Displaying items by tag: social media

What's up with mobile marketing in Canada?

Published in What's Fresh
Friday, 03 February 2012 17:08

Seventy percent of all Canadians are mobile subscribers. We are active users as well, texting more than 20 billion times last year, according to the CWTA. Four million of us browse the mobile Web more than once a week. I use it every day.

Relatively speaking, we are just as active as any other major market – even though our carrier fees are astronomical. We are also good marketers. Toronto represents the seventh-largest DMA market in North America, and Canada as a whole spends more than Canadian $19 billion in marketing a year, per the Canadian Marketing Association. 

Given all this, we would expect Canada to comprise some share of North America’s mobile marketing spend. Alas, we are not even a blip on the radar, spending less than $5 million annually on mobile marketing and advertising.

In the United States, a $5-million spend can account for the budget allocated by just a single company, albeit a very large company. In this sector, Canada does not even measure up to the 10 percent rule, i.e. brands spend 10 percent of their total U.S. marketing spend in Canada.

The reason for this lag has in part to do with our current economic condition, as there is no question that Canada’s marketing industry was hit hard by the recession.

Funding for new ventures evaporated, countless marketing roles were axed, and agencies were forced to deal with considerable budget cuts.

In such a climate, agencies and brand managers seeking to get CFO buy-in have been hesitant to pitch anything new.

Rather than exploring new ways to improve the ROI of marketing and advertising initiatives, whatever money remaining in a marketing budget is often allocated to tried but not necessarily true methods.

We cannot blame the agency or brand manager, as it is abundantly clear that the value proposition for mobile marketing has not truly been accepted in Canada.

The risk of launching an unsuccessful campaign is perceived as too great, no matter how little the costs are. But rather than dwelling too closely here on why Canada is not yet active in mobile marketing, I want to spend time exploring the ways in which we can enhance our role in this field.

Improve the message: Mobile adds legs to any media initiative
The reality is that for the most part, Canadian technologists and mobile believers have not done a good enough job of evangelizing mobile’s merits.

There is too much confusion in Canada around how mobile lines up against other marketing technologies such as email and social media and around what demographics would be receptive (not just teens!).

Unlike other mediums, mobile should not always be viewed as a standalone, but considered instead as part of an integrated buy across all media channels.

This means campaign success is not measured in CPMs, number of subscribers (i.e. traditional media), volume of emails or clicks, but in creating a distinct population of highly engaged consumers across any media.

Value success: Mobile is about conversion and lead generation
The language commonly used to communicate results (ROI) is not well understood when it comes to mobile. Why?

Because of the huge number of mobile phone subscribers out there we tend to think that any mobile campaign will easily deliver millions of responses. We worry more about capping costs than about understanding the value of each interaction.

Mobile devices are more personal to us than, say, our PCs, and the act of texting, downloading an app or calling up a mobile site is therefore so much more significant than a simple click.

Mobile marketing is about clear conversions, extending the reach of existing media. Most important of all, its success is very dependent on how integrated it is across the entire marketing mix.

Buzzwords aside, consider this scenario: a big consumer brand launches a campaign to create awareness of new product. The launch entails television commercials, billboard ads and online ads. The campaign concept is to distribute special offers for the new product in tandem with educating consumers about its new, improved features.

At each media touch point – TV, billboard or online ad – the consumer has the ability to find out more information and take advantage of special offers instantly by using their mobile phones.

In the case of billboards and TV ads, the consumer is instructed to send an SMS to a short code or query a mobile site to have information about the product and special offers sent directly to their phone.

In the case of an online ad, a consumer can click on the ad and link to a form where they she enters her phone number to receive the same special offers and product information on the phone.

Whether offline or online, people who take the initiative to interact with a brand’s advertising content are very interested and engaged consumers. They are, in essence, qualified leads.

Moreover, given the way we tend to feel about our phones, a mobile consumer (phone number) is worth so much more than an online consumer (email address).

Determining the success of such a campaign comes down to looking at the general audience reach of each channel and then measuring how many individuals actively engaged to receive content – hence the conversion rate.

As technologies advance, consumers will soon be able to interact with traditional media to make purchases directly from their phones, effectively closing the loop between advertising message and completed transactions. 

Make the budget work with the decision-makers
If the pitch is right, and the marketer gets buy-in, the next major challenge is figuring out how much budget to allocate and selling that through to the decision-maker.

Often, campaigns are killed on the boardroom table because there is no buy-in for the proper budget (too much or not enough).

The Interactive Advertising Bureau recently published its mobile buyer’s guide disclosing that typical U.S. mobile advertising budgets range from $15,000 to $150,000-plus.

In Canada, a recommended approach – echoing the thoughts of mobile marketing veteran and burningthebacon.com blogger Phil Barrett – is to allocate 10 percent of today’s media budget to engage mobile users.

That percentage should no doubt increase as brands become more educated and accustomed to buying into mobile marketing initiatives.

But for now, the key issue is to be able to carve out enough budget to conduct effective and successful mobile campaigns, and prove to decision-makers that mobile marketing is the right route.

Broadcast the message: Energy + Knowledge = Growth
Too few case studies, credible research studies or events have been published or held to educate Canadian marketers on why they must start thinking about mobile.

The Mobile Marketing Association does not even yet have a real presence in Canada. Certainly some inroads to counteract this were made this past year. In particular, Marketing Magazine held the Mobile 2.0 Conference in Toronto this summer and welcomed more than 300 agency workers and brands.

In addition, the first Mobile Innovation Week is being held this week in Toronto. It is anticipated that the MMA will bring a chapter to Canada, and that more events and successful case studies will be published in the not-so-distant future.

Increasing our education of the industry is critical to cultivating a thriving Canadian mobile marketing market.

We need to move beyond looking at what U.S. and European marketers are doing and set expectations based on knowledge of Canadian consumer behavior and marketing activities.

By clarifying the pitch, getting buy-in on budget and broadcasting campaign results (educating in the interim), Canadian marketers can expect to increase their presence in mobile marketing and in doing so renew their once-coveted status as innovative marketers.

Mobile is truly an excellent extension to any form of media. Instead of an isolated channel, it is the medium by which consumers interact with advertising content in a meaningful and measurable way.

Given that two out of three Canadians are mobile subscribers, the audience is certainly there. We just need to put the time into reaching them effectively.


Article courtesy of Mobile Marketer, the news leader in mobile marketing media and commerce

Use QR Codes to Increase Engagement

Published in What's Fresh
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 22:39


As the number of people with web access via their mobile phones has passed the tipping point, more and more people are using mobile phones as their primary communication tool to connect with Face Book and other social media. Now people are connecting from anywhere, including being “online” while shopping, dining or at entertainment venues.

By scanning a QR code with an application that is built into their phone or easily downloaded one time, consumers now have the ability to quickly access online content to learn more or further enhance their experience in real time.  For example, QR codes can be used to link to daily specials or promotions at restaurants by connecting a QR code placed in the restaurant lobby or on table tents to visually show with great appetite appeal items like appetizers and desserts which will build the average guest check and profits.  Once online with a properly constructed mobile web site, it can be made very easy for the viewer to forward on pictures and comments to friends and family through their social networks.  The instant pass along effect is a huge marketing advantage and very economical way to promote. Since the communication is instant and does not require anyone to remember a long URL and does not require any typing, the ease of use makes it very appealing and can enhance the overall dining experience by giving the customer something to do so their wait appears to be shorter. By inserting “opt-in pages” on the mobile site and getting customers to “opt-in” or “like” your Face Book page in exchange for special offers or promotions, a data base can be built up which can be used very efficiently for future promotions.

QR codes can be used in hundreds of other applications, including virtual tours of the inside of real estate from a code posted on outdoor signage, car facts that can be viewed from a code posted on the window sticker of a car viewed by someone when the dealer ship is closed, or “how to” or recipe instructions on packages. Since the content being viewed is all digital and the viewer is connected online, it can be made very easy for them to click social media share buttons to show the great dessert, spread the word of a good deal or visually show a purchase they are considering, getting instant feedback from their network.

To make sharing easy it is recommended that videos on sites viewed be short and concise, usually no longer than ninety seconds. Links to other more detailed traditional sites can be added so the viewer can view those later if they are interested in major research.  Adding humor, new information and valuable offers all add to the pass along effect. Since the average Face Book user has over 120 contacts, the ability to greatly and efficiently accelerate “word of mouth” is tremendous.


Pazazz Prints Cascades Sample Books

Published in What's Fresh
Tuesday, 31 January 2012 19:52


September, 2009

Pazazz, the the forward thinking and environmentally conscious printing company recently printed the Cascades Rolland Opaque50 and Rolland ST50 sample books. These books were printed on the KBA 56" UV six-colour press on 50% post-consumer fibre paper, a transformation that benefits nature.

UV printing is a more environmentally friendly process then conventional printing. UV inks and coatings are completely solid and friendlier to the environment since they are free from VOC's (Volatile Organic Compounds) and HAP's (Hazardous Airborne Particles). UV inks are fully recyclable. The UV printing process requires similar or lower electrical power than Infrared/Thermal Air systems. It yields less ink and wash-up waste than conventional print since there isn't any waste from incidental drying. As well, difficult print jobs that typically require two passes on the press are now achievable on the KBA 56" six-colour UV press in one pass, utilizing half the energy.

Because being good is never enough, Cascades is improving the environmental attributes of its 30% family by increasing the post-consumer content to 50%. Rolland Opaque50, Rolland Hitech50 and Rolland ST50 are now made with 50% post-consumer and 50% virgin FSC certified fiber. This change creates a new environmental alternative for digital and commercial printing of high quality documents.

As the production of recycled paper consumes less water and energy and generates less waste and air emissions than its virgin counterpart, the overall environmental attributes are naturally enhanced with the increased recycled content.

Cascades Fine Papers Group Inc. is a Canadian leader in environmental and security fine papers manufacturing, with a century-long reputation for craftsmanship. Green by nature, the Group produces fine papers that contain 50% and 100% post-consumer fibers and works on an ongoing basis to reduce our ecological footprint on the planet. By buying recycled-content paper, you help us save more than 1.2 million trees each year.

Five Tips for Effective Use of QR Codes

Published in What's Fresh
Monday, 19 December 2011 17:19

Five Tips for Effective QR Codes

Give your customers a good mobile experience. Make sure that when your customers click on your QR Code they are directed to a site that is easy to navigate and renders properly on their small screen.  Don’t think that you can just slap a QR code or tag on an existing package or promotional piece and think that you will be giving your  cusstomers value. One of the fastest ways to turn your customers off to QR codes is to give them a bad QR code experience. This can happen by directing them to a traditional non mobile web site. If the site is not thumb friendly your customers will have a hard time navigating the site on small phone screen and likely leave and never come back.

Make sure that you are offering something of value for your customers. Don’t just send them to a site that repeats the information found on your package or promotional material.  Your customer’s time is valuable and you should be offering something that they can’t find on the package or ad, like educational or humorous video worth sharing. Video is the number one use of mobile promotional sites for good reason. Well done videos let you educate and entertain without making the viewer work. Short videos of 45 to 90 seconds work well on mobile devices and let you give much more detail and explanation that you can in a post-card ad or other short traditional marketing communication.

Make sure that the QR code you offer can be scanned. Present the QR code you print using the least dense code possible. This can be done through the use of software and generators that create and optimize the best URL for the code you wish to deliver. Proper sizing of the code for the element you are printing on, or the location you are delivering the code is also important. The code should be physically large enough to be read but not so large that it takes up too much valuable real-estate on your marketing communication. The optimal size usually depends upon how far away the scanner is from the code to be scanned.  For example will the code be scanned from a magazine ad, a poster, or from stadium screen.

Tell the viewer what is in it for them when they scan the code. You should always add a description of what the viewer will see when they scan the code. This gives them a reason to scan the code. – don’t just place it on your communication and assume that the viewer will know what it is there for. A short description next to the code usually is enough but you have to be very careful about what you say. Think of the description as a headline to an article. If the headline is not interesting no one will read the article.

Always use the codes as a way to further engagement.  Once a consumer or prospect has scanned your code and gone to a well designed mobile site that offers value you have a great opportunity to get them to sign up for additional information  or to share the information with their friends. By adding opt-in pages you can get them to sign up for new offers and content as it becomes available. The addition of share buttons for Face-book, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media can rapidly help build viral word of mouth activity. The use of polls and quizzes also builds engagement and can give your viewers a reason to share.

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