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Posts Tagged ‘viral marketing’

Best Practices for Mobile Marketing In The Tourism Industry

Posted by TeamITI on November 24, 2009

What is the one device that people have with them at all times, whether they are at work, on vacation or at home watching television? More than 70% of the world’s population are mobile users and around the world more people use their mobile phones than PCs to access the Web. Mobile phones have evolved into much more than just communication devices. The mobile Internet is a reality. 

Tourism is an ever-evolving industry and this article provides an overview on one of the newest top trends – mobile marketing. Mobile marketing is the only media that allows direct, personalized, interactive and targeted dialogue between brands and consumers. This article takes a common-sense approach to explaining more about the key components of mobile marketing, how they can be used and what they mean to the tourism industry.

How Big is the Mobile Marketplace?

Worldwide mobile communications usage has increased dramatically since 2001. A significant number of cell phone subscribers now have access to the mobile Internet and use some kind of data service such as texting, email, Web browsing, etc. Mobile users expect instant access to information as well as an Internet experience that rivals the one via traditional PC’s and laptops.

Mobile is changing the way your customers search for, buy and enjoy your travel product!

  • Mobile phones technology advancements, economic cost and small size have made them a constant companion for people worldwide
  • Of the 6.7 billion inhabitants of Earth, 4 billion were cell phone subscribers worldwide at the end of 2008 – compare this to than 1 billion in 2002
  • Around the world more people are now using their mobile phones instead of their PCs to access the Web.
  • 26.3% of mobile phone subscribers will log on to the mobile Web at least once per month in 2009, for a total of 73.7 million mobile Internet users.
  • 67% percent of travelers and 77% of frequent business travelers with Web-enabled mobile devices have already used their devices to find local services (e.g. lodging) and attractions.
  • Over a third of travel companies will be investing in mobile this year

               Source: EyeforTravel, PhocusWright
Ways in which Mobile Marketing can be Used

Mobile Advertising

Mobile Websites, App’s and Text Messaging allow businesses to promote and market products and services. All businesses have a message to send. By utilizing mobile technology and text messaging you can market your message, product and/or service to the world’s 4 billion cell phone users. Mobile puts your message in the hands of your audience and by utilizing mobile strategies such as building a list of text message opt-in subscribers you will be able to stay in front of your audience consistently. GoChoice.mobi utilizes an informational on-the-go format in combination with SMS text messaging and money saving mobile coupons to provide travelers with a valuable tool which even facilitates mobile booking.

 Customer Relations Services

Finding ways to strengthen your customer relationship is crucial to a business’s success. NTA is using Meetings2Go.mobi to provide mobile info-on-the-go to all attendees during their annual convention via GONTA.mobi. By developing a list of opt-in mobile user numbers, NTA can regularly communicate with all attendees utilizing text messaging. NTA’s SMS alerts notify meeting attendees of upcoming meeting sessions and events; and they can even distribute mobile surveys for instant response.

Viral Marketing

Mobile and text messaging is an ideal viral medium. Creating and deploying a viral mobile strategy can generate a big buzz. America’s Premier Shopping Places utilized a viral component for a national sweepstakes. Sweepstake subscribers were given the opportunity to register via SMS for a chance to win the grand prize. Subscribers could also forward a text to win text message to their friends so that they too could enter for a chance to win the sweepstakes. You can imagine how quickly this campaign spread.

Marketing Support Tool

One of the biggest challenges of advertising is enabling an immediate response to a call-to-action. People are constantly enticed with outdoor and print advertising on-the-go; however, despite their interest they usually forget to act on it later. By including a mobile or text call-to-action response method, organizations can ensure that the interest sparked by print media is translated into action. Recent SMS integration by The Official Interstate Guide into their printed coupon guide is a good example. By including text message information in their publications hotel print ads, travelers are able to text the mobile id for any hotel they are interested in and be sent to a custom hotel page on TheOIG.mobi with descriptive information and photo’s telling the traveler more about the property. Travelers can then click to call their hotel of choice and book in real time on-the-go.

Mobile as Part of your Marketing Strategy

Can you see ways that mobile marketing could be used as part of your marketing strategy? Here are some of the areas you should be aware of.

Simple  

Mobile marketing strategies must be very simple. If the consumer does not get it the first time, they may not use it again. Mobile websites, App’s and text message campaigns need to be intuitive and easy to navigate. This is well demonstrated by the GONTA.mobi example

Targeted

Campaigns must be targeted and tailored to the audience. One of the most valuable components of  mobile websites, App’s and text messaging campaigns is the ability to provide users ‘urgent now’ information that is relevant to them on-the-go. For tourism mobile sites, the emphasis should not be marketing. Instead it should be on rapidly allowing users to navigate to information they are interested in to facilitate an immediate buy decision.

Permission Based 

People consider their mobile phone an important personal accessory and value their privacy. Ensuring that you are targeting users in ways which comply with the Data Protection Act is a must. Unwelcome intrusion into a user’s personal space runs a high risk of eroding your brand. A recent poll shows that when users gave permission to receive mobile marketing messages, 61% identified SMS as their most preferred way to be reached ahead of TV and radio. By using permission-based marketing best practices you can help ensure the success of your mobile marketing strategies.

Interactive

Mobile marketing should engage consumers in a true two-way dialogue. To best take advantage of the mobile medium, give users the opportunity to interact. Mobile website, App’s and text messaging campaigns should create interactive experiences for the user including location based searches, click to call phone numbers, text to win contests, surveys etc. The success of major brands such as GOChoice.mobi was in a large part due to this.

Measurable

Mobile marketing campaigns are very measurable; It is one of the huge benefits of mobile marketing. However mobile is not a medium of isolation and all mobile marketing should be integrated into your overall marketing mix to produce the desired return on investment. In the case of The Official Interstate Guide, one of goals was to drive more hotel bookings utilizing the publications coupons, which it did through close integration with participating hotels’ marketing efforts. In the case of America’s Premier Shopping Places the goal was to increase brand awareness, which it did overwhelmingly. Both examples demonstrate very different return on investment success.

Cost Effective

Mobile marketing is much more cost effective than other marketing channels such as Internet marketing, advertising and direct mail. Cost effective mobile website setup costs can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars depending on the size and complexity. Text messaging credits available for a few pennies each are an economical communication tool to support your mobile marketing efforts. 

Summary

Mobile marketing for the tourism industry is here! It is no longer cutting edge, untested technology. Throughout the last 10 years mobile marketing has benefited from increased technical development and market testing and is now considered a proven and valuable medium. Most importantly, mobile demonstrates an attractive return on investment and is affordable and can be used by small and large business alike.

As you consider your future in mobile marketing, remember, there are many services that need to be brought together and the easiest route is often to contract with a experienced company who specializes in mobile marketing and who can navigate between and manage your various Mobile, App and SMS technologies as well as implement effective mobile strategies.

 

About ITI Marketing

ITI Marketing, Inc. is a leading provider of mobile marketing solutions within the tourism and hospitality industry. As one of the first agencies to apply Mobile Marketing inside a tourism environment, ITI Marketing’s unique experience of being marketers first, technologists second allows us to provide specialized proven mobile marketing solutions. The business model is simple – ITI Marketing helps organizations increase the effectiveness of their advertising, marketing, PR and CRM campaigns utilizing Mobile websites, text messaging and other cell phone features such as Apps and location‐based services, resulting in more successful marketing strategies. Having worked with hundreds of clients of all sizes, including: Choice International, The Official Interstate Guide, America’s Premier Shopping Places, NTA, The State of Georgia and Jacksonville, FL., ITI’s integrated marketing capabilities allow us to stand out among larger agencies, while our intimate size allows for a true marketing partnership. Contact ITI Marketing at (912)267-1558 or Info@ITI-Marketing.com

This article was published in the November E’Newsletter of the Destination Marketing Association International.

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Posted in Articles & Research, Mobile Marketing, Travel Industry News & Trends | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Service-Oriented Advertising?

Posted by TeamITI on March 28, 2009

socialmediaspreadHooman Radfar discusses some interesting ideas about the need of an additional dimension in web metrics.  His key statement in his post:

It’s not just about reach and frequency – it’s about spread.

We are no longer satisfied with reach and frequency as a measurement, but instead we want to know how our messages are spreading and shifting as they make their way through services like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more. These two shifts should be looked at as parallel. Siloed pages are giving way to connected applications. And impression based programs will eventually give way to programs that leverage the connected nature of those applications to deliver and understand the dissemination of their message.

This all makes sense. The trick is how to go about implementing a strategy.

So the the task at hand his to

  • strategically choose the (brand) message you want to go viral
  • spread that message efficiently on social networks
  • track the distribution of that message

In short: Serving your message strategically throughout social networks = Service Oriented Advertising.

This is now possible as web services are unleashing the next generation of performance-based viral marketing.

Read Radfar’s entire article and comments here.

Posted in Articles & Research, Social Media | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing

Posted by TeamITI on October 13, 2008

by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, E-Commerce Consultant

Web Marketing Today, February 1, 2005. Originally
published 2/1/2000

Excellent explanation of Viral Marketing – the article itself is an example of Viral Marketing in action. I have been infected, and I am spreading the content. – Andy Uhlig


I admit it. The term “viral marketing” is offensive. Call yourself a Viral Marketer and people will take two steps back. I would. “Do they have a vaccine for that yet?” you wonder. A sinister thing, the simple virus is fraught with doom, not quite dead yet not fully alive, it exists in that nether genre somewhere between disaster movies and horror flicks.

But you have to admire the virus. He has a way of living in secrecy until he is so numerous that he wins by sheer weight of numbers. He piggybacks on other hosts and uses their resources to increase his tribe. And in the right environment, he grows exponentially. A virus don’t even have to mate — he just replicates, again and again with geometrically increasing power, doubling with each iteration:

1

11

1111

11111111

1111111111111111

11111111111111111111111111111111

1111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111111

In a few short generations, a virus population can explode.

Viral Marketing Defined

What does a virus have to do with marketing? Viral marketing describes any strategy that encourages individuals to pass on a marketing message to others, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence. Like viruses, such strategies take advantage of rapid multiplication to explode the message to thousands, to millions.

Off the Internet, viral marketing has been referred to as “word-of-mouth,” “creating a buzz,” “leveraging the media,” “network marketing.” But on the Internet, for better or worse, it’s called “viral marketing.” While others smarter than I have attempted to rename it, to somehow domesticate and tame it, I won’t try. The term “viral marketing” has stuck.

The Classic Hotmail.com Example

The classic example of viral marketing is Hotmail.com, one of the first free Web-based e-mail services. The strategy is simple:

  1. Give away free e-mail addresses and services,
  2. Attach a simple tag at the bottom of every free message sent out: “Get your private, free email at http://www.hotmail.com” and,
  3. Then stand back while people e-mail to their own network of friends and associates,
  4. Who see the message,
  5. Sign up for their own free e-mail service, and then
  6. Propel the message still wider to their own ever-increasing circles of friends and associates.

Like tiny waves spreading ever farther from a single pebble dropped into a pond, a carefully designed viral marketing strategy ripples outward extremely rapidly.

Elements of a Viral Marketing Strategy

Accept this fact. Some viral marketing strategies work better than others, and few work as well as the simple Hotmail.com strategy. But below are the six basic elements you hope to include in your strategy. A viral marketing strategy need not contain ALL these elements, but the more elements it embraces, the more powerful the results are likely to be. An effective viral marketing strategy:

  1. Gives away products or services
  2. Provides for effortless transfer to others
  3. Scales easily from small to very large
  4. Exploits common motivations and behaviors
  5. Utilizes existing communication networks
  6. Takes advantage of others’ resources

Let’s examine at each of these elements briefly.

1. Gives away valuable products or services

“Free” is the most powerful word in a marketer’s vocabulary. Most viral marketing programs give away valuable products or services to attract attention. Free e-mail services, free information, free “cool” buttons, free software programs that perform powerful functions but not as much as you get in the “pro” version. Wilson’s Second Law of Web Marketing is “The Law of Giving and Selling” (http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmta/basic-principles.htm). “Cheap” or “inexpensive” may generate a wave of interest, but “free” will usually do it much faster. Viral marketers practice delayed gratification. They may not profit today, or tomorrow, but if they can generate a groundswell of interest from something free, they know they will profit “soon and for the rest of their lives” (with apologies to “Casablanca”). Patience, my friends. Free attracts eyeballs. Eyeballs then see other desirable things that you are selling, and, presto! you earn money. Eyeballs bring valuable e-mail addresses, advertising revenue, and e-commerce sales opportunities. Give away something, sell something.

2. Provides for effortless transfer to others

Public health nurses offer sage advice at flu season: stay away from people who cough, wash your hands often, and don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. Viruses only spread when they’re easy to transmit. The medium that carries your marketing message must be easy to transfer and replicate: e-mail, website, graphic, software download. Viral marketing works famously on the Internet because instant communication has become so easy and inexpensive. Digital format make copying simple. From a marketing standpoint, you must simplify your marketing message so it can be transmitted easily and without degradation. Short is better. The classic is: “Get your private, free email at http://www.hotmail.com.” The message is compelling, compressed, and copied at the bottom of every free e-mail message.

3. Scales easily from small to very large

To spread like wildfire the transmission method must be rapidly scalable from small to very large. The weakness of the Hotmail model is that a free e-mail service requires its own mailservers to transmit the message. If the strategy is wildly successful, mailservers must be added very quickly or the rapid growth will bog down and die. If the virus multiplies only to kill the host before spreading, nothing is accomplished. So long as you have planned ahead of time how you can add mailservers rapidly you’re okay. You must build in scalability to your viral model.

4. Exploits common motivations and behaviors

Clever viral marketing plans take advantage of common human motivations. What proliferated “Netscape Now” buttons in the early days of the Web? The desire to be cool. Greed drives people. So does the hunger to be popular, loved, and understood. The resulting urge to communicate produces millions of websites and billions of e-mail messages. Design a marketing strategy that builds on common motivations and behaviors for its transmission, and you have a winner.

5. Utilizes existing communication networks

Most people are social. Nerdy, basement-dwelling computer science grad students are the exception. Social scientists tell us that each person has a network of 8 to 12 people in their close network of friends, family, and associates. A person’s broader network may consist of scores, hundreds, or thousands of people, depending upon her position in society. A waitress, for example, may communicate regularly with hundreds of customers in a given week. Network marketers have long understood the power of these human networks, both the strong, close networks as well as the weaker networked relationships. People on the Internet develop networks of relationships, too. They collect e-mail addresses and favorite website URLs. Affiliate programs exploit such networks, as do permission e-mail lists. Learn to place your message into existing communications between people, and you rapidly multiply its dispersion.

6. Takes advantage of others’ resources

The most creative viral marketing plans use others’ resources to get the word out. Affiliate programs, for example, place text or graphic links on others’ websites. Authors who give away free articles, seek to position their articles on others’ webpages. A news release can be picked up by hundreds of periodicals and form the basis of articles seen by hundreds of thousands of readers. Now someone else’s newsprint or webpage is relaying your marketing message. Someone else’s resources are depleted rather than your own.

Put into practice



Viral Marketing by Russell Goldsmith

Viral Marketing
by Russell Goldsmith



The Secrets of Word-of-Mouth Marketing
by George Silverman

I grant permission for every reader to reproduce on your website the article you are now reading — “The Six Simple Principles of Viral Marketing” (see

http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt5/viral-principles-clean.htm
for an HTML version you can copy). But copy this article ONLY,
without any alteration whatsoever. Include the copyright
statement, too, please. If you have a marketing or small business
website, it’ll provide great content and help your visitors learn
important strategies. (NOTE: I am giving permission to host on your website this article AND NO OTHERS. Reprinting or hosting my articles without express written permission is illegal, immoral, and a violation of my copyright.)

When I first offered this to my readers in February 2000, many
took me up on it. Six months later a received a phone call:

“I want to speak to the King of Viral Marketing!”

“Well, I’m not the King,” I demurred. “I wrote an article
about viral marketing a few months ago, but that’s all.”

“I’ve searched all over the Internet about viral marketing,”
he said, “and your name keeps showing up. You must be the King!.”

It worked! Even five years later this webpage is ranked #1 for
“viral marketing.”

To one degree or another, all successful viral marketing strategies use most of the six principles outlined above. In the next article in this series, “Viral Marketing Techniques the Typical Business Website Can Deploy Now” (http://www.wilsonweb.com/wmt5/viral-deploy.htm), we’ll move from theory to practice. But first learn these six foundational principles of viral marketing. Master them and wealth will flow your direction.

“Copyright © 2000, 2005, Ralph F. Wilson,
E-Mail Marketing and Online
Marketing
editor, Web Marketing Today. All rights reserved. Permission granted to reprint this article on your website without alteration if you include this copyright statement
and leave the hyperlinks live and in place.”



Read additional articles from Web
Marketing Today
, Issue 70, February 1, 2000

Posted in Articles & Research | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

YouTube as Marketing Tool?

Posted by TeamITI on September 2, 2008

YouTube is a free social media website where anyone can post videos on just about any topic.  Millions of people visit YouTube daily, and some folks have given up watching TV altogether! It is so easy to upload videos that it has become a favorite pasttime for old and young.

More and more companies these days are discovering YouTube as a viable marketing tool, a perfect opportunity to showcase their products and services to a large audience of mostly Generation Y and Generation Z. Big companies like Coca Cola with an entertaining commercial spot, or Proctor & Gamble with a short history of its iconic rise are harnessing thousands of views on YouTube, therefore marketing their brand.

How about the travel and tourism industry? Is it present on YouTube? Sure it is. You will find advice on how to plan your next vacation by a travel agent, why you should plan a meeting or convention in San Jose, or a very creative way of introducing your sales team (embedded in the Jacksonville CVB website).

How are you using video content to spread the word about your destination or services and engage with potential prospects and visitors? Feel free to post your comments and links to your YouTube feeds.

Posted in Social Media | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »