Give us a call! 1-512-501-5940

Category: CEO

Remember the days of unreliable, over-sized travel maps testing your patience? Or getting so turned around you had to stop and ask for directions at the nearest gas station? If you were born before the mid-90s (not to put an age limit on it) you are all too familiar with those times.  However, getting lost seems to be a thing of the past; younger generations are hardly ever stumbling upon this annoyance and we find ourselves reaching destinations with far fewer turnarounds.

mobile location, location-based mobile messages, health communications, text messages, SMS,Mobile GPS On Your Smartphone

For as long as I have been driving, I love the luxury of a navigational map on my smartphone (or mobile GPS).  Global Positioning System (GPS) not only maps a perfect route to my destination with the desired time and distance traveled. but also provides multiple route options and includes a traffic indicator.  Due to the advances in technology, our smartphones have completely revolutionized the way we travel.

Not only are these maps an added perk of any mobile device but brands are taking full advantage of its compatibility with mobile websites and mobile apps as well.  If a company has a mobile website with a destination address located on it, with just one click the user is able to automatically input that address into their mobile GPS and get directions to this location immediately.  This is especially useful for travel in foreign landscapes or those hard to find destinations.

As the number of smartphone is inversely proportional to the use of location-based information, we can conclude that both will continue to be in high demand for years to come.  There are more than a million daily smartphone activations. Added to the current number, the Pew Internet & American Life Center reports that 74 percent of smartphone users utilize real-time location-based information or directions.  Greatly impacting the way individuals travel, as well as the amount of time we spend lost.

Tags:

True Dialog, Celebrates Four Years in Mobile

True Dialog Celebrates 4 Years in Mobile Marketing

We celebrated 4 revolutionary years as a company in the mobile industry this month. It began with an idea – the notion that one-way text messaging would go the way of rotary phones, newspapers, and the calculator. It was a good bet to make. It has outgrown, and will soon overthrow, email marketing.

Mobile has grown to be more than just texting over the last few years. We’ve seen the addition of mobile strategy, QR codes, mobile websites and mobile applications augmenting the list. Our industry is seeing a hockey stick growth, and we’re super excited to see where it’s headed in the next year.

With all the noise in our industry and new players trying to enter the market, we have stood strong by our core values, integrity and ability to be mobile thought leaders for our clients and partners. We continue to hire great people, expand our team each month and challenge the mobile industry to do more than average.

We thank all our partners, employees and clients for a great 4 years and many more to come.

Sweet treats provided from one of our newest staff members, Katie Wahlman.

Tags:

 

Comparison Shoppers Are Using Mobile Apps

Recently, Amazon announced that they are launching their augmented reality bar code scanning app on the Android platform.  As well as making in-store comparisons easily accessible to everyone running Android, it’s also an intriguing starting point to discuss future developments of the technology. As reported, 40% of smartphone owners are using their phones to compare products and prices and make purchases. The battle lines between ecommerce providers and multi-channel retailers are being drawn and the fight for comparison shoppers begins.

All this spells good news for the consumer, as their options increase in line with the competition for market space.  Sure, there’s integration between mobile phone marketing and third party apps that give people the opportunity to check and compare across a range of products and websites; but what about the advantages conferred when retailers create their own branded mobile business apps that issue targeted notifications of special deals straight to the smartphone?

Whoever comes out on top in this battle the rewards are clear.  With worldwide mobile payment transactions predicted to break the $171.5 billion barrier in 2012, it’s obvious that future trends predict an ever-greater share of business will be conducted on smartphones.

Tags: , ,

Back to School Checklist: Pencils, Backpack, Cell Phone

The Back to School Checklist Has Changed

– 2 packs unsharpened pencilsBack To School Checklist, Mobile Ideas, mobile retail
– 3 spiral notebooks (I won’t look in)
– 5 2 ½ inch (like it matters) binders
– 1 calculator (I’ll never use)
– 1- Pencil pouch (I’ll still lose all my pencils)
– Stylish backpack (that won’t fit anything)
New cell phone case
– Cute Clothes

Going back to school is not my favorite time of the year. I’m dreading when August 17th finally rolls around, but I admit there is  one thing I look forward to at the beginning of every school year – it has nothing to do with learning. I love back to school shopping.  Above is the typical back to school checklist of things I need before classes begin. With freshman year rapidly approaching, the clothes are more important than ever (almost as important as having an unlimited texting plan).

I usually start looking online for clothes in late July. That gives me plenty of time to decide “who I want to be”.  I then hit up the mall and see if there’s anything there I like. I’ll try on a few outfits and send photos of them to my friends, but my trip usually doesn’t end well.  With all the other teenage girls shopping for the cutest outfits of the season, stores usually don’t have the sizes or colors I want. Therefore, I am left constantly browsing the internet, sometimes from my mobile device, while I’m at the mall; looking at every item currently available on my favorite stores websites. (Delia’s, Forever 21, American Eagle, etc.) After some in depth searching, I’ll send pictures of my favorite finds to my friends and see what they think. As soon as my friend’s text back with their approval I usually buy it right away.

My friends tend to like a lot of the things I like and I end up having numerous options and wanting to buy them all. This causes a very large credit card bill, not making my mother (or father) very happy. Having a program where I could text to get a mobile coupon for a store I like would probably bring that bill down a lot. Even having the ability to enter a sweepstakes to win back to school money or supplies would make everything a lot easier (if I did win). If I could use my cell phone to save money, instead of just using up all of the minutes on our family plan, I’m sure my parents would be really happy too.

Tags: , , ,

 

True Dialog booth at NRA 2012 Show

 

 

The True Dialog team just returned from the Food & Beverage industry’s biggest trade show, the 2012 National Restaurant Association Show in Chicago, IL.  There were thousands of attendees, food samples as far as the eye could see, and master chefs showing off their talents.

However, the biggest thing that everyone was talking about was mobile marketing. From every point-of-sale (POS) system company advertising their new mobile POS, to QR codes for restaurants, text message marketing, and over 20+ loyalty app companies, it is clear that mobile is the next big thing for the food & beverage industry.  However, a few things stood out to me from an implementation point of view:

  1. There is a larger need for education about mobile that needs to take place with restaurant owners. The corporate and larger franchise groups know they need to get there, and have done research on mobile to ask appropriate questions.
  2. The independent restaurant owner isn’t a marketer and struggles with social/email marketing programs. So, for him or her to stay tuned to the newest technologies like mobile is a real struggle. This restaurant owners needs ease of use and results.
  3. A large number of vendors/exhibitors at the show were showcasing technology that wasn’t truly mobile and had not been developed to mobile web or application best practices.
  4. The majority of the QR codes on products, booths, and even show material didn’t go to a mobile website. The majority went to a traditional website and a few went to a responsive mobile website.

There is a large interest in mobile in the restaurant industry, which is a double edge sword. Mobile is projected to generate billions of dollars in a few years and this attracts a lot of opportunists to the space looking to make a quick buck. Before selecting a mobile partner, there are several critical questions you need to ask during the evaluation phase:

  1. Are they using 5-6 digit numbers or 10+ digits numbers? Ask to see an example of their keyword and short code for yourselves. Your text messaging campaigns need to come from a short code (only 5 or 6 digits) and adhere to the proper mobile compliance and regulations.
  2. Does the message have STOP or HELP in it? Does it allow you to reply with either of those words and get a confirmation message back?
  3. Does the partner offer two way messaging? What I mean by this is you text a keyword PIZZA to a keyword 375275 and you get a message back. This message allows you to respond A, B, C, D and when you respond instead of getting a confirmation message (just text back) you receive another question that allows you to again respond to a questions with A, B, C, D again.
  4. How long has the company been in business and what type of clients do they have? You will find a lot of the companies have been in business a very short time and don’t have a good client portfolio on a national level.
  5. Ask the company if they own their SMS platform or if they are merely reselling another company’s technology. Find out about the company that built the technology and research them too.

The bottom line is that, in order to be successful in mobile, you must find a partner with experience, thought leadership and technology ownership in order to build successful campaigns and a long term strategic relationship. After all, you wouldn’t pick a surgeon after 4 months on the job, you shouldn’t pick your mobile partner that way either. The life or death of your mobile initiative depends on it.

Tags: ,

Picking a Mobile CRM Partner is like Playing Poker

True Dialog has been in the mobile business for the past four years, and in that time, we’ve seen  a lot of mobile companies come and go. Someone every day asks, “Have you heard of “XYZ Company”? Typically, this is a new mobile company that just came on the scene.
There is a ton of money being invested in mobile technology and it’s very hard for a brand to know which mobile company is best for their specific needs. In many ways, picking the right mobile CRM partner is like playing poker, knowing when someone is bluffing and when it’s time to go all in.
Our founder and CEO, Carrie Chitsey, is a successful entrepreneur and avid poker player, and often sees similarities between the two. She often puts herself  in the shoes of our clients, prospects and folks we talk to on a daily basis. After doing this, several things have become clear about brands that are looking to get into mobile:
  •  Most are in “research” mode, basing their needs on what they’ve read or seen from competitors.
  • Someone has sold them on a specific or limited approach to mobile, often falling flat on promises and leaving a bad taste in the mouth of brand decision makers.
  • Many brand managers focus on mobile on a campaign-by-campaign basis, rather than stepping back and looking at the big picture to develop a mobile strategy.
  • Most decision makers are so focused on keeping up, or beating, the competition with mobile that the mobile database they are trying to build is really an afterthought and not a primary focus.
5.       And if they’ve tried mobile before, they now know what they want this time, have goals and want a good partner, not just a technology.
We love the second time folks; they know a good mobile partner when they see one. These are great marriages.
So how does mobile strategy remind Carrie of poker? It’s easy, and told straight from the source.
·         Picking your table is key, if you end up or stay too long at a bad table, you lose all your money. The same is true with mobile; if you pick a bad partner, not only will you be unsuccessful, it leaves a bad taste and often waste most of your money.
·         In the world of poker, it’s ok to switch tables if you know you sat down to a bad table. The same holds true in finding a mobile partner. If you aren’t seeing performance, technology is not what it cracked up to be and you aren’t getting mobile strategy and results….. move on, time is of the essence in mobile. You can’t wait 12 months to get a good mobile partner.
·         The guy who wins the most hands is not the guy that wins the most money. Mobile is test and learn, and not everything you do is going to be a huge success.  Test, learn, and repeat the good stuff while throwing out the bad. Don’t be afraid to recognize what isn’t working. You need to build a foundation for success, anyone can win one jackpot but try hitting multiple without strategy and skill.
·         Don’t play games you don’t understand even if you see others winning by luck. There will always be something new and shiny in mobile. Innovation is good, but you have to learn the basics first. Going from not doing anything mobile to moving straight to an iPhone or Augmented Reality application is not a good move.
·         Learn by playing the game. Reading, watching others, and learning theory are great but nothing replaces actual experience. Get going, pick a great mobile partner, and throw in some chips. After all, you don’t have to go “all-in” on your first hand.

Retailers today struggle with what to give customers in store, how to create a memorable experience, and how to create additional value and revenue. All are trying different tactics to increase revenues and loyalty through mobile /social sharing in store.

The question is, are these repeatable models to scale? Who owns this experience in a brand? Is there a central owner? I’ve heard more times than I can count that within each brand there are no short of 5 heads of marketing, each having different P&L, responsibilities and agendas. And then there are the brands’ agencies (plural), which all have different roles and agendas. So which agency and which VP of Marketing owns the “new hybrid” customer experience in store? When you determine who the owner is, where is their knowledge coming from? The lack of knowledge in the industry today on mobile is one of the main reasons so many brands have not done mobile, or have not done mobile well.

Mobile is exciting and it’s all over the news; you can’t help but read about a new mobile campaign rollout these days. Should you make corporate decisions by following what other brands have done? Do you really want to follow exactly what your competitor is doing? Anyone can hit one homerun but that doesn’t get you an over .300 batting average. You have to engage a company that lives and breathes mobile, you can’t run your business day to day and be in tune with every new technology out there.

Now, let’s talk about the new hybrid customer experience. This is the experience in which customers engage with a brand in store in the new “digital, interactive, mobile, social” realm. The reason I don’t give it a name and it can be classified into four categories. No one knows what to call digital interactions in store.

One size consumer experiences do not fit all. We have to look at our new consumers groups and how they want to engage, the channel they want to engage and how to get them to re-engage and come back into the store. This is the biggest miss by brands in the marketplace today.

Each brand usually is targeting multiple demographics. First you must outline a mobile strategy to understand your demographic channels, how to engage and how often to re-engage. It’s just as important to first run “blocking and tackling” campaigns prior to “trick plays”. We see more brands trying to do far out innovative things and a only few will stick, but creating a foundation for building a mobile database that will last and not just be “one timers” is built from the main steps in mobile.

So who are the demographics and how do you reach them?

Moms with kids

  • High text frequency
  • Use text to keep contact with kids
  • Search for locations and products on the go
  • Opt-in to mobile campaigns to get value add
  • Growing in smartphone usage

 

Minorities

  • Cell phones are primary household phones
  • Low landline usage
  • Low in-home internet access
  • Primary text users and watch cell phone minutes carefullyLow smartphone usage, typical phones are WAP or xHTML

 

Business Stakeholders

  • Sales, technology, and management
  • High smartphone usage
  • Uses a combination of text, email, and internet
  • Typically has 7-10 applications downloaded and uses 2-4 regularly

 

Corporate Business

hybrid experience

  • Corporate America employees connected through Blackberries
  • This group works for corporate America , uses Blackberries frequently due to fast response via email and text
  • Low adoption rate of smartphones due to security issues with iPhones and Androids
  • Uses internet often, limited applications downloads

 

Tweens

hybrid experience

  • Uses feature phones and “smaller” Blackberries
  • Parents pay phone bill to reach this demographic
  • 90% texting, 10%
  • Very limited smartphones in this demographic due to cost

 

High School/College Kids

  • Similar to tweens, using text frequently, voice less often
  • Limited smartphone usage due to costs, although growing in college aged demographic
  • High Facebook usage, although connects through mobile web vs. application

 

Non Mainstream Male

  • Early adopters of latest in technology and gadgets
  • Gamers, surfers, skateboarders, and musicians 23-35 year old male.
  • Highest demographic using Android OS powered devices
  • Uses mobile devices for gaming and texting, not a fan of “voice” conversations

So how do you connect and make an emotional connection and experience with these different consumer groups in store? You understand the key drivers around purchasing behavior, social behavior and choose interactions and experiences that go across multiple mobile channels to appeal to each demographic.

If you roll out a QR code program for tweens or minorities it will fail. If you roll out a QR code and SMS program for tweens, minorities and Moms, you will see the interactions by channel and give these groups multiple ways to engage with the brand.

More on Hybrid experiences and closing the gap in my next post.

Tags: , , , ,

Retailers today struggle with what to give customers in store, how to create winning customer experiences, and how to create additional value and revenue. All are trying different tactics to increase revenues and loyalty through mobile /social sharing in store.

The question is, are these repeatable models to scale? Who owns this experience in a brand? Is there a central owner? I’ve heard more times than I can count that within each brand there are no short of 5 heads of marketing, each having different P&L, responsibilities and agendas. And then there are the brands’ agencies (plural), which all have different roles and agendas. So which agency and which VP of Marketing owns the “new hybrid” customer experience in store? When you determine who the owner is, where is their knowledge coming from? The lack of knowledge in the industry today on mobile is one of the main reasons so many brands have not done mobile, or not done mobile well. Mobile is exciting and it’s all over the news; you can’t help but read about a new mobile campaign rollout these days. Should you make corporate decisions by following what other brands have done?.Do you really want to follow exactly what your competitor is doing? Anyone can hit one homerun but that doesn’t get you an over .300 batting average. You have to engage a company that lives and breathes mobile, you can’t run your business day to day and be in tune with every new technology out there.

Now, let’s talk about the new hybrid customer experience. This is the experience in which customers engage with a brand in store in the new “digital, interactive, mobile, social” realm. The reason I don’t give it a name and it can be classified into four categories. No one knows what to call digital interactions in store.

One size consumer experiences do not fit all. We have to look at our new consumers groups and how they want to engage, the channel they want to engage and how to get them to re-engage and come back into the store. This is the biggest miss by brands in the marketplace today.

Each brand usually is targeting multiple demographics. First you must outline a mobile strategy to understand your demographic channels, how to engage and how often to re-engage. It’s just as important to first run “blocking and tackling” campaigns prior to “trick plays”. We see more brands trying to do far out innovative things and a only few will stick and work, but creating a foundation for building a mobile database that will last and not just be “one timers” is built from the main steps in mobile.

So who are the demographics and how do you reach them?

Moms with kids: These ladies are high texters, it’s the only way they can get ahold of their kids, they use the internet on their phones regularly to find things while on the go, they opt in to mobile campaigns to get value add and share with other mothers. This group is growing in smartphones but doesn’t use applications frequently as of today.

Minorities: This demographic uses their cell phones as the primary phone in the household. They have low landline usage and don’t have internet in home. They are primarily text users because it’s unlimited in their plans and they watch their cell phone minutes carefully. Typical phones are WAP or xHTML, very low smartphone users in this demographic.

Business Stakeholders: this is your group of business people that are in sales, technology or management and have a smartphone primarily to stay connected to work. They have applications downloaded on their phones and use a combination of text, email and internet on their phones. They typically have 7-10 applications downloaded on their phones and use 2-4 regularly.

Corporate Business: This group works for corporate America and is connected to Blackberries. Corporations aren’t getting off the Blackberry servers anytime soon due to the investment of the security issues with iPhones and Androids. These folks are Blackberry lovers because they can type fast in response to the high email and texting usage. The Berry Group, does use internet regularly but not as often as the other Business group and very limited applications downloaded.

Tweens: This group of cell phone users are feature phones and “smaller” Blackberries. Their parents need them to have a phone to reach them but don’t want to pay for a data plan. This demographic is about 90% texting, 10% voice, very limited smartphones.

High School/College Kids: Very similar to tweens, however this group uses text frequently, less voice, and limited data plans due to the costs. This group is very into Facebook and usually connects to this through the mobile website and not the application on their device.

Non Mainstream Male: this is the gamer, surfer, skateboarder, and musician 23-35 year old male. This group is the highest Android group and doesn’t want to conform to Apple and likes to be different and support new things. This group is big on gaming application downloads and texting, this group is not a fan of “voice” conversations and sometimes is irritated with phone calls.

So how do you connect and make an emotional connection and experience with these different consumer groups in store? You understand the key drivers around purchasing behavior, social behavior and choose interactions and experiences that go across multiple mobile channels to appeal to each demographic.

If you roll out a QR code program for tweens or minorities it will fail. If you roll out a QR code and SMS program for tweens, minorities and Moms, you will see the interactions by channel and give these groups multiple ways to engage with the brand.

More on Hybrid experiences and closing the gap in my next post.

Tags: , , , ,

© 2017 Copyright TrueDialog.   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   SMS Help   |   info@truedialog.com   1-512-501-5940

TrueDialog 7500 Rialto Blvd Bldg. 1, Suite 250 Austin, TX 78735