The Head Down Revolution

Woman on city street looking at smartphone

If you live in a major metro market, then you know what it’s like to walk down the street and see 90% of the people with their heads down buried in their phone. I was one of those people, until I found myself standing in the middle of the street in Manhattan writing a text and nearly getting hit by a taxi. From that point on, I made sure that I was always looking up. But I am definitely in the minority. And this post is not about the safety, or lack thereof, when it comes to texting. It’s about how marketers can capitalize on this Head Down Revolution.

According to Statista, the U.S. mobile phone penetration has reached 81%, representing 223 million consumers. And those consumers spend an average of 4.7 hours per day glued to their smartphones. More importantly, is the role that texting now plays in our everyday lives, especially when it comes to marketing. For an eye-opening example, texts have a 99% open rate compared to 20% for email*. Pretty amazing, huh? Now I imagine that smartphones are currently in the midst of fine tuning their hardware to introduce features that can block such correspondence. But who knows when that will come?

So until that day, marketers have a humongous opportunity to take advantage and focus their outbound efforts on the behaviors of the smartphone user. A behavior that is now second nature, and while receiving a text from a brand may seem like a nuisance at first, it is certainly less of one than an email. Also, if you’re sending info or content that isn’t selling, but more serving them something of value, then you’re more likely to be able to maintain that dialogue.

And isn’t a dialogue what we want? It opens the door, and leads to traffic. And when you have enough traffic, ultimately it will lead to transactions. It’s this approach to marketing, partnered with the aforementioned tactics, that can build the awareness and engagement you’re looking for.

Now how about a little “social experiment”: The next time you’re walking down the street, take note of how many people’s’ heads are down. It truly is a sight to see. Just think, those eyes could be engaged in your brands message. And if the message is “timed” to when your customer is in the market for a new product, it becomes relevant and timely — a very powerful combination.

*Credits: Jack Loechner — Editor of The Center for Media Research; SinglePoint; Statista

Makeup Meet Your Match

make up genusEveryone is talking about wearable technology. In fact, Apple announced yesterday the release of its most anticipated product: the iWatch. But, in beauty land, L’Oreal is leading the conversation with augmented reality technology in its new app Makeup Genius, taking the way we look at beauty and cosmetic application to the next level.

The app took over 10 years to develop and uses an exclusive RT Track 64 facial-tracking-algorism to deliver the most precise facial recognition through a live mirror camera. It allows you to see what you really look like with certain shades of makeup on in real-time as you turn your face, change your facial expression and take various angles.

So, if you ever found yourself trapped in the makeup aisle at a drugstore for hours trying to figure out the perfect shade of lipstick, blush, eye shadow or eyeliner and end up covering every square inch of the back of your hand with different colors, you will love this app. Simply put, you can now test out the colors virtually and make your purchase without having to go to the store and make your hands look like a palette.

How it Works
1. Download the app (works on iPhone or iPad)
2. Take a selfie
3. Let the app scan your face
4. Apply virtual makeup (you can choose up to 300 color cosmetics plus it also works on all ethnicities and allows for 400 lighting situations)
5. Purchase your perfect match instantly

What Sparks Our Fire:  A free makeup app using the latest augmented reality technology to help save time in your search for the perfect makeup shade.

Have you tried Makeup Genius? Share your thoughts!

Knowing When To Fly

Hitlist

While there are a number of things you can do to find the cheapest airfare, timing is everything when it comes to getting the best deals.

Hitlist is a mobile app that knows when it’s least expensive for you to book a flight to your pre-picked destinations, saving you the trouble of regularly checking travel websites. So, if you have a bucket travel list, but also a budget, Hitlist will keep tabs on travel search engines, notifying you when it’s the best time to fly to any of your selected locations. For example, you can create an alert that notifies you if/when flights to Buenos Aires are listed at $650 or less.

Among other customizable features, you can pick the best airport for your travel needs, make your Hitlist public or private, and specify if you’d like to travel only on weekends (or whenever). And there’s also a cool world map to show you all the places you plan to go to or have visited already.

What Sparks Our Fire: A mobile app that finds you the best deals on flights and helps you travel the world more affordably

What places around the globe would you save through Hitlist?

Do Be A Mooch

MootchAs the sharing economy continues to grow at a rapid pace, new ways of renting different types of property are developing and evolving. This enables the consumer to avoid spending significant amounts of money on items they may only use once or very sparingly.

Mootch – a platform for on-demand peer-to-peer and business-to-consumer renting of everyday goods with delivery and pick-up – has finally invented a way to make renting simple and safe. So, for example, if you have electronics, appliances or designer items that you seldomly use, you can make extra cash by renting them out to others. And the same goes for when you’re in need of an expensive device, mode of transportation or appliance that you may only be using for a couple of days, but don’t want to buy. Someone in your area probably has one you could rent.

Like many other mobile apps in the sharing economy, you can make money by safely and securely renting out your own stuff as well as cut expenses by renting when you need to do so.

What Sparks Our Fire: A mobile app to rent pretty much anything to and from people around you

What items would you rent through Mootch?

Did You Find My Message?

phone2

Over the past few years there have been countless messaging apps that enable users to reach out to friends over new mediums in fun and useful ways. Facebook Messenger and Snapchat are the most successful, but they aren’t even relatively fun compared to this new app.

Traces is an app where you send messages that can only be retrieved by your friends when they get to a specific location. So, when you are sending a message you pick a place where the receiver has to go within a time limit that you set in order to open it. It’s like a scavenger hunt, but with messages. Traces lets you share messages, videos, and even songs. The only downside is that the app is currently only available in the UK where it is in beta – but they are planning on bringing it to the US soon, so for now we just have to hang in there.

What Sparks our Fire: A fun new way to message our friends

Where would you place a Trace?