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Sears: Leading the way in mobile marketing

December 15, 2010 Leave a comment

Mobile telephones are steadily converging digital and social media technology. Marketers understand the ability of mobile devices to reach audiences instantly. With the holiday season upon us, Sears is trying to capitalize on mobile as a channel to drive sales and increase customer loyalty. According to Imran Jooma, president of ecommerce at Sears Holdings, “We want to let our customers shop whenever they want and however they want, and our customers are using mobile devices to shop,” Sears has successfully integrated various mobile tactics. Here’s a breakdown of the different mobile channels they are using.

1. Commerce-enabled mobile Web sites: Kmart2Go and Sears2Go

  • This application has complete access to the full list of items and categories available on Kmart.com and Sears.com

2. Mobile Apps

  • iPhone and iPod touch apps:  These apps have several features that making mobile shopping easier. Some features include: search, browse and buy functionality, deals and favorites sections, location-based and weather-based offers, a store locator using GPS or ZIP code, and sharing via Facebook and Twitter.
  • Sears Personal Shopper applications for multiple operating systems: This application allows consumers to take a picture of a product they want to purchase, send it to Sears’ team of personal shoppers. Consumers then receive a notification via phone or email when the product is located.

3. QR codes

  • Sears and Kmart included QR codes in their catalogs and circulars which lets consumers scan them to access detailed product descriptions and other information on their mobile devices.

4. Location-based check-ins: Checkpoints

  • Kmart partnered with Checkpoints turning to location-based mobile service to offer incentives for consumers who check-in their stores.
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Dead Drops: public file-sharing

December 6, 2010 Leave a comment

Artist Aram Bartholl creator of Dead Drops has taken file-sharing to another level. He created the ‘Dead Drops’ project, which is an “anonymous, offline, peer to peer file-sharing network in public space. USB flash drives are embedded into walls, buildings and curbs accessible to anybody in public space.”   Anyone can drop or find files on the Dead Drop. Currently there are 5 locations in NYC. Aram Bartholl’s inspiration for this project comes from a “need to rethink the freedom and distribution of data.”

How can this innovative idea be used as a promotional or marketing tool?

1. Companies can have branded ‘Dead Drop’ locations where consumers can download information, and get promotional coupons.

2. ‘Dead Drops’ can be used in conjunction with location-based apps like Scvngr. Consumers can compete to find clues and earn points when they upload or download files at designated sites.

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Connected Causes- Social media meets cause-related marketing

November 28, 2010 Leave a comment

With the rapid change in technology, advertisers have several online tools to target consumers. Social networks are making it that much easier for advertisers to connect with us because we have provided them with our likes and dislikes. Let’s face it, everyday we willingly put a lot of information about ourselves online. On average we create 90 updates of content every month, spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook.  Users are sharing private thoughts about family and friends, experiences with brands and much more. We just love to share our personal thoughts and broadcast it to 500 of our closest friends. Take note, marketers and advertisers are paying attention. If sharing your personal thoughts isn’t enough, Facebook added the Places application (mobile devices) that allows you to share your location with friends.

Foursquare is a location based social network allows people to connect with friends, earn points, prizes, coupons and badges by checking into your favorite places. As if we don’t update our Facebook statues enough, now we use Foursquare and give our exact location.

A recent NY Times article highlights the use of Foursquare for a cause marketing campaign with billboards. Earthjustice, a non-profit environmental law firm created a billboard campaign in the Bay Area Rapid Transit System to raise money and awareness for the endangered Pika. They had a simple idea, people are constantly connected to their social networks, view billboard ads and generally want to do good. Earthjustice knew that they had a captured audience of people waiting on the bus or train. The campaign invited commuters to check-in at the four billboards; each check-in generated a $10 donation. The campaign was a success as over 5,700 commuters checked-in raising more than $50,000.

Earthjustice found a unique way to capitalize on the social network phenomenon, specifically with Foursquare’s geo – targeting capabilities and also made people aware of a pika. (I’ve never heard of it, but now I know they are endangered.) I have not seen any other organizations or companies use Foursquare to generate donations based on a stationary billboard ad. I assume that people checking in at the ad can see other friends who are nearby and have a conversation about the endangered pika. Because commuters check-in by an ad, they are not allowed to interact with the organization in any way.  The ad does not have a web site or any social media sites listed which does not prompt people to learn more about the cause. I think one of the disadvantages of this type of campaign is that it does not allow the commuter to interact with the organization and it’s staff. When people check-in using Foursquare they are at their favorite store or restaurant and can leave tips, talk to friends/staff, or purchase items. This is example is just one of the many ways that organizations are using social media to garner awareness about a cause.



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