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I predict Push will beat Pull

Posted 10.01.2010 @ 10:05 am, by John Epperson

TechCrunch posted a blog earlier this week titled The Future Of Mobile Advertising Is In Pull, Not Push.  The subject was a TechCrunch Disrupt interview of Zaw Thet (4Info), Mihir Shah (Groupon) and John Hadl (Brand In Hand) by Jason Kincaid.

Push Versus PullFrom an advertising standpoint the blog title has some validity.  After all, who wants to be bombarded with text (or other push type) messages while driving by the local Mall of Generica – messages hitting your phone from the Gap, Lowes, Burger King, etc. as you head home from work?  Most likely, the content isn’t going to be much more relevant than garden variety spam.  So it makes sense, right?

Caution, clunky segue ahead…

Earlier this year a friend posed this question to me: What if mobile is not about search?  What he was postulating is that when people are on-the-go they are more likely to be heading to a pre-planned destination rather than trying to find it while on the go.  This also seems to make some sense.  Mobile search traffic is growing at a tremendous rate, but so is mobile web traffic in general (see RWW’s take).  But it’s still difficult to see any evolving trends to put this idea to the test yet.

Let’s put those traffic statistics aside for a minute and think about where business and consumer interests intersect in the mobile space.  It’s pretty straightforward – consumers are interested in finding or purchasing things and businesses are interested in attracting consumers and selling their goods.  Per the TechCrunch piece, some of the industry leaders believe the future of mobile advertising isn’t push.  Does that mean we’re just going to extend and morph the current ad market into mobile, albeit with a much more local focus?  I don’t think so.  The online advertising medium cannot just be resized and slipped into the mobile environment.  Mobile is an entirely different medium.

So to wrap all these thoughts together, I’m going to make a prediction.  Businesses are now using mobile technology to tell their customers about specials, upcoming events and other pertinent information in a timely manner.  This is one of the purposes advertising has previously been used for.  Now for the prediction:  Within the next year customers receiving mobile messages from their favorite businesses/organizations will be able to seamlessly share those updates with their existing social networks on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

At that point, because of the reach and power of online social networks, mobile local advertising becomes much less of a necessity to small retailers.  There’s still amazing potential for brands, events and others trying to create awareness – which is the other purpose of advertising – but it is removed from the must-do list for SMBs.

So in summary, I think very soon it is entirely possible that a properly implemented mobile marketing solution could virtually eliminate the need for “advertising” for small retail businesses – the sustaining force behind traditional local advertising mediums.  You heard it here first: push will beat pull.

John EppersonJohn Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

The mobile landscape is vast!

Posted 06.23.2010 @ 6:18 pm, by John Epperson

Vast mobile landscapeOur local Social Media Club (SMCKC) hosted an event last night that focused exclusively on the mobile space.  Three presenters, Mike Craig (Ruxter), Barbara Ballard (Little Springs Design), and Dustin Jacobsen (Barkley) provided respectively, a high-level view of the space, basics and best practices of UI design, and the role of location based services (LBS).

My first takeaway was, “Holy cow this landscape is huge!”  Of course I’m not referring to the screen size of mobile devices, but the numerous avenues available to businesses to market to their current and potential customers.  I spend my days in the mobile space, so I’m pretty familiar with everything that was covered, but having the space expertly laid out in a concise 2 hour session was an eye opener even to me.

The amazing part of this though is that you don’t have to prepare to enter the mobile space as if you were launching a second Normandy invasion - you can approach it with small steps.  There are numerous services that allow low cost experimentation with SMS, mobile web creation, and even mobile app creation.

So, if you’re new to mobile, don’t let the enormous possibilities overwhelm you!  Here are some basic tips:

  • Start small and experiment
  • Promote your mobile presence on your other channels (Facebook, Twitter, etc.)
  • Talk to your mobile customers and make sure you are providing value in exchange for their loyalty
  • Continue to experiment and grow your mobile customer base

If you’re still hesitant about getting started in mobile, reach out to your local Social Media Club.  They’re a fantastic resource and will be able to help steer you in the right direction.

(The presentations can be found here: http://shakegently.com/2010/06/22/mobile-marketing-presentations-for-social-media-club-kansas-city/)

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

Slicing through the noise

Posted 04.06.2010 @ 10:04 am, by John Epperson

Listening to the noise

It’s been a year or so since Twitter stormed into everyday life.  Facebook made a steadier approach, but is now just as ubiquitous.  And now there’s another must-have app that seems to be teetering on stardom called FourSquare.  Some might argue that it has already made it to the big time, but I think its best days are still just around the corner.

For those unfamiliar with FourSquare, it falls in the social media category, but has some differentiating characteristics. The basics are that an individual can “check-in” to establishments and earn badges based on their daily social activities.  For instance a person who has checked in to an establishment the most becomes “mayor” of the place.  They offer a multitude other badges such as if you visit a certain number of places in a day you get the “tourist” badge.  You can also check to see where your friends are.  There’s a lot more to their application, and if you’re interested you can check it out at www.foursquare.com.

I wrote a post a while ago titled “Is the internet where websites go to die?”  My reasoning for asking that question is that with the rise and evolution of social media, traditional websites are becoming increasingly marginalized.  If you’re a small business you probably haven’t gotten around to creating a Facebook fan page yet, but chances are good your customers are finding you through social media applications anyway, like crowd sourced sites such as Yelp or Urban Spoon.

There’s a commonality in all of the applications I have mentioned so far in that they allow people to discuss their varied experiences and interactions with businesses and organizations in a shared (and public) forum.  And if you’re a business, you may very well find that your customers are talking about you behind your back – right in front of you!

Of course, this type of communication has been going on since the beginning of time, but now it’s out there for everyone to see and participate.  Businesses small and large are struggling and learning how to interact with their current and potential customers in these noisy new mediums.  The struggle is that the organizations that are the topic of conversation cannot control the tenor of the discussion.  At best, they can interact, react and maybe do some moderation – but they have no control over the direction.

To me, there seems to be a really important channel that is missing in the new media, which is a way for businesses to communicate directly with their customers in a medium that is more evolved than email.  It also needs to be something that slices through all of the noise inherent in social media.  Dare I say that it will be SMS?

John Epperson is a co-founder and President of Ruxter. Having worked in various fields across the technology spectrum in the last 20+ years, John has gained a broad understanding of technology. Together with the Ruxter team he has developed a web-based application that allows anyone to quickly and easily harness the power of the mobile internet. You can contact him here. Follow Ruxter on Twitter.

 

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