The Importance of Omni-Channel Marketing

What is Omni-channel marketing? 

Omni-channel marketing is a new marketing trend that reveals a big shift in marketing trends, and the business marketing landscape itself. Basically, with Omni-channel marketing, marketers now need to provide a seamless brand or user experience regardless the channel, platform, or device they are using. Now, thanks to Omni-channel marketing, consumers can now engage with a company’s brand through a traditional brick & mortar store, an online website or mobile app, a catalog, or one of the many social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Consumers can now access and engage with a company’s brand, product, or service in any way from walking into their store to browsing on the web or through their mobile devices, meaning that each piece of a company’s Omni-channel marketing strategy has to work and blend seamlessly together, or be consistent and complementary to one another.

Omni-Channel marketing is important because it gives users a myriad of platform options to interact with your brand. In today’s day and age, the consumer landscape is bigger, broader, and more diverse than it ever was before, and this is largely thanks to the digitalization of nearly every aspect of our society, from technological devices to communication to retail and consumerism in general. Having your business available and accessible on multiple devices and through multiple channels makes it easier for consumers to discover and engage with your business. In other words, making your business go Omni-channel means being more successful in today’s Omni-channel society.

If you want to follow an Omni-channel marketing strategy for your business, but don’t know how or where to start, then here are just a few excellent examples of companies who did Omni-channel marketing right.

  1. Starbucks

Everyone’s favorite American coffee chain became an Omni-channel marketing star when it came out with the Starbucks Rewards app. Even though it is a mobile app, Starbucks Rewards allows customers the option to check and reload their Starbucks card balance through their mobile device, the company website, or when they’re at the counter in a store location ordering their drink. Also, any balance or profile changes can be updated in real-time across all of these channels, always letting customers stay up-to-date regardless of where they are or what channel and device they are using. As for payments, customers can either pay with their physical Starbucks Rewards card or by using the mobile app on their phone. The balance will then be automatically updated both online and in the app. It’s no wonder why Starbucks is getting all the Omni-channel marketing “rewards”!

  1. Chipotle 

Everyone’s favorite customizable Mexican grill is also a rising star when it comes to Omni-channel marketing. Chipotle’s marketing team is now utilizing multiple channels, platforms, and devices to allow customers to place orders wherever they are on whatever device they use. Customers can now place orders online for pick-up at the nearest store location or placed to-go through a mobile app. Not only that, but orders can be tracked on any type of device, and account information can be viewed and updated either online or on the mobile app.

  1. Sephora 

Like the Starbucks Rewards program, Sephora has its own multi-channel marketing program called “My Beauty Bag”, which makes it easier for customers to manage their favorite cosmetic products and purchase history from any device, whether a computer, tablet, or cell phone. Through this program, customers can view or track their recent purchases and the rewards they earned, add items to their shopping list, view their purchase history, and re-order their items in a way that’s better, faster, and easier than ever before. Sephora’s Omni-channel marketing program can also be used to add to an in-store shopping experience, which only makes it even more “Omni-channel”.

  1. Oasis 

Oasis is a fashion retailer based in the UK that has an e-commerce website, a mobile app, plus several brick-and-mortar store locations that, combined, enhance the shopping experience for Oasis’ customers. Oasis provides several in-store and online options that work together to create a more convenient, efficient, and enjoyable shopping experience. For example, in-store associates are provided with iPads to give customers on-the-spot information about the locations of any products in the stores, the options they come in (such as sizes or colors), and if products are currently in or out of stock.

And finally,

  1. Crate & Barrel 

Crate & Barrel designed an app that allows customers, when they’re signed in, to save their shopping cart so that they can pick up where they left off no matter where they are in the purchasing process, and access their purchasing information from across multiple channels and devices.

Rain Local is the easiest way to promote your business to customers who are nearby. We take care of your mobile marketing needs from start to finish. For more information or to sign up today, visit us online or contact us today to talk to a professional.

Reddit’s New Mobile Apps are Great Media for Advertising

-2015

Reddit, the popular social media community that allows users to vote on content has recently made a big change. Although it has traditionally been a medium that was used with desktop and laptop computers, for the past year, it has been developing a new mobile platform. This simple change has revolutionized the availability for advertising and marketing products. The apps are almost ready. Take a look at what you will get when they are revealed.

What is new?

Truly, everything is new, as this is a completely new avenue for Reddit. But, some features you can expect to see include a responsive website and in-house apps for both Apple and Google Android phones. All users can expect the app operation to be fast and smooth. The introduction of the updated website and the apps will open up new advertising opportunities.

Ideal for advertising

Since the app format is a stark difference from the traditional desktop one, it lends itself well for advertising. The mobile apps will fit traditional native ad units because they will naturally fit the standard-sized rectangular ads that are popular on mobile websites. So, now Reddit can show visual ads rather than simple text-based ones. It can also start prompting consumers to take specific actions with the use of direct-response ads.

Reddit attracts brands

Lots of branded companies are now attracted to Reddit because it has such an active user base. When a company does something well, the users on the site make a positive note of it. So, it is a great way to get a company’s name out there, especially when you are on an upswing. It is a great incentive for a company to provide exemplary customer service. The biggest hurdle a company must deal with when choosing to advertise on reddit will be gaining traction with the typical Reddit audience that has a tendency to be super-tuned-in to everything. They generally know when a company is trying to sell them something, so they often have buffers up to avoid it.

Reddit understands the potential it has as well as the hurdles it must face. But, the changes they are making are positive and they are headed in the right direction. Advertisers can rest assured when they choose to work with Reddit, it will be a win-win situation for everyone.

4 Benefits of Mobile App Advertising

The world is on the move. And, if I want my business and you want your company to succeed, we need to keep up. Mobile app advertising proves to the be all the buzz. And, this trend only seems to be getting louder.

More People on the Move Than Ever Before

The number of mobile users bypassed fixed Internet users in 2014. And, the momentum continues upward. That means if we in the marketing field want to reach a greater number of users, capitalizing on mobile methods proves the obvious way to go.

To get our name, our brand, our products out there, we have to get in into the consumer’s hands. And, the data supports that there are plenty of hands out there with devices in them. So, how do we take advantage of this market?

The Mobile App Is Where It’s At

While plenty of digital media activities exist to occupy our time, mobile app use consumes more client time than the desktop or mobile surfing. In fact, digital media use sitting at a desk accounts for only 40 percent of online time. And, do you know what accounts for 52 percent of the remaining 60 percent? App usage.
And, these figures are from 2014. In 2016, in-app percentages jumped to 84 percent.

Those of us with experience know you go where the growth happens. And, this opportunity cannot be denied. Wisdom dictates grabbing a hold of this baby and raising it up.

Mobile Systems Aid Highly Targeted Strategies

Even more so than mobile web searches, targeting specific consumer groups and encouraging interaction is the benefit of in-app advertising. Built in tracking allows you to gather location data and single identifiers to find the right audience easily. In other words, becoming highly targeted requires less research and manpower. The numbers are there for you to use in the best possible way for your company.

Show Me the Money

It only makes sense that profits increase where people gather. But, more than mere logic, experience proves mobile ads convert. When accounting for click-through and view-through conversions, in-app marketing strategies produce a profit. Any ad focused on what your consumer wants reaps rewards.

This is the future of mobile advertising. With a trend beginning nearly two years ago, you may be a late bloomer in the world of in-app marketing. But, it is not too late to jump on this trend and ride it into business success.

To join the buzz around mobile app advertising, give us a shout.

Get Results With Promoted Pins

There’s a lot of talk these days about social media and internet advertising. It’s where people, no matter their age, are going for information, shopping, and travel now.

Seems to me that you need to place your content where people look for their news and entertainment if you want your business found anymore. That’s the hard part though: everyone and their cousin is advertising online, especially on social media.

Even if you pay for your advertising on Google or Facebook, its going up with all the other paid-for links. Then the other day I got to checking out this Facebook thing called Pinterest.

My wife, her sister, my sister, my brother who works on classic cars, my uncle who restores old clocks, and a whole lot of other people just love collecting pictures of ideas for projects and purchases.

Here’s the interesting part: there’s almost no advertising or people selling stuff. It’s all people sharing and collecting pictures of ideas and work they’ve done on their own.

I did a little looking around on Pinterest’s website, and I found their business page. They do sell sponsored “advertising,” but it’s not really advertising. It works like this: you pay to sponsor or promote specific “pins” or ideas with images attached to them.

They are hash-tagged (that means connected to search keywords) so people will find your pins first when they are looking for ideas related to your business.

Here’s the great part: you only pay for a sponsored pin if people click on it. It’s called pay-per-click. When people pin your ideas to their virtual idea boards, share them with friends, or re-pin them from friends’ boards, that information gets recorded and sent back to you.

All those clicks means people are interested in your products and services, and that’s evidence that can point to an increase in referral business over time. When it comes time to show return-on-investment for your advertising dollars, this is the best thing I’ve seen.

Altogether, Pinterest is something worth looking into for any marketing department. There’s less competition, more genuine, measurable engagement, and you only pay for ads that actually generate what can become strong sales leads.

If you work in the marketing industry, go to Pinterest’s business page and read up on Promoted Pins. Make your paid advertising dollars go further, and watch those sales numbers climb.

Facebook Develops New Mobile Advertising Tools

From June 18 through June 25, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was at the Hôtel Barrière Le Majestic Beach and Pier in France. This festival was originally founded in 1954. It is an eight-day program of celebration, networking, education and inspiration. More than 15,000 people from over 100 countries attend. There are over 40,000 submissions in 23 categories that are assessed by industry representatives to qualify for different awards.

This year, “Connect the World. Create for the World,” the main stage session, was hosted by Mark D’Arcy, Facebook’s Chief Creative Officer as well as Nunu Ntshingila, Facebook’s Director of Africa, at the Debussy Theatre. One of the biggest reveals at the festival was the announcement of the new mobile advertising tools that Facebook developed.

What’s New:

– Beta-test of Audience Insights API. Facebook is currently beta-testing the interface with a small group of advertisers. This includes Anheuser-Busch InBed and Mondelez International. The Audience Insights API will be available to partners early in 2017.

The gained insights can be used to create more effective campaigns by collecting psychographics, demographics, reports and topic data.

-Updates to its Canvas full-screen immersive ad product. These updates will allow marketers to design, create, share and gain insights. By advertisers sharing their Canvases with stakeholders, it will simplify the review process. Marketers will be able to see metrics such as clicks per component and dwell time per component to track performance of Canvas. Canvas will also have a new feed unit.

– Updates to its Slideshow ad product. You will now be able to overlay audio and text for Slideshow ads. There is also a video-to-Slideshow creation tool as well as the new ability to create a Slideshow ad from a mobile device. After this you can integrate it with Facebook’s photo library and the Shutterstock stock image library. What this means for small businesses is that they will be able to create, edit and boost customized Slideshows using already existing photos or stock images from Facebook.

-Launch of the Facebook Creative Hub. This will take a bit longer as it is currently being tested, but this is revolutionary in ad creation. You will be able to create ads from your smartphone or other mobile devices instead of needing to be on a laptop or desktop computer.

The use of mobile devices is only increasing as many people are on the go and need to be able to access a variety of things from many places. The way people absorb information from mobile devices is different than from other computers.

Mobile marketing campaigns need to be creative in order to be successful. People want to see something unique that will stick in their minds. If an ad is cookie cutter or boring, people will not be interested in the product. It needs to attract their attention.

Sometimes it can be hard for the people in the creative community to stay up to date with technology. Technology is ever-changing and must be monitored to keep up with the latest and greatest. The Creative Hub will help creative agencies to learn about the formats and different tools. From there they can share mock-ups, collaborate with stakeholders and experiment with content creation.

Creative agencies will be able to experiment with different ad formats for both mobile and online and see what works best. They will be able to work on their smartphones in addition to their desktops. There is a dynamic mobile feed that allows ad creators to preview their work. It will also produce a preview URL that can be shared with stakeholders to get their take on the mock-ups. There will also be a repository of case studies and content that is easy to navigate within the Creative Hub. This can help the creatives find inspiration for their work.

This gives the ability to create and publish campaigns from anywhere at any time. This will help ads get up sooner and reduce the time it takes from ad creation to development. It also helps creatives to work smarter.

Facebook has come up with some great tools for the future and will no doubt continue trying to improve itself. Getting ads across to consumers is only getting trickier with the increase of ad-blockers. By allowing people the flexibility to get feedback and work from any type of device, ads will be better, get up faster, and be more effective.

RAIN and Pokemon Go team up to bring your small business more sales than you can imagine

MAIN-Pokemon-Go

Pokemon lovers and business owners rejoice, there is a new business tactic that is sure to bring customers around. Less than a week after the release of Pokemon Go, this augmented reality game surpassed the engagement of Snapchat and is installed on more phones than Tinder. Users are getting sore legs from merely investigating the town in search of the next Pokemon. Often, users find themselves entering local stores, restaurants and other businesses. Businesses caught on and have begun incorporating this into their marketing strategies.

One of the many in-app purchases includes what the game calls “Lures”. Lures increase the rate of Pokemon generation in the area around the PokeStop where they’re placed for one half hour. When you break down the cost, it comes to a mere $1.19 an hour for tons of guaranteed foot traffic to your business.  Pokemon fanatics are always looking for the next rare Pokemon in their area; promote your lure on social media and watch the players flock.

RAIN will help your business tap into the fascinating market of Pokemon Go enthusiasts. With the help of our team, you can create a lure near your business or find out if you’re near a Pokemon gym to attract a wide variety of consumers. Imagine a Pokemon Go user walks into a local restaurant and smells the overwhelming aroma of French fries, do you really think they could resist? Act today and watch your business grow.

It is our goal to give our customers the best experience around, part of that means staying on top of the latest trends. If you have any suggestions of a service we should add, please reach out to info@rainlocal.com.

Surviving Mobile Ad Blocking

Word cloud on ad blockers.

Ad blocking can be great for consumers, but horrible for advertisers. With how many pop ups there can be, there has been an increase in ad blocking apps and technology, which is very attractive to consumers. They are constantly bombarded with ads that are irrelevant or in just too high of a volume. This can present a large problem for advertisers as not as many people are seeing their ads.

What Ad Blocking Does:

– Speeds up user’s browser experience. Displaying ads slows down web browsers. People hate not being able to navigate around the Internet with ease and blocking ads makes it a faster and easier experience for them.

– Protects user from being targeted by programs that track web history. Many people feel that it’s an invasion of privacy to be monitored and then targeted by online advertising companies. They don’t want other people or companies to know what they’re searching for or what they’re interested in. Some feel that this is going too far when their activity is being monitored.

– Affects online publishers and online advertisers. It is often more harmful to the website publishers. The publishers that own websites make the majority of their money from online advertising. If the ad is blocked, the publisher can’t charge the advertiser and lose out on that revenue. Online advertisers are harmed from a decrease in online exposure. The advertisers lose this chance to market to certain users.

Why Blocking Apps Have Increased:

– People are online more and don’t want to be bombarded with ads. They don’t want to be targeted as they assume most ads won’t be of interest to them. This allows the user to only see the content they want and speed up the time it takes to load a page. Another added bonus is that adblockers reduce the data consumption and then save the consumer money as well.

– A huge change that affected ad blocking came because of something Apple released. Apple recently launched iOS9 which has content-blocking capabilities at the operating system level. This makes it easier for developers to program apps that block ads.

– The biggest reason why people may look at blocking ads is for security reasons. Most ads are hosted by third-party sites and their viability may be in question. Some ads may lead to phishing attacks and trick users into revealing confidential information. They can also lead to malicious websites.

How These Apps Hurt Businesses:

– Online ads accounted for 89.5% of total revenues of Google Inc. in 2014 and TechCrunch has concluded that the overall online ad market was at $121 billion for 2014. This is no doubt going to continue to climb. Shopping online is so convenient and with how people are so connected to the Internet all the time, it only makes sense to advertise online as well.

– Blocking ads can hurt the online business industry by preventing their products from being seen.

– Adblocking also affects websites themselves as they are what pays for the infrastructure, content, management and associated staff.

– Free content is accompanied by ads and blocking ads could force your favorite sites out of business.

– It can also affect writers and editors since they earn their livings from online content and ad revenues.

– Many startup businesses rely on ads and blocking them can hurt them from being successful.

How to be Successful in Spite of Ad Blocking:

– You have to find other ways to market your business and be flexible to advertise in other ways.

– Add value. Add value to your ad by offering a coupon. People love to save money and will be more likely to click on your ad if they’re getting a discount.

-Be creative in your marketing strategy. Go back to basics and use a variety of sources to generate business.

– Make sure your ad is in relevant places. You need to be more strategic with how and where you place your ads to increase the likelihood you’ll reach people that will actually be interested in buying something.

– Diversify your advertising and marketing plans. You can expand into social media mentions and word-of-mouth recommendations, which won’t be blocked like traditional ads. You can ask customers to write recommendations to help generate interest.

– Work with advertisers who won’t aggravate users. The Internet Advertising Bureau announced an initiative to create ads that strive to rebalance the “fine equilibrium of content, commerce and technology.” This imbalance is what turned many people off of ads in the first place.

By understanding the reasons behind ad blocking, you can adjust and adapt to a new way of doing business. You don’t want to put all your eggs in the online ad basket, so look into other ways like those listed above to have greater success.

Succeed with Location-Based Marketing

As information improves and consumers are doing everything on the go, brick and mortar stores can capitalize on consumer’s tendency to do their shopping-related via mobile. While online retailers have taken advantage of mobile marketing tools for a while, offline retailers also have options that work to entice consumers to visit their physical storefronts. Technologies that are GPS-enabled like location-based targeted marketing can mean an increase in profits for brick and mortar stores.

What is location-based marketing?

Technologies have advanced enough to allow retailers to earn customer’s loyalty by reaching them where they are. While the initial adoption rate of this technology has been gradual, it is expected to surge as technology continues to improve. Here are three types of location-based marketing currently being used by retailers.

  1. Geo-Targeting

This type of marketing means businesses send a targeted message to people of a specific geographic area. Consumers from different areas have different needs, so it’s a great tool for marketers to tailor their message to the needs of a specific location. Better customer targeting means your message will be more effective and have better results.

Smaller stores can capitalize on this technology by using it to understand their customers better. For example, a sporting goods store in New York can tailor its offers and promotions by knowing where the majority of Mets fans live compared to Yankees fans.

  1. Geo-Fencing

In order to use this technology, the store must have an app that customers can download. Downloading the app is considered opting in to the marketing. Businesses set up a virtual perimeter around their business, and when people enter that area, it automatically sends them a notification of the day’s deals and other information.

An example of using this technology would be is a local restaurant set up a notification for $1 off drinks to be delivered to diners’ phones when they walk into the establishment. The diners who may have intended to only drink water might now order a drink since they were made aware of the offer.

  1. Beacon

Beacon technology was introduced by Apple in 2013 with the release of iBeacon. As an answer for Android phones, Google released Eddystone beacons in mid-2015. Beacons are Bluetooth devices that retailers can install throughout their stores to target customers with high accuracy in specific locations like certain aisles or the store’s entrance. Beacon technology is only used by a few large retailers right now.

This type of location-based marketing allows retailers to send offers directly to a customer if they have the correct app installed. For example, if a customer was in the cleaning aisle of a store, a notification would be sent that said a certain brand of soap was currently 20% off.

How to make the most of location-based marketing

If done correctly, location-based marketing can open the door to huge opportunities for retailers. Mobile marketing is an extension of a business’s storefront, and using location-based tactics allows brands to deliver a personalized experience to their consumers. Here are a couple of ways to use this new technology effectively.

  1. Respect privacy

Consumer privacy is an important concern for companies to have. However, with the consent of the customer, location-based marketing can make meaningful connections between brand and consumer. The key is to give consumers control of what they see. Allow them to opt-in to push notification and GPS-enabled content, and give them options for the frequency of contact. Let them know exactly what is being done and how it will enhance their experience.

  1. Make it convenient

Use the technology to make the shopping experience more convenient for customers. If things are faster and easier for consumers, they are likely to spend more money. One company that has perfected the convenience factor is Starbucks. If customers are within a certain proximity of a store, the Starbucks app allows them to pre-order and pay for their drink before they stop in. They use location-based marketing to save customers time, and entice them to come back.

Downsides to location-based marketing

While the technology looks to have a bright future, there are a few downsides to consider. For one, location-based marketing often requires a native app download. Many smaller stores might not have the ability to develop an app, or they won’t have a large number of downloads. Investing in location-based could be a gamble, since there isn’t much data on how customers are behaving towards the technology. Additionally, if not done correctly, customers could get turned off by the constant notifications

Mobile marketing is going to a whole new level with the advanced technology of location-based marketing. Brick and mortar store owners can remove any inconvenience from customer interactions and give them a highly personalized experience.

 

What is User-Centric Advertising

Advertising is a marketing practice of presenting a promotional message to a target market audience. Modern technology allows companies to expand their reach within a target market audience in a way that traditional marketing practices would not make possible. The focal point of an advertising campaign is to present a promotional message that provides a benefit to a specific market segment or works to resolve a pressing issue that is currently troubling that market.

Advertising campaigns are traditionally site centric, which means the measurement benchmarks focus on how a website responds to a promotional message. In recent years, advertisers are starting to move towards a more user centric campaign approach. User centric advertising focuses on how a target market audience responds to a specific advertising campaign.

Site-Centric Focus

As the name implies, a site-centric advertising campaign takes a look at how well a website performs in regards to a particular promotional message. It looks at benchmarks such as page views, unique browser visitors and the time that a new user spends on a website as a result of coming into contact with a promotional message. Monitoring the website statistics is the responsibility of the website owner, not the marketing director that is handling the advertising campaign.

User-Centric Focus

User-centric advertising focuses on a target market audience by monitoring how this group responds to a promotional advertising message. All of the advertising activity works to capture the attention of Internet users as opposed to website responses, as is the case with site-centric advertising. By taking a more human connection focus on advertising, marketing departments are receiving responses that help direct upcoming trends in regards to upcoming industry trends.

As advertising practices move towards encompassing what users have an interest in seeing, companies begin to understand the importance of providing products and services that provide a benefit or resolve a problem. By placing user response ahead of website performance, companies are able to achieve high levels of customer satisfaction. Every marketing action these companies take place consumer needs at the top of advertising priority lists.

The Human Truth Factor

User-centric advertising allows companies to focus on three primary human truths that allow them to look at consumers as people with thoughts and feelings instead of as a means to increase sales revenue. By focusing on these human truth factors, companies find tremendous value in taking a user-centric approach with their marketing practices.

  • Consumers Want a Voice

The rise in social media popularity illustrates the importance of allowing consumers to have a voice. Every consumer has a story to tell and they seek out companies who will take the time to hear that story. A company may not be able to provide a benefit or a product or service that matches that story at the moment.

However, listening to the consumers voices provides a company with a starting point for making that happen. User-centric advertising can set the tone for how the company is listening to that story and taking the appropriate action.

  • Consumers Want to Express Needs

Consumers are not shy about sharing information on products or services that they need and those that they simply want to add to their world. The internet is a great platform to make that happen. The social media channels are full of information that gives companies insight into what consumers need to receive to be happy. Each channel gives companies the ability to utilize algorithms to monitor customer responses to new products, services and industry trends.

Those companies can then take that information and create user-centric advertising campaigns that work to give consumers what they need. As a result, consumers appreciate companies taking the time to meet their needs and work to make those needs a reality.

  • Consumers Want Convenience

Consumers are constantly on the go, moving through their day trying to finish everything before the day comes to an end. That means their smartphones, tablets and other relevant electronic devices are never out of reach. Companies need to create technology based advertising campaigns to ensure that their target market audiences come in contact with user-centric messages. These advertisements need to be easy-to-read on various mobile devices and work with consumers who are continuously on the move.

Taking a user-centric approach to advertising campaigns works to make this happen. It allows companies to take promotional messages to where consumers are at, without interrupting their day or making them take extra actions to respond to those advertisements.

Engaging in site-centric advertising practices place the focus on website performance and results in a company overlooking the needs of its customer base. Website performance provides limited details in how well a market segment is responding to a promotional message. Consumers may visit a website only to leave without taking any further action with a company. User-centric advertising, on the other hand, places consumers at the center of the marketing functions that a company takes to promote products or services. It provides specific details on how a target market is responding to a company’s advertising campaign. Working to meet the needs of consumers first naturally lends itself to an increase in website performance as well.