnostic.
  2. Make sure your landing experience is mobile optimized.
  3. Give people something special – home pages are not special, sorry.
  4. Give them an easy way to continue the conversation and get them to opt in to a mobile text program.
  5. Back up your call to action with the option to text a short code to get pushed the link to your mobile optimized (and very special) landing page experience.
  6. Make the experience easy for people. Follow the KISS formula [Not, I Wanna Rock n’ Roll All Night, but KEEP IT SIMPLE, STUPID}
  7. Have fun with it – usually we’re not saving lives here – we’re just trying to sell stuff – so connect with consumers with a laugh.  It’s the best way to make friends.
  8. Be clear. How do they scan? Where do they go when they do? What special experience or thing are they going to get?

QR is a great way to thread together a convergence media strategy. And before you throw out roughly half the audience still on Smart Phones and exclude those who don’t even yet know what a QR code is, remember point 5 above and include an SMS call to action that gives users and alternative to reaching your very special experience. 

Guy Borgford
Director, Mobile Advertising Solutions, Hipcricket
On Twitter: @gborgford

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Radius Targeting – Getting Granular with Location Based Services

I hear this all the time – “We’re interested in geofencing our campaign.” It sounds sexier than a Caribbean Sports Illustrated Cover Shoot. And geofencing is super cool stuff, but it’s not directly connected to display advertising. What most people are talking about when they refer to geofencing is actually radius targeting – that is the ability to tap into device GPS functionality to narrowly target consumers down to the ZIP code or lat-long level. 

Geofencing requires a double opt-in and involves the resulting push of SMS or MMS notifications when the opted-in consumer crosses the defined ‘fence’. Radius targeting, on the other hand, employs Location Based Services or LBS publishers to then serve up resulting ad experiences based on that consumers’ distinct location. 

Here are examples of both that Hipcricket has run for clients:

Geofencing – Our client MillerCoors wanted to reach business travelers to connect this valuable audience with their Blue Moon brand. We set out powering QR/SMS on tent cards in airport bars seeded throughout 27 key airports around the US. We then constructed a ‘fence’ around those airports that are designed to trigger text messages when the opted-in consumer crosses any of the respective fences.

The call to action was clear: Join the ‘Blue Moon Club’ so you can find your favorite beer, wherever your travels take you. Once the consumer either scans the QR or texts the keyword to the short code, they’re sent a text message asking them if they’re sure they want to ‘join the club’. They respond ‘yes’, which then enables Hipcricket to send them text notifications whenever the consumer enters one of the fenced airports. “Get your Blue Moon beer at Sally’s Bar near Gate 27.” Sounds good to me!

Radius Targeting – Our client Bally’s Casino had the goal of driving Las Vegas visitors into their live show, ‘The Price is Right’. Their data showed that attendees to these shows make their entertainment decisions spontaneously, so we set up a Radius Target around the Las Vegas Strip, tapping into Location Based Services  ad inventory and only serving ad impressions to that very narrow geotarget. Combining dayparting this hyper-local approach reached the right consumers in the right place, at the right time.

There certainly is a more misguided approach to radius targeting. We had one client representing a fast food chain who wanted to radius target a fast food competitor in a major DMA – we’re talking hundreds of radius targets. The sheer number of radius targets, combined with the generality of the vertical, and the population density of the DMA, essentially meant we would be pretty much targeting the entire city anyway, so a much more cost effective approach was a simple DMA target with demographic targeting layers and dayparting aligned with menu items. 

Mobile offers unparalleled reach into consumers’ buying behavior, with its ability to connect with audiences along their path to purchase and at the exact point buying decisions are made. No other medium in history has this ability. The best thing marketers can do is think both strategically and logistically when employing advanced mobile targeting and messaging tactics. It’s easy to get excited about new technology, however the technology is merely the means to an end – ROI does and always will reign supreme.

Guy Borgford
Director, Mobile Advertising Solutions, Hipcricket
On Twitter: @gborgford

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Mobile Ubiquity – Media Strategy for the Long Run

Mobile Ubiquity – Media Strategy for the Long Run

Many marketers testing the mobile waters today look at the medium as merely another media channel, one through which to reach consumers on the go in highly targeted and effective ways. Certainly this perception is true in many ways. No other medium in human history has the ability to target people through various means from high reach awareness programs through to microscopically-granular messaging directly at the point of purchase. Mobile trumps all other media in this way, with a laser-focus all the way down to the shopping isle. 

Even though this reach capability along the path to purchase is unique to mobile, taking a campaign-by-campaign approach to the medium as an advertising channel, sells mobile short. 

With the advent of digital media a couple decades ago [yes, it has only been this long] marketers quickly adopted a long term approach to their marketing efforts through the adoption of customer relationship marketing and the almighty database. Email has reigned king since this time, even while email boxes clogged with unopened email and spam proliferated with offers of millions in dollars in payoffs from the estates of foreign financial elite and free giveaways with no catch but signing up for a mile-long list of offers that essentially sold the user’s soul to the devil.  Still the value of a long-run approach to marketing and advertising via database builds.

Certainly in no way were marketers off-track on this approach. The ability to capture a consumer’s email address extended the value of advertising programs to remarketing efforts, brand loyalty programs and a host of other highly-targeted, customer relationship initiatives that took each advertising effort and stretched its sights to the long term value of each and every customer touch point. 

The fact remains that email is a still pretty effective but when one compares its effectiveness with mobile and SMS messaging, the true power of mobile as a customer communication tools makes email pale in comparison. The average email open rate falls somewhere below 5%. So for you math wizards out there, for every 100 email sent only 5 are actually even opened. Those numbers aren’t great. And when you add on the high rates of opting out of subscription from messaging burn and an overabundance of clutter, some postulate that email may be a dying marketing communication channel. Comparatively speaking, 95% of SMS messages are opened in the first five minutes of receipt, with the overall open rate closer to 100%! And with the right opt-in language in place, SMS enables high-octane marketing tactics such as geofencing, mobile couponing and point-of-purchase initiatives that reach consumers as they’re out in the world making those purchase decisions critical to all marketers business performance goals. 

When done right, SMS not only delivers on the aforementioned state-of-the-art marketing tactics, but it also formulates deep customer relationships, that over time build unparalleled brand equity, loyalty and advocacy that turn customers into marketing allies. 

Take all of this into play and add in the ability for mobile to be completely ubiquitous and ‘always on’ with the use of SMS, MMS, QR and the burgeoning response technology delivered through AR and NFC and you have the ability to now reach consumers in multiple ways, through rich and engaging experiences and so do through every other media channel at marketers disposal. Mobile is always on, and its ability for ubiquity takes the long term approach to customer relationship management and communications to every consumer touch point, while amplifying the value of each advertising and marketing initiative through the lifetime value of each and every consumer out there.

Friday, February 10, 2012

2011 Prediction Results

OK, crazy new job in Q3 last year and I'm finally catching up on the blog. I FINALLY got to my 2011 predictions so let’s see how I did.

11 Predictions Over 11 Months in 2011.

1. Google Gets Into the Music Business

This comes first as I know people in the music business who got drafted by the Search Goliath. Rock on.
This did come about but where is Google taking this? My insiders won’t reveal any details but the quiet makes me think there are some big announcements on the way in the coming months. Grade: A+

2. Facebook Places Kills Foursquare

I’m sorry but why would any advertiser invest in a still-niche platform like Foursquare when you have 500M peeps on Facebook who can’t resist to tell the world they’re having a freaking latte at Starbucks. Foursquare=DeepSix
Well there certainly isn’t as much buzz about Foursquare but it’s still alive. What isn’t clear is what’s the deal with Facebook places? I for one, don’t get the whole geo-me-me-me announcements. I don’t want the home invaders to know when I’m out having a good time. Grade: C+

3. MySpace Implosion Continues

Their focus on music and entertainment was a brilliant move…that they should have done 7 years ago. Too late, Mr. Murdoch, yo space just ain’t cool no mo.
Despite the relaunch and refocus and some heavy input from mega-star Justin Timberlake, MySpace continues to be absent in the trades and industry buzz. Big layoffs, rejiggering of focus and business model and lack of buzz makes me think my prediction was on track here. Grade: B+

4. Microsoft Shutters Zune

I would consider it a mercy killing. Does ANYONE other than Microsoft peeps subscribe to this brick and bits outfit?
Not yet, but does ANYONE care? Grade: B

5. Privacy Issues Cripple Behavioral Targeting Companies

If the FCC and privacy advocates have their way they’re going to squash the Big Brother precision delivery of ad targeting to our every keystroke and mouse click and with it, billions of dollars in ad spends and thousands of jobs.
I was off. And with anonymous targeting in the behavioral space this isn’t going to happen. Grade: F

6. Apps Spaces Get a Housecleaning

Average usage of apps are just 3 times once they’re downloaded and Apple says there are over 100,000 iPhone apps of which about 100 are useful. Recent studies show 27% of apps are only used once after being downloaded. Time for a housecleaning. Expect app standards to have higher bars.
As predicted Apple has put down the clamp on junk apps and copycat wannabes. Grade: A

7. Google Gets Into the Digital Magazine Business

If they don’t they like totally need to wear helmets on the bus.
Right prediction, wrong company. Amazon takes the lead and kills with Kindle Fire while Apple launches Newsstand with massive immediate ramifications. Grade: B

8. Apple Flattens

Despite Verizon picking up the iPhone and the 3G dropping to $49 on AT&T - not to mention the tres-sexy iPad, a barrage of tablets and competing handsets are going to chip away at market share…add to that Mr. Jobs health issues and the crisp, juicy promise of Apple earnings calls will sour by Q4.
The fruit de jour continues to dominate the electronics space, despite Android staling market share. No one can bang out bottom line gold like Apple. Grade: D

9. Tablets dominate

PCs will be the new desktop. Remember those?
Kindle Fire, iPad2, Newsstand. Nuff said. Grade A

10. Traditional Agencies Suffer Major Contraction

Oh, the overhead. Many of these agencies remind me of high-end resort casinos…opulent surroundings and full of pretty people…someone’s gotta be paying for it and it’s brand America and Mr. & Ms. Consumer. Watch more brands attach themselves to smaller, nimbler and smarter shops who take more of a consultancy role with their partners and collaborate on greatness.
The madness continues but budgets are shifting. Major media companies continue to invest heavily in digital technology, with the future of connected devices, multiscreen interactivity and consumer touchpoints from mass market reach down to point of purchase changing the game. Stay tuned here. Grade: B-

11. Digital Dominates

Print shrivels, Cable TV stagnates and digital in its many forms continues to prove it is the medium – there will be no other.
Smart Phones, Tablets and Connected TVs continue to innovate and change the way we live our lives. The numbers are there – the dollars are shifting to real ROIs on media spends and digital is where it works best. Grade: A

Overall not a bad performance for a crystal ball-less hack. We’re on track for more crazy shifts in media in the months to come. Gotta love it!
Overall Grade: B+

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Mobile Phone & You - Part III - The Future

Sep 22, 2011
The Mobile Phone & You - Part 3 - The Future

It wasn’t as easy writing about the future of mobile as it was the past and present. I wonder if Charles Dickens had the same problem when he wrote ‘A Christmas Carol’?

So where is mobile going? It’s anyone’s guess really but developments in the space are taking human interaction and access to information and knowledge to new places. We can only apply a degree of what is now science fiction to postulate what the future science will deliver in our world of the future. If my 12-Year-Old’s 6000 text messages in one month is any indication how it’s changing communication, we’re in for a very different human experience.

A recent article on Mashable, 8 Current Technologies That Will Shape Our Future, the first five of the eight technologies mentioned are directly related to wireless technology. From the smart phones we know and love today, to seamlessly integrated augmented reality, amplified processing power, applications for everything life has to offer, lightning-quick data speeds and extensions of wireless data access beyond devices themselves and into the fabric of the world around us is going to impact human communication and culture in ways we don’t even yet realize. Mobile wallets, geolocation, retinal scanners, implants, nanotechnology – what does the wireless world look like in the future? Use your imagination.

Will the wireless future play a part in improving the very fabric of human capability or will it cripple us with an overreliance on the tech around us where any answer, any direction, and choice is spoon fed to us through a massive net of cloud-powered data, logic and algorithmic deductions?

Will we all live to see the future point in human evolution known as the singularity where the lines between humans and machines disappear and how will wireless technology play into that evolution? At the end of the day we’re all hurtling through space on this beautiful, blue marble and it’s anyone’s guess.

Guy Borgford
Director Mobile Advertising Solution, Hipcricket