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

Take a ‘Petfie’

petmatch-app-screensPetMatch is a revolutionary new app that uses Superfish’s patented image recognition technology to help you find adoptable dogs and cats in your area. Simply take a picture of a pet you like, upload it to the app, or use a picture from the PetMatch sample gallery to get started. For instance, if you walk through the park and see an adorable dog that is just the type you always wanted? Take a ‘petfie’.

PetMatch will find you look-a-like pets in your area up for adoption at that exact moment. It can be as accurate as registering details like the shape of an animal’s mouth, the distance between its eyes, coloring and general size and shape. Though, there’s more to the relationship between humans and pets than physical appearance. The app can also help place pets based on personality, character traits and habits.

Superfish is also behind ShopScout, an app that uses the same image recognition algorithm and lets you take pictures of products and find similar ones for sale online (Something worth checking out).

What Sparks Our Fire: An app that takes image recognition a step further.

What is your view on the PetMatch app? Have any of you tried it? Let us know what you think!

Say Thanks With Facebook

8b1de2b5-343b-4734-b3a0-66048db520a0-bestSizeAvailableWhat is the most important part of your Facebook experience? Your friends, of course. For that matter, Facebook has launched a new ‘Say Thanks’ feature to express your gratitude to friends, family, co-workers and loved ones. Say gracias by creating and sharing an animated slideshow of your shared Facebook history set to the tune of inspirational music. The slideshow gives you the chance to relive past moments with the person you select. You can edit photos and posts those that best represent your friendship. There’s no limit to how many personalized videos you can create and share. So, get moving, it might take you a while to thank all 1000+ of friends. And please don’t forget those bothersome ones who keep inviting you to play FarmVille. The new feature is similar to the year-in review videos Facebook offered at the end of 2013 that we all loved. How apropros, ‘Say Thanks’ came just in time for the Thanksgiving season.

What Sparks Our Fire:  The perfect Facebook feature to celebrate friendships on social media.

Will you be using Say Thanks? Create your personalized video card here.

Savvy Money Saving

Screen Shot 2014-11-17 at 3.54.48 PMIt’s often said a penny saved is a penny earned. And if you’re looking to save a few dollars, there’s a quick trick right at your fingertips, ShopSavvy.

ShopSavvy is a mobile app that scans products and finds both online and local stores who carry it. Once you scan the bar code, either at home or in-store, ShopSavvy makes a price comparison on the fly, displays user reviews, and searches for discounts. The app has updated SKUs so you’re sure to find the item in all stores listed. The brilliant app was developed by Rylan Barnes, who won “Google’s Android Developer Challenge”.

ShopSavvy can be downloaded on iOs, Android and Windows phones. There is also a website available for simple searches.

What Sparks Our fire: An app that will save us time and money.

Are you ready to give ShopSavvy a try and live a more frugal lifestyle?

Taco Bell Has Been Cookin Something In The Oven For Nearly Two Years…

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… and it’s not a new taco or burrito but an App for iOs and Androids that allows users to order and make payment via their smartphone. They’ve eliminated the need to get out of the car and make the line; they’ve mostly eliminated the need to speak to anyone. In a nutshell, this is how it works:

  1. Browse the menu
  2. Select an item, or customize your order ingredient-by-ingredient, or re-order a meal from the past
  3. Submit and pay through the app using debit, credit, or Taco Bell gift cards
  4. Go to your nearest Taco Bell and skip the line to get your order

As part of the new app launch, Taco Bell Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and even its website have all gone dark, with only one message available for users to see “The new way to Taco Bell isn’t on [insert social media name] it’s #onlyintheapp”

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The idea was to play up the announcement and attract attention to the new release. In addition, they invite you to join the conversation with its Twitter hashtag #onlyintheapp.

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“Today as food culture changes and generations grow up with smartphones, our customers seek restaurant experiences that fit their lifestyle,” said Taco Bell Presiden, Brian Niccol, in a statement. Taco Bell assures the process is safe and secure. Two startups: Cardfree and Tillster help handle the paymenst.

This year has proven to be the year of mobile payment and ordering in fast food and is undoubtedly going to be the norm at fast-food chains within the next years. Wendy’s in March introduced a payment-by-app nationally; Burger King this year also said it was expanding its mobile-payment offering and lately McDonald’s has announced its collaboration with Apple Pay.

Sadly, you still need to drag yourself off the couch to get your food since Taco Bell doesn’t deliver…yet.

What Sparks Our Fire: An innovative app that makes it easy and simple to order food even faster.

Are you ready to satisfy your Taco Bell craving in a new fashion way? Download the app here for iOS or here for Androids