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Summary: Panel on the Future of Marketing

Kristen Lindsey - Thursday, October 13, 2016

I had a great time today participating in a panel of experts sharing with Alaska marketers about the future of marketing. My fellow panelists were Nick Coltman from the Anchorage Press and Melissa Moody from Google. For those of you that were unable to make it or did not hear about it, I thought it might be useful to have a summary of the bigger topics we covered. 

1. What do you see as the next big disruption in marketing and communications?

There are going to be bigger, better ways for marketers to really hyper-target audiences. Nick described it as sniper-style targeting. As part of that, Melissa made the great point that internet access is already happening more on mobile devices than desktops and computers, and we all agreed that mobile is here to stay and that new disruptive technologies will be primarily happening in the mobile sphere. 

I chimed in that it is critical for marketers to really hone in on target audiences and their needs, pain points, and what else empowers and engages them, then apply the targeting tactics that resonate with each of those audiences. With so many new tools, there is a lot of bad content out there that is turning off consumers. If you can create an authentic, engaging experience with your customers, you are going to cut through the clutter. A great online resource that breaks this down is the Content Marketing Institute.

Nick also pointed out that with this targeting comes much more effective measurement and analytics. It is much easier to learn quickly what works and what doesn't and focus your budget in the right places.

2. As a small business without a marketing staff member, how do we make the most of a limited budget?

Melissa: Start with online local listings and reviews - free and impactful!

Nick: It depends! On the industry, target audience, etc. But if you have $300 to spend there are a lot more inexpensive options out there to take advantage of, from an ad in the Anchorage Press to Facebook ads. 

Kristen: We counsel small business owners to keep the fast-cheap-good triangle in mind when deciding on marketing spend - you can only have two! That is a quick check to prioritize quickly. Also, as the owner with many hats, it is also important to consider how your time is best spent - using that $300 for hiring marketing professionals when your time could have a bigger impact on the business success elsewhere is an analysis of the risk of lost opportunity.

3. How do you see virtual reality playing a role in future marketing tactics?

Melissa: Virtual reality will be a huge opportunity for industries with experiential products and services as it gets more mainstream. She pointed out the important difference between 360-degree photos and Virtual Reality. 360 photos are basically a 360-degree photograph taken with a special camera or else stitched together from a number of pictures. Virtual Reality is an immersive experience that requires some sort of headset. (Incidentally, Scott at our office picked up a Google Cardboard, which allows you to experience virtual reality with some simple app downloads. Check it out!)  

It is becoming easier and more affordable to create 360-degree images and load them up on your site of social networks. She mentioned the Android SprayScape app, which allows marketers to create them quickly with their mobile phone. her advice for small businesses is to start with the 360-degree photos, then more forward from there.

Kristen: I mistook augmented reality with Virtual reality and mentioned how quickly Pokemon went mainstream, but regardless there is a point in there somewhere that even as people grasp augmented reality, it makes it easier for our potential consumer markets to understand Virtual Reality, and that is when the technology is going to become useful to us as marketers. The other point I made was that regardless of what disruptive technology comes down the line, Virtual reality included, that we still need to execute the fundamental ,marketing task of identifying those micro-audiences and understand what content and experiences engage them, THEN apply the technology.

4. How can the big Alaska businesses find marketing opportunity in the current economic situation?

Melissa: there are definitely opportunities in other markets. I was at the Alaska Travel Industry Association convention last week, and hearing Governor Walker talk about the huge cuts in the state marketing budget was hard to hear. But that is completely the wrong way to go, because tourism is an Alaska industry of opportunity.

Kristen: Since we are all dependent on oil and gas to create the business economy here, all industries need to evaluate their opportunities. Just like the state is losing an opportunity by cutting back on the tourism marketing budget, individual businesses must continue to double down on knowing their customers and taking advantage of these new marketing trends. One important way for marketers to do this is to restructure their work process to be able to respond more quickly to consumers with the tactics available, learn what works and what doesn't on the fly, and more forward with what is successful.

Nick: Obviously, marketing is not going to help oil and gas. They need more production and volume. But all the rest of the businesses cannot hide in the sand - their competitors will take up that lost space.

5. One word to sum up the future of marketing:

Nick: Targeting

Melissa: Mobile

Kristen: Agile






Alaska Tourism - How Can You Thrive With Minimal State Marketing

Kristen Lindsey - Tuesday, August 09, 2016

The state of Alaska's budget woes have reached the tourism industry. Despite near record visitor numbers and a thriving industry, critical state marketing support for the industry has dwindled from upwards of twenty million dollars to to a mere 1.5 million dollars.

Many of our clients are asking about how they can retool their own marketing programs in response to this situation. Here are some digital strategies to consider:

1.  Do you have the right business intelligence?

Of course, businesses look at overall revenues, profit margins, etc. but there are other important ways of tracking your marketing program. Evaluating which analytics you review to support your marketing objectives is an important first step. 

You need a fuel gauge in your car to know if you're running out of fuel, right? Just looking at miles traveled will not tell you if you are in danger. Are you looking at mere website traffic to determine your digital success? Rethink your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and find the ones that give you actionable information. Some examples of KPIs we use with some clients are engaged visitors (sessions of x page views or more), shopping cart abandonment rate, average order value and more.

2. How is your website conversion rate?

Is your site optimized to maximize bookings? An incremental increase in your conversion rate is one of the biggest ways you can improve your digital marketing performance. Analysis tools like heat maps, exit surveys or landing page optimization testing can help you find areas of opportunity. Google Analytics has multiple ways to measure conversion, and spending a little on development to get this information can pay big dividends.

3. Are you spending your digital advertising in the right places?

U.S. department store merchant John Wanamaker is credited with the quote, "I know half my advertising is working; I just don't know which half." With digital advertising & marketing, this is no longer the case. Conducting an ad cost analysis (i.e. cost per conversion by advertising medium) can prevent you from throwing money at a poor performing tactic and underspending on something really valuable. For example, when executed properly, paid search advertising can have the lowest cost per acquisition of almost any other type of advertising. If you have an effective paid search program but not maximizing your spending, you are losing cost effective conversions.

4. Is your site mobile optimized?

So many travelers are making decisions on where to eat, what to do and even where to stay once they have already arrived at their destination, and they are mostly using mobile devices to make these bookings. If your site is not optimized for mobile yet, it is time to bite the bullet and make the investment. Yes, it is a capital expense that may feel like a lot, but is the most important part of conversion optimization you can undertake.

5. It is time to professionalize your social media presence.

Playing around with social media and seeing if it can contribute to your marketing program is a thing of the past. The size of audiences on social media now easily rival audiences in other areas, such as search. Developing a coordinated social media strategy in alignment with the rest of your marketing as well as exploring paid social advertising options will enhance your overall program and increase its impact. As with all marketing, with digital, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Synergy and consistent message among all tactics - search, display, email, social - can have a disproportionate impact and huge bang for the buck.

So, if you are looking for ways to leverage your marketing program further to make up for State of Alaska marketing program support, here are some ideas to start with. Do these resonate with you? Any other comments on digital opportunities you see? Please share in the comments!




The Case for Responsive Design

Scott Thomas - Thursday, June 11, 2015

For some Alaskan businesses, the hype and news surrounding the Google Mobile Algorithm update and the fear of a pending Mobilegeddon may have caught them by surprise. While some organizations have already made the change to responsive web design, we know of many other sites functioning pretty well without any mobile friendly pages. In response to some recent conversations we've had with clients, here is a basic guide outlining why your business should consider making the change to a responsively designed website.

What is Responsive Design?

 From the all-knowing Wikipedia:

Responsive web design (RWD) is an approach to web design aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).

1) Think About the User First.

Providing the answer to a question, or the product or service a person is looking for should be your organization's first priority. Many people in the U.S. are connected to the internet constantly, and moving between devices. If your site is not mobile friendly, and your competitors' sites are responsive, you are likely missing out on leads and customers. Can someone find your business on a mobile device and complete the conversion action(s) you are aiming for? Can your business afford to ignore 10% of your website visitors? 20%? 30%?

2) Searches on Mobile Devices have Exceeded Desktop Search.

Earlier this year, Google acknowledged that the volume of search queries on mobile devices exceed those on desktops in 10 countries, including the U.S.  You have probably noticed significant growth in mobile traffic -and while for some sites -that percentage may be 20% or less of your total website sessions (visits), not many business can choose to ignore or give mobile users a poor experience. A recent study by Nielsen noted that US adults spend more time on the Internet via Smart Phones.

3) Responsive Design is Preferred by Google (and better for SEO).

Since 2012, Google has recommended that websites use responsive design. While it's still a viable option for websites that use separate desktop and mobile sites, choosing such a set-up requires extra web development and content maintenance, as well careful SEO settings to highlight the two separate sites properly.

4) Flexible Formats that Adapt to the Device.

Responsively designed websites are fluid, and adapt the size of the screen. The templates used in responsive design are based upon screen size, not device. If a new technology is developed (or a new screen size) and the existing responsive templates don't work with the new device, one could update the templates for the new device(s).

5) Social Media: It's a Mobile First World.

The majority of social media consumption and sharing occurs on a mobile device. If one is attempting to share website content that isn't mobile-friendly, that will decrease the likelihood of your content being shared. Active social media campaigns can help bring in more mobile traffic, and get your website liked or shared on social media channels.

A Case Study: Denali Zipline Tours

Denali Zipline Tours This spring, we helped Denali Zipline Tours launch a responsive website. Previously, Denali Zipline Tours' site was a non-responsive site without any mobile friendly pages. Their site takes online reservations for their Zipline tours, so we can compare user engagement metrics and online ecommerce revenue for the first 90 days with a responsive design.

Comparing year over year data for this 90 day period, the Denali Zipline Tours website saw the following improvements from their mobile users:

  • 20% Reduction in Bounce Rate
  • Average Pages per Session Doubled
  • 28% Increase in Online Reservations
  • 114% Increase in Revenue


My MozCon 2014 Highlights

Scott Thomas - Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In what is becoming an annual tradition, I attended the annual MozCon conference on behalf of the Apokrisis team. The tag line for the conference was spot-on:



“Not your typical marketing conference.”

Once again, MozCon lived up to, and exceeded my expectations. After what felt like a bit of a slow start on Day 1, the presentations and speakers consistently presented exceedingly useful material. The topics continued to broaden out from SEO and inbound marketing; touching on public relations, social media, analytics, and PPC.  Given that many small agencies work on inbound marketing and PPC, I was very happy to see that topic given some attention this year. 

For this blog post, I'm summarizing 4 presentations that I thought were most relevant to Apokrisis and our clients. It was very challenging to narrow down my list to these 4, but each of these presentations touched on topics that I believe are on the horizon or were items that we have experienced first hand with our clients.

Rand Fishkin presented 5 Big Trends from the Last Year in Web Marketing

1. We May Be on the Verge of Regulation

Several trends in Europe and the United States indicate that regulation is on the horizon: the cookie law, the right to be forgotten law and legislation that was being developed in the U.S Senate this May. Google may have staved off regulatory action by their aggressive lobbying efforts (2nd largest in the U.S.).


2. “Inbound Marketing” terminology is losing ground to “Content Marketing”

Job postings using “inbound marketing” are down 46% and job posts using “content marketing” are up 90%

Inbound Marketing: Marketing based on earning attention rather than interrupting.

Content Marketing: Producing and promoting content to earn customers.

3. Google’s Penalties have taken a toll on spam, but hurt many businesses too.

Since 2012, website owners, marketers and publishers are now required to stay vigilant for spam that points to our sites, even if we didn’t create it. The pace of change and the onus on sites to watch their own backs creates job security for SEOs.

4. We are nearing the end of “SEO” as a job title.

1997 - 2010: “I’m an SEO”
2011 – Present: “SEO is part of my job”


5. Google is shortening the searcher’s journey. This may appear to hurt publishers, but the reality may be more complicated.

Instead of Google directing people to your website, the results page may pull and display content from your site, and answer the searcher’s query directly (and likely prevent them from leaving Google). Google is providing the quickest answer possible to feed an “addiction to search.” Increasing the number of searches conducted by users, this may be a way that Google is attempting to increase search activity. How do we combat this? 1) Diversify your traffic channels and 2) Become more important to Google’s searchers than Google is to your traffic.

Mobile SEO Geekout: Key Strategies and Concepts
Speaker: Cindy Krum

Google cares a lot about mobile. Mobile traffic is growing, and it’s expected that mobile traffic will surpass desktop very soon. Cindy reviewed how mobile SEO is different: algorithmic factors, strategic focus, and technical considerations. Technical issues with mobile SEO include: crawler confusion, inefficient crawls, domain errors, and problematic indexing.

Mobile usage has grown faster than Google expected. It’s expected to surpass desktop usage very soon (later in 2014 or in 2015). With desktop traffic (and searches) flattening out or declining, you will miss out if you ignore mobile.



Mobile search rankings are very different than the desktop experience. There is much less room above the fold, so it’s imperative to rank high (top 2 positions), otherwise, you won’t be seen. It’s important to note that branded searches are much more common on mobile, and a branded search often triggers a drop down option with additional links to your site. Have you checked those links in the search results? Audit these branded searches on mobile and test your landing pages. 

There are also many more universal-style results on mobile (images, video, news, etc.). These often look great and encourage users to touch them. Does your site make use of images, video, and/or news for greater visibility on mobile devices? 

Technical considerations are critical for mobile. Audit your mobile site and focus on errors and speed. While Google has publicly supported responsive design, it is often a slower performer on a mobile device, which can be problematic. To improve your mobile performance, make use of Google Pagespeed and the Chrome plugin to find recommended efficiencies. Remove unnecessary code for mobile, minify all (images especially), and consolidate round trip requests. 

Considering the user experience, keep in mind that social and mobile are “twins.” So maximize social sharing opportunities on mobile. Also consider designing your sites for mobile first, and then consider the design for tablets and desktops.


Bad Data, Bad Decisions: The Art of Asking Better Questions.
Stephanie Beadell

Bad data from surveys can waste resources that can compound problems. It’s important to write better survey questions and be more critical of surveys you see published online. When creating your questions, ask them on a 5-point or 7-point scale. This approach gives a better idea of sentiment. If you rely upon yes/no answers, you miss out on much of the story. 

Secondly, break down big concepts into tangible pieces. When asking for feedback on a product or service feature, break them out against a 5 point scale.



Compare your answers across questions, and use segmentation. This is where you may start to see the correlations you are looking for. Beware of bias and try to avoid priming your audience. Be careful of the tone of your survey, the order of your questions (make them random), and be mindful of stereotypes, and how they can change answers.

For those sensitive questions, save them for the end of survey, after you have built trust. Use ranges for demographic information. To help avoid boredom, set expectations up front, and show their progress in completing the survey.


You are so Much More than an SEO
Wil Reynolds

As someone who is proud of being an SEO and Inbound Marketer, Wil’s presentation was a breath of fresh air. I’ve felt the frustration of client’s wanting to see optimized pages, efforts to improve local search, etc. and not focusing on their customers’ experiences. Will reminded all of us what’s most important – the customer’s experience. If SEO gets searchers to a dead end on the first step of their journey, there is nothing to celebrate. It’s time to think about the Search Users Experience (#SUX). Do we care about the person after they click your result in search? 



Instead focusing on SEO tactics, focus on delivering a holistic, end-to-end strategy. Don’t get pigeon-holed and stop being the custodian (expected to clean up everyone’s mess/mistakes). Instead of allowing the focus being on outputs (creating content, optimizing pages, getting links, etc.) shift the focus on business outcomes. As a marketer, shift your focus on making the clients’ customers happy. 

Focusing on the searchers’ user experience requires social media. Relationships are fragile and multi-touch – are you willing to fix that experience? Show that you genuinely care about the customer and really help them out (even if it doesn’t directly mean a sale). Social done wrong is why clicks don’t turn into customers, but social done right makes every channel more profitable. 

I won't attempt to summarize all of Wil's excellent presentation here. The key takeaway for SEOs is to shift the focus on the searchers' user experience. Are you focused on real business outcomes or celebrating first steps? 

Conclusion

A week after the conference, I'm still reviewing and trying to digest my notes and the speakers' slide decks. All of the speakers provided valuable information. Some of the presentations were absolutely mind-blowing. The opportunity to visit with my peers was invaluable (and fun) as well. I'm looking forward to sharing what I've learned with the Apokrisis team and our clients as well.  

If I had to summarize my whole MozCon experience into a brief list of takeaways, this is what I came away with:
  1. Be more than an SEO, think critically about your Internet marketing and the customers’ journey.
  2. Use data and analytics to tell a story.
  3. Use testing (A/B tests) and surveys to test and measure your efforts (and make sure you are using good data). Learn from the past efforts and improve upon them!


MozCon 2013: Reflections and Takeaways

Scott Thomas - Friday, July 12, 2013

For the second year in a row, Apokrisis has sent me to MozCon, an annual conference focusing on SEO and Inbound Marketing in Seattle. Over the three days of sessions and networking opportunities, I was exposed to a huge volume of excellent information. I will not attempt to completely summarize every day, but pick out some my personal highlights. Overall, I felt that over 80% of the presentations ranged from Great to Awesome (paraphrasing the categories from post-conference survey here).

Day 1

The day started with Rand Fishkin providing an excellent review of current situation and the top five trends to watch for in SEO and marketing in the coming year. Richard Baxter demonstrated a method to target top influencers in a field, and Avinash Kaushik wowed the crowd with an entertaining and energetic presentation on how to Simplify Complexity for Higher ROI. Afterwards, I was lucky enough to thank him for the presentation and for my experience with his Market Motive Analytics course last year (yes the class is absolutely awesome and you should take the class if you work with web analytics). Among my personal highlights and takeaways from the afternoon sessions included actionable tactics for link building, the imperative to make everything mobile friendly, and a summary of the Moz SEO Ranking Factors 2013 survey and correlation study.

Day 2

Day 2 started off with an excellent presentation by Phil Nottingham on Video Marketing Strategies – Phil provided everything one needs to get started on utilizing video in online marketing strategies. Joanna Lord’s presentation on Customer/Brand Loyalty followed up on the importance of building your brand, which I felt was one of the overall themes & takeaways from the conference. Other excellent presentations covered eCommerce SEO, relationship building, optimization and testing, dealing with the loss of keyword KPIs, local search, and the future of user experience. 

Day 3

Rand Fishkin: MozCon 2013

For day three, there were many excellent presentations, but I will focus only on three that felt the most critical to me. Dr. Pete Meyers presentation on the future of rankings was a startling wake up call that if all you know is where you rank, you don’t really know anything. Eyeballs and attention are being kept on Google whenever possible (many answers often provide directly or in the Knowledge Graph). Of the 10,000 SERPs that they track for the

MozCast, only 15% have no rich information. Said another way, only 15% in this sample are in the generic “10 Blue Links” format.

Wil Reynolds knocked it out of the park (again!) in his presentation “The Internet Hates Us. Can RCS Change That?” If you are unfamiliar with the RCS term, check out the Real company stuff… It’s a struggle slidedeck from Wil’s presentation at the 2012 Mozcon. My key takeaways from the presentation were: respecting other disciplines, get out of the SEO echo chamber, create things that add value for the long term (build the brand); and most importantly – learn to do these things before other agencies learn how to do SEO and Inbound Marketing better.

Rand Fishkin brought it all together for me with “The Secret Ingredients of Better Marketing.” The key takeaway for me was the value of being transparent, honest, authentic, open & generous. To paraphrase a key point: if all you do is mimic your competitors, then you’ve already lost. 

The other speakers on day 3 were excellent as well, but for the sake of brevity, I’ll end my day 3 summary there. 

My Personal Takeaways for SEO and Inbound Marketing

Scott Thomas with Roger

The shift is on at Google and Bing to entity based search, and those of us in the search marketing industry must pivot accordingly. Building brands and authenticity will be critical to establish visibility across a variety of channels. I was inspired by the strategic emphasis at the conference and I hope to put what I’ve learned to use in the coming year. Thanks again to Moz for putting MozCon together and the shining examples of leadership displayed by the speakers. I cannot wrap this up without mentioning that a huge benefit of the conference is the opportunity to meet so many great people in the industry, from all over the world, no less! 

Spending time in Seattle is another highlight as well - great food, coffee, sightseeing, and culture. A heart-felt thank you to Moz for another great conference. I plan on going back in 2014! 

Other MozCon 2013 Resources




Google AdWords Enhanced Campaigns Update

Scott Thomas - Thursday, February 14, 2013

Google AdWords has begun a major update/upgrade known as Enhanced Campaigns. These new campaigns are being promoted to simplify and reduce the number of campaigns within an AdWords account. The changes within the new Enhanced Campaigns are in response to new reality that many people are connected to the Internet, wherever they go, via multiple devices (smart phone, tablet, or laptop/desktop). Along with this change, one can argue that the line between "online" and "offline" activity is blurring.

Marketing in a Constantly Connected World

Billions of searches are being conducted on all devices, these searches indicate when people are searching for location, general information, or a way to find the solution to a need or problem. Google indicates that mobile searches often provide advertisers the opportunity to better understand the context and intent of the user. In addition, multi-screen users often begin a search on mobile or tablet, and then follow up later on a PC.

Given the wide variety of devices and campaign strategies to target various devices and locations as separate campaigns, a business running large and extensive PPC advertising program could end up creating dozens of campaigns target devices and people differently in the current AdWords system.

The Benefits of Enhanced Campaigns

Powerful Bidding: improvements that allow one to manage bids seamlessly across locations, times and device types. For example, a business could bid higher for searches that are conducted on a smartphone, nearby a store, during the times that the store is open.

Smarter Ads: that are optimized for varying user contexts. One can show the right ad, site link, app or extension based on user context and device capabilities. Example: Different sitelinks can be shown to highlight special offers during specific days or times, and according to device type. So perhaps a restaurant will show special offers for specific days to coincide with slow and/or busy times. 

Advanced Reporting Metrics: advertisers will immediately have access to detailed call reporting with free Google forwarding numbers and conversion metrics. New conversion types will include phone calls and digital downloads.

What will Change for PPC Advertisers?

Fewer Device Targeting Options: Desktops, laptops and tablets are being grouped together as one group and mobile devices will grouped together as another group/device segment. All devices within these different segments must be targeted, there will be no more targeting (or "opting out") by a specific device (i.e. iPad only campaigns) or device type (no way to opt-out of all tablets, for example). 

  • Mobile devices will be targeted by default in the new Enhanced Campaigns. PPC managers can raise or lower bids based on the mobile device type. Apparently, one can also eliminate mobile device advertising by dropping the bid amount to -100%, but one cannot create a "Mobile Only" campaign. Tablets and PCs could be heavily de-emphasized by negative bids.
  • Targeting by separate operating systems will no longer be available. 

Sitelinks at the AdGroup Level: The additional sitelinks that can be placed at the bottom of text ads will be set at the AdGroup level, with improved tracking and reporting features. Also, the sitelinks can be changed according to time of day or device type. 

More Bidding Options/Settings: Default bids will be set at the desktop/laptop/tablet level. PPC managers will be able to increase or lower bids based on device, location and time. The multitude of bidding options will be extensive for large campaigns.

Calls & Digital Downloads to be Counted as Conversions: Advertisers will be able to count generated calls from a campaign, over a certain duration, as a conversion. Digital downloads will also be available for goal/conversion tracking.

Increasing Mobile Adoption: The rollout of Enhanced Campaigns will push more advertisers to including mobile devices in their PPC campaigns (many may not realize that mobile can be heavily de-emphasized with lower bids or eliminated with "-100%" bids). More websites will likely be forced to adopt responsive or mobile sites to target more devices and people more effectively.

Timeline for Rollout: Advertisers are beginning to receive notifications that Enhanced Campaigns are available now, and all campaigns will be upgraded in June of this year. 

What do PPC Managers and SEM Experts Think?

The reaction has been mixed, with many pros and cons debated within the community. While the new campaigns may be easier to manage in the long-term, or simply reduce the number of campaigns, many people in the Search Engine Marketing community agree that the conversion will require a great deal of time and work. The lack of control over device targeting frustrates some managers and large advertisers, but many also feel that it will make campaign management easier for small and medium sized businesses.

 is the Search Marketing Manager at Apokrisis.



Three Take-aways from a Mobile Strategy White Paper

Kristen Lindsey - Thursday, June 09, 2011
I just read an interesting white paper on mobile strategy development. (Get it here) While it is targeted to enterprise level businesses, there are some things that smaller businesses should start thinking about now, and there are other trends that are good to watch as they trickle down and become more affordable and accessible.

1. Mobile Cycle Mimicking Web - Exploration, Acceleration, and Innovation.

Mobile markt development is matching web market development. On the web, Exploration was the time of personal web pages and corporate brochureware sites. The Acceleration phase added interactivity to the web experience, allowing users to do things like access their bank account balance or view a map online. Innovation is where we are now - taking something like mapping and incorporating it into dynamic tools, like a running route mapping tool or a map of nearby restaurants with reviews.

Mobile in the small business segment is still in the Exploration stage, but aggressive organizations who feel they can capitalize by being first to market are jumping into the Acceleration phase with their investment.

Take-away - Think about it now. When is the best time for your business to jump in? Exploration stage, Acceleration stage, or Innovation stage?

2. Platform Diversity Hampers Scalability, but This is Changing

If you want to develop a mobile app, it can be daunting today. It is possible to launch with one platform with a reasonable investment, and most select the iPhone platform first, but then adding platforms like Android and Blackberry means new development cycles and large budgets for a fraction of the immediate ROI of a website.

This is changing, as businesses are creating app-like experiences via the mobile web and others are creating development platforms that create apps that have high cross compatibility.

As this platform diversity problem is solved and the cost to do so goes down, be ready to see a lot of smaller businesses to jump into the fray.

Take-away - Keep a close watch on cross platform development trends, or your competitors may gain an advantage.

3. If You Invest Now - Prioritize Your Platforms

Developing and app for iPhones, Android phones, and Blackberries is still pretty expensive. If you decide to invest, prioritize. Most start with the iPhone unless they operate in a heavy enterprise environment where Blackberry is king. To decide on the next platform, determine who you want to target - for a large expansion of unit penetration, go for Android. To hit that enterprise market, consider Blackberry.

Take-away- Mobile strategy follows business strategy, not the "shiny new object" strategy.

My two cents. What are your thoughts? Do you feel an app strategy makes sense in the current market, or is a mobile site a better option? Or, do you feel it is best for your business to wait for the industry to shake out? let us know!

Post to Your Facebook Fan Page from iPhone

Kristen Lindsey - Friday, February 12, 2010
I ran across this unusually helpful post from Facebook outlining how to post to your fan page with your mobile phone. Enjoy!

Here are several easy options for publishing to your fans via your mobile phone:

1) Email

Click "Edit Page" under your Page’s profile picture. Go to the Mobile settings module, click “Edit” and you will see the email address for your Page. Tip: save this email address to your phone’s address book as your Page’s name.

To update your status, send an email with your status update as the email subject line. To upload a photo or video, email the photo or video and use the email subject line as the caption.

Anyone emailing this address will be able to post to your fans, so please only share this address with other Page admins.


2) iPhone Application

To find your Page, click "Friends," then "Pages" in the bottom right. You'll see the Pages you are an admin of under "My Pages."

We suggest you click on your Page, click the top-right arrow icon, and click "Add Favorite" so you can get easily navigate back to the Page.

To publish to your fans, simply use the publisher (the "What’s on your mind" field) or click the photo icon.


3) Mobile Browser

The easiest way to find your Page is to type in the URL for your Page. To obtain a personalized Facebook URL for your Page, visit facebook.com/username.

If you are using a touch phone, you can also navigate by touching "Friends," then "Pages" on the top right.

Use the composer (the "Write something…" field) to update your fans.


4) Text Message (SMS)

Click "Edit Page" under your Page’s profile picture. Go to the Mobile settings module, click “Edit” you will see the link for “Sign up for Facebook Text Messages to post status updates to your Page”

You can associate multiple phone numbers for a single Page. However, you can only associate one Page or profile to each mobile number. If you associate a mobile number to your Page, that number cannot be associated to your profile or another Page.

Please note that if your carrier is not listed in the drop-down menu, they are not currently supported for Facebook Text Message. Please contact your mobile operator for more information.

Mobile Blogging from here.