The Mobile Marketer

Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub but also the bridge to the physical world. That’s why mobile will affect more than just your digital operations — it will transform your entire business

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How to use mobile to enhance your brand and build audience development.

Success in brand publishing begins and ends with your audience, which you can define as anyone who comes into contact and engages with your content — not just your target demographic. In brand publishing, the problem you’re solving for is, “Where will incremental audience come from, and how can I maximize its value for my brand?” A combination of technology, partnerships, and experimentation will form the basis of your audience development plan. Here are a few places to start:

1.   Social Platforms — The pool of users who have opted to follow you over time make for a great initial surge of audience. Consider paid amplification for the content that yields the greatest value at your desired Cost Per Action (CPA). Think beyond just Facebook and Twitter! LinkedIn is rich in value for B2B engagement, while Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat or any platform utilizing video all merit serious consideration for B2C engagement.

2.   Search — Research the keywords that matter most to your target audience and optimize your content.

3.   Recommended Media — Mobile platforms can deliver massive audiences from premium publishers in just about every vertical you can think of.

4.   Partnerships — Partnering with traditional media publishers can be a great way to deliver audience to your content. Mobile is not a stand alone medium. It still needs traditional media to drive the calls to action.

5.   Mobile — This is no longer some strange sub-set of audience. All of the above is responsible for delivering your target audience on mobile



How to Use Mobile Marketing to Promote Your Next Event

If you have an event coming up, mobile marketing is a must. It’s convenient, efficient, and connects you with your customer with the click (or tap) of a button. If you have a big event coming up, the worst thing that can happen is that people don’t show up. Check out the following tips on how to promote your event and ultimately, get people in the door.

Create a mobile-friendly website. If you’re having an event, having a presence on a mobile website is essential. Most smart phones that are less than a couple years old can easily access mobile websites. The link can be delivered by opting in from a call-to-action such as Text EVENT to 78453.

Send SMS reminders. After creating a mobile-friendly website, send event invitations and reminders to your customer list. If your event requires ticketing, offer your text message receivers an exclusive discount for the event via SMS.

Get feedback from your customers. When texting customers your event details, get their feedback on what they’d like to gain from the event. For example, if your event is about testing out a new flavor of soda, ask them what their favorite drink is. This will not only give you useful information to help you built a better event, but it will show your customers that you care about their preferences.

Make it easy to connect to social media. Include a link to your company’s Facebook and Twitter in the SMS. Your audience is already using these social media websites on their phone, why not make it easy for them to simply click on a link and connect with your page?


Create photo galleries of past events. This will show your customers what to expect from you and get them excited for your event.

Create mobile ticketing. Ticketing companies such as Eventbrite have a mobile application that allows users to use mobile ticketing as opposed to paper. This makes it easy for fans to gain access to the event since they can simply open up the application and click on their ticket.

Allow users to locate the event on their maps. Use tap-to-map to ensure easy transportation for your fans. They will be able to locate the event through GPS and get there easier.

Having a mobile presence for your event will create buzz and allow you to reach a bigger audience. Make use of QR codes to offer fans exclusive discounts on ticketing, special promotions for the event, and more.
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Announcing Orange County’s FIRST Mobile Conference!


First Annual Event Provides Valuable Insight From Top Opinion Leaders on the Future of Mobile Markets. Will be held on March 19th, 2013.

ALISO VIEJO, CA–(Marketwire – Mar 5, 2013) – M2Catalyst, a prominent Orange County-based mobile technology developer, and OCTANe, the Orange County startup accelerator dedicated to connecting people and ideas with capital and resources to fuel technology growth, have teamed up to host the first annual OC Mobile Conference this month. Ericsson Vice President and Engagement Practice Head Peter Linder will keynote the event alongside mobile leaders from MasterCard, Radar Research, Skymarker Labs, Slalom Consulting, Smith Micro Software, Sonic Mobile, TeleCommunication Systems Inc. and TVPlus.

“Orange County is a flashpoint for innovation leadership as the mobile industry continues to rapidly evolve,” said M2Catalyst Co-Founder and CEO Michael Brough. “There’s no better time or place for industry leaders, investors and entrepreneurs alike to expand their knowledge, develop their professional networks and learn from each other how to better compete in a global marketplace.”

The event will feature four sessions on emerging mobile trends, including:

  • 2020 Vision – An overview of emerging mobile technology trends driving popularity and demand today, tomorrow and down the road in 2020
  • The Path to $1 Trillion in Mobile Payments – A look at mobile payment strategies from Google, Square, Apple, Visa and PayPal and the viability of NFC technology
  • Second Screen Mobile Apps – A panel discussion on the market opportunities created by the growing interest in apps that complement the television viewing experience
  • Global Mobile – Panelists address the challenges of developing for an international app economy, marketing across cultures and maintaining local strategies

“Gartner projects that smartphone users worldwide will download more than 80 billion apps in 2013, nearly doubling 2012 downloads,” said OCTANe President and CEO Matthew Jenusaitis. “There’s never been a more important time for enterprises, investors and startups in Orange County and beyond to approach the mobile market strategically, and our inaugural OC Mobile Conference provides a high-value venue for companies to initiate or strengthen their approach.”

For more information or to register to attend the OC Mobile Conference on March 19, 2013 visit

About Sonic Mobile
Sonic Mobile is one of the most experienced mobile marketing companies in the US. We are also an internationally recognized provider of mobile marketing services including SMS/Text message connectivity and campaigns. Our highly skilled team has been deploying, designing and managing these services for over a decade with the results that prove our services work for our customers. Our partner and reseller solutions allow mobile operators, system integrators, and advertising agencies to quickly and seamlessly deploy a enterprise mobile platform to deliver new products and services.

About OCTANe 
OCTANe connects people and ideas with capital and resources to fuel technology growth in Orange County. Its members represent Orange County technology executive leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, venture capitalists, academicians, and strategic advisors, all working together to fuel innovation in the OC. The organization has helped over 120 companies receive nearly $250 million in investment and equity exits, enabled over 500 companies to connect via the LaunchPad accelerator, and annually welcomes more than 7,000 people to its programs and events. Over 2,000 business leaders throughout the Orange County region are OCTANe members. For more information, visit

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So-Lo-Mo: Breaking Down How Mobile Is Transforming Local Marketing

For the past 50 years, local advertising has relied on the same formula: place ads in the Yellow Pages and local media outlets (TV, radio and print), and hope for the best.

But in the past three years we have seen a significant shift in local marketing efforts. Marketers have been effectively reaching consumers through daily deals and localized online search through Google, Yelp, and others. While access to the Internet has dramatically changed how people find and purchase deals, reaching consumers through mobile devices is the obvious next step. The industry’s challenge is: who is going to bring together all necessary components that will make localized mobile marketing a mainstream success?

If you’re still in denial that mobile is going to transform localized marketing, consider this: there are 7 billion people on Earth. 5.1 billion own a cell phone, while 4.2 billion own a toothbrush, according to the Mobile Marketing Association. That said, I think we can all agree that mobile advertising is still in its infancy. Until consumers start receiving relevant mobile ads, developers and publishers will fail to monetize mobile.

The challenge lies in delivering ads that resonate with the consumer. Typically, marketers in any medium base their targeting efforts on latent intents, such as behavior and lifestyle information. Once the mobile marketer can overcome this challenge and deliver truly relevant messages, the next step is to ease the mobile purchasing process. This last point is important — getting commerce to happen on mobile devices will give merchants a huge incentive to participate in mobile marketing. Online marketing was similarly fueled, ultimately, by the ease of transacting online.

Over the past 12 months, a number of large technology companies have put together some of the components that would accelerate local marketing in mobile. The company that can check all the components off the list will achieve “pole position” and generate substantial revenue from local advertising. The critical components include:

1. A local salesforce and/or a set of relationships with local merchants
2. A distribution system for putting deals and offers in the hands of mobile consumers
3. A method for finding which offers are relevant to each consumer
4. A trusted payment mechanism that allows consumers to purchase on-the-spot in one-or-two clicks

By using mobile-location data and predictive analytics, advertisers can reach users with deals based upon where they work, live and socialize. If you live down the street from a Foot Locker and you’re in the market for new sneakers, aren’t you more likely to take advantage of the retailers 50 percent off deal? Finally, if a relevant ad is delivered and the transaction can be completed in one-or-two clicks, mobile advertising will provide what local merchants are willing to pay for – real sales results.

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USPS Mobile Promotion is on Once Again…This Time With a Twist!

USPS mobile barcode promotion in the summer of 2012

Due to the high success of interest the 2011 mobile barcode promotion realized, the United States Postal Service (USPS) has announced it will be doing another mobile barcode promotion in the summer of 2012. The mobile barcode promotion is meant to help spur interest in the fast growing sector of mobile marketing and to help marketers see the vital importance of integrating their marketing campaigns across print, mobile, and digital platforms.

The promotion will take place between all mail dropped between July 1 and August 31, 2012 and provides a discount of 2% upfront discount for all postage figured for First Class presort, Presort Standard, and Non-profit letters, flats and cards (single piece first class rate pieces are ineligible for the promotion). Similar to last year the mailer must have some sort of 2-D barcode on the inside or outside of the piece that is able to be scanned by a smartphone. The code can be an open-sourced code like a QR Code or DataMatrix code or a proprietary code like Microsoft Tag or Snaptags, or it can utilize the new realm of intelligent print image recognition. It can be placed anywhere except the indicia zone (defined as within 2″ from the top edge by 4″ from the right edge of the mailpiece on the address side) or the barcode clearance zone (bottom right corner of the address side of the mailpiece).

However, unlike last year you can use this promotion with pre-cancelled stamps and you must place text near the mobile barcode explaining to the recipient that they need to scan it with a smartphone.

Furthermore, the mobile barcode must take the recipient to a mobile optimized site that falls into one of the following categories:

+ A mobile optimized site that directly allows the recipient to complete a purchase of a product or service in a fully mobile checkout experience.

+ Lead a recipient to a mobile optimized PURL (Personalized URL), a website that is tailored uniquely in both url address and content for the recipient.

In the USPS’ proposed requirements, it clearly states that ineligible uses of the mobile barcode includes the e-bill payment of prior purchases or regularly scheduled payments, event registrations, newsletter sign-ups, links to download a coupon or deal, enter contests, take a survey, and steer recipients to engage on a social network.

As an organization that is an active promoter of mobile barcode uses, we strongly believe the USPS missed the point with this last requirement of URL restrictions. It is understandable the requirement to make the URL a fully mobile optimized experience as all mobile barcodes should (as a best practice) point to a mobile optimized site. However, if their goal is to help create interest in the integration of mobile and digital technology into printing and direct mail campaigns, then many of the ineligible actions are valid uses of real engagement. At Sonic Mobile, we do not sell products or services directly on our website, nonetheless, we routinely use mobile barcodes to engage our direct mail recipients with mobile-optimized landing pages that may include several of the items listed above as ineligible. Just because we do not directly sell a product on the landing page does not mean that the engagement between the recipient and ourselves is useless – in fact, it is just the opposite – a very vital (and successful) part of the relationship building process between us and the recipient.

For more info


The Consumer’s New Mobile Mindset [CASE STUDY] (Can you say “Emotionally tied”?)

Many people experience phantom smartphone twitches: the perception that your phone is ringing, buzzing or bleeping even when it’s nowhere in sight. It’s like a nervous tic triggered by your phone! Some might say that Americans are fixated and emotionally connected to our mobile devices. And they might be right. Our phones are often the first thing we reach for when we wake up, and some of us put more time and TLC into our phones than we invest in our person-to-person relationships.

Lookout’s Mobile Mindset Study analyzes and explores data-based trends about our relationships, emotions and behavior driven by our phones. They engaged Harris Interactive to survey American smartphone owners to explore what we call the new ‘mobile mindset’: the way we think about our phones, and the habits and behavior they drive.

The findings confirmed my suspicions that a new mobile mindset has emerged: our thoughts, emotions and behavior are impacted by smartphones.


Smartphones are essential to our lives.

  • We constantly connect. Nearly 60% said they don’t go an hour without checking their phone. Younger folks were the most addicted: 63% of women and 73% of men ages 18-34 say they don’t go an hour without checking their phones.
  • Our connection never sleeps. 54% said they check their phones while lying in bed: before they go to sleep, after they wake up, even in the middle of the night.
  • We need access everywhere. Nearly 40% admit to checking their phone while on the toilet.

We sometimes break rules of etiquette to stay connected.

  • We act rudely. 30% admitted that they check their phones during a meal with others.
  • We take risks. 24% said they check their phones while driving.
  • We behave inappropriately. 9% said they check their phones during religious services at a house of worship.

We have emotional reactions and concerns when we do not have our phones.

  • 94% are concerned about losing their phone.
  • 73% say they felt panicked when they lost their phone.
  • 38% are most concerned about the cost & hassle of replacing a lost phone.

Mobile Attachment

Often emotion plays a role in driving action, so we dug in to try and understand the emotional connection between people and their smartphones. By quantifying the most fundamental indicator of phone activity – how often people check their phones – and cataloguing their emotional reactions when they have misplaced their phones, we have clues into understanding individuals’ mobile attachment.


The majority of Americans with smartphones (58 percent) said they typically don’t go an hour without checking their phones. Unsurprisingly, this hourly phone-checking fixation was significantly greater among the youngest age group (18-34 year olds), and declined markedly as age went up.

The data confirms what you have probably noticed in restaurants, parks, on the bus and in any other public setting: habitual phone-checking is widespread with more than half the smartphone-owning population checking their phone at least once an hour.

We grouped smartphone owners by whether or not they had actually lost their phone at one time or another, and nearly 7 in 10 (69 percent) said that they had. Then, we took an inventory of emotions by asking those who had lost their phones how they felt when this happened. Here’s what we found:

Age and gender also matter when it comes to our feelings about our phones. For instance, smartphone owners age 55+ who misplaced their phone were more than twice as likely (18 percent) to report having felt “sick” when they lost their phones compared with those ages 18-34 who had the same experience (7 percent). Men and women also expressed different emotions around losing their phones:

Interestingly enough, a small but striking minority of men, in particular, experience their smartphones as both a burden and a blessing. Accordingly, 9 percent of men who’ve misplaced their smartphone professed feeling “relieved.” On the other hand, most women didn’t consider being “disconnected” a cause for relief, with only 3 percent saying they felt that way.

Americans rely on their phones, and when they go missing, our emotional reactions run the gamut from that gut-level panic of wondering “Where’s my phone?! I just had it!” to the stomach-sinking sickness at the mere thought that it’s escaped us.

Bad [Phone] Behavior

As universally important as smartphones are to our lives, there are still some basic social norms and rules of etiquette that most of us can agree on. When someone texts during a meal, others may roll their eyes and utter one word: “rude.” And experts have told us time and time again that electronics in the bedroom – mobile phones included – infringe on the soundness of both our sleep and our relationships. But is Americans’ emotional connection to their phones strong enough to override what most of us consider good etiquette? Or is what we consider good etiquette changing as we become more attached?


There’s no question about it, Miss Manners (and our grandmothers) would be disappointed in us.

  • 30% admitted that they check their phones during a meal with others.
  • 24% said they check their phones while driving.
  • Nearly 10% said they check their phones during religious services at a house of worship.

Beyond bad phone etiquette, there were indications that Americans are obsessed with checking their phones; a whopping 54 percent – over half – of smartphone owners said they check their phones while lying in bed: before they go to sleep, after they wake up, even in the middle of the night. And while no one says you can or cannot use your phone on the toilet, nearly 4 out of 10 (39 percent) confessed to checking their phones while using the bathroom.

The worst actors in terms of bad phone behavior? Young adults. Nearly 90 percent (88 percent) of adults aged 18 to 34 admitted to some smartphone rule-breaking. This group over indexed on almost every one of the behaviors listed to a statistically significant level, when compared to the other age brackets. The two exceptions: adults aged 35 to 44 were as bad about using their smartphone while driving and during a meal with others as their younger counterparts vs. older smartphone owners.

Whether or not you think Americans are rule-breakers in general, it seems that our phone have become so essential to us that it prompts us to check our phones and use them at any time regardless if it could be perceived as rude or dangerous.

Our Mobile Fears

It’s a universal truth – you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone. As part of our effort to understand our attachment to smartphones, we asked respondents about their biggest concern when it comes to losing their phone.


Ninety-four percent of American smartphone owners expressed concern about losing their phones. That didn’t surprise us. However, the reasons and priorities which surfaced to explain these concerns did:

A recent Federal Reserve study revealed that 21 percent of smartphone users are already using mobile banking; as such, we expected to see a much higher percent of users state that their financial data was driving their fears of phone loss, or their “nomophobia,” the fear of being without a phone.

Similarly, 26 percent of American smartphone owners told us they had used their phones to take and/or receive explicit photos, and 18 percent confessed to sexting. So why, we wondered, do so few cite the exposure of such photos and messages as their top phone loss fear factor?

We suspect that smartphone users out there banking, sexting and explicit picture-taking are, in fact, concerned about their financials and unmentionables being revealed, but our data reveals that they are more concerned with the time they would have to spend without their device and the money it would cost to get it back.

Given respondents’ confessions about habitual phone-checking, it appears misplacing a phone would be like going cold turkey – and, that fear trumps the embarrassment and financial fraud potential a lost phone could create.


The results of the Mobile Mindset Study sketch out the contours of a new set of behaviors and emotional attachments driven by smartphones. The data surfaced the new place phones have in our values and social norms and showed that a trauma such as losing a phone can trigger strong emotional reactions. The study unveiled a new mobile mindset in our society: social behavior shifts and an emerging school-of-thought in what’s now consider appropriate phone etiquette – such as checking a phone while eating.

With smartphones being essential to everyday life, there are a few basic steps Lookout recommends to avoid losing your phone and the important personal info on it:

  • Don’t lose it: Keep your smartphone in a zipped pocket or bag when you’re on the move and scan your area when leaving public places to make sure you don’t leave it behind
  • Keep your power: Make sure you charge your battery before you leave the house or keep a charger in the car – not only will it keep your phone alive, but it will help to track it down if you misplace it
  • Keep it safe: Download an app like Lookout so you can find your phone if you lose it, or lock and wipe your data if it cannot be recovered and back up your personal information


Survey Methodology

The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive via its QuickQuery omnibus product on behalf of Lookout from May 8-10, 2012, among 2,097 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, please contact

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How Do Consumers Feel About Freemium Apps? by Elaine Hirsch

Prosumer. Frenemy. Bromance. Portmanteaus are all the rage, but the one on the tip of everyone’s tongue is Freemium. Today, this mashup of Free and Premium has gone from buzzword to business model. Judging by how often the media has used the word in articles and conversations, the freemium model is beloved by technology writers and creators. But how do consumers feel about freemium apps?

Going by the numbers alone, consumers are already strongly responding to freemium apps, with 48% of revenue on Apple’s App Store coming from free apps that are supported by in-app purchases. If you include paid apps supported by in-app purchases, some of which have a nominal 99-cent base price, the amount jumps to 72%. The proportion is only slightly smaller on the Android Marketplace, where apps with in-app purchases account for 65% of the 25 top grossing titles. Whether the app is an online school platform where additional courses must be paid for or just a game where buying tokens cost real money, freemium models are certainly here to stay.

What’s more, according to IHS Screen Digest, the trend toward freemium apps will only gain momentum in 2012. “Smartphone users overwhelmingly prefer free apps to paid apps, as we estimate 96 percent of all smartphone apps were downloaded for free in 2011,” says IHS senior analyst Jack Kent. “In 2012, it will become increasingly difficult for app stores and developers to justify charging an upfront fee for their products… Instead, the apps industry must fully embrace the freemium model and monetize content through in-app purchases.” The most successful methods of monetization identified by the IHS study were virtual currencies, such as additional chips for poker, redeemable points, or in-game “gold.”. These virtual currencies reflected 63% of in-app purchases on the U.S. App Store at the end of the third quarter, according to IHS estimates.

Although the freemium model has been largely pioneered by free to play (F2P) games with optional paid currency and items, IHS suggests that “companies building other types of smartphone apps must adopt this strategy if they are to maximize their mobile app revenues.”

Wired’s Editor-In-Chief Chris Anderson explained why the freemium model is not only attractive to consumers, but profitable for producers in a 2009 talk at Y Combinator’s Startup School. In his estimation, free users aren’t freeloaders at all and it’s okay to let the minority of paid users subsidize the majority paying nothing. In a market based on social bonds, free users publicize the app more effectively than any advertiser by recommending it to their friends.

To hear it from the experts, freemium is a business model that can’t miss. However, a large cohort of would-be millionaires whose freemium apps were released to a chorus of one-star reviews on the App Store would disagree. What many developers fail to realize is that they need to make users fall in love with their freemium app, or at least see some value in it before they demand payment via in-app microtransactions or a paid “Pro” version of the app.

A quick perusal of some of the top grossing freemium apps on iTunes and their reviews reveals the not-so secret formula for a freemium app that charms customers instead of frustrating them: give first timers enough virtual currency to explore the game, allow the game to be fully enjoyed without in-app purchases, and don’t overwhelm users with intrusive or irrelevant ads. The more time they spend enjoying the app, the more likely customers are to pay a few bucks to skip the tedious parts or explore new add-ons.

Elaine Hirsch is kind of a jack-of-all-interests, from education to technology to public policy, so she is currently working as a writer for various education-related sites and writing about all these things instead.