Press Release: Mobile Coupons & Instant Win Now in SMS Platform

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Written on Thursday, September 29, 2011 by Giorgos Saslis

Athens, GREECE, 27 September, 2011. Cytech Ltd. brings Mobile Coupons and Instant Win SMS Marketing campaigns to its latest version of the SMS Platform. The SMS Platform is a white-label software solution for SMS Marketing Campaigns, with international installations in Europe, N. America, Africa and Asia.

 
Mobile Coupons

With an estimated 87+ billion dollars in sales to be generated by 3 billion mobile coupons in 2011 (JupiterResearch), the case for mobile coupons in mobile marketing is already strong. The SMS Platform comes to fill the gap in the technology tools empowering mobile coupons that will allow for successful mobile marketing campaigns. Version 5.1 of the platform supports the following 3 distinct types of mobile coupon campaigns:
 
SMS Coupons

The ease, directness and low cost of Bulk SMS combined with the marketing power of traditional coupons bring the SMS Platform users the ability to broadcast their offers, specials or discounts to a large consumer base, using SMS Coupons. 

Txt4Coupon

The SMS Platform users now have the ability to utilize one of the most popular calls-to-action in the marketing scene today, by inviting their customers to text in a pre-selected keyword to a short code, e.g. “Text Pizza to 12345 for a 20% discount“. Consumers that participate in the marketing campaign receive an automatic SMS reply that includes a unique coupon with a discount or rebate they can redeem at the point-of-sale, or online, etc.

 
QR Code Scan & Win

QR codes are the ideal call-to-action for a more tech-savvy audience, such as mobile apps fans, as a fast and very low cost way of finding more information online about a specific item, providing a link between the physical and digital world. In addition to SMS campaigns, the platform now also supports QR-code mobile coupon campaigns that allow the platform user to generate the QR codes online, based on their individual marketing scenario. These can then be used in print or outdoor media so that consumers can retrieve their mobile coupon simply by scanning a code.

Instant Win SMS Campaigns

The SMS Platform further expands its support for different marketing scenarios, by adding Instant Win functionality to all 2-way SMS services. SMSP users are now able to define the number of prizes they would like distributed to their audience over a given time period, and the system automatically calculates when to do so, allowing you to give out presents at random, but with a fair distribution, over the duration of your service.

About Cytech Ltd.

Cytech Ltd. is a mobile applications and mobile marketing solutions provider with an international customer base. Bases on its 10-year experience in the field of mobile marketing, the company provides consulting services in mobile marketing and develops its own software solutions which it costumizes to the individual costumer's needs.

It is a one-stop mobile marketing powerhouse, with complete solutions for bluetooth / proximity marketing, SMS marketing campaigns, bulk SMS, or any other type of event marketing.


Print Coupons Are Dead. Long Live Mobile Coupons! [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Written on Wednesday, September 28, 2011 by Giorgos Saslis

I came across the following infographic that presents some useful stats for those of you looking into mobile coupons. I fully share the opinion that print advertising is slowly dying its painful death, the more we all move into a world where we become more and more dependent on our personal electronic devices (laptops, tablets, mobiles, etc.).
A rough economy and the increasing popularity of mobile phones has reversed a 14 year decline in coupon redemption in the United States. Driving this growth is paperless distribution and frugal consumer habits changing in response to the recession. With 5.3 billion mobile phone owners (77 percent of the world population) and the next generation of Smart phones featuring Mobile Wallets (with embedded coupon services) in development, paper based coupons are set to decline even further. In this infographic we look at the information surrounding this decline:
 The Death of Printed Coupons and the Rise of Digital
 


Geo-Targeting Shoppers Brings Strong Purchase Intent

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Written on Tuesday, September 27, 2011 by Giorgos Saslis

Following on from a previous post on the ShopAlerts service from AT&T and Placecast, a case study comes to reveal a strong purchase intent associated with this type of geo-targeting consumers, using mobile marketing.
AT&T partnered with location-based mobile marketing platform Placecast to offer consumers ShopAlerts, which consisted of messages, offers, rewards or coupons sent to their mobile phones when they were near a store or brand. AT&T created a “geo-fence,” or perimeter, around a retail location or geographic area to send the location-specific messages.

The location-based mobile messaging service was tested from April 3 through June 4, 2011, among AT&T customers in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco who opted in to receive messages. The pilot included eight major marketers, four of which—Del Monte, Kmart, MilkPEP (the Milk Processor Education Program) and SC Johnson—were Draftfcb clients. The agency conducted a post-test survey among consumers who engaged with ShopAlerts offered by the four marketers to determine consumer preferences and attitudes.

Challenge
Each of the four ShopAlert participants had different business challenges and goals:
  • Del Monte’s Kibbles ’n Bits pet food brand sought to create awareness for the brand when consumers were in close proximity of Target and pet food stores. The marketer also wanted to generate awareness around its new Nature’s Recipe line of dog food.
  • Kmart used the service to offer consumers mobile coupons that were scanned directly from the handset at the point of sale.
  • MilkPEP leveraged the alerts to generate awareness among consumers that chocolate milk is an ideal post-workout option for replenishing fluids.
  • SC Johnson worked with Wal-Mart stores in the geo-fenced locations to drive consumers to store shelves to check out Glade scented household products.
Strategy
Consumers who opted in for the ShopAlerts received a maximum of three messages per week from three different brands based on their proximity to the brand’s geo-fence. The minimum time interval was two days between messages received.
“We wanted to customize the messages as much as possible so that consumers would know the reason they were getting them.”

Del Monte’s Kibbles ’n Bits pet food brand delivered text messages like this one: “Dogs are family, & family deserves more than just 1 boring taste. Get NEW Kibbles ’n Bits Bistro Meals dog food @ Target Rancho Santa Margarita 2day.”

In the case of Kmart, consumers who opted in to receive the ShopAlerts got a coupon from the retailer if they were within a half-mile radius of a store. They received a text message on their phone that came with the link to the mobile coupon to redeem the offer. For example, the text offered: “Get $5 off any purchase of $50 in the entire store! Shop today and save @375 E Allessandro Blvd.” The message was followed by a link to the coupon.

Results
Draftfcb polled consumers who opted in to the ShopAlerts among its four clients after the program ended. With a nearly 100% open rate on the alerts, 50% of consumers who opted in to receive messages from the brands wanted more information. Draftfcb found in some cases there was a 22% to 25% purchase conversion on some of the offers.

Metrics for AT&T and Draftfcb ShopAlerts Campaigns*, April 4-June 4, 2011 (% of respondents)

Key Takeaways
Moorhead maintains that “overwhelmingly, these kind of geo-triggered offers and alerts programs are preferred by consumers. They trigger immediate action.” In addition, he says the program showed that it wasn’t just “deals” that resonated with consumers—MilkPEP, Del Monte and SC Johnson didn’t offer “deals,” per se. Consumers want to hear from brands based on the fact that they offer valuable information: “[Brands] may not be able to offer a coupon or a deal, but consumers still want to learn more about products and that supports an awareness goal.”

Next Steps
In the next version of the program, Draftfcb is in discussions with AT&T and Placecast about enabling consumers who opt in to indicate their preferences for hearing from certain advertisers or to choose which category of advertiser they would like to receive alerts from.
“Allowing consumers to continue to help us refine the relevancy of what we’re giving them is a good way to go,” Moorhead said.

With respect to geo-targeting, “we’re now we’re at the point with things like ShopAlerts where we’re not only connecting an individual user to a specific offer at a specific time, but also at a specific place,” Moorhead said. “You’re really trying to create almost an impulse purchase.”


App Store Comparison [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Written on Monday, September 19, 2011 by Giorgos Saslis

Following on in the series of infographics I've posted recently, here's another that presents an interesting comparison of the major app stores:
We compared the Apple App Store, Android Market, Blackberry App World, and the Nokia, Palm and Windows Phone 7 application directories. Statistics include OS distribution, percentage of paid vs. free apps in each directory, average apps downloaded by device, average app cost, and total 2010 revenue from all apps sold.


SMS Help Smokers Quit

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Written on Thursday, September 15, 2011 by Giorgos Saslis



 If you were attracted by the title and are NOT a) someone looking to quit smoking, or b) someone looking to persuade others to quit smoking, well, I don't really know why you would be reading this, but.. be my guest.. :)


The study dates a couple of months back, but I only just stumbled across it here, so there you are:


A study by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine shows that a simple text message can help smokers give up the weed. 

The control group received fortnightly text messages thanking them for taking part in the trial.

The trial, called txt2stop, involved 5,800 people. They were randomly allocated to the txt2stop programme or a control group. The txt2stop group were sent five text messages a day for the first five weeks, then three per week for the next 26 weeks. A personalised system allowed people to receive instant messages at times of need by texting the word 'crave' or 'lapse'.

The text messages were developed with input from smokers and 'smoking cessation professionals', and were designed to encourage smokers to persevere and focus on their success so far. Two sample messages are:
This is it! - QUIT DAY, throw away all your fags. TODAY is the start of being QUIT forever, you can do it!
and
Cravings last less than 5 minutes on average. To help distract yourself, try sipping a drink slowly until the craving is over


The study results showed that after six months the txt2stop group were significantly better at abstaining from smoking with a 10.7 percent success rate as opposed to a 4.9 percent rate for the control group. The txt2stop concept worked as well for all ages and social groups.


Patent Lawsuits in the Mobile Industry [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Written on Wednesday, September 14, 2011 by Giorgos Saslis

Patents - protecting Intellectual Property, or inhibiting innovation?
Don't know what your views are but if you're asking me it seems that what started out as protecting an individual's intellectual work is turning out to be a major obstacle in research. 

Disclaimer: A philosophical / ideological discussion would normally follow here, but I don't want to wander off...

Anyway, this latest graphic from flowingdata.com shows just how confusing the whole situation is in the mobile industry at the moment...
What a mess... Just as well there's no self-pointing arrows...
Earlier this week we saw two versions of mobile patent lawsuits. The original was tangled, whereas the interactive revision was less jumbled. Reader Josh commented that the original had an advantage over the clearer version in that it actually demonstrated the mess that is patent law. A simliar argument came up last year, too, with this confusing chart showing Obamacare.

With the patent chart, there's clearly a way to make the data more readable. If you had a choice between the original and the remake, is it okay to choose the original if your point is that mobile patent lawsuits suck and are more confusing than they need to be?


The Evolution of the Web [INFOGRAPHIC]

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Written on Thursday, September 08, 2011 by Giorgos Saslis

A very interesting interactive infographic today from this blog (thanks to Giorgos for the heads up). 

It's a pretty cool one! Please head on over for the  full effect. 
The web today is a growing universe of interlinked web pages and web apps, teeming with videos, photos, and interactive content. What the average user doesn't see is the interplay of web technologies and browsers that makes all this possible.
Over time web technologies have evolved to give web developers the ability to create new generations of useful and immersive web experiences. Today's web is a result of the ongoing efforts of an open web community that helps define these web technologies, like HTML5, CSS3 and WebGL and ensure that they're supported in all web browsers.
The color bands in this visualization represent the interaction between web technologies and browsers, which brings to life the many powerful web apps that we use daily.


Developing a Mobile App for Your Business: 4 Things to Consider

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Written on Tuesday, September 06, 2011 by Giorgos Saslis

The smart phone industry, regardless of which type of machinery, has exploded in the past few years. Although the majority of people, even in developed countries do not own smart phones, those consumers represent enough of a market share that it may make sense for your business to get on the mobile app wagon. Here are a few things to consider before developing one. 

1. If your app won't solve a problem, customers won't use it. 
The most important thing to consider before approaching an app developer is figuring out whether your app will substantively and efficiently solve a problem. Will the app enable customers to purchase products or services online? Will it make it easier for them to troubleshoot when they have a problem with your product or service? Will it make their lives more convenient, or at the very least, more entertaining? 
2. Make sure that a significant portion of your customer base uses smart phones. 
Apps are only as effective as the number of people who use them. And since apps are exclusive to smart phones, it is absolutely essential that you know how many of your customers are using smart phones. This can be easily accomplished through surveys. It is also important to know specifically which platform they are using, as certain apps can only be supported by certain phones. 
3. Make sure that you have enough material and ideas to develop your app. 
Just because every business on the planet is getting an app, it doesn’t mean that you need to, unless you have enough material with which to do so. Understand in advance that your app needs to be constantly developing. If it isn't, you run the risk of boring your customers, who will stop using the app when they have thousands of others to use. 
4. Ask yourself if the cost is worth it, and be honest with yourself. 
Chances are that you are not a skilled app developer. As such, you are going to have to hire someone to develop your app, and trust me, it isn't cheap. For very basic apps, estimated costs are approximately $3,000 to $8,000 according to a recent and very informative Inc. article. More advanced apps can be as much $150,000. Can you really afford this expense? Will it be worth it in the long term? 

The most important thing to remember before considering getting a mobile app for your small business is that you are swimming in a veritable sea of competition. If you truly want to make a splash in the world of mobile apps, you'll have to spend lots of time planning and thinking. And once you do decide on getting an app for your business, remember that it forms only part of your overall marketing strategy. Don't treat it as something completely separate; figure out how to integrate your mobile app in the bigger picture of your advertising and marketing plan. 

This guest post is contributed by Lauren Bailey, who regularly writes for best online colleges. She welcomes your comments at her email: blauren99@gmail.com.