Thursday, 30 April 2015

Why Your App Should Actually Be Saving You Marketing Dollars
When it comes to marketing a large organization or small startup, the issue is always the same: How do I divvy up and stretch my budget to make sure we meet our goals and utilize all of our channels effectively? This leads to prioritization of tactics, tools, and promotion channels based on costs and required resources.
Mobile today is battling for budget and attention in the multi-channel company. Even after you’ve gotten the buy-in for app development, have created and launched a great app, you’re still required to prove the need for budget to conduct effective app marketing. Launching an app is a huge win – but it’s only the first step. To be truly successful, you need to invest in your app just as you would in other marketing channels.
Typically, this money might go to traditional tactics (think large-scale advertising) or known performers like email marketing. It’s easy to overlook the need for additional app spend when it’s the newest channel in the fold, and has yet to prove real ROI.
But apps are at the forefront of a new trend in customer engagement: Meeting the customer need anywhere, at any time, and in any context. It’s no longer just about promoting your brand, it’s about utilizing the tools that create customer loyalty through great experiences. Not investing in your app marketing means not investing in the way your customers are demanding interactions.
Accomplishing this doesn’t mean diverting the majority of your marketing spend to your app marketing. It does mean that a portion of your marketing budget has to be invested in app success. Luckily, this investment has an easy-to-calculate ROI, and should actually be saving you marketing dollars in the long run.
How? Here, we break down the various ways your app can improve the return of your marketing budget.

1. Acquisition spend isn’t just to acquire new users – it’s to acquire new leads

Your app isn’t just a way to connect with current customers; it’s a channel that generates new ones. Your app should serve a distinct purpose, and it could be that purpose – and not your brand – that the user needs and identifies with. This means that people completely unfamiliar with your brand can start engaging with you primarily because your app meets a need of theirs. Your app can serve as an introduction to your company, and if it’s well developed and user friendly, you can and should gain new customers. Instead of spending more money on an awareness channel, spend it on a lead generating one a see more bang for your buck.
Business metrics impacted: Cost per Lead, Cost per Customer

2. Immediacy breeds engagement & loyalty

Apps are task-oriented, which means they allow users immediate action no matter what they need to accomplish or when. That aligns with today’s customer expectation: I can get what I want in my immediate context and moments of need. Meeting this expectation often means you immediately establish trust and utility.
Here’s the perfect example: A traveler is booking and confirming his upcoming flight. Based on his timeline and context as a consumer, his needs and motivations change – what he needs out of an app experience two weeks before his flight will be different than those two hours before his flight. If your app can meet his changing needs, he’s incredibly likely to become a loyal user. When the customer has a good experience, he’ll come back again – which is the best way to retain users and reduce churn. Here, the fact that you have a great app is what is ensuring that customer spends money with you, again and again.
Business metric impacted: Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), Customer Loyalty

3. Remarketing campaigns attract new users with less room for costly error


Remarketing campaigns can benefit you in two ways. Firstly, they allow you to target one-time app users outside of the app with calls-to-action to come back to the app, or to visit other brand entities like your website. Remarketing provides another channel to engage users outside the app by targeting through Facebook, Twitter, and any other mobile advertising network. This negates the (high) risk of early app abandonment, and makes sure your acquisition spend doesn’t go wasted.
Secondly, you can use your app analytics to export user data to ad partners and create “look-alike” audiences to target. This allows you to choose a segment of high-value users, and replicate their key attributes in another target audience, improving your ad spend substantially, and lowering the chance of paying to acquire high-churn users.
Business metrics impacted: Cost per Lead, Cost per Customer, Churn Rate

4. It’s a cost-effective way to gather more information about your target audience

When users interact with your app, their actions give you clear insight into what they want their experience to be, or what they’re trying to accomplish. But more than that, you can use your app and your mobile analytics to gather, store and analyze user attributes and information about your buyers. Once you’ve acquired a user and implemented an analytics tool, you don’t have to pay to discover this information – it’s simply there and ready to help you run smarter targeted campaigns and better understand your users’ actions and preferences on this highly-personal channel.
Business metrics impacted: Cost of Market Research

5. App marketing is all about engagement – not awareness

When thinking about traditional marketing channels, awareness-based ones like print or TV ads come to mind immediately. This form of marketing has the potential to reach thousands of people – a wide range of possibility to get more brand recognition and attract more customers. The downfall of awareness campaigns is that they typically require ad spend to reach more and more people – and that they can be difficult to track.
When it comes to app marketing, you have tools like push and in-app messaging in your arsenal to engage your current users, improving their loyalty and increasing their lifetime value (LTV). Increasing LTV is a functional of creating more and easier opportunities for in-app purchases or other conversion events that make your app successful and contribute to ROI. By investing budget in engagement, you’re concentrating your money on keeping your current customers buying, instead of spending it on general awareness. While both are important to a healthy marketing ecosystem, investing in app engagement will give you more concrete results for less.
Business metrics impacted: Customer LTV, Customer Retention

6. It’s easy to plan for growth when your backlog is easily available in the form of user feedback

Your marketing budget is affected by many elements, including your organization’s overall budget and which department gets what. While it’s not directly related to marketing spend, you have the capability in using app marketing to gather a product backlog without spending a dime.
Running NPS surveys and using App Store reviews saves time and resources when improving the app – because you have user feedback on how the app should be worked on right at your fingertips. This makes your product team more effective at launches, and takes the guesswork out of what’s worth the investment and what’s not, feature-wise. Instead of investing product manager time to research and discover next steps for your app roadmap, you can use these campaigns to build a backlog and become more efficient. More money saved means more money to invest in other areas.
Business metrics impacted: NPS Score,Cost of Market Research

7. Geo-location enables more purchases in your store (and makes you more competitive)

Brick-and-mortar locations require substantial budget to maintain and make successful. Your app can be the catalyst for creating more in-store interactions and boosting purchases, improving the return of your brick-and-mortar marketing spend. Using geo-location, you can target nearby users and send them a push message encouraging them to visit your store, providing a discount, or highlighting a new offer; essentially doubling down on the efficiency of your in-store marketing spend.
In doing so, launching a simple push message can be more influential than printing banners and creating other in-store marketing materials – not to mention more cost-effective. Plus, it can help divert attention from competing stores; if you’re the ones engaging customers, you’re the ones who are going to win.
Business metrics impacted: Revenue Percentages, In-Store Sales

8. Predictive app marketing prevents churn

It’s difficult to use most marketing channels to predict customer churn, or to gain a sense of when users might stop buying from you – there simply isn’t the tracking capability to do so, which means that you could continue to spend on marketing initiatives that are reaching churned customers who are already familiar with your brand, and uninterested.

App marketing is about to change this. With the introduction of predictive app marketing, we have the capabilities within mobile to identify users that are giving you the first signals that they could become a churn risk, so that you can re-engage them before you have to win them back. This proactive marketing saves you from losing customers, and losing money.
Business metrics impacted: Customer Retention, Churn Rate

Investing in mobile is investing in savvier marketing

Think of your app as a larger piece to the revenue puzzle, and it soon becomes clear that investing in mobile spend means improving ROI, creating loyalty, and discovering ways to get more out of your budget. The key to doing this successfully is by implementing an app analytics and marketing tool that enables you to create a better mobile experience and meet customer expectations. In doing so, it will soon become clear the many ways your app furthers your brand, and proves that mobile is worth more attention.

Internet of Things controls street lighting to reduce power consumption by up to 50 percent
Internet of Things controls street lighting to reduce power consumption by up to 50 percent
TTP and Mayflower have announced that they have completed development of the latest wireless smart lighting control system. An example of the Internet of Things (IoT) in action, this latest design offers over a 50% reduction in power consumption compared to existing smart lighting systems along with enhanced reliability, improved radio range and class metering accuracy.
The new MK3 design is now available and shipping in volume, with the ZigBee-based solution already qualified for sale in North America and beyond this product range dramatically increases Mayflower’s offering.
Smart lighting control is an example of how the IoT can generate real financial savings by embedding intelligence and connectivity into everyday objects. TTP is working on applications from controlling and optimising home energy systems to sensors embedded in smart orthopaedic implants for remote monitoring. With predictions that the IoT will connect up to 50 billion devices by 2020, smart street lighting is just the tip of the iceberg.
Using the smart lighting control node, the Mayflower CMS (central management system) now controls and monitors in excess of 180,000 street lights, bollards and signs in the UK and Ireland. Orders for the innovative product have now reached 300,000 nodes. The biggest installation in Hampshire has over 90,000 Mayflower nodes fitted with a further 50,000 to be installed over the next 12 months making it the largest single street-lighting CMS in the world. This has allowed Hampshire County Council to reduce CO2 emissions by around 4000 tonnes, equivalent to 1600 cars every year.
Mayflower’s product range includes both external and internal solutions, which give the ability to monitor and control a range of installations from high masts and street lights to illuminated bollards and signs. All nodes communicate via a Zigbee self-healing mesh network, connected to Mayflower’s back-office solution via a secured GSM Internet connection mounted to the network coordinator.
Commenting on the project, TTP’s project manager Richard Sims says, “TTP believes that innovative solutions to manage and reduce energy consumption are key to a sustainable future, both in the UK and worldwide. Mayflower approached us with aggressive cost, performance and reliability targets – and our experience in design for manufacture, wireless systems and cost engineering allowed us to achieve those goals. We’re pleased to be part of this significant Smart City development.”
Pat Mitchell, Mayflower’s director, comments, “It is testament to the dedicated team of professionals at Mayflower and TTP that this achievement has been reached. Mayflower continues to go from strength to strength, meeting the requirements of its existing customers while increasing sales in the UK and exploring opportunities overseas. Market requirement continues to develop and our policy to listen and adapt to customer requirements is the key to Mayflower’s existing and future success.”

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Preparing for the Internet of Things

From smart power grids to electronic baristas, we are just at the start of a new technology

Preparing for the Internet of Things
The Internet of Things (IoT) has the potential to drive fundamental economic and social change. However, there are serious obstacles to be overcome if we are to gain the full benefits of what could be the building blocks of a new technological revolution.

These obstacles are simple to list and hard to get a grip on, and include data volumes, data storage and management, data security and the difficulty of getting actionable real-time insights from the data flows created by IoT infrastructure.

Dealing with the analytics, infrastructure and security issues around IoT requires significant involvement and investment by both enterprise IT and vendor organisations but it will be worthwhile because of the staggering potential that IoT holds.

Spelling out the prospects, Mike Gualtieri, of Forrester Research, warns, “Don’t make the mistake of thinking that the IoT is just about industrial use cases such as manufacturing or logistics. Perhaps the most interesting Internet-connected device in the age of the customer is the good ol’ smart phone. The smart phone is laden with sensors such as GPS, accelerometer, audio, images, position, and even the touch-screen and buttons.”

IoT sensors, Gualtieri says, “emit live data such as motion, temperature, voltage, pressure, audio, video, position, and the list goes on and on.”

Analyst firm Gartner meanwhile, estimates that there will be 4.9 billion connected ‘things’ this year, rising to 25 billion by 2025.

If we are still in the early days of the IoT revolution, there are already some important and some less obvious applications of the technology. Smart power grids are an example of how IoT could lead to unparalleled levels of sustainability. Intelligent energy systems could monitor usage in real time, and analyse the data to find trends that will help suppliers to optimise energy usage according to demand.

There are smart grid pilots all over the world, but a particularly interesting one is in Austin, Texas. There researchers are carrying out a comprehensive consumer-focused smart grid project. It’s called Pecan Street, and it involves hundreds of homes, schools, businesses and one of the largest supercomputers in the world, as well as the largest concentration of electric cars found in the world.

The IoT infrastructure uses Intel technology for many of its components including the sensors in the buildings and the supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Centre (TACC) at the University of Texas.

The sensor technology measures energy usage in the buildings and then streams that data to TACC. There, Intel servers analyse huge amounts of data, charting usage patterns, visualising data, and helping researchers to discover how they could implement advanced energy management systems.

The Smart power grid is one complex and impressive implementation of IoT. A more bizarre, but equally innovative example is the way the IoT is revolutionising coffee machines.

Costa Coffee’s digital barista is a vending machine that gathers information from people as they buy their coffee, so it can make the right type and combination of products available in a particular location. It analyses the purchaser, working out their individual details (gender, age etc) and preferences (coffee type, aromas), to show them targeted content on screen and even attempting to predict the coffee they’re likely to order.

To do this, it uses the Intel Audience Impression Metrics Suite, a software platform that generates real-time data analytics. Costa is planning to roll out 2500 digital barrister machines in the UK and Europe.

So IoT is innovating a large number of industries, bringing new customer experiences and the sort of service integration that companies could only dream of in the past. The problem is that creates a number of new challenges that inevitably – and quite rightly - fall on the enterprise IT team.

Forrester Research analyst Frank E. Gillett say, “CIOs will end up operating the infrastructure of the connected world, just as they ended up owning PCs, websites, and smart phones, all of which started as do-it-yourself efforts by the business.

“As they integrate IoT into the business technology agenda, CIOs will face five categories of challenges spread across the three basic domains of IoT infrastructure. To prepare, CIOs need to coordinate the work of application development, architecture, infrastructure and operations, and line-of-business teams.”

Handling the huge volumes of data that will be created by IoT infrastructures is an obvious problem that needs addressing.

Analytics software is essential and big data analytics platforms such as Hadoop have already proved their worth – storing and processing large volumes of data across a linearly-scalable cluster. However, streaming analytics platforms will also be needed going forward, which can respond in real time in order to glean immediate, actionable insights from streaming data.

Analytics are the means through which enterprises can create new efficiencies and opportunities, but even before they get there, there are other more fundamental issues that will need to be investigated first.

Storage is one. Is it desirable to store IoT data in conventional file storage systems or data warehouses? Sensor data, geographic location data, and granular customer behaviour information may call for new types of agile storage infrastructures.

Secondly, there is a need to have appropriate network bandwidth and other infrastructure in place to deal with data that may be arriving in spikes (for example if the system is measuring something unpredictable such as car traffic volumes or weather patterns) or in high velocity continuous streams.

IoT infrastructure may also need to deal with multiple data formats - more so than existing IT platforms such as ERP systems or content management repositories. For example, how do you handle the fact that there is no standard data format for IoT device data?

Fourthly, enterprises and technology suppliers will need to build platforms for time-sensitive insights that can handle real-time sophisticated data analysis. Again, a new level of agile, responsive infrastructure needs to be created.

There are developer kits available to help develop and deploy IoT programmes, and this will help. For example, Intel has created a line of intelligent gateways that collect sensor data at the network edge, then act as a filter to analyse and ‘normalise’ the data so it can be shared through the network and the cloud.

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The gateways can connect together new and legacy devices and integrate technologies for networking, embedded control, enterprise-grade security, and manageability. They been designed to help enterprises quickly develop, prototype, and deploy their own intelligent gateways.

Also available are reference models and kits, such as Intel’s IoT Platform, that gives enterprises IoT components that have been pre-tested and assembled with factors in mind such as interoperability, scalability, security and management.

In addition, other vendors are working together to create the next generation of technology building blocks that will transform the world. Are you ready to plug and play?

The Smartphone is evolving into the future network hub
Resultado de imagen para The Smartphone is evolving into the future network hub
Switching from the iPhone to an Android device can be more or less complicated depending on how much of your data you keep in the cloud. But my recent experience in making the move was simple because I do most of my writing in Google Docs and use Gmail for email and contacts. I mirrored all this on the iPhone, but the switch to Android simply meant signing into my Google account and verifying that my information was present and accounted for.
Most people don’t need to switch platforms, but I wanted to get more experience living with Android because I write about both it and the iPhone. The smartphone is becoming the hub of our networked lives. The network of sensors we’re building called the Internet of Things is forecast to grow to 26 billion installed units by 2020. We’re looking at a future that connects everything from the cars we drive to the entertainment we consume on televisions and audio players. A $400 billion market, the smartphone is evolving into the future network’s hub.

Broad strategy

Take a look at what Google is doing to get a glimpse of what’s coming. Why would a company as broadly invested in the future of search and online advertising buy a home thermostat maker like Nest, which Google acquired in 2014? Surely it’s because Nest is a successful producer of “smart” thermostats, the kind of Internet of Things product Google can see as a lever into the home. Nest can control not only your thermostat but your smoke alarm, and it can monitor the quality of your air, all manageable remotely through Android apps.
As the “smart home” emerges, we’ll see other Google investments begin to come into their own. For the company also bought Dropcam, a home security firm. You may already have a home security system equipped with cameras, all of which can be monitored by your phone. Why not tie both thermostat and home security into the household network? Throw in recently acquired Revolv, a firm that specializes in getting networked devices working with each other, and you can see a broad strategy for dominance in the Internet of Things market.
Now ponder the other players in this game. Even as Google tweaks its strategy for the smart home, Apple works on HomeKit, a platform intended to tie home devices to the iPhone. To grow, these giant firms need new markets. If smart homes will be big, another logical place is healthcare. Here Apple weighs in with its HealthKit, and you can readily find Google entries as it explores this market, as I learned when I encountered Google Fit. Wearables? Apple has its new Watch, and Google is developing Android Wear, which in its latest iteration ties in WiFi so that a wrist-worn device doesn’t necessarily have to have a smartphone nearby.

Miles in front

Multiply this out and you can see where we’re heading. The $1.6 trillion auto industry is already the subject of intense speculation for Apple, which evidently intends to move well beyond its current CarPlay entry. Google has been working with driverless cars for years, while Tesla, the electric car company created by Elon Musk, just announced that its latest top of the line model would be updatable by software to give it automatic steering capabilities.
You can see why Amazon felt it had to try to enter the smartphone market (with its Fire Phone), and why Microsoft has hopes for phones running Windows. But when it comes to smartphones, the devices we’ll increasingly use to control the things we own, Apple and Google are miles in front. That means the phone choices you’re making today may gradually become the home, health and automotive choices you make in the future as power flows outward from the phone. Think long and hard about whose ecosystem you want to live in.
Or do you resist being shoe-horned into anybody’s ecosystem? A consumer backlash based on privacy and choice may still roil this market.

Read more here:

If you can't beat the big apps, use them to your advantage
The UpTake: Rather than invest your entire marketing budget in a standalone app for your business, investigate alternatives like advertising on highly-successful apps, or platforms like Instagram.
App Store Dilemma
Dear Shama,
Can you please tell me where apps fit into my marketing strategy? Are they replacements for a website, or critical supplements?
— Deepa
Dear Deepa,
What an apt question (pun intended). So, here’s the scoop: those with Android and IOS spend 80 percent of the time on their device utilizing an app — and only a mere 20 percent browsing the web. Those are compelling numbers, so you may think the case is made for you to shift at least some, if not most, of your attention from maintaining your website to designing and promoting your app. But before you get too excited, consider this next statistic. In Forrester’s recent report, “2015 Mobile App Marketing Trends,” it’s cited that the average US consumer may use 24 apps per month, but 80 percent of his or her time is spent on the same five apps.
With Facebook, YouTube, Maps, Pandora, and Gmail topping the list, it’s going to be hard to break into those top five that are most often at hand. Other major players are Netflix, CandyCrush, Instagram, Weather, and Hangouts. Given the competitive climate and consumers’ habits, it may be more prudent to think less about innovating your own app and think more about investing in app advertising. Online pundits seem to agree that it’s only a matter of time before sites like Facebook and Instagram began to turn to sponsors and partners to turn their popularity into profit.
Another option is to amp up your engagement on the most-used apps. Do you have an Instagram account that’s been collecting dust or a YouTube channel that’s been neglected? Can you leverage these platforms to get your message out and attract new customers? Studies show that that users of these apps tend to show high levels of engagement and if you can capture their attention, you may have a whole new, and relatively cheap, way to connect with your target audience.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Where Is Waze Heading? Into The Internet Of Things
Waze AH
Waze is a navigation system with a difference. Traditional GPS navigation systems used in cars first determine where the car is, then they identify a route, sometimes based on pre-programmed routes containing modeled traffic and sometimes using real time, or near real time, traffic and congestion data. The more sophisticated systems will use a blend of these two systems, but Waze does something a little different. Waze is community-driven, in that it gathers complementary mapping data and traffic information from its users. It learns and identifies users’ routes, driving times and shortcuts. It’s an interactive service – users stuck in a queue can advise other users.
Currently, there are significant safety (and security) issues with this two way integration, but I will come on to discuss these in due course. As for the business itself, Google bought Waze almost two years ago and many industry experts assumed that the plan was to integrate the crowdsourced data back into Google Maps and leave it at that. Waze would provide Google Maps with some great features. From the safety and security perspective, authorities frown upon drivers interacting with touchscreen devices whilst on the move. Reporting an accident whilst driving past it is a recipe for disaster and reporting the location of a police officer enjoying his or her donuts has security implications, which has seen Waze in hot water.
There’s good news in that it appears Google’s ambition for Waze is bigger than simply bolting it into Google Maps. And the introduction of Android Auto last year appears to be a clue as to how deep the integration between Waze’s core services and Google’s services. If Waze is to be integrated into Android Auto, this will help resolve some of the security and safety issues; Android Auto will be able to feedback information into the Waze service. However, currently Android Auto is not yet in a position to provide much in the way of feedback: it’s available through a range of Pioneer in-car header units starting at $700. These have limited access to in-car systems and controls. It will require a deeper level of integration into the vehicle.
What do we mean here by deeper? Everything from taking information about the traffic conditions (average speeds as the simple metric, but some vehicles have air quality sensors, which could be used to help provide a database of vehicle density), through to temperature sensors, sunlight strength, even if the headlights and wipers are on. This information could be fed back into the Google services side of things, and ultimately used elsewhere – such as updating live system maps, which could then be used to tell nearby residents that warmer weather is on the way so their Nest thermostats might wish to take this into consideration for heating or cooling the house.
We are, sadly, some time from seeing this deeper level of communication between the vehicle, the Waze application and the wider world, but cars are going to become just one part of the Internet of Things and application services such as Waze represent one relatively easily developed cog in this machine. In the words of Waze Head of Growth, Di-Ann Eisnor, “What I’m excited about in the future is the data the car has with the data our app has. For example, we’ll know what your fuel level is and then we’ll be able to tell you where to get the cheapest gas based on how much gas you have left. We’ll know when the windshield wipers are on so we can get an understanding of if there’s a weather change because road weather is a very important safety factor.”

10 Ways to Optimize Your Brand for the Digital World
Resultado de imagen para digital brands
Digital devices have made their way in our lives. Laptops, smartphones, mobiles and tablets have enabled us to remain connected with the digital marketing channels all the time. Brands have to revamp their current marketing strategies in order to reach audiences who are spending more time watching videos on YouTube than to watching television.
This shift towards online digital media has forced marketers to rethink the methods through which they reach their audiences who are not omnipresent on a single channel. The demand is for a segmented marketing strategy that caters to the needs of the users present on search engines like Google or Yahoo, on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter, and on highly popular niche based sites like TripAdvisor.
Some brands are still solely targeting their customers via traditional marketing channels like TV, radio, and billboards, but ignoring the current digital marketing channels like search engines and social media. The biggest advantage that modern digital marketing channels provides is the availability of the customer 24/7. The power of apps have given flexibility brands – allowing them to remain connected with audiences all the time.
Here are some strategies that brands need to consider in order to become successful in today’s online world:

1. Reward Loyal Customers and Reviewers

Customers love to be rewarded and brands loved to be talked about. What if we connected these 2 together? Start rewarding your loyal customers and ask them to add reviews on your site. Don’t forget to add video testimonials; Tanja Tudhope,Director of New Business at Memory Tree Video Productions believes that video testimonials are a great way to broadcast your message to a variety of audiences. Text-based testimonials are the thing of the past; the modern era demands everything in video.

2. Build a Platform For People to Interact

How about adding a separate Q&A section or forum on your site where people can easily interact with each other? This type of community actually helps in receiving extra traffic and conversions, as well as also helps in customer retention and branding.

3. Target Influencers to Spread The Voice

Influencer marketing is the most trusted marketing strategy in demand today. Leveraging the power of influencers to spread the voice of your brand is a great way to build trust in the minds of your audience. Believe me, building trust is the first step for successful branding.

4. Focus on Online Reputation Management

ORM or Online Reputation Management is one of the most necessary aspects of online marketing. Unfortunately, most brands keep on ignoring it to a level until it starts hurting the image and revenue of the company. ORM should be done by specialists because incorrect strategies can directly impact the branding of the organization.

5. Attract Customers for Word-of-Mouth Promotion

Your marketing strategy should be intelligent enough to attract customers who become willing to do word-of-mouth promotion on your behalf. It’s not easy, but not that difficult either. Some strategies like reward coupons, cashbacks, free shipping, and customized offers can make the customer happy. You can also attract new customers by displaying your coupons on other coupon distributing sites like Couponmachine or Snapdeal. This is an awesome way to get more customers and revenue.

6. Connect with Customers Through Apps

Apps are taking the world by storm. Everyday thousands of new apps are launched. For brands to become successful, a well-organized app is an essential first step. Soon, websites will be the thing of the past and most online transactions will happen with the help of apps. Brands looking to solidify their marketing strategy must seriously consider creating an app through which to build a greater audience.

7. Segment Local and Global Audiences

The local audience behaves differently compared to the global audience. Brands should segment their strategy to target local and global audiences. For example, local audiences have different marketing modes and influencers, while global customers rely on other channels.

8. Focus on PPC and Retargeting

Paid promotion is an intergral part of every marketing strategy because paid channels always help to send conversions and traffic more easily. Opting for remarketing allows you to target customers who are already interested in buying your products.

9. Focus on Brand Outreach via Pinterest and YouTube

Pinterest has become the number one source of referral traffic. Rich pins are a great way to promote your products on this widely popular image-based marketing channel. YouTube is the second-most visited search engine of this world after Google. If your brand is missing it’s presence there, then you will surely miss a lot of potential customers. For a brand to become popular, it is absolutely essential to invest in video marketing.

10. Make Your Brand Recognizable

In this vastly competitive world, a clutter-free space is a tough nut to crack. Hence, making your brand recognizable in the lot is not easy. The greater the visibility, the more recognizable your brand becomes. The best strategy to follow is to make your brand visible from all channels of marketing like search engines (both organic and inorganic), social media, app stores, affiliate marketing, and video marketing. While a good amount of budget is required to enhance this visibility, it might prove really successful in the longer run.

Customer retention through loyalty and in-app mobile payments
Anyone who owns a vehicle knows the experience of a trip to the dealership to retrieve your car or truck after it's been serviced can be an exercise in patience.
You walk into the dealership after work only to find several other customers waiting in line to pay their bill. By the time it's your turn to settle an invoice, your stomach is rumbling because it’s past dinnertime.
NcompassTrac, a California-based loyalty program provider, believes it can erase the pain from the car dealership checkout process with an in-app payments feature within the loyalty app the company already provides to its partners who sell high-end cars from BMW, Cadillac, Mercedes Benz and Porsche.
NcompassTrac worked with Total-Apps, a California-based merchant services provider and payments processor, to implement payment acceptance into its loyalty app, Mobile Payments Today has learned.
Ron Vangell, chief strategy officer of NcompassTrac, told Mobile Payments Today in an interview Thursday that customers and car dealerships both asked for the in-app payment capability. The new feature eases the checkout process for drivers while providing dealerships with another way to retain customers in addition to the loyalty program, he said.
"Good customer service isn't enough anymore to build loyalty," Vangell said.
Vangell noted a study that showed when a consumer continues to service their vehicle at the dealership where they bought their car or truck, he or she is 86 percent more likely to purchase another vehicle at that same dealership. That figure plummets to 6 percent if the owner goes elsewhere to service their vehicle.
"These types of metrics for a dealership are frightening," Vangell said. "Those that do retention the best earn the most, and the reason being is a high percentage of repeat business comes at a low cost because you don't have to win the customer."
Different studies exist to back Vangell's argument.
One study from the Harvard Business School and Bain Capital concludes that increasing customer retention rates by 5 percent increases profits by 25 percent to over 95 percent.
Another study, from Gartner Group, shows the value of customer retention and how 80 percent of a company's future revenue will come from just 20 percent of their existing customers.
NcompassTrac helps auto dealerships retain customers with a loyalty program that rewards users for regular vehicle maintenance at a certain location. For example, a car dealership can reward a customer when they arrive at the premises with bonus points and a free car wash.
Loyalty users can apply their points to an invoice much in the same way consumers redeem rewards for airline tickets or hotel rooms. NcompassTrac enables users to redeem points from within the app. To pay for a bill with a credit card, a vehicle owner can either take a picture of the card with their smartphone camera or manually enter the information.
In addition to the loyalty and payments feature in the app, NcompassTrac also provides users with the ability to schedule maintenance and a virtual photo cabinet to store pictures of a driver's license and insurance cards. Total-Apps also gave NcompassTrac the ability to add video checkout with the app, which is available for iOS and Android devices.
At the moment, more than 2.5 million consumers across almost 400 auto dealerships in the U.S. are enrolled in the program. The in-app payments feature is live now, but now available to all dealerships as Vangell said there will be a rolling window for the launch.
Thanks to its partnership with Total-Apps, NcompassTrac has the ability in the future to add more capabilities to help auto dealerships retain customers.
Total-Apps last year launched Twt2Pay, a service that enables Twitter users to buy items using hashtags.
Jason Taylor, executive director and chief technology officer at Total-Apps, told Mobile Payments Today he envisions a scenario where auto dealerships could add Twt2Pay within their social media channels to engage with millennial consumers.
"That allows the customer to interact more," Taylor said. "Millennials are interacting with brands that way and they're going to want to pay that way as well, so we're working with NcompassTrac to add that ability later."
Total-Apps also has the ability to add in-app payments though Apple Pay and Google Wallet if and when NcompassTrac decides to add those options.

NcompassTrac plans to take its loyalty program outside the U.S., and a recent partnership with Harley-Davidson, the popular motorcycle manufacturer with a global footprint, will make that possible in the future. At the moment, NcompassTrac helps Harley maintain a program that enables prospective buyers to fill out identifying information in order to ride motorcycles as part of a demo process.