Monthly Archives: November 2011

What Builds a Great App For Local Business

Build a Better Profile with Michael Margolis

Each Business has a history.  What story do have?  What is your claim to fame?  When building a solid foundation to any marketing campaign is the ability to relate to people on a one on one basis.  Social Media helps you as a business connect as a person to many in a relatively short time, if you do it right.  So here is for all of you some training on how to build a better social profile that really works for you as the individual and as a business.  If people cannot see the person behind the business, do they really see you as the business?  Great question to explore.

Training yourself to promote the character traits you admire in your business is wonderful.  Even a business needs a solid foundation of positive moral character if they are going to pull of a successful and sustainable business.  So, when you build your profile connect, share and experience with your customers and clients what it is that makes you.  Until next time, Many blessings.

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Some Inspiration For Today

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Exclusive Nokia And Windows 7 “Sea Ray” Smart Phone Video And Report

Exclusive Nokia And Windows 7 “Sea Ray” Smart Phone Video And Report
Well what a scoop we have here, however contrived it probably was. Still, we bring you an EXCLUSIVE video shot just after Nokia CEO Stephen Elop asked the audience to “put away their cameras” as something “super confidential” was about to be unveiled.

We have an almost World exclusive video of the new child of Nokia and Microsoft code named “Sea Ray” it actually looks pretty swish I must say.

Here is the video showing the full leaked video and read our report below:


Windows 7 and Nokia Smart Phone “Sea Ray” – Exclusive

Learn what Nokia and Microsoft have been up to with the release of the new Windows 7 smart phone.

Nokia’s first Windows 7 Phone has made its debut on a leaked video of an internal Nokia conference hosted by CEO Stephen Elop.

Despite Elop’s pleas for confidentiality the video of Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7 offering, dubbed the Sea Ray, has been leaked on YouTube.

A demonstration of the smartphone revealed that the phone has the Windows 7 Mango update and looks virtually identical to the N9 phone. It is described in the demonstration as a ‘people–centric smartphone’ with ‘five hundred new features and capabilities’.

Elop told the audience, following the demonstration, ‘We are making progress. We are exciting consumers. That is just the first one. I have other devices completely different from that, that are already working as well.’

He added: ‘We have so much to deliver and launch.’

Elop said the company would retain important features in Nokia’s current portfolio as it moves to produce Windows 7 phones. He said Nokia’s innovations in the N9, as well as user experience and industrial design, are ‘going to live on’ in the new phones.

Cynics say the leak is a publicity stunt by Nokia. If so, it heralds a new era of openness at Nokia. Elop talked frankly of mistakes made by Nokia in the past and the pain of the current transitional stage.

He called for open dialogue within the company, saying he wanted to hear from staff on what was going badly as well as what was doing well. He added: ‘It is OK to give us the bad news. The pain we suffered just a few weeks ago about the earnings release would not have happened if the people in this company had shared the bad news earlier.

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THis is The App Revolution. Are you Ready?

This is The App Revolution!

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The Bendable Phone

I have to say, this caught me by surprise.  So much for the ‘cold hands’ excuse.  In the near future, we will not have to worry about our hands getting cold and the touch screen not working on our smart phones!  Catch up to Nokia people!  They have some of the best phones out there!

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Business as usual? My Journey To Educate

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I was just minding my own business when out of the blue I got sidetracked (as usual). I always seem to get sidetracked when I am trying to design apps. I guess it’s my creative mind looking for ideas and trends. I want to stand out from the crowd and be unique.

So you know what I did? I decided to go to local businesses. You see I live in a small town in the Big Country of Texas where in most places businesses don’t even use email! Can you imagine that? They don’t even use email. Anyway, I went downtown to scope out the area and see if anything would come to me. How do I get small town business people to want to get connected online and really bring our aging and ailing economy back from near death? So, as I walked arounf I discovered that businesses here are very friendly, and they love social interaction. The one strange thing I noticed is that most of the businesses I went into the patrons had smart phones. That intrigued me. Here I am in a mom and pop shop and there are smart phones everywhere.

I introduced myself to a few of the business owners downtown and while I was talking to them I asked them if they had a smart phone. All of them said yes! Amazing!

Out of shear curiosity I asked, “What do you like to do most on your phone?”

The normal answers were
1. Check my email
2. surf the web
3. play games
4. watch streaming video
5. update twitter and facebook

Now, this really got my mind running. How can they use their phones for that and not for their business. So I asked!

The common response was, “I don’t have time for that.” or “You can use your phone to grow your business?” and the most popular response, “You mean I can have my business on everyone’s phones?”

I simply, looked at each one and smiled as I handed them my card and said, “You can grow your business, retain customers and eat your competition’s lunch! Look around you for the next few days, notice how many of your customers have a smart phone and if you want to talk about how we can get in gear call me.”

Needless to say, I am bringing my back woods town into the city. Your thoughts?

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What is the future of ad networks?

Google News | Google Looking to Hire Smartphone App Developers

We have all seen the hockey stick charts and innumerable slides about growth in mobile advertising. We have also seen the stats on mobile Web adoption and wireless data usage, and heard the pundits speak on and on about how “this is the year.”

Sound familiar? That was 1998.

Here we are, 10 years later, and a whole industry has been born on the speculation of mobile advertising. The players making a big gamble on the future of mobile advertising are the ever-increasing number of ad networks.

In the beginning, mobile ad networks were focused on the first basic need in mobile advertising – lack of inventory.

From there, the land grab was on and most ad networks focused on the long tail of mobile advertising to secure this precious inventory. They offered to take anyone and everyone who had mobile content and deliver and optimize their advertising efforts.

Essentially this has been a good deal for publishers, even premium publishers, because as long as their mobile platform was small, having an outsourced group monetizing their content works well.

But now the problem isn’t inventory, but a lack of quality inventory.  The big brands that advertise on mobile need to know that their brand is associated with content that is of a caliber that they feel comfortable with, and that it is contextually relevant to the consumer. Advertising a food product makes a lot more sense on Good Housekeeping than it does Joe Schmoe’s blog or a local car dealership.

Another challenge currently facing mobile ad networks is the current usage of search in mobile.

Unlike the big online ad networks that rely on search to target and serve ads, in first-quarter 2008, less than 7 percent of mobile site and content discovery is derived from search, according to the latest Crisp Wireless Index.

The majority of mobile discovery (53 percent) is through on-deck carrier portals, with 39.5 percent of discovery being performed off-deck through users directly typing in site names or bookmarks on users phones.

The problem ad networks will have, as the market grows, is that top-tier publishers will bring the inventory in-house.

In the online world, where ad networks can do behavioral targeting without content management systems, only 11 percent of ad sales are done through ad networks.

In mobile, there is the additional complication of the need for content management. Therefore the number will almost certainly end up even lower.

The future
Big brand publishers today dominate mobile advertising. They have more traffic, stickier sites and, most importantly, complex content management systems that allow them to understand how people are using mobile very differently than they are using the Internet.

As these publishers begin to realize real revenue from mobile advertising, they will bring their ad sales in house. When this begins to happen, ad servers will start to drop prices and become as commoditized as they are online.

Online ad serving has survived due to its ability to offer behavioral targeting and cost-per-click pricing. Almost all online ad networks now differentiate themselves in these two ways.

In mobile, you can take away the behavioral targeting and get some remnant CPC companies. This still represents a large market opportunity for ad networks, but very different from the premium positioning they have now.

The winners will be infrastructure companies that can offer the ability to provide publishers with real data about how consumers are using their sites, where those consumers are coming from, where they are going, and what they are consuming.

Even more important than that, the infrastructure companies will be able to deliver comparative data; how one site is doing with respect to the mobile Web universe in general, in the vertical, and any other properties specific to that site’s focus. This is the future of mobile advertising.

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Top mobile apps for Black Friday 2011

Brands and marketers are taking note that mobile is a key ingredient in driving in-store traffic and retail sales. It is no surprise that companies are building apps specifically for Black Friday to provide consumers with another purchasing medium.

Here are some examples of notable apps created specifically for Black Friday.

Walgreens is bringing mobile coupons to smartphone users beginning the day after Thanksgiving as it looks to enhance the shopping experience via its mobile apps.

Walgreens is adding mobile coupons that can be scanned at point-of-sale to its existing mobile applications. The coupons, which will be available from Nov. 25 to Dec. 24, will range in value from 50 cents to $5 and will be good toward a variety of products including beauty items, gifts, consumables and diapers.

sign up now!

The app will be an essential tool for users for Black Friday because not only will they be looking for coupons, but they can redeem them at the point-of-sale via the app.

Mobile coupons are on the rise and the app takes advantage of that.

During Black Friday, consumers are already looking for deals so an app that features an added incentive is great during the holiday season.

“This is another way in which we’re enhancing our mobile apps and creating greater value for our mobile customers who use the app,” said Rich Lesperance, director of marketing for ecommerce at Walgreens, Deerfield, IL.

“Today’s consumers are seeking value and convenience, and we’re entering the peak holiday shopping season,” he said.

“This feature makes it easier for our mobile users to redeem coupons – because there’s no clipping or printing required — it’s as easy as downloading the app, and you’re ready to shop and save. And this now enables our mobile customers to use the app in our stores.”

http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/2011/11/18/walgreens-introduces-mobile-coupons-to-enhance-shopping-via-apps

Choose your gift card’s design

Home goods retailer Williams-Sonoma has rolled out mobile gift cards in time for the holiday shopping season.

Using CashStar’s mobile Web digital gifting platform, Williams-Sonoma’s customers can be the first to purchase and send mobile gift cards directly from their smartphones. Additionally, the service gives the retailer an easy way to track the sales made with the gift card.

The CashStar app helps eliminate shoppers’ hassle of carrying and finding loyalty, rewards as well as club membership cards.

Consumers are sometimes overwhelmed with the amount of loyalty cards they have in their wallet, so the ability to store it digitally on their mobile device is ideal.

“Consumers of Williams-Sonoma will now be able to easily shop from their mobile devices,” said David Stone, cofounder/CEO of CashStar, Portland, ME. “The high-quality shopping experience that customers have come to expect is now optimized and delivered when purchasing personalized, easy to use gift cards.

“This holiday season, consumers can now easily shop for an egift card on their smartphones,” he said. “Williams-Sonoma and CashStar have made this important program work beautifully on smartphones as part of the mobile gift card solution.”

http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/2011/11/08/williams-sonoma-takes-aim-at-holiday-shoppers-with-mobile-gift-cards

The Snap Appy iPhone app

Specialty retailer Old Navy is upping its mobile efforts with an iPhone application designed to increase holiday sales and let consumers know about new products.

The Snap Appy app lets consumers scan products in-store to unlock season-themed surprises and rewards while shopping. Additionally, the app connects to the retailer’s mobile-optimized Web site to let users shop from home.

During Black Friday, consumers are on the prowl, but are looking more for big deals and rewards rather than a product they need.

Using the mobile app, consumers can scan products to know only learn more about it, but to redeem rewards as well.

“As our marketing evolves, we’re focused on innovating and looking for culturally relevant ways to better engage our target customer, and best serve who she is today,” said Deborah Yeh, vice president of marketing at Old Navy, San Francisco.

“Old Navy’s new mobile app, Snap Appy, addresses our customers’ desire to have a shopping tool for their mobile-based lifestyles,” she said.

http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/2011/11/08/old-navy-bolsters-holiday-sales-with-in-store-shopping-app

The TapBuy deals app

Target, Gap and Old Navy are among the retailers whose discounted merchandise can be found and purchased via the new mobile shopping app TapBuy Deals.

TapBuy Deals lets consumers shop sale items from retailers, local offers from deal sites such as Groupon and also finds discount codes to apply to purchases. The app uses a streamlined checkout process so that users can complete their purchases with just a few taps.

Many apps currently out in the app stores help users find deals online.

However, navigating checkout screens to buy items is a hassle for consumers using their smartphones.

The TapBuy app lets customers buy products quickly when they enter their billing and shipping information, something that will prove to be useful during Black Friday.

“In mobile commerce, one of the biggest problems is that it is really hard to buy – the failure rate is like 80 percent,” said Blake Scholl, CEO of Kima Labs, San Francisco.

“TapBuy is the first mobile shopping app that has a checkout built-in that is really fast and easy to use,” he said.

“The ability to buy on the go is big — that’s a big differentiator.”

http://www.mobilecommercedaily.com/2011/11/07/gap-sale-items-found-in-new-mobile-shopping-app-tapbuy-dealsBlack Friday apps roundup

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Macy’s takes Thanksgiving Day parade mobile By Lauren Johnson

Macy’s is letting consumers follow and interact with this year’s Thanksgiving Day parade through an application for iPhone and Android devices.

The app lets spectators of the parade track the route and find out additional information. The app is powered by location-and-social app company MyCityWay.

“The 85th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and events like it are traditionally experienced by spectators in person and on television,” said Sonpreet Bhatia, cofounder of MyCityWay, New York.

 

“With this app, you can now experience traditional events in a whole new way, and spectators will have essential information all in one place in an app on their smartphone,” she said.

Find my way
The branded app has the Macy’s logo splashed across the top of each page.

Using the app, users can track specific parts of the parade, including marching bands, Santa and dance teams.

To track the parade, users need to register for an account with the program Clingle inside the app and then download the app on Thanksgiving Day to follow the parade route.

Parade attendees can also view a map of the parade with directions and tourist information.

Additionally, consumers can also get a sneak peek at the parade’s floats and balloons.

Users can learn about the parade and which celebrities and music artists will be participating.

On the day of the parade, consumers can view an exclusive digital version of the parade’s Line of March that will be released at 9 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day.

At the top of the app, consumers can tap on a banner advertisement to shop from the parade’s line of memorabilia.

Users can buy items directly from inside the app and add items to their Macy’s shopping bag.

The app also features streaming video from locations around the parade route for consumers who want to watch the parade while on the go.

The Macy’s Day Thanksgiving Parade has a partnership with broadcast network NBC, and inside the app users can learn more about the other programs that NBC will be airing on Thanksgiving.

The app also uses a consumer’s GPS to find nearby stores, restaurants, subway stops and the local weather.

Branding machine
In addition to the app, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade features are also available on a microsite from Macy’s.

The Thanksgiving app builds on Macy’s extensive mobile history, which includes apps, a mobile-optimized Web site mobile advertising and QR codes.

Most recently, Macy’s used a holiday-themed app with augmented reality to  promote its annual partnership with the Make-A-Wish Foundation (see story).

By putting its brand at the front and center of the app, Macy’s is able to tap into savvy consumers to interact with its historic event.

By using live streaming, photos and video, it also lets consumers who are both at the parade and at home interact with the parade.

“Macy’s created a beloved American tradition with the launch of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York in 1924,” Ms. Bhatia said.

“With a steadily growing audience along the parade route and on TV, a mobile app brings a whole new level of engagement and promotion to the parade and can tap into the growing population that uses smartphones,” she said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York

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