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

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.

Yes, Take Advantage.

AppsEverywhere

We all remember the 2012 study that revealed making a phone call is only the fifth most popular use for mobile phones, right?

We are living in an incredibly exciting time where mobile phones are no longer being used to just make calls and send text messages. There are becoming devices with endless possibilities. The popularity of smartphones has established a flourishing market for mobile apps and we talk a lot about them here on #HowToStartAFire. For instance, Hitlist, HuminTraces, Mootch, etc. But, as more adults are increasingly turning to mobile apps, so are their children. According to a 2013 mobile study, children under the age of 2, 38% had used mobile devices like iPhones, tablets or Kindles for educational apps. So far, the U.S. has been the fastest to adopt mobile apps. According to some experts, the app revolution rivals the industrial revolution; there is even a Kickstarter project aimed to raise money to make a documentary about the human side of the app revolution.

The catalyst for this revolution is clear: simplicity, convenience and added-value. With these alone, apps are changing the way we live our lives in a big way. They are replacing books, maps, MP3 players, etc. The world just can’t get enough of mobile apps. According to some research, the average user has 41 apps on their device, and as of October 2014, Apple has a total download of 85 billion apps from games, and music to productivity and health-related apps. People are spending more and more of their time on apps and favor social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter,  and Whatsapp.

This new habit is a golden opportunity for businesses. A successful mobile application can readily provide another revenue channel, boost productivity, efficiency, competitive edge and user experience aside from your website and/or brick and mortar store. So, what are the ways you can use the power of mobiles apps to your business advantage:

  1. Reshape customers’ engagement: Engage with your customers in real-time, by location and profile information. If done right, you can turn them into revenue generators. For example, grocery stores apps can offer recipes and link ingredients to purchase in-store.
  2. Add value to customers: Making it simpler for your customers to get in touch with your company by offering them tools that make their life easier. For instance, many phones carriers like Verizon offer the option to pay and monitor bills via apps.
  3. A marketing and promotion opportunity: One way is to offer redeemable coupons and location-based push notifications. H&M is great at doing this, by sending push notification discounts when you walk pass a store. This increases the likelihood of having people visit you when they had no plan in doing so.
  4. A retail opportunity:  If you sell products or services online, a mobile app may be an option worth considering as it gives your customers the opportunity to make a decision on the go. 84% of shoppers are now using their mobile phone while they shop in the physical world.
  5. Maintain your brand image: Use social media like Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, etc., to enhance your brand message and boost recognition. It allows you to share the brand tone, company culture, etc. Or monitor what people say about your brand and adjust.

What Sparks Our Fire: Apps have become powerful tools in our everyday lives, but more importantly have redefined the way businesses and marketers can approach consumers.

Have you already joined the revolution or are you left behind?

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

This Is How You Can Change The World With An App

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Mobile apps have proven to be popular for solving numerous modern-day problems. Here is an app that can help you make a better impact on the environment. But before we get started:

Did you know that the average person generates four pounds of trash every single day and that only 30% of that gets recycled? And, did you also know that recycling one aluminum can save enough energy to listen to a full album on your iPod? Or that, recycling 100 cans could light your bedroom for two whole weeks. So, why are we recycling so little? Well, simply because it is so much easier to dump our trash into a single bin and get it over with. But, 26 year-old Blake Rupe, is trying to change our bad habits by making recycling fun, with her recently launched app Re-APP.

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Re-App is designed to help people track and share their recycling habits. The app turns recycling into a competitive game that encourages players to measure and track their daily recycling efforts and get the highest amount of waste. Within the app, users can document what they recycle into a virtual bin, share their progress on social media, and see what other friends who have the app have recycled on a virtual leaderboard. Each material recycled brings someone closer to the glory of being deemed the “winner.” You can download Re-APP here

What Sparks our Fire: A mobile app that helps us visualize our impact on the world.

Are you ready to join the movement?