20 Aug

Reality Check: Mobile operators — Why are your competitors talking to your clients more than you are?

Original Article from RCR Wireless

By Jon Jackson, CEO, Mobile Posse

Dear mobile operator:

Why are you letting your competitors message your subscribers more than you message them yourself? With all the investment you’ve made to capture these customers – advertising, free smartphones, etc. – doesn’t it seem at all worthwhile to build on the promise of that relationship, even after they’ve signed up?

Today, your current subscribers are more likely to see an ad from you offering a free tablet to a new lead than they are to get a direct communication from you – apart from their bill, that is.

And of course, by the same token, they’re just as likely to see an ad from your competitor offering them a tablet or a free Galaxy S to switch.

What’s that? You’ve made them great offers via your self-service app? Oh. You realize they almost never open that, right? And when they do, they don’t just want to see how much their bill is.

Let’s face the facts, mobile operators: not staying in touch with your current customers is just plain old crazy. These folks have chosen you over all the competition. Make the choice to maintain and build that relationship and keep those customers happy. Happy customers stay with you, even after the contract expires. Happy customers even add services sometimes, if you make them the right offer at the right time. And one more truth to remember: happy customers are likely to be more valuable than those you’ve yet to acquire. It’s the old “bird in the hand” thing.

Do you want to invest in that potentially (more) profitable relationship with your current subscriber base? Yes? Good. Here’s how it’s done:

1. Communication is the basis of any good relationship – including customer relationships. Communicate about something other than how much they owe. If you only message your customer base about their bill is, they will love you about as much as they love their mortgage company. Start thinking instead about how you can make their lives better. What kind of content can you provide your customers with that will be relevant and helpful? Perhaps even something as simple as thanking them for their patronage can be helpful and loyalty inducing.

2. Leverage the home screen. That’s right, the home screen, not a native app. Your presence on the mobile home screen is much more visible. After all, the home screen is the first thing customers see and engage with when they turn on their phone. In contrast, mobile apps have an average retention rate of 35 percent at the 90-day mark. (And honestly, is your app accessed more than once monthly to check data usage or pay the bill?) The home screen is where users go to check the time, the weather, and to see if they have messages they’ve missed. It’s the launch pad for nearly every handset use case. Why wouldn’t you want your brand to be in the center of it?

3. Respect their time, space, and privacy. While the home screen is the “beach front real estate” of the mobile handset, it’s also a place that’s personal and safe for the consumer. It’s an area consumers like to customize with their favorite widgets and content items – like a clock, a weather widget, and maybe local or national news tickers – in addition to their most-used apps.

Don’t underestimate how greatly consumers value their private space here. Facebook took that for granted and look how spectacularly their “Home” app has failed as a result. The key here is respect. You can certainly have a presence on the home screen, but don’t take it over entirely. It’s smart to offer subscribers an assortment of quality content to enrich their home screen experience, but keep it consistent with the phones current operating system. Your customer has chosen their handset for a reason, and whether it’s iOS or Android, they’re expecting the experience that handset customarily delivers.

Also important – when messaging on the home screen, do it respectfully. Don’t cover content. Dont’ send messages while subscribers are on a call. You may not get as many messages to your base when using good manners, but your odds of successfully engaging them will be dramatically improved.

4. Know who your customers are, which services they use and which they need. These are your subscribers – you should make it your business to know everything about them. Every good marketer knows success lies in a customer-centric approach, right? By knowing your customers well, you’ll be able to anticipate their needs, and when you know what they need (versus what you want to sell them) your messaging comes across as helpful – not pushy.

As a personal case in point, when my carrier markets products or services me with suggestions, I nearly always jump on board. That’s because their suggestions, while profitable for them, generally save me money or provide me with better services.

Successfully apply these practices to the mobile home screen, and subscribers will view you as a great service provider. Advise them, proactively, that they need to add minutes or a roaming package to avoid hefty fees later on, that they’re due for a new battery, or even that there’s a sale on shiny cases at your store, and you will be on the fast track from “provider” to “partner.” Add value by creating great experiences and leverage the home screen as your home base for building better customer relationships, and you’ll worry less about attrition at the end of every contract.

And if you can make those valuable offers at times that are convenient for and respectful to your users, you won’t have to worry about them eyeing every free phone deal that comes their way. Commit to building the relationship with your subscriber base now – before your competition beats you to the punch.

As Founder and CEO, Jon Jackson provides the vision and leadership behind Mobile Posse’s mission to create a revolutionary and trusted mobile channel through the active idle screen. Jackson brings more than 17 years of strategicd, operational, and technical leadership experience to Mobile Posse from recognized companies ranging from a major Internet powerhouse to a television cartoon studio. Prior to forming Mobile Posse, Jackson spent over eight years in a variety of management and technical roles at AOL, as the company brought interactive advertising into existence. Previously, Jackson was the CTO of Frederator, producers of the Emmy-nominated “The Fairly OddParents” and “Chalkzone.” A recognized expert in interactive advertising and new product development, Jackson has also provided management and technology consulting services to companies like HBO, Viacom, and Primedia. Jackson holds a BA in English Composition from George Mason University.

31 Jul

Mobile Posse’s Jon Jackson on the future of Mobile Marketing

Original Article from The Makegood

By Katharina Volkmer

Jon Jackson is the founder and CEO of Mobile Posse, the first company to commercially launch graphically-enhanced interactive mobile home screen programming in North America, offering a proactive mobile delivery channel well-suited to the needs of carriers, content providers, and brands. The Makegood recently spoke with Jon about Mobile Posse’s venture into home screen messaging for mobile devices.

The Makegood: What made you invent Mobile Posse’s home screen messaging capabilities?

I decided to start Mobile Posse as a I saw a problem that needed fixing in the mobile space — that problem was awareness and adoption. Today’s mobile devices are approximately one billion times more capable than the devices from five years ago. Many of these capabilities aren’t commonly known. We set out to see if we could find a solution.

The Makegood: According to a study by Arbitron Mobile, your home screen messaging drives greater app usage than Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, YouTube, and Yahoo. How does it work and why is that?

Home screen messaging is kind of like the old 3M commercial, I am paraphrasing here: “We don’t make many of the products you buy, we make the products you buy better,” or in our case we make you both aware of those products and in some cases increase their functionality. At the end of the day, we are a rich-media messaging platform that delivers messages to home screen, lock screen and notification trays of mobile devices. Our platform can almost guarantee that your message will be seen, but that is only half the battle. The other half is the content of the message that’s delivered. It could be a message to a user migrating from a feature phone (AKA dumb phone) to a smart-phone. In that case, maybe we are educating the user on how to get the most out of their new device, kind of like tips and tricks. In other cases, maybe we are trying to promote a particular subscription product that a consumer might be interested in. It really runs the gambit.

The Makegood: What are the key findings of the study and what do these say about the change in the market?

The short version is the easier you make something to do, the more likely people are to do it. That’s not Earth shattering news, but what this study really highlights is there are ways to surface messages, content, etc. in a way that is helpful to the consumer and to content providers or operators. And when these ways of messaging are implemented, you can materially move the needle.

The Makegood: Leading media publishers partner with you to leverage the reach and engagement benefits of Mobile Posse’s home screen messaging and carrier distribution. How can they benefit from your services and how would a practical example look like?

Media publishers spend a lot of time and effort making quality content for the web and many of them have taken that next step of creating an applicaiton to engage consumers in a more immersive experience. The home screen is another mechanism by which to reach consumers on their mobile device. It has some attributes that make it quite compelling. It is proactive as opposed to reactive. In our case, we wait until the consumer isn’t busy doing something else and deliver a message. This means that the message gets high engagement as the user isn’t otherwise engaged, or irritated at being interrupted. I would give the example of weather. We have struck a partnership with a weather provider and by combining their accurate and timely information with our delivery mechanism we have created a very compelling product for consumers. We know where the consumer is, so we gneerate a message with the latest weather for the area they are in. It’s like chocolate and peanut butter.

The Makegood: What is most important when developing and distributing home screen messaging to drive consumer engagement?

The attributes that make an important message are ones that take into account context (where someone is located, what they are trying to accomplish), expressed interests (likes weather and sports), implied interests (seems to click on a lot of football articles) and demographics (24 years old, lives in Arlington, VA).

The Makegood: Thanks, Jon.

02 Jul

Beating Facebook Home: Four Tips for Carriers, Publishers and OEMs

Original Article from Wireless Week

Facebook Home has brought a great debate to the table. There’s no question that consumers spend more time with their mobile phones than any other device, plus new data from Nielsen Mobile Trends shows that the mobile homescreen is where consumers spend most (26%) of their time on mobile.

But with Facebook Home, the social media giant is attempting to take over the home screen. They’ve imposed on the mobile handset’s last sacred piece of “beach front property.” When a phone today is so much more than just a a phone, when it’s a watch, a weathervane, a GPS and a camera – that’s a pretty big imposition. It’s like taking that beachfront real estate and building a view-blocking 100-story office building.

In fact, the leading venture capitalist firm Bessemer Venture Partners recently valued this real estate at more than $1B per 1/4 inch. Losing that HUGE an opportunity should be hard to swallow for wireless carriers, mobile publishers and advertisers.

Early juries seem to concur that Facebook has stumbled in its effort to own the shoreline. But it is only a stumble. With a prize so great, you can count on Facebook and others coming back for a second swipe.

So carriers, publishers and OEMs must take the time NOW to dive in and stake a claim. As Facebook has so graciously demonstrated, a home screen take over is not for amateurs. Done right, it can be a useful and user-friendly utility for consumers. Done wrong, it’s an obtrusive hack of a once-familiar interface.

It’s time to get started, and here are some tips for doing it right:

Start Now – Let’s face it… Facebook and HTC are already ahead of you in the race to own this beachfront real estate. The longer you wait, the larger the erosion in our customer base.

Save our Shore – Any homescreen “takeover” has to be friendly, rather than hostile. This was Facebook’s biggest faux pas – the homescreen went from beachfront to jungle, and the terrain became completely unfamiliar and tough to traverse for handset owners. To be successful, you need to work with the mobile OS, not against it. The handset owner still needs to have control over their handset and user experience. It’s a delicate balance, and one that must be respected.

Great Content – Arguably, the most important element of a homescreen takeover app is the content. The best content will be user selected and dynamically updated. Obviously, media companies have the advantage here: If you’re ESPN, sports fans everywhere will clamor for “ESPN Home,” which will (ideally) allow users to select their favorite teams and players for their homescreen news feeds. Scores and stats would be updated in real-time. A ticker with the latest hockey or football news might stream across the bottom. Photos from the day in sports might dynamically update the home and lock screens.

Non-media companies – like carriers or OEMs – would be wise to choose to partner with media companies or quality publishers for fresh content. The key is to offer a variety of niche content so users can choose topics about which they’re passionate.

Relevant, Unobtrusive Ads – We mentioned it before, and it bears repeating: the customer comes first. When you’re invited to someone’s home (screen), good manners are appreciated. Hammering a consumer with messages on any channel is annoying; doing so on their homescreen is downright obnoxious. You have been invited into their quiet beachfront estate, and they have provided you a great deal of information about themselves and their device. Show these consumers that you’ve earned their respect and their trust by keeping messages timely, helpful and polite. You have enough data to be relevant and helpful – you know who they are, and what they like. The challenge for many will be putting the customer’s needs before their own.

And yet, this is the most important barrier between success and failure. The user simply has to come first. Just because we have the information and the real estate doesn’t mean we can run roughshod all over it. Perhaps standards are necessary to safeguard the customer experience, to ensure that messaging is respectful and permission-based. (Those standards should also address technology to address multiple operating systems and handset types, but that’s another story for another day.) At any rate, companies considering a takeover must consider the handset owner’s wants and needs ahead of their marketing goals. If the consumer is happy, marketing success is sure to follow.

Greg Wester is executive vice president of business development and general manager of research/data product for Mobile Posse.

 

31 May

New Research Study Reveals Mobile Posse’s Home Screen Messaging Drives App Usage Greater Than Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, YouTube and Yahoo! Mail

Original Article from Market Wire

McLean, VA – Marketwired – May 31, 2013) – Mobile Posse, the industry leader in mobile home screen messaging, shared the results of a study conducted by Arbitron Mobile that took place over the course of several months. The results of the third-party study clearly show that Mobile Posse’s home screen messaging platform is #1 in the ability to drive consumer engagement with mobile apps. The study’s findings are particularly relevant as Facebook recently unveiled its first play in the home screen messaging arena. The study also quantifies the impact of home screen messaging for app developers, carriers and handset manufacturers.

Exhibit 1: Usage of Different Apps on Phones Where Mobile Posse’s App is Installed

Session and minutes of use metrics are averages across all phones, including any users having no usage in the month

APP # OF SESSIONS/MONTH MONTHLY REACH MINUTES PER MONTH
Mobile Posse 88.1 95.3% 152.1
Facebook 73. 50.6% 215.4
Gmail 44.2 85.6% 39.6
Google Search 42.3 93.2% 16.8
Go SMS Pro 17.4 4.5% 20.3
Facebook Messenger 11.8 36.9% 16.1
Yahoo! Mail 10.6 12.5% 11.6
Chrome 7.8 12.7% 24.1
YouTube 7.6 67.6% 79.3
Instagram 7.4 16.8% 31.5
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