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Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons Are Making Mobile Apps Smarter

Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons Are Making Mobile Apps Smarter

Advertisements today can be overwhelming to consumers. Especially in the last decade as advertising has come to focus on online consumerism, customers are constantly bombarded with popups for the latest and greatest products. The negative response to this shift in marketing has led to a need for innovative and unique technologies that avoid overwhelming consumers while still reaching an audience. Indoor location technologies, such as Bluetooth Low-Energy (BLE) Beacons, is one of these innovative designs.

What are BLE Beacons?

Bluetooth Beacons are wireless devices that draw attention to a specific location, within a finite space. A clear example of a beacon is a lighthouse: its light draws attention from offshore ships, letting the ships know their distance from the lighthouse and the shore. Bluetooth Beacons do the same thing in a virtual environment, allowing brick-and-mortar businesses to send out signals to mobile devices in the immediate area.

Bluetooth Low-Energy Beacons, also known as Bluetooth 4.0, are just as their name suggests. They do the same thing in practice while maintaining low energy consumption.

How do BLE Beacons work?

The wireless device draws attention to its location by periodically putting out a radio signal. This radio signal consists of a small packet of data, usually advertisements. A beacon at a sports store, for example, might periodically send signals for current deals on hiking boots. Compatible mobile devices within close proximity to the beacon (usually about 100 meters) would then receive those advertisements, triggering applications to prompt responses like push messages or actions.

Why use a BLE Beacon?

Bluetooth Beacons, in general, allow businesses to deliver highly contextualized and personalized advertisements to their customers. Unlike other indoor location technologies such as GPS and NFC, Beacons are hyper-localized and specified for indoor environments. This means that the customer isn’t going to get advertisements for every store in the mall, but they also don’t need to be standing directly next to a product to receive an advertisement.

BLE Beacons also cost 60-80% cheaper than classic Bluetooth Beacons (although classic Bluetooth is recommended for more complex applications). Their low-energy consumption allows them to last much longer than the classic Bluetooth Beacon. The BLE Beacon stays in sleep mode unless it is actively configuring a connection, so it can last up to 3 years on one coin-cell sized battery.

Who benefits from using BLE Beacons?

Both Classic Bluetooth and BLE Beacons can be beneficial to a company. Classic Bluetooth can handle larger amounts of data, but BLE Beacons are ideal for transmitting advertisements to applications that periodically use small amounts of data. This, in addition to their low-energy consumption and cheaper cost, means that small businesses may benefit from using a BLE model over classic Bluetooth location technology.

The value of in-store retail sales influenced by beacon technology increased by $40 million between 2015 and 2016. The benefit of being able to personalize advertisements to customers continues to appeal to businesses, and it’s expected that 4.5 million beacons will be active by 2018.

Content is the core of all media

Content is the core of all media

Business Basics

A brand’s voice and personality depend on the type of content used to craft that image. How you decide to manage that content is intimately involved in every step of the purchase decision-making process. It is the most stable mechanism for a brand promotion.

Customer engagement, which is a strong predictor of company growth and brand loyalty, is built by providing value to the consumer. This action is most often achieved through value, usually achieved through useful content. “Emotional engagement is far more important to consumers than promotional content,” thus making the quality of the content the main factor in its success.

A reputation…is it owned or earned?

While everyone recognizes the role of content in owned and earned media, it’s harder to determine if the content has a place in paid media or if paid media is rendering content useless. Owned, earned, and paid media sources are almost always used together in unison. They’re used to build off each other, but they have key differences worth elaborating.

Owned Media refers to all channels that a company manages and curates, like websites, blogs, and social media. Its main strength is the control it gives a company over their brand image. Its main weakness is its limited reach—though 89% of marketers are using social media around 16% of Facebook fans see the brand’s content on their newsfeed.

Earned Media includes all mentions of a brand on third-party channels. Sometimes referred to as organic advertising, search engine optimization and mobile app store optimization. It is the shared, the reviewed and the viral. Its main weakness, that of having no control over what is being said when, is counteracted by its main strength, the power of word-of-mouth to influence people’s decisions. The skepticism people have when viewing ads is equivalent to the trust that comes from another person’s recommendation.

Paid Media is comprised of all of the advertisements that you have paid. These include Adwords, sponsorships, and content written by others for a fee. Many times, this can appear as sponsored items, appearing in a news channel feed. Another name is “native advertising”. It is expensive, yet, far-reaching. This is a highly targetable resource. While many have frowned upon it, paid media is important to a marketing campaign because, without it, your best content might remain hidden. It is not a replacement for “true content”, but it is a valuable tool in taking owned media and pushing it to possibly blurring the line toward earned media. Competition online has made it hard to sift through information on the basis of interest alone and paid media allows one to place an ad before eyes who are searching for it.

At the core of all three strategies lies content. It is content that draws people to your website. It is content that makes people want to talk about your brand and share it with their friends. And it is content that keeps people engaging with ads even when they’re savvy enough to recognize and avoid them. Paid media will reach an audience, but it will rarely keep them watching more than they have to.

Content is what makes consumers say, “Wow, I didn’t even know that was an ad for something!” Questions for the ad industry become “Where do we draw the line between advertising and content?” and “How visible do we make that line?”

Exploring a complementary user experience

Exploring a complementary user experience

An excellent user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) is necessary in today’s interconnected world. In our lives, it’s common for users to use multiple smart devices in multiple environments. As users move between devices, it makes sense to transfer a user’s UX across those platforms. An example of this type of event may start by watching a Netflix movie on your living room television. After a while, you get up and continue watching that film on a laptop in the garage while you work on the lawnmower. That singular experience is maintained through different environments and platforms.

The key is providing a seamless UX within a user’s network. Each device becomes an extension of that network; each is a compliment for the other devices in that network. A complementary user experience allows for mobile applications and experiences to intermingle across these platforms. The true essence of the event is found in the experience, not the network.

Mobile gaming apps are another type of application that can benefit from complementary designs. SMHK Funklab’s game Padracer uses an iPhone as a steering wheel and an iPad as a racetrack. Extra iPads can be added to the game as well. The creativity behind Padracer led to its success as one of the first mobile games with a complementary design.

There are two main types of complementary designs: collaboration and control. In a collaborative design, two different devices have different functions. Padracer falls into this category. Control designs allow for one device to remotely control the other which typically serves the main function. An example of this would be using your smartphone to switch the song playing off Spotify from your laptop. Devices in the complementary ecosystem can also fall into two categories: must-have or nice-to-have. A must-have device is required for the app to function. In the case of Padracer, an iPad and iPhone are must-have devices that are necessary to use the app. Additional iPads add to the experience but aren’t required. These extra devices fall under the nice-to-have category.

A complementary design can unlock endless options for a business to provide an enriched experience for app users. More and more companies are discovering how a complementary UI/UX can lead to company growth. A study by AppDynamics discovered that 65% of people have very high expectations for app performance. Additionally, 30% of customers would spend more money on a company with a good app. If your business uses a mobile app, consider how multiscreen compatibility could boost your user experience.

Cross-platform development is critical

Cross-platform development is critical

Thanks to the cell phone, our world has become mobile and immediate; information is always ready at hand. An individual’s entire life can fit into their palm or pocket. That phone might be either Android or iOS based, the two dominant mobile platforms. Developing your mobile app for both platforms is critical in today’s marketplace.

It has become progressively important for companies and businesses to have a heavy mobile presence since smartphones and tablets have captured a dominant share of the market. Mobile application development, a pathway to marketing and branding, includes the need to create applications that run on various mobile platforms. A mobile platform is simply an operating system. 

Developers create applications that are targeted at specific audiences. Often, cross-sections of these audiences disperse between various mobile operating systems. The need to ‘skip’ across various platforms provides the companies the ability to reach different audiences with one application, regardless of the platform. Cross-platform services save time, money and allow code to be easily shared between different platforms. It provides a greater reach to users.

With many solutions, often come with both pros and cons. Mobile development is no different.

Advantages with cross-platform mobile app development:
  • Deploy your app to various platforms reaching a greater audience.
  • Saves time. Allows developers to write code in one language.
  • Reduces development costs. This allows companies to save money by not investing in one team specific to that platform.
  • Simple for developers. The frameworks to create cross-platform applications are designed for scripting languages which allow for a smooth transition to the mobile device.
Disadvantages with cross-platform mobile app development:
  • Technology does not include all features of all mobile devices and operating systems. App developers are continuously updating the apps whenever companies add new features. The framework will need to be updated to support the new additions.
  • Tools are restrictive. Designing an app compatible with cross-platform frameworks can challenge developers, prohibiting them from using their own development tools and suites.
  • Code inefficiency. The inability to work on every platform’s native language. When the translation engine become ineffective, the coding efficiency decreases.
  • Slower code and process. Due to the cross-compilation process, the code writing runtime may slow down.

As with any development process, there are benefits and liabilities associated with using a cross-platform application development system. Cross-platform tools are not a universal solution. Having a development team with a working knowledge of the development environment is critical.

Contact Colure’s development team to help integrate your mobile applications with your existing systems, fitting your specific needs.

Understand social media marketing (SMM)

Understand social media marketing (SMM)

Business Basics

Every hour of every day, social media allows people to consistently create and share information. This constant interaction has driven companies to fully embrace social media as a vital marketing tool. It aids them in displaying their products; manufacturers connect with their returning and future customers. With over 2.3 billion active social media users, a company’s robust, social media presence will continue to solidify the company’s earnings.

Social media marketing (SMM) allows companies to market their brand on social media sites to increase traffic to their websites and stores. The goal of social media marketing is to raise brand awareness on a platform that the customer uses daily. By displaying ads on a site, home screens, or creating a company page with updates, customers are repeatedly exposed to the company profile and products. If the customer likes what the company has to offer, the customer is likely to share videos, images, ads, and articles about the enterprise. This media span reaches potential clients who have not seen the brand’s web presence. SMM allows companies to increase their brand recognition and draw in, as well as retain, customers.

Shoe manufacturer TOMS saw a huge boost in their brand recognition with their #withoutshoes campaign on Instagram. In 2015, Toms designated one day a year as “One Day Without Shoes Day.” Each year on that designated day, the company asks users to post one barefoot photo on Instagram with the hashtag #withoutshoes. For each post, one pair of shoes is donated by TOMS to a child in need. Not only did the campaign rapidly spread, but TOMS also established itself as a socially conscious driven brand. This type of savvy promotion allows customers to feel that their photo contribution and any purchase of TOMS shoes will add to a larger, positive impact on the company.

Camera manufacturer GoPro frequently uses their Instagram account to show the quality of their product. GoPro extensively uses user-generated content for its Instagram page. Besides their company photos, GoPro encourages users to send in pictures of their best shots with their GoPros. This type of social media marketing not only promotes their product but helps customers to consistently use their GoPros and send in their photos with hopes of being featured on the account.

The prominence of social media in society has created a strong personalized sense of marketing. The life-blood of social media is built upon allowing people to create and share information with others. By marketing brands through ideas, social media allows people to be exposed to products they may not find elsewhere. This type of industry is not bound by a geographical location nor an allotted time slot; it is readily available. Whether the appeal comes from an ad, company page, or a friend’s referral, social media marketing is essential in staying relevant in peoples’ lives.

Explore consumer-generated content

Explore consumer-generated content

There is probably no greater assurance in life than that of human testimony. Seeing someone provide support for a product or service may be all you need to make a final purchase decision. If you take a look around, user-generated content is everywhere. Content created by actual consumers is becoming the go-to method to increase customer loyalty. The first-person narrative is quickly becoming a primary marketing channel.

This technique, coupled with the growth and effectiveness of social media interaction, is a deadly combination. This method gives businesses the ability to pass the brand-building responsibilities to the consumer. The purchase cycle begins with the customer and ends with another client. Why create external content when original user-generated content is available?

This new advantage leans on the customer’s interest to hear more views of people who were once in their position. The direction selected by those and have had a positive outcome with a particular product or service.

The more convincing a user can be in their first-person content, the more enriching the experience will be for the customer who is receiving that message. Satisfaction can come from a picture filled with joy & commitment, a story with an excellent description, or an experience filled with uncontrollable emotion. Comfort can come in many forms, as long as it is a testimony that inspires your users to investigate an innocent way to brand your business. Close to 60% of retailers and 61% of brands are using consumer-generated content in their social media campaigns. The most efficient campaigns focus on these five principles:

  • They concentrate on the basics
  • They stay in it for the long run
  • They listen to the customer
  • They let the customers share their story
  • They allow everyone to be a stakeholder

86% of millennials say that user-generated content is a good indication of the quality of a brand. Let’s help each other and share the experience.

If you need guidance to cross that bridge from one customer to the next, contact our Development Team.

Voice activated digital components (AKA – digital assistants)

Voice activated digital components (AKA – digital assistants)

The recent developments in voice activated technologies have opened the door for explosive growth in the realm of digital interaction between humans and machines. Technology platforms across the board have embraced user control activated by voice commands. Individuals can ask their phone any question and a response will be given. The voice recognition by the operating system is as valid a command input as that from a computer keyboard. These developments created the birth of the ‘digital assistant.’

With the sound of your voice, random data can be searched, reminders can be given about certain events on your mobile calendar, requests become completed actions. Convenience for the user plays a huge factor: it is easier to talk to your phone than to type on it.

The range and depth of these computer responses are impressive. Joe Hindy, The Android App Guy on Youtube, posted an interesting side-by-side comparison of three frontline voice activated platforms – Siri, Google Now, and Cortana. It’s not a perfect demonstration, but it clearly demonstrates how the competing products perform.

Siri

When Siri was introduced in 2011 on the iPhone 4S, it was a sensation.  Back then, PCMag described this new technology “Siri is a speech-recognition computer application. It has both speech input and output, meaning you can speak to it, and it can speak back to you.”  Prior to Siri being introduced as part of the operating system, a voice-activated app was available at the Apple App Store. The technologies were focused on a specific market share, those who may have had difficulties working with a smartphone. The function was similar to Siri but had nowhere near the capabilities of the current Siri. That company was acquired by Apple, and the mobile app was pulled from the App Store. Later, that same technology emerged as the Apple tool we now call “Siri.” It was a cool new addition that Apple built into its iPhones. From then on, it has become a staple of the iPhone user experience.

Google Now

In 2013, Google Now was created.  This program is Google’s answer to the virtual assistant. Google Now “can answer questions like Siri and search the web, but more importantly, it cannot only assist, but pre-empt your requirements using your calendar, email, historic behaviours, and location.” quoted from Koozai.com. Google Now is like an upgraded version of Siri.

Cortana

In 2014, Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1 was introduced.  Cortana is a Halo-inspired personal assistant.  It is Microsoft’s answer to Siri and Google Now.  What started for the Windows Phone is now on every desktop using the Windows 10 operating system.  “Cortana is powered by Bing, and can perform many of the functions one has come to expect from artificial intelligence-style assistants, such as setting reminders and powering vocal updates to one’s calendar” – CNET.

Amazon Echo

Also, in 2014 was the unveiling of Amazon Echo.  Amazon Echo is an at the home tower and  “lives as a piece of hardware, not just a layer of software available through a mobile device. It has built-in speakers and lets users sample and purchase music as well as stream that music on demand,” according to CNET.  Amazon is trying to make a statement with Echo by offering this virtual personal assistant.

“A June 2014 study by Thrive Analytics found that over half of US adult smartphone users (56%)” use their voice-activated assistants. – Emarketer.

The Future is Now

Millennials will continue to drive the use of virtual personal assistants and will be the deciding factor on whether this trend will stick or be a bust. The digital stage has been set to respond to the sound of our voice. Interaction with a digital assistant is now part of our daily routine. How that interaction is crafted will depend upon the minds of the users and dreams of mobile app developers.

Protect your brand identity

Protect your brand identity

Your brand is the most important asset your corporation possesses. More than money, more than real estate, more than anything – if your consumers cannot identify, define, or respect you, you are dead in the water. Protecting that brand is critical to every interface your organization faces. A brand defines your values, creates an emotional bond between yourself and your customer, and it is the anchor upon which you stand every single moment.

A plethora of voices

Anyone can jump on social media to criticize your products and brand. They can write a blog posting that ranks higher in Google’s search results than you’d like. Control has left the hands of the marketer. The issue is multiplied in the service industry, where review sites like Yelp, TripAdvisor and Angie’s List – all designed to improve customer experience – can seriously threaten your brand’s credibility and identity.

The consumer has a direct voice to connect quality to value. Now branding efforts must address both macro and micromanagement strategies. Companies must be responsive to individual voices of dissatisfied consumers while focusing resources toward broader quality efforts and branding.

This is the price of doing business. Rightfully so, consumers can now put their mouth where their money is. The business community must do the same.

What can you do?

Successful companies leverage positive reviews into word-of-mouth advertising. This remains the single most effective type of advertising today.

If your company is being battered with negative reviews, what can you do? Here are a few ideas to start:

  • Find them. Use focused social media searches to discover what consumers are saying about your company. 
  • Respond diligently. Once you’ve found complaints, don’t just dismiss them. These reviews are actively read by consumers. Consumers are often more likely to embrace a review than an advertisement.  Respond to the feedback openly and solve the issue. Deal with it.
  • Improve. Don’t just make empty promises. Empty lip-service is the worst response you can provide to a complaint. If you have an issue, deal with it. If you get called on the carpet because of poor service – deal with it. If the customer is upset – deal with it. Don’t dismiss the complaint, resolve the issue. Even if it costs you a few dollars and a bit of time – solve the problem. At this point, damage from the mismanagement of a complaint only escalates.
  • Grow from your mistakes. Learn what the consumer wants. It’s that simple.
  • Take feedback. Make this an opportunity to improve your brand – your customers will thank you for it.

Contact Colure’s marketing team. Discover the art of crisis management. Learn from a team that can help you properly manage your corporate image.

Republishing content extends audience reach

Republishing content extends audience reach

Social media is arguably the most crucial outlet to market any product or service. Publishing content on the internet is only the first step to market penetration. The re-publishing or re-marketing of that original content allows for a more specific, finite placement in front of the target audience.

When a company publishes a post it might not initially receive the anticipated web traffic. The next step is to re-post that content onto another social media platform to provide exposure to a new audience. When an idea is marketed multiple times, on multiple platforms, that idea will begin to ‘grow legs’. The danger with reposting is that you do not want to earn the title of ‘spammer’ by an email system. If your reposting is qualified as spam, it will go straight into the trash. All of your republishing efforts will be lost.

Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin are all necessary platforms for a company to reach its audience. When you have successfully connected with your audience, you can begin marketing your company with a specific audience penetration. Pcdigitalmarketing.com had a few interesting words on how to republish across various social media platforms.

When republishing your content you need to keep all facets of the process in mind:

  • Understand the correlation between the frequency of your posting and platforms you are using. If you republish a post every hour on two different platforms, the audiences will probably react in different ways. A Twitter audience may not mind the hourly update. A LinkedIn audience may find that tactic annoying.
  • Develop a tactical move to advance your content. What is the specific reason for republishing? Are you going after a unique demographic which the original platform doesn’t engage? Answer the following questions in regards to your next media move – WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, WHEN and HOW?
  • When a company decides to republish, it should not repeat the same exact caption. The content title is used to draw in a reader. It should be written differently to keep the audience alive and excited.
  • If a company decides to repost content, they should know their audience and know how many times a day or week they should republish their post. It is important to republish to increase the audience, but also very important to be considerate of the audience.
  • Republishing is the perfect approach to spreading a message, as long as the person reposting knows when and how to proceed.
  • Most importantly, be sure that you are tracking the progress of your republishing with some format of web analytics. If you are not counting the specific hits – where and when they are falling, you are just shooting into a dark room with no idea as to any progress toward your goal.

Communication is an interactive process. Take the time to map the process of moving your message from you to your audience. To help you move your company’s message, contact Colure’s Project Managers.

Using Social Media for your Mobile App Marketing

Using Social Media for your Mobile App Marketing

Creative social media campaigns are mandatory during the successful release of a new mobile application. During the software development process, the software team will design and create the new mobile app. A parallel process is the development of your social media campaign. This is how you will announce your new app to the world. Both of these efforts are mission critical to your application’s survival in the marketplace.

You must create a demand for your product. The development of momentum and interest in your project is an absolute must-do. Keep your audience focused upon only one thing – why they must have your app. While you create your social media campaign, your focus of purpose must permeate each and every action.

Key social media ideas for a mobile app campaign:
  • Each brand has a unique identity. The individual features that separate you from the completion are yours to use or lose. Be sure that you highlight those differences.
  • Stay consistent. As your media efforts crossover between various platforms and campaigns, be sure that you remain centered upon the original identity of your product. Move your campaigns around your product, not your product around your campaigns. If you lose the focus of your product’s identity, there is no possibility that your audience will ever be able to follow you.
  • Emphasize the benefits. Apps must be the solution to a problem. That problem may simply be avoiding boredom (solved with a game), finding information or saving money. By emphasizing benefits rather than features, you compel your audience to click through and download the app. Emphasizing the features of your app – such as its functionality or the speed at which it operates is important, but it will not create demand. Provide a solution to your user’s problem.
  • Don’t Be Afraid of Native Ads. In-newsfeed ads, especially on Facebook and Twitter, can be effective tools to promote your new mobile app. Detailed targeting methods allow you to push your message directly to a specific audience. Both Twitter and Facebook offer marketing solutions that are especially enticing for app developers. Twitter’s App Card allows you to add rich media beyond the 140-character limit. This extra media changes the presence of your ad, helping to persuade consumers that your app is right for them. Marketers can specify “App Download” as the goal of their native ad on Facebook, which allows them to track how many users downloaded their app as a direct result of the ad.

Your goal is to market the unique identity of your new application. Stay on task with specific goals for your project. Be certain that your media team is in perfect unison with your software development team.

Contact Colure to discover the union form and function. Our development team will bring your dreams to life.

The power of multimedia convergence

The power of multimedia convergence

The diversity of mobile devices has increased the way information is spread across society. No longer do individuals rely on only a single device as their data source. The increasing volume of mobile devices used by any one person allows individuals to constantly want to check the latest trends, follow the latest celebrity, or look at the latest technology across all their devices. The melding of media is starting to be practiced by many.

“Simply put, media convergence is bringing together different media platforms to support one single campaign or promote a product.” – Gerhard Jacobs writing for Target Marketing

What is the power of multimedia convergence?

A vast majority of consumers are cross-device users regardless of age demographic and mobile device usage is on the rise,” according to Millennial Media. Because information is at our fingertips and individuals have to have the latest technology trends in their hands, there is no secret that multiple device users exist. In addition, individuals are more likely to choose a mobile device over a desktop to search the internet or just for enjoyment.

Millennials (Gen Ys) have definitely changed the way individuals view information on the internet. These individuals are at the forefront of the way information is received and will definitely continue to pave the way marketing and advertising companies deliver their product or service to the general public.

Great power lies in combined media sources; it allows for different mediums to display and send the same message. Because of this overlap, individuals are prone to look at multiple devices throughout the day. The question becomes “Why not streamline those messages to show similar images and branding pieces?” From the public’s standpoint, the increased convenience of information provided by converged stories makes using the media a better experience.”

Why is this such a powerful tool for marketers?

Being engaging with the audience is something that every marketer needs to keep in mind when creating content. The audience wants to know the latest, up-to-date information about their favorite product or brand. By displaying the same message across different platforms at different times during the day/week will help reach different audiences at different times in different ways.

Industry revenue resources will drive the deliverance of the messaging and will help marketers to gauge how to reach different audiences on different platforms. Of course, the difficulty will come trying to figure out rotation of advertisements and trying to figure out the best times to display those advertisements.

So marketers are faced with a multifaceted chess game – how, where, and when do place your content in a dynamic marketplace? How do you reap the greatest ROI with constantly revolving players?

Using consumer reviews to assist your ASO efforts

Using consumer reviews to assist your ASO efforts

Mobility and responsiveness – these are two critical skills needed for anyone who enters the arena of mobile application development. Your product must be nimble and quick, but these too, are critical skills your marketing team must employ in the release of that shiny new app. The art of App Store Optimization (ASO) is important during the entire release process.

In a marketplace that features over a million apps in each of the major app stores, developers must manipulate each variable in their media arsenal. One very powerful tool is the use of consumer reviews.

The power of reviews

Being able to harness the energy of raw consumer feedback is like riding a wave. Managing both good and bad press is at the core of your public image. For better or worse – the true measure of you and your product is formed by the users’ impressions. Once you release, the power is in the hands of the consumer.

Your team must be able to respond instantly and individually, in order to reap the value of feedback. Take the time to interact with consumers and let them know that their opinions matter to your team.

You already have a plan in place. You have from the beginning. But if the consumers go in another direction or simply don’t like your idea, you need to be able to really listen and appreciate the value of what you are being told.

The fickle winds of consumer opinion can easily blow in either direction. A stunning app with an established track-record can suddenly be dashed upon the rocks by a sour update, or by the development team not listening to consumers.

The transparency of reviews clearly matters. KISS Metrics conducted a study evaluating average reviews in connection to app store rankings and it found that the most positively rated apps ranked highest on a given keyword. Those reviews are being offered by users as their reaction to your new app. How you respond to those words will determine how the market views your product. In other words, reviews are vital. 

Increasing the volume of reviews

There are several ways in which you can increase your app’s reviews. One way to do it is through app reviews plugins. This is a pop-up screen that appears after a bit of usage, asking the consumer for their opinion. You should be sure to delay the activation of the plugin. Give the user the opportunity to get comfortable and really discover all of the features you’ve built into the app. If you ask users to review when they first open an app before they’ve actually had a chance to try it, they may be displeased and leave a negative review instead.

The best way to get a positive review is to build a high-quality application that makes a significant difference to your users by either helping or entertaining them. The more satisfied users you get, the more likely they are to leave a positive review, with little to no reminder or encouragement from the app.

Managing negative reviews is a metered skill. It takes time and patience to respond thoughtfully to whatever may be written. How and with which words you respond, will determine if you are able to yield a net favorable response.

Keep in mind that this is a difficult task. It often takes time, energy and patience. Be ready to have your greatest weaknesses publicly highlighted. At your moments of weakness, how you respond to your critics will determine if you earn their respect and future business.

Contact Colure today to establish a plan to help define you next mobile app.

Click-through rates

Click-through rates

Click-Through Rates (CTR) are one of the most important pieces of data for measuring the success of your advertisements, but it can be confusing to interpret the numbers and apply them appropriately to your mobile app marketing and advertising campaign. Here’s a breakdown of what a CTR is and how you can maximize its use:

What is a click-through rate?

A CTR is the number of clicks that a pay-per-click (PPC) advertisement gets for every number of impressions (views). In essence, it tells you how many times your advertisement is viewed before someone clicks on it.

Why do click-through rates matter?

A higher CTR ultimately leads to lower costs for advertising. Google and other search engine platforms commonly offer lower prices for ads that offer a higher relevance to search engine users. Google, for example, determines the cost based on your Quality Score. The higher your quality score, the less you have to pay for a PPC advertisement.

How do click-through rates work?

What makes a CTR “good” really depends on your industry and the ad’s position, but overall, Google AdWords has an average CTR of 1.91% for search network and 0.35% for display network. With this in mind, your CTR should be as high as possible while still maintaining relevance.

How can I increase my click-through rate?

  • Use targeted keywords. If a keyword isn’t relevant to your business, it could end up costing more money than it’s worth because your ad is leading to click-throughs but not conversions.
  • Use visual content. Images and video boost engagement. In fact, research shows that using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts click-through rates by 65%.
  • Offer freebies. Consumers love free stuff, so promoting an offer like a significant discount off the price of a product is likely to increase CTR.

Click-through rates are used as a Key Performance Indicator (KPI), used to evaluate performance against the market competition. It allows for an apples-to-apples comparison. Numbers can be tricky sometimes. To understand those numbers, it’s important to see your company’s marketplace performance from another angle.

CPE Engagement

CPE Engagement

As consumers change the way they interact with brands, so do the advertising strategies that market those brands. The most common model of advertising is still Cost Per Mille (CPM), in which the advertiser pays the publisher per every thousand impressions (viewings) the advertisement gets. Unfortunately, this model is becoming outdated. We’re bombarded with thousands of advertisements and brand exposures every day, all competing for our attention. With that said, the average person actively interacts with only 12 of those ads.

What is Cost Per Engagement Advertising?

Cost Per Engagement (CPE) is a combination between Cost Per Acquisition (CPA) and Cost Per Click (CPC) models of advertising. In CPA, the advertiser only pays the publisher when their ad leads to a sale (or acquisition). CPC works by paying per click on the advertisement. CPE acts as a hybrid between these two models, in which the advertiser pays per engagement with the advertisement.

Engagement refers to any active interaction with an ad. What counts as an interaction varies from advert to advert, and can be anything from pressing the pause button on an advertisement video to typing out a word.

Why use Cost Per Engagement Advertising?

  • CPE motivates users to interact with your brand instead of merely passively glancing at it. Whether the interaction is answering a question or sharing a post on social media, you can be sure that they’ve recognized and connected with your advertisement on some level.
  • CPE delivers accountability that other models cannot give. It guarantees you (the advertiser) that the user has interacted and connected with your brand, with no ambiguity.
  • CPE ensures that you get your money’s worth. By paying per engagement, you can be sure that you’re getting value for publishing your ad. If users aren’t interacting, you don’t pay.

In essence, the publisher is offering something valuable to the user in return for their interaction with your advertisement. Hulu, for example, offers users the ability to watch their favorite television series for free in exchange for watching 90 seconds of commercials. This is a particularly attractive deal when considering broadcast networks show an average of 13 and a half minutes of ads per hour.

CPE advertising can be highly effective, especially when paired with audience targeting. By finding the right publisher and efficiently targeting your audience, you can reach users in an innovative way that counteracts the selective attention of consumers.

Big Data Analyitics

Big Data Analyitics

The recent digital explosion has not just been limited to devices and mobile applications. The analysis of large sets of digital data is now more important than ever. The growth and practicality of digital analytics in recent years has made it more accessible for companies to take the leap into data mining.

Big data analytics allows you to assess large sets of raw data to reveal patterns, trends, unknown correlations, industry trends, consumer preferences and other valuable sets of information. You can take that valuable information and use if to generate new revenue, better service, and improved efficiency. Big data is very important because it can give companies the edge they need to give them a leg up on the competition. Leveraging data-driven strategies will lead to increased competition and innovation.

With Big Data, companies can acquire more in-depth knowledge about how their business operates, which in return can lead to improved performance and decision making. If you want to know the quantity sold of a particular product or service, you can track that with big data. If you want to know which products did not perform well you can track that with big data. If you want to the particular demographic of who bought your product or service, you can track that with big data. The possibilities are becoming endless. Amazon has been using big data to take their business to the next level.

The online retailer has been using big data to extract large amounts of data on consumer names, addresses, payments, and search inquiries. They also use this information to improve customer relations. Netflix has also used data analytics to find ways to improve their entertainment streaming service. They have an abundance of data that they use to provide insight when it comes to analyzing the viewing behavior of their subscribers giving them information n what content they should pursue and in which markets, both domestically and internationally.

To get ahead of the competition you have to understand where you are as a company and know how your company stacks up against the industry leaders. Big data analysis gives companies that opportunity to close that gap and create leverage for themselves. Big data, provides insight your market, your clients, and yourself.

What is Influencer Marketing?

What is Influencer Marketing?

The emphasis of digital marketing has continually shifted over the past three decades. For the last few years, our industry has been consumed by content marketing. Now, a marketing shift toward influencer marketing has grasped our collective attention. The product or service is falling subordinate to the salesman’s sales-pitch.

Influencer marketing relies on the individual’s popularity or reputation to draw market share to a company’s bottom line. A person’s online persona can sway the choice of thousands of followers in an instant. Their popularity enforces the value of the product, encouraging followers and fans to buy the product. If a consumer finds the influencer enticing, often all that is needed is a simple Tweet to bend a market.

The rise in social media has created a far stronger illusion of intimacy between big names and average people. Instead of relying on traditional media, consumers can go directly to a politician’s Facebook page, or see pictures of a celebrity’s child on Instagram. This direct connection between influencer and follower deceives the follower to trust an influencer in the same way that they might trust a friend or family member. Influencer marketing offers a new type of digital and mobile advertisement that appears far more organic and natural.

Goals when engaging influence marketers:

  • Plan in advance. The use of influencers requires research and focus. A scattered, shotgun approach to marketing runs contrary to the use of influencers.
  • Be strategic in your selection of individuals. Each influencer has a specific audience that follows specific individuals. Each audience has its own habits and tastes. Select a palette of influencers to facilitate your goals.
  • Allow the influencer to use his or her own voice. Influencers have a following because of their brand; they speak with their own voice. This is why you hire them. Let them do their job.

Influencer marketing allows the company to step deeply into the consumer’s circle of trust. In the same way that we are more likely to listen to a good friend, consumers rely on social media to construct their reality. As marketers take hold of this opportunity, consumers become less hostile and more accepting of endorsement by influences.

If you want guidance selecting the elements of you next marketing campaign, contact Colure’s advisory team.

Push notifications, how they drive engagement in mobile apps

Push notifications, how they drive engagement in mobile apps

An ever-growing mobile audience is challenging the mechanisms needed for marketers to interact with the audience’s fluid movement. Desktop Marketing finds itself struggling to keep up with the quick pace and instantaneous engagement on mobile devices. Despite the statistic that desktop still accounts for 42% of internet time. Web push notifications, also known as browser push notifications, are a new channel of marketing that brings the personalization of the mobile medium to the desktop.

Web push notifications are pop-up messages from a website that, when clicked, send the user to a specific link (for example, a new blog post). They’re not the same thing as web notifications, which are active only on an open web page. Instead, web push acts much like mobile application notifications, which are initiated only when the user gives permission to receive them. After the user gives permission, the company can send push notifications at any time, even if the website isn’t open in the browser.

A clean example of this is when a newspaper can notify its readers about the content of the most recently posted story. This immediate interaction helps to provide additional context to the story at hand.

Unlike the more common medium of email marketing, web push allows websites to engage users without having their contact information. Users are more likely to opt-in to the push notifications because they’re generally less invasive and make it easier to unsubscribe. Research has shown that less than 10% of users who opt-in for web push notifications unsubscribe within a year. This is despite the ease of opting out.

These are not the only benefits to using web push notifications:

  • Web push notifications deliver immediately to users, eliminating the possibility of being sent to a spam folder, like email.
  • Web push notifications have conversion rates 30 times that of email.
  • Push notifications are less content-heavy (generally between 40-120 characters) and better appeal to the shortened attention span of the consumer audience.
  • Web push offers the benefit of mobile app push notifications without investing money in developing an app.

Web push is supported by Safari 7.0.3, Chrome 42, and Mozilla Firefox. The channel continues to grow, pushing email marketing to the wayside and offering companies a more direct and concise avenue of communication with consumers. While there is yet to be much research on the direct success rate of websites using web push notifications, it is expected that it will be close to that of push notifications in mobile apps, which boost engagement by a notable 88%.

Web push notifications allow for a low-profile and noninvasive way to communicate with customers. Its low cost makes it a great investment for small and medium-sized businesses, so we can expect it to be on the uprise within the coming years.

Progressive Web Apps – a growing development trend

Progressive Web Apps – a growing development trend

As program development, marketing, and advertising move forward, developers continue to craft new experiences for users. The latest trend to grasping for our attention is a hybrid environment – the “Progressive Web App” combines elements of both a search engine and a mobile application. It is a new technological experience for web users that takes into account an individual’s habits within a web browser but gives the capabilities of a mobile application.

What was that?!

 “The short explanation: a web application that has a responsive layout, works offline and can be can be installed on the home screen of a device. And by “installed” I mean: a shortcut to the web app is added to the home screen. When the user taps on the shortcut, the web app will be loaded in a browser in full screenmode.” – gonhybrid.com

The importance of this hybrid type of mobile usage lies within the user. By taking into account the users mobile habits, progressive web apps will become a rising trend in years to come.

“A Progressive Web App uses modern web capabilities to deliver an app-like user experience. They evolve from pages in browser tabs to immersive, top-level apps, leveraging the web’s low friction,” – Google’s Progressive Web app definition.

The progressive web will call for offline use with the help of an application shell and a service worker. The application shell will allow for:

  • fast information loading
  • the storing of past data searches and downloads
  • displaying content in its original form.

The constant use of these progressive web apps will change the users experience over time. With multiple uses and visits to the site, the progressive web app will become stronger and will satisfy the user in a different way current websites and mobile applications cannot. It will also allow the user to use the app even when Wi-Fi or 4G isn’t available.

Its importance?

For users, the technology has allowed for the transmission of rapid information to be at our fingertips. Individuals crave speed. They want their question answered in a matter of seconds. With the progressive web app:

  • it takes away the downloading time, especially if it uses cached information
  • the experience will be different for every individual
  • it can have home screen access without having to download a mobile app

The significant advantage for developers is that this environment bypasses the need for an app-store. No longer are development teams bound by the constraints of third-party vendors. This may be a double-edged sword. Developers can freely release their product. However, the restrictions provided by the app stores will be eliminated. App stores often establish standards of quality or development, often to protect consumers.

Different than previous environments?
Individuals now have choices in their mobile usage with progressive web apps. Sometimes, mobile sites can be difficult; the same goes for downloaded applications. By combining the use of mobile sites with the idea of mobile application, progressive web apps will make for a powerful way to view a website. It gives the user complete control of their mobile internet usage.

Explore a mobile app “Test Market Campaign”

Explore a mobile app “Test Market Campaign”

The development of a mobile application is a significant event for any corporation, team, or individual. As the app approaches its final stages of development, there is a tremendous temptation to rush that nifty new mobile application directly into the hands of consumers. Before that action, the product owner should ask one critical question: “Are we ready?”

A critical path to confirm the app’s market viability is to conduct a test market campaign. Establishing reliable numbers allows the development team to understand what is functional and what is lacking. A market analysis provides insight to what you don’t know about the marketplace.

Within the test market campaign, individual goals should be established on a timeline, and if those goals aren’t met, the company needs to be prepared to go back to the drawing board. An active test marketing campaign will answer many new questions, some of the benefits include the following:

  1. Seeing if the product/service is viable in the real world
  2. Analyzing if the marketing strategy needs a revamp
  3. Measure how consumers will respond to the product/service
  4. Gain feedback from customers before product launch

Overall, conducting a test market campaign before launching a major media buy and mobile advertising campaign is beneficial to the company. It can help to work out the minor (and sometimes major) details of the product/service. A major advantage is that it provides the product owner with insight into the relationship between the market and the product. It lets the consumer be a part of the overall process of creating something new, and that is good for business.

A test market campaign would be wise to use in this situation if time and money permit the organization to do so. The test marketing can be used to tweak the final product or modify how to market it better to the public.

Jumping into major campaign without a marketplace analysis is like jumping into a puddle of muddy water. You have no idea how deep the water may be or if there is broken glass just under the waterline. In short, it can be a terrible decision. Before you risk the fruit of your labors, take the time to investigate the viability of the marketplace.

Social media provides an opportunity to express your thoughts

Social media provides an opportunity to express your thoughts

Due to social media, a single person’s comment, tweet or like can be amplified on a global scale. No longer are you speaking into an empty space, that voice can be heard around the world.

Since the dawn of time, the way in which people interact and communicate continues to change. For July 2015, the top three social media outlets are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. People share their thoughts in various social platforms. With each form of social media, there is a different purpose, a separation between audiences.

In the world of business, understanding your company’s audience leads toward building a better business. In 2013, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth released a study evaluating the social media activities of the Fortune 500 list members. The study found that 77% of those companies are tweeting and 70% are on Facebook. There has been a heavy increase in blogging since 2008.

“A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.” – Francis Bacon (1560-1626)

In 2013, Oreo Cookies capitalized on an unscripted moment in life. Over 111 million people were captivated, as they sat watching live TV. During Super Bowl XLVII, the stadium lights at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana went black. The power went out – the game came to a screeching halt. Within moments, a wise advertising professional sent out a tweet that captured that moment for their own corporate gain. Oreo sent out the now infamous “You can still dunk in the dark” tweet.

Social media has allowed customers and companies to communicate to each other, directly through a simple comment. Consumers demand companies be responsive to the concerns of their consumer base. Social media has made it easier for people to express what they like and what they don’t like. Being responsive to their customer base is now the expected norm for any company of any size.

Mobile application security

Mobile application security

With millions of mobile applications available for your smartphone, the question of data security has emerged as the key concern among experts. People load their smartphones with a wealth of information including credit cards numbers, banking data, and corporate server access codes. Our phones provide access to both our very private, personal and work lives. The result has made smartphones a valuable target for hackers. On the forefront of mobile app marketing and development lies the question “How secure is our mobile data?”

Functionality Overrides Security in App Development

The drive for app functionality has often outweighed the value of mobile security. Three out of four applications will fail basic security tests, and 96 percent of all organizations use at least one high-risk application. Different applications have different security needs. Discovering the balance between security features and the app’s functionality is part of the development life-cycle. Because of this competition for resources, not all applications have the same level of security.

App stores are filled with applications that mostly prove their advertised usefulness. Nevertheless, enterprises and individuals should not use them without paying attention to their security. They should download and use only those applications that have successfully passed security tests conducted by specialized application security testing vendors.” said Dionisio Zumerle, principal research analyst at Gartner.

Data Leaks at the Centre of Security Flaws

The biggest security flaws identified by developers involve attacks on data in applications where developers were unaware of vulnerabilities. The use of personal algorithms in place of proven modern algorithms has been the main pitfall. A lack of data encryption leads to risky storage of data and exposed back-end services leave data unprotected from unauthorized access. Personalization and the use of analytics in mobile app marketing have provided another major issue with “leaky apps” that allow people to gather personal information that can be tapped if not properly secured.

Encryption is the Future of Mobile Security

Encryption of data is critical to protecting the integrity of data. Recent news of Apple’s iCloud hack and demands from the FBI for Apple to decrypt the San Bernadino terrorist’s iPhone illustrates the critical role security plays in our lives. These discussions illustrate an ongoing debate in the development community over security concerns. All this media attention should be seen as positive because it highlights that mobile app security has become a priority in the consumer market. While the number of unsafe applications on the market remains high, recent applications have made strides to develop a safer environment for consumers.

Recently WhatsApp introduced end-to-end encryption, securing all conversations to only the participants involved – unable to be accessed even by the developers. As people demand a new standard for mobile app security, the battle for encryption will continue to grow, highlighting the discussion between private and public safety. If you have questions about mobile application security for your firm, contact our development team here at Colure.

What is a mobile application “cost per install”?

What is a mobile application “cost per install”?

Mobile apps are a critical component of our everyday lives. They affect our interaction with almost everything and everyone. Our actions often revolve around some type of mobile application. As companies maneuver to create new apps, they have to decide what is the most cost-efficient manner to market their application.

One question that surfaces is “which is the best way to measure the client acquisition and marketing costs for our mobile application?” One of such method of measurement called “Cost Per Install” (CPI).

The Cost Per Install model measures the net cost to the application developer for each download of their application to a single user. In other words – how much does it cost to deliver a single copy of an application to a single consumer. Media companies such as Facebook and Twitter, for example, might advertise your shiny, new, mobile app on their high traffic sites and garner countless numbers of clicks and impressions. With CPI, your advertising budget pays only when a user actually downloads and installs the application – not for the volume of click traffic on your advertisement (or Cost Per Click – CPC). Therefore, the more installs the advertisers gain for your app, the net cost per download to the application developer is reduced, thus creating greater profits. By using this method, it guarantees that you, as a client, pay for only as much as your campaign is actually producing. The downside is that your user loyalty or activeness volume is not accurately documented. This measurement is calculated through Cost Per Loyal User (CPLU).

In late 2015, Twitter introduced Cost Per Install as part of two models for clients to advertise on their platform for mobile downloads. According to their beta partners, the CPI model presents the highest cost efficiency – lowering the cost for advertising by nearly 30% compared to its previous model of Cost Per Click (CPC).

According to Fiksu’s Cost Per Install (CPI) Index for November 2015, it measures the cost per app install due directly to its advertising to cost approximately $1.54 for iOS acquired users and $2.27 for Android acquired users.

As business owners, ideal conditions would call for acquiring the highest amount of quality users with expenses that would maximize their Return on Investment (ROI).

At Colure Media, a mobile app marketing firm based in New York City, we structure advertising campaigns that would guarantee downloads, lowering your cost per install and increasing your mobile app users. Contact our campaign advisors to discuss your operating costs for your next project.

Create a dynamic marketing plan

Create a dynamic marketing plan

Every business needs a marketing plan. Businesses rely on sales and customers. These commodities cannot be generated without an effective marketing campaign that effectively communicates the company, product, and message. Though many businesses are well aware of the need for a strategic marketing plan, not all of them understand exactly how to implement one.

A marketing plan can include all of the following and much more: content development, emails and newsletters, market research and data analysis, SEO, social media management, sponsorships, website development, and mobile app marketing. While it is possible for a business owner to create, manage, and maintain a marketing plan alone, it takes a considerable amount of time and patience.

The ‘Do It Yourself’ approach

Owners thinking of a DIY approach should realistically calculate how much effort they can spare. For those undeterred by the tasks ahead, willing to tackle this challenge, below are three cheap and effective steps towards better results.

    • Do your homework: Research is key. Understand the market you are targeting and decide on your company’s message. Analyze competitors for blind spots and opportunities to shine. Don’t compete in areas they’re good—find your niche.

    • Email is big, cheap and often provides the highest ROI: It is also a preferred method of communication by customers.

    • Your website matters: Make sure it has a responive build that operates on different platforms. Streamline the online experience. 81% of consumers use online to explore their options beforehand and gather information about purchases. Don’t give them a reason to be disappointed.

Hiring an individual or an advertising agency

Perhaps the amount of work ahead is too daunting, or perhaps you might not have the time to invest in creating something polished that best represents your company. While the immediate idea you might have is to hire an employee in charge of marketing operations, you’ll be surprised to realize that, in the long run, hiring a person could be more expensive than hiring an agency. Employees have more costs than salary once you include training costs, taxes, insurance, and the software needed. Excluding price, advertising agencies have other benefits, most notably:

    • Expertise: both in the niche market you’re seeking and in the types of marketing you might require whether that be mobile marketing or marketing online.
    • Experience: with creating and executing plans and consulting businesses.
    • Efficiency: a marketing agency does not require training. They can start often times immediately and implement a plan of action urgently.

Working with a marketer requires trust and a willingness to try new things. Communication is crucial to keep both sides on the same page. Both parties must have an understanding of the other party. You should discuss the roles each party with play in the process. Advertising agencies make life easier by freeing you up to focus on what you do best – running our own company. Regardless, they still rely on you for information and the materials needed to create the campaign, so there is no easy shortcut when it comes to marketing your business. The tools for success are out there at your disposal, but the drive ultimately comes from you.

Reach out to Colure’s development team to discuss a plan to advance your next project.

The importance of responsive web design for mobile devices

The importance of responsive web design for mobile devices

In a mobile environment, it is critical to provide users the finest quality user experience (UX). Web browsing must be experienced as a seamless transfer of form and function across all platforms. Consumers demand a fluid environment regardless of which device they hold in their hands.

To meet this consumer demand, Responsive Web Design (RWD) was crafted to provide fluid mobility to web content. Designer Ethan Marcotte was concerned with the collective elegance of both the internal code and the external page. He largely crafted the concept and practice.

RWD is the practice of building a web page able to display cleanly on any screen and any device, of any size. To the user, this means the media may be displayed a bit differently, graphics look slightly different, and there may be an alteration of function. But for the most part, the web page you saw on your desktop will display on your mobile phone.

A design problem:

Sadly, for many websites this is not the case. A non-RWD site may look perfectly fine on a desktop. That same site may become ‘user-hostile’ when viewed on a smartphone. Certain content may extend beyond the width of the screen (a common occurrence if it’s held in the vertical position). Some content and media may simply not display on different devices. Navigation throughout the site on a mobile device might be troublesome for a user because the design elements aren’t found where users expect them to be.

The reason for a responsive website design is to present users with a flexible interface. Without a responsive design, you risk losing potential customers who can’t figure out how to use your website or simply offending those who won’t accept its less-than-professional rendering on a mobile device. Either way, you lose face and revenue.

To create a responsive website, you’ll need the assistance of a design team who appreciates the desires of your company and the needs of your audience. Contact Colure to discuss your mobile design needs.

Exlore your market potential

Exlore your market potential

A potential market is the sector of the market that you can gain in the future. People may not be buying from you at this time, but could potentially become customers. This audience might buy future products that are not made yet or buy improved products that may be branded more effectively in the future.

Identify your current audience within the potential market. Look outside of your current audience you may look at expanding the group that you already sell to, or find a new customer group that you never considered before.

It’s a good idea to identify the mediums where you can have the greatest effect on both finding and attracting your audience.

Here are three simple ways to identify potential market opportunities:

  • Check your numbers. Explore the history of popular search-engine queries related to your business, but for products or services that you don’t sell at this time.
  • Understand where your new audience “lives.” Use data from the US Census Bureau to identify the demographics to define your target audience. This understanding helps you understand your consumers and to see if a specific market would help you benefit from promotions.
  • Understand the mindset of the generation you’re trying to attract. See what motivates either a younger or older audience to include them as part of your audience. Think of how your business practices could attract the audiences you want.

Exploring new markets will help your business grow. Business owners must be able to focus on their new venture without neglecting their core business. Stay in control of everything without spreading your resources too thin.

In 2011, John Bentley launched his Lancashire-based portrait and landscape photography business FourTwoGraphs. He soon discovered that he was entering a crowded marketplace. “Photography is a very competitive local business, and I realized that to become better established I needed to do something different, and the answer to what that came from my customers,” John explained.

Diversification can open up entirely new market potentials but can be costly. Explore new markets and target customers who may not engage with your brand. Ignoring this group could be a costly exercise.

Market potential and opportunity can give your business the chance to grow and expand, but only if your team appreciates the focus and understanding of that potential.

Advantages of mobile applications for small businesses

Advantages of mobile applications for small businesses

A smartly developed mobile application can help level the playing field between companies of any size. The key to success lies in the quality of the user experience (UX). If a customer has a meaningful interaction, there is a better than average chance they will return to your company’s application. 

Here are 5 key advantages of a mobile application for any small business:
  • Access to the customer at all times – Possibly the greatest advantage is being able to interact with your customers in a truly meaningful way. The mobile app allows the consumer to decide when they are primed for your specific service or product. The user decides when and to which extent they are willing to interact with you.
  • Marketing – Develop a meaningful relationship with the customer. A quality user experience (UX) will allow you to provide an interactive relationship that cannot be developed through other media. Take this opportunity to market not only your product but more your industry to your customer. By providing additional information and resources, the customer will probably engage your application for a longer period of time. More attention directed toward your application can often equal more revenue generated by that customer base. Think of this as a digital version of the free classes provided by home improvement stores. They’ll hire an expert to teach a free class on tiling or plumbing. When class is over, all of the students start grabbing tools and supplies off the shelves. It provides a great ROI.
  • Direct customer feedback – the amount of real-time data gathered by your app has a value that extends far beyond simple transactions. It reaches the very mindset of the consumer. You are able to decipher the specific wants and needs of the user.
  • Craft your product to interact with a specific audience – Most media sources provide a one-sided relationship. Mobile applications allow you can craft an interactive product that targets a finite audience, with a specific interface. No other format allows for such an engaging experience. Creating a truly rewarding user experience must be “Goal #1”.
  • Brand Identity – Crafting your brand requires a labor of love. It takes time and commitment to craft a brand with whom the consumer truly identifies. Your brand includes a living, breathing relationship with your customer. Be sure to respect your customer as you would any relationship. By providing truly remarkable user experiences, your audience will return time and again to your app.

Separating yourself from the competition takes a quality product, planning, and skill. The interactive relationship you develop with your customers will help determine your future growth. Don’t leave that development to chance. Never take your relationship with your customers for granted. The greatest downfall of many companies is to negate their customers’ true wants and needs, in favor of their own vision of the same. Being blinded by your own biases can be a very costly mistake.

Success is built upon many well-measured steps. When you are ready to take your first steps in the development process, contact Colure’s Project Managers to explore your vision of success.

The cost of an instant society

The cost of an instant society

Artificial intelligence (AI) technology is changing society’s expectations of reward and activity. This modification is leading to the creation of an “instant society” – an environment where both reward and access to any information is instantaneous and free.

This new paradigm runs in the face of the human experience, established throughout our history.

AI is experienced through virtual reality video games and wearable technology; it interacts gathering information in real time with Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa. But how do companies and brands deliver content to an instant society? And more importantly…is this “new,” mentality collectively beneficial to that society?

With being able to gather information in an instant, marketers now have to race the clock to get information out to its intended audience. With most consumers having an attention span of about eight seconds, marketers must create content that is straight to the point and memorable. Technology, however, is on their side as well due to consumers keeping up with new technological trends, always reachable 24/7.

This content can be shown on any platform and even compatible with the wearable technology. Content is being created with the consumer in mind and the fact that we prefer to instant access to information and content.

App development, on the other hand, is becoming a second hand to artificial intelligence. Through Amazon’s Alexa, you are now able to pair multiple devices and control things such as lighting and temperature in your own home.

An “instant society” is not necessarily a bad change. According to Brad Smith of politico.eu, “By 2038, a personal digital assistant will be trained to anticipate our needs, help manage our schedule, prepare us for meetings, assist as we plan our social lives, reply to and route communications, and drive our cars. Beyond our personal lives, AI will enable humans to make breakthrough advances in areas like healthcare, agriculture, education, and transportation. We’re already seeing this begin in impressive ways”.

Artificial intelligence is making changes to the medical and health field, as well as technology. Although an instant society seems detrimental to the workforce by taking away jobs, it also creates jobs and opportunities in a different way. App development and the output of content for marketers are being developed in ways that apply to the change of an instant society, as well as the consumer’s needs.

Wearable technology might be a good fit for your company

Wearable technology might be a good fit for your company

Wearable technology isn’t a new concept but is becoming a larger trend in everyday life. In fact, wearable technology is becoming the new gateway for big data by collecting user information in a more natural way.

Products such as FitBits, Apple Watches, and even wearable rings are becoming fashion trends, yet most users don’t realize how much data is being collected. Wearable technology not only presents us with potential risks but also potential rewards as well.

In industries such as health and wellness, entertainment, and outdoor sports, wearable technology becomes a helping hand. It can be your GPS, track your heart rate, monitor your sleep and even keep track of your activity.

Rewards include sending personalized data to the user that can analyze their health and fitness and can even fill in the gaps in patient records. Yet, wearable technology can also present the risk of too much data becoming accessible to companies and the device manufacturers.

As the devices are used more and more, big data will be able to gather more specific information regarding a person derived from wearable data such as the time, duration, and proximity of an activity to other tracked individuals. Combined with demographic information, it can provide crucial and detailed context to each individual interaction.

Data gathered impacts how businesses market their products and how companies recruit talent and motivate their employees.

Wearable technology gathers a new class of sensitive data about people: not only who they are, what they do, and who they know, but also how healthy they are, what movements they make, and how well they feel. With growth and changes occurring in the technology of the devices, security and privacy must grow as well.

While companies innovate independently, there is not a lot of information addressing your data security. Users must be aware of the potential dangers when engaged in wearable technology just as they would with normal devices such as tablets, computers and mobile devices.

Personally identifiable information

Personally identifiable information

Personally identifiable information (PII) is any digital data that can locate, contact or identify a specific individual, either by itself or combined with other easily accessible information. It includes information that is linked to an individual through financial, medical, educational or employment records.

PII is mainly used in information security (IS) services to search, locate and identify specified individuals.

PII is considered sensitive information that can consist of information such as fingerprints, biometric data, names, telephone numbers, email addresses, passports or social security numbers to identify a certain person.

It does not include public information that is lawfully made available to the general public from federal, state, or local government record. It is up to federal agencies to safeguard personally identifiable and other sensitive information. It should only be accessed on a need-to-know basis and handled with care.

It is important to protect PII and even personal health information (PHI), which also contains certain aspects of PII that relate to the medical field. People are required to sign statements that specifically allow health care providers to access their records or share the information with a person of choice. The data can help when needed but can be dangerous when misused.

If a data breach were to occur, it can be devastating to a company and its employees. Not only would the loss of a reputation for the company be an issue, but also the thousands of people whose data was stolen would be at risk.

It goes without saying that PII data that is transmitted must be secure and encrypted so that outsiders of the organization or company cannot decipher it.