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The Coming C-Change in Customer Relationships

When was the last time you researched customer segmentation for your business? When was the last time you mapped your customer’s decision journey?

If your business is like most others, you probably studied how customers interact on the web and in the real world some years ago. But, have you observed how customers use mobile, apps, [...]

  • inflow

    The Coming C-Change in Customer Relationships

    When was the last time you researched customer segmentation for your business? When was the last time you mapped your customer’s decision journey?

    If your business is like most others, you probably studied how customers interact on the web and in the real world some years ago. But, have you observed how customers use mobile, apps, [...]

  • QR codes

    Mobile Apps and QR Codes (barcodes)

    Using Android and QR codes
    From time to time you’ll see bar codes like the one above. Actually, it’s not a bar code. It’s called a QR code, and it’s used as a shortcut to link to content online using your phone’s camera, saving you from typing lengthy addresses into your mobile browser.
    Although initially used for [...]

  • inflow

    Leading Pharmaceutical Company Uses DEV9

    For some organizations in South Africa, World Cup fever may have meant a slow down in productivity as the host nation and its people enjoys a month long, once in a lifetime experience. But for one company in Gauteng (the smallest, most populous province in the country) things have never been busier!
     
    DEV9, a small customized [...]

The Coming C-Change in Customer Relationships

When was the last time you researched customer segmentation for your business? When was the last time you mapped your customer’s decision journey?


If your business is like most others, you probably studied how customers interact on the web and in the real world some years ago. But, have you observed how customers use mobile, apps, blogs, and social networks to grok how they find you and how they decide for or against you? Believe it or not, there’s a stark difference in behavior between the online customers we know and the connected customers of today.


With the onslaught of disruptive technology, consumer behavior and ultimately decision-making is changing. As a result, specialized research is now necessary to reveal to what extent your connected customers are redefining a new landscape for engagement and where their preferred touchpoints emerge. Whether it’s in mobile apps, social networks, or in the digital conversations defining the social web, how consumers discover, influence and are influenced is evolving in real-time.


There is a coming “C” change in consumerism where the “C” represents the more connected, agile, and discerning customer as well as the need for an adaptive culture in your organization. I refer to this converging class of connected consumers as Generation-C, in my new book, What’s the Future of Business.


And not only is a new breed of consumerism taking shape, the customers and popular culture you once knew and modeled your business around are simultaneously decreasing in size and impact.


Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number: Segmenting Connected Customers


It’s a horrible thing to consider, but we have to start thinking about the implications of generation shifts in business. Older generations of customers will not be your customer forever. Your markets will give way to younger generations of customers who may or may not know about or connect with your organization in the same ways as other customer relationships you’ve developed over the years.


So what affect will Millennials and Generation Z behind them have on your markets. And, to what extent is their behavior different than the generations before them? The non-profit sector is already giving us an idea. And if we can connect what charity activity with everyday consumerism, we might find new ways to market, sell, and serve in commercial markets.


In The Next Generation of American Giving, a study published by non-profit technology provider Covio, researchers found that younger generations are already loyal to less charities than their predecessors.


Although the amount of giving goes up with age, Millennials are loyal to a smaller group of organizations. The study found that Matures give on average $1,066 annually to 6.3 charities, Boomers give $901 to 5.2 charities, Gen X’ers donate $796 to 4.2 charities and Millennials give $341 to 3.6 charities. Perhaps we can also take this to mean that younger generations will be loyal to fewer brands than that of their predecessors.


The amount donated and the quantity of charities younger generations support is only part of the story. How organizations reach the Millennial vs. Gen X vs. Boomers or Matures represents the segmentation that’s necessary for a new genre of focused customer engagement.


At a high level, the study found that Matures and Boomers respond well to direct mail whereas Millennials do not. On the contrary, online engagement proves far more effective for Millennials, including social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, and social media overall.


 The Coming C Change in Customer Relationships


In the non-profit world, organizations need to embrace no less than 11 separate channel strategies to reach all demographic segments, each with a unique supporting network and value proposition to appeal to different people uniquely.


As the study found, Facebook, Twitter and other social networks are reproducing a similar effect to real world conversations and awareness. A donor, for example, might learn of a cause, or be motivated to support a cause, because of a friend’s post on their Facebook wall. From there, they may donate online or send a check. But, awareness and ultimately a decision were sparked within a new medium where a link facilitated an action and transaction. It’s interesting to note that in the study, 50% of Matures and 30% of Boomers report using Facebook regularly.


What does this mean?


It means that how you think about consumers and how your business is designed to attract and nurture relationships with them requires an updated and segmented approach. Each must be designed with tailored messages and engagement strategies to reach your designed segments as inspired by behavior and preference. Engagement is just the first part. Equally important, your supporting channels must make the desired actions and transactions seamless…their way.


The End of Bureaucracy and the Rise of Adhocracy


The Convio study found that in most non-profit organizations, direct mail, online fundraising, web strategy, social marketing, and email communications are managed in separate departments.


Sound familiar?


While some or all functions may report up to the same leader, each are run with dedicated goals and in many cases are in direct competition with one another. Naturally silos arise for political reasons causing strife, preventing alignment, and preventing efficiencies in processes and overall strategies.


The report drops a bombshell, that suggests businesses may perish at their own hands, “While these outcomes may have reduced internal strife, this approach is fatal to effective multichannel marketing.”



#Change


To active new touchpoints first requires the recognition that they exist and how they’re used. The next step is to follow a series of important steps to enlighten leaders and bring the organization together to bring about the next chapter of business and relevance.


1. The first step is to survey the customer landscape to learn about how the coming “C” change is affecting your business and current channel strategy.


2. Review the findings from the customer segment and behavioral analysis to document important findings.


3. Organize a steering committee or group with representatives from each channel, function, and/or line of business to present the research to the broader team and have it cascade from there.


4. The group must be empowered to lead incremental transformation. It must meet regularly, impartially, to analyze opportunities and best adapt to them without jeopardizing current initiatives.


5. Continue to research and monitor consumer behavior and preferences.


Mobile Apps and QR Codes (barcodes)

Using Android and QR codes

From time to time you’ll see bar codes like the one above. Actually, it’s not a bar code. It’s called a QR code, and it’s used as a shortcut to link to content online using your phone’s camera, saving you from typing lengthy addresses into your mobile browser.

Although initially used for tracking parts in vehicle manufacturing, QR Codes are now used in a much broader context, including both commercial tracking applications and convenience-oriented applications aimed at mobile phone users (known as mobile tagging). QR Codes can be used to display text to the user, to add a v Card contact to the user’s device, to open a URI or to compose a text message or email. Users can also generate and print their own QR Code for others to scan and use by visiting one of several free QR Code generating sites.

QR Codes storing addresses and URLs may appear in magazines, on signs, buses, business cards, or on just about any object about which users might need information. Users with a camera phone equipped with the correct reader application can scan the image of the QR Code to display text, contact information, connect to a wireless network, or open a web page in the phone’s browser. This act of linking from physical world objects is known as a hard-link or physical world hyperlinks.

You’ll need an app that can read QR codes (we like Bar-code Reader or Google Goggles in the Android Market). When you see a QR code in an app review, hit it with the bar-code reader and it will take you to the download section in the Android Market. It’s that simple.

Go ahead and try it on the code above. Our treat. :)

Google Goggles

Leading Pharmaceutical Company Uses DEV9

For some organizations in South Africa, World Cup fever may have meant a slow down in productivity as the host nation and its people enjoys a month long, once in a lifetime experience. But for one company in Gauteng (the smallest, most populous province in the country) things have never been busier!

 

DEV9, a small customized software & web development company and recent addition to the inFlow reseller community is celebrating a big win. An order to supply a leading pharmaceutical company with inFlow software, implementation and support services.

 

The story began earlier this year when Craig Robinson, Managing Director of DEV9 was approached by a client looking for an inventory management software solution. Scouring the market for options he struggled to find a local solution he felt happy recommending.

 

As a software developer himself (designs and sells its own financial services software) Craig has an eye for knowing what well designed, intuitive and user friendly software should look like. So he set about finding a program that delivered the best possible customer experience at a fair and reasonable price. When he discovered inFlow, he knew he had found just what he was looking for – an opportunity to expand his business.

 

“inFlow is a superb product and the price point is amazing! Its much more affordable than the competition offer here in South Africa” After joining the inFlow reseller community, DEV9 immediately started to reap the rewards.  Focusing on the needs of Small to Medium Enterprises (SME) in and around Johannesburg and Pretoria area, DEV9 was perfectly positioned when Sanofi Aventis came calling, seeking a quality but affordable cost inventory management solution.

 

Sanofi, a leading pharmaceutical company in South Africa is part of one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies. With locations in 100 countries it employs around 11,000 scientists and 100,000 employees that work to meet the needs of healthcare professionals and their patients globally.

In the midst of organizing implementation with his new client, Craig said last week “Its been a fantastic
experience working with inFlow so far. I’m really excited about working together to capitalize on the demand here in South Africa”

 

Congratulations to Craig and his team at DEV9. The local support and expertise you bring inFlow customers in the Rainbow Nation is greatly appreciated.

Going Green with Mobile Advertising

Going Green with Mobile Proximity Advertising and  (LaaS) Platforms

 

Mobile location advertising has been discussed and executed for more than a decade – since the heyday of the eCommerce boom. Companies engaged in the discourse then included E*Trade, Gap, Exxon, NTT DoCoMo, Dentsu, Active Sky, and SmartRotuaari. It was Japan, Korea, Finland, and Belgium that took the lead in commercial deployment, while United States advanced in incremental pilot testing.

 

Today’s leaders, including Placecast, Gloto, Ogilvy, Layar, and Mobile Dreams Factory, have launched successful solutions. They recognize their predecessors – where they faltered and how they succeeded – as they open the commercial market to location services that will inspire Ad agencies, retailers, and wireless application developers. The distinction between proximity services and location services reside in the applied use. The services encompass a wide variety of retail industries including fashion, travel, banking, food and beverage, and services such as cobblers, dry cleaners, and auto.

 

Proximity services use Bluetooth, WiFi, NFC, and RFID technologies over unlicensed spectrum while location services use carrier supported geo-positioning technologies over licensed spectrum. Both services are utilized to drive traffic into street-level businesses. Proximity services take the next step of providing the location of specific objects.Location-aware technology is now built into most mobile phones – smart phones and feature phones. This technology powers mobile local search and its tyro – mobile social search. Depending on the mobile social solution, various technologies are employed including but not limited to Geographic Positioning Systems (GPS), Assisted GPS (A-GPS), Radio Frequency Identification (RFID), Bluetooth, Cell ID, and 802.11A/B and 802.16 (WiFi).

 

According to the USPS, in the United States, $19B is spent annually in direct mail as supplied by advertising agencies and households receive 85B pieces of direct marketing. The key question is – how many of those pieces of marketing delivered the Post Office are opened, read, and acted upon? The answer is gut-level knowledge – a very small percentage.

 

More than profit is wasted in unopened marketing, ecologists and brand owners can agree too many trees are sacrificed. So, who might be the greenest marketers? In the digital era, mobile proximity and location-based advertisers are possibly the greenest – certainly when measured in terms of advertising effectiveness compared to material waste.

 

The global report – Mobile Proximity and Location Based Advertising published by The Mind Commerce – provides a deep dive into NAVTEQ, Gloto, Layar, Placecast, Ogilvy, The Cimarron Group, Acuity and more so that the readers may gain insight into the operational and financial levers of management. Further, activities that catapulted each company forward are highlighted in context of their business model.

 

The report shines a spot light on seasoned thought-leaders from within the executive teams of each company. They provide their expertise to detail a vivid picture of what it takes to succeed today and what technologies will provide unique value to the industry in 2012.

 

Application Developers

 

How can application developers jump into the booming and profitable location services market? The fastest route is through location-as-a-service (LaaS). Application developers can plug-in LaaS and play. Location as a Service is a complex derivative of the cloud services concept while being a natural business extension for corporations that have built their operating foundations on GIS, mapping, and navigation. Many developers are using REST to give consumers a web-browser experience over that achieved through a downloadable application. Developers also choose REST when they want and need a grand back-end for their location service, particularly if the data is for GIS.

 

In 2010, wireless carriers made available to 3rd-party application developers the APIs needed for location, messaging and cloud services through their networks. There are several architectural frameworks for building applications in operator, browser, and terminal driven structures. Which is more useful for location applications? The research report – Location as a Service published by The Mind Commerce – elucidates these challenges and considerations in two parts:

 

Section one presents a holistic review of a Location as a Service solution as viewed through a micro-ecosystem of strategic alliances formed among an LaaS provider, a wireless carrier, several software builders, and industry organizations along with an understanding of several technologies leveraged in the solution development. Section two covers platform and service variations, then supplies a SWOT analysis of key LaaS vendors.

 

To learn more about leveraging LaaS and proximity and location-based advertising – and to access the tools to evaluate these synergistic solutions, read both reports.

 

The Mind Commerce® mission is to provide customized research, consulting, training, and writing services for the telecommunications and IT industry. Clients include manufacturers, developers, service providers, industry organizations, and government. The Mind Commerce differentiates itself from its competition by meeting the unique needs of its clients through customized product development and service delivery.

 

Mobile Proximity and Location Based Advertising. The URL for the Report: http://www.mobilelocation.com/images/Mobile_Proximity_and_Location_Based_Advertising_Brochure.pdf

 

Location as a Service. The URL for the Report: http://www.mobilelocation.com/images/Location_as_a_Service_Brochure_November_2010.pdf

Visual Studio 2010 Global Launch

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