Today gift cards, coupons, id cards, membership cards and loyalty cards can be delivered in a Pass format to mobile wallets on millions of devices. Passes are supported natively on iPhone through Apples Passbook app and supported on Google Android and Blackberry through downloadable PassWallet applications. The mobile wallet gives retailers, universities, businesses the ability to store transactional or identity credentials in the phone which can be scanned to validate (and one day tapped or airdropped). There are many ways to provision these cards into the mobile wallet, giving both businesses and consumers choice. Today most Passes available are issued into the mobile wallet through a downloaded application provided by the merchant or ticket provider. One drawback with this method is that customers do not always want to download an entire App just for the Pass. On top of that some merchants do not have the resources to build and promote an application that can integrate with the mobile wallet. The other methods to provision to the mobile wallet have traditionally been through email and through a clickable link on the mobile web. Sending a Pass through email always runs the risk the Pass will be blocked by a spam filter. Delivering by mobile web suits Pass delivery well however the fact that the URL of the Pass is accessible on the web through that link must be considered for highly secure transactions since the link can be forwarded or tracked in browser history. For these reasons, the most secure issuance method today for delivering Passes without requiring a customer download an App is MMS through the carrier network. MMS is also one of the easiest ways for customers to request the Pass be delivered to their iPhone.
Through the carrier network, device detection is possible through the MMS channel giving the card issuing platform the ability to know which mobile wallet will be used. MMS also provides delivery receipts for delivered transactions giving issuers confirmation that a card was delivered to the end user with certainty. Utilizing the carrier network to deliver their cards also gives customers a piece of mind knowing that identity cards or cards with monetary value are delivered through trusted parties.
Skycore has successfully integrated Pass delivery by MMS with all four Tier 1 US Carriers including Verizon, AT&T, Sprint & T-Mobile.
The Update: Passes can now automatically be triggered upon a Facebook like or campaign sign up from a Skycore generated landing page.
Benefits of the Update: Skycore’s latest feature allows you to deliver a Passbook or PassWallet Pass to your customers as a conditional incentive. These incentive Passes will only be sent following a preset trigger. A Facebook like or a campaign sign up are both optional triggers when done from a Skycore hosted landing page are.
Mobile isn’t just a great marketing channel in and of itself, it is also a tool that lies at the heart of cross-channel marketing. Mobile can facilitate the transition between multiple online and offline channels while also tracking the success of the transition. When considering a cross channel marketing campaign, especially one covering a wide range of channels, mobile is indispensable. Mobile can take people from offline messages to online promotions to a retail location, while the relationship is maintained and loyalty is measured and rewarded.
1. Ads and QR Codes: Engage Users While Tracking Success
You start off by creating compelling advertisements that carry QR codes. QR codes are important for automatically tracking the transition from advertisement to mobile web. Not only that, but you can also use different QR codes on different ads to see which placements and ad variations work best. This is at least one advantage that QR codes have over putting a URL on the advertisement. If you try to create a different URL for every single ad variation and placement you have, you will quickly run out of reasonable URLs to use. When you use a QR code you can have hundreds of imperceptible differences between each QR code but they can still all direct to the same (at least canonically) URL.
2. Scanning QR Codes and Landing Pages: Collecting Data of Success
Once a user scans the QR code they are sent to a mobile landing page, which you can create with Skycore’s mobile landing page builder. On the landing page you can put third party analytics code so you will be able to see which visitors ultimately convert. When a consumer scans a QR code they immediately provide you with a large amount of data. This data can then be used not only to see which ad creative has the best response, but also which ones end up driving the conversion. The insight which you can garner from the data and the ease with which it can be done is astounding.
Aside from collecting data about the success of the creatives themselves you can also collect data about the location, time and context in which they were seen. When a consumer visits a mobile site they are usually on GPS enabled device. This means you can pinpoint the exact coordinates of their location and then map it to see where your ads are succeeding most. All this data can eventually lead to insight as to which marketing investment has the highest return.
3. Customer Lifetime: Loyalty, Reward and Relationship
The conversion should not be a stand-alone event. This is a chance to start a lifetime relationship with the customer. During conversion you can ask for an opt-in in order to maintain the relationship and top of mind awareness. With the Skycore platform you can automatically sign up the conversions to existing or new email and SMS\MMS campaigns. Once they are signed up for these campaigns they can receive more promotions and marketing materials to keep engaged with the brand. You can even create and send surveys and quizzes to your customers’ mobile devices in order to get a better understanding of what your customers want or respond to.
Better yet, you can ask them to become members and issue them a digital pass via the Skycore mobile marketing platform, which they can have scanned with CodeREADr at retail locations. Integrating the Skycore platform and the CodeREADr app, you can keep track of how much each pass holder is spending. This can then translate into more insight as to which ad placements or converter types end up providing the most return on investment.
As an incentive to hold a membership pass and maintain activity on their account, you can enroll customers in a loyalty program on the Skycore platform. This loyalty program rewards the use of digital membership cards while at the same time collecting data about customer purchases and spend. The best part is the simplicity of the implementation, as CodeREADr is as simple as scanning the code with any device (including mobile phones) that carries the CodeREADr app.
As this outline shows, mobile can do amazing things as a stand-alone channel. But it can do even more amazing things when it is integrated with other marketing channels. You can try a using the Skycore and CodeREADr mobile marketing platforms for free to get an even better idea of the possibilities of these powerful tools.
Since Apple’s release of iOS6 last September there has been a lot of talk about their new mobile wallet application called Passbook. One innovation which has not received quite as much attention as it should is Passbook’s “Pass Relevancy” function. Some of you may already know what it is, but you may not be fully aware of how it works.
Passbook Relevancy Data is information added to each Pass regarding when and where the Pass is relevant. When a Pass is deemed relevant by the phone the operating system will notify the user and bring the Pass into the “Lock screen”. From the Lock Screen, the Pass can be immediately opened and used at the point of interest.
In the first version(v1) of Passbook, Apple has defined these notifications to be triggered by time and/or location depending on the Pass category. There are five Pass categories such as Coupons, Store Cards, Generic Cards, Boarding Pass, Event Ticket. Each of the different Pass categories offer different options for relevance. All Pass categories support location relevance however the location relevance radius differs. Additionally, different categories support a different number or locations allowed within each Pass. The relevant location for Boarding Passes and Event Tickets are defaulted to a large relevance radius of 1000 meters, while all other categories such as Store Cards are defaulted to a smaller relevance radius of 100 meters.
Coupons and Store Cards do not support relevant information by date but Event Tickets require it.
Smartphones have exceeded 50% market penetration since the beginning of 2013. As smartphone adoption rates increase so will the literacy involved in using associated technologies. There hasn’t been a better time to include QR codes into your marketing mix. But it’s not enough to have a great mobile marketing platform to generate and manage your QR codes, you also need a great marketing strategy, specifically, one that keeps in mind the mobile nature of QR codes.
There are three important things to keep in mind when developing a marketing strategy that includes QR codes. First thing to keep in mind is the ‘pre-scan’ (basically, the things that lead to a scan). This can consist of, among other things, ad placement and presentation. The second thing to keep in mind is the ‘post-scan’; once a person scans the barcode, will it lead to conversion? The final thing to keep in mind is success attribution. You must set up the campaign in such a way that you can run an analysis on your campaign to see which advertising mediums and presentations were most successful. Let’s go into more detail on each of these aspects.
1. Pre Scan QR Marketing
Skycore can generate an unlimited amount of QR codes for you, but it is up to you to use common sense in their placement. One thing you most likely do not want to do is place a QR code online, any QR code placed online can just as easily be clicked (assuming the QR codes response is to direct to a landing page). There is also no reason to place a QR code in places like the subway where there is no reception and the lighting is bad. You might also want to try and avoid placing the QR codes in places where the scanner is moving relative to the target; this excludes ads on taxis as well as highway billboard ads. It’s also important to keep in mind the texture of the surface the QR shows up on. Curves, folds or creases can distort the QR code; this excludes the use on flags, banners and t-shirts. There is also research indicating that most scans are done at home or in a retail environment. This might be indicative of a reluctance to use a camera or scanner in certain environments. The research must be taken with a grain of salt, however, since it may be the case that most scans happened in those environments since those environments are where barcodes are most likely to appear. Still, it’s important to survey your audience and see what environment they would be comfortable scanning in (you can easily create and distribute mobile surveys on the Skycore platform).
While ad placement is important to consider, it’s worth nothing if the ad itself isn’t designed to drive the scanning action. The most important way to encourage someone to scan is to provide them with a reason to do so. It is not enough to simply imply a reason scanning the barcode would be worthwhile. A marketer must spell it out to the consumer with a clear, concise, and compelling call to action. The CTA must be one of the most prominent parts of the ad, if not the most prominent. It is also important to have a large QR code. Large QR codes (not too large though) are not just easier to scan, but are in their own right an eye-catching CTA that says “Scan me”. You might also want to add a set of instructions on how to scan the code, for the many recent smartphone adopters.
2. Post Scan QR Marketing
Now that you’ve gone through all the trouble of getting people to scan your QR code you want to retain as many of them as you can. There is no surer way of losing a mobile prospect than sending them to a desktop landing page. You can easily build a versatile mobile landing page with Skycore’s mobile page builder. With the Skycore platform, each landing page you create is automatically assigned a QR code image which you can easily save and distribute to the ad creators. Once a customer arrives at a mobile optimized landing page, navigation, aesthetics and retention are increased dramatically over a desktop page.
On the landing page you can put many things that increase the relevancy of the landing page and ad. You can add a map that lists nearby locations to give the customers a sense of relevancy and immediacy. Offers can be placed is Passbook pass format directly on the landing page along with an opt in for future offers. Engaging images and videos can also be placed on the page to complete the customer experience. Mobile landing pages can be every bit as versatile as their desktop counterparts.
On the mobile landing pages, as on the QR code advertisements, the call to action is important. Whatever action you want the person to perform must be clearly stated on the buttons used to prompt the action. Aside from having a compelling reason to click, it’s also important to draw attention to the button or opt-in form by giving it bold and contrasting colors. The Skycore mobile landing page builder was built with this in mind and there are many options available to draw the prospect’s attention.
3. QR Code Marketing Data Analysis and Attribution
Using QR codes, it’s easy to track what succeeds and what doesn’t. Since customers don’t have to type in a URL to reach the landing page and since customers don’t see the actual URL you have the freedom to use unsightly and complicated URLs in your ads. Previously URLs in offline marketing collateral had to be simple so that customers could type them into a browser. This limited the ability to include parameters in the URL that would otherwise have helped track the source of the landing page visit or conversion. But now, extremely long URLs can contain multiple parameters and then be shortened into a TinyURL which can then be encoded into a QR code. Now you can track the success of various offline advertising incarnations with analytics tools that read and generate the various URL parameters. This can help in tracking which advertising mediums and collateral design have the biggest return on investment.
In addition to tracking the advertising medium and variation that lead to a scan or conversion, you can also collect very detailed location data about the landing page visitors. If the customer’s settings allow it, the landing page can collect the visitor’s exact location at the time of scan using the phone’s GPS. Location data can then be correlated with other data such as conversion data and time data as well as data about which advertisement the customers was exposed to. Analyzing all these data points it should be easy to find out who is converting and under which circumstances.
All marketers should be aware of the power and precision that QR codes bring to the table. But while QR codes do have a lot of potential, proper execution is key. If you want to integrate QR codes into your offline marketing initiatives, be sure the integration is more than just pasting a QR code on all ads.
You can try out QR code integration for free on the Skycore mobile marketing platform or call us (617.314.7688) for custom options.
Last week a few members of the Skycore team, including myself, flew down to Orlando for the AT&T VIP Bash at the Blackberry Live conference. For the last five years AT&T’s VIP bash has combined Skycore’s platform for delivery, and codeREADr’s platform for redemption to create a mobile ticketing solution.
This year’s VIP Bash featured CeeLo Green at the House of Blues, Orlando. Armed with codeREADr on our Blackberry phones we scanned and validated tickets delivered to mobile devices. These tickets were delivered using Skycore’s MMS/SMS Campaign tool and Skycore’s Email Campaign tool.
It has been half a decade and along the way we have improved our interface and made many friends & memories.
The Update: The SMS Inbox enables you to receive non keyword based replies from subscribers who have already opt into a campaign.
How it works: When Skycore receives an SMS from a number it will generally check that message for a keyword to opt in or trigger a campaign. If the first word does not match a registered keyword we now will check to see if that number is subscribed to a campaign. If it is we will add that SMS reply to the campaign’s SMS Inbox. In cases where the user is subscribed to the multiple campaigns on the same shortcode then it will be applied to the campaign which sent the last message to this number. The Campaign Manager’s ‘SMS Inbox’ tab will show both the senders number, message and time stamp.
The Benefits: You can now read customer responses regardless of whether it contains the campaigns keyword. You can collect additional data from subscribers through SMS flows and in the future we will add more unctions lift and logic for you to tightly integrate other features of the platform.
The Update: Skycore.com now enable you to configure MMS Device Discovery for your campaigns which allow device discovery messages to be triggered only for new handsets added to your list.
Benefits of the Update: A Device Discovery Message (DDM) is a short textual MMS message that is sent to the number to discover what the handset type is before sending the actual message. After a handset type is known, the content delivered to that phone can be formatted and optimized. We cache this handset type information in our system and reuse it over the course of your campaign. When sending an MMS to a new opt-in phone number we now enable the campaign owner to customize a DDM text to fit their campaign flow. The DDM is only delivered if the handset has not been detected previously or was detected over 6 months ago. Once the handset is detected, the platform will automatically send future MMS messages that are optimized for that handset.
You are now able to generate your own device discovery message in the SMS/MMS campaign settings and in the MMS API. You can turn the DDM functionality on and off depending on the type of content you are sending. If you are sending simple images then it is probably not necessary. If you are sending video or Passes then it is definitely necessary. The new settings allow you to adjust the: DDMTITLE (Device Discovery Title), DDMTEXT (body of the Device Discovery Message), and the DDMTIMEOUT (time that the actual content will be delayed to wait for the DDM report).
The Update: Skycore has added an “Instant Pass” issuance option into our Mobile Web page builder. You can now distribute a static Passbook Pass on a Mobile Web Page using this feature.
Benefits from the Update: Serving a Pass from mobile landing page adds a new distribution channel for your coupons and other types of mobile wallet cards. Passes are commonly distributed via apps, email and SMS/MMS. While these methods are ideal for targeting specific audience members with personalized data, there are cases such as couponing where issuing a Pass with a coupon code does not require the user to submit their contact info. These mobile web pages can be triggered by QR codes or NFC Smart Posters. Skycore’s tracking URLs enable marketers to update the coupon offer as needed without changing the QR code or Smart Poster signage.
Steps to Acquiring and Redeeming a Coupon Pass from a Landing Page:
The regulations set forth by the TCPA prohibit marketers from using automation to call those who don’t consent or don’t have an existing business relationship with the company. Though, confusion over where the law stands in relation to SMS marketing has lead to some well known companies being taken to court over sending SMS spam. Bellow are two of the most prominent cases. By reviewing the cases you can learn more about how the law is meant to be interpreted and why it’s better for your brand to use these interpretations anyway.
1. Simon & Schuster- Where it all began
Simon & Schuster sent out text messages to some non-expectant recipients, informing them of the upcoming release of a new Stephan King novel. One of the recipients decided to sue them on grounds that she received an unsolicited, automated marketing message from a company with which she had no outstanding business relationship. The courts ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Laci Satterfield, on grounds that Simon & Schuster didn’t follow the TCPA laws. This set precedent for applying all the rules of unsolicited calls under the TCPA to text messages as well.
But even under the confines of the TCPA, Simon & Schuster felt they had precedent to send the text messages. Prior to receiving the unsolicited text message, Satterfield had downloaded a free ringtone from Nextones.com. Before proceeding to download, she was prompted to add her number to a list for receiving messages from Nextone and its affiliates or risk not receiving free content from Nextone. She added her number to the list, effectively opting-in. The court struck this down on a technicality, however, noting that Simon & Schuster, while affiliated with Nextone through their marketing agency, was not an ‘affiliate’ in the legal sense of the word. Simon & Schuster then had to pay $175 to all those who participated in the class action lawsuit.
The most important lesson to take away from this case it that just because something is legal, doesn’t mean you should do it. It would appear that if the wording of Nextone’s consent statement were broader, Simon & Schuster would have been in the clear, at least legally. But what use is it being in the clear if your brand is associate with legal spam? Fact of the matter is, there was no clear communication during the opt-in process as to what a person should expect when providing a number. The broader the wording and purpose of the opt-in, the greater the chance that messages sent to the opt-ins will be perceived as spam by some of the recipients.
When you create an opt-in, make sure people know exactly what it is they are signing up for. As we can see in the case of Simon & Schuster spam lawsuit, confusion over what it is a customer is opting into can lead to dire consequences. Additionally, if you have affiliates collecting contacts for you, you must have very strict guidelines that they must follow in order to maintain a good brand image.
2. Heartland and Jiffy Lube- The rise of written consent
A class action lawsuit was filed against Heartland Automotive Services, the largest Jiffy Lube franchisee, for violating the TCPA by sending unsolicited text messages. But Heartland argued that its actions fell within the confines of the TCPA. Heartland had collected most of the numbers from invoices of their previous customers. Since the TCPA allows calling numbers of people you have an established business relationship with, Heartland felt that mining their invoices for numbers was a valid option. They also argued (rather weakly) that customers providing numbers on the invoices could be considered consenting.
As this trial progressed (and maybe in part as a result of it) an amended version of the TCPA was released. This changed the previous requirement for sending unsolicited messages from a need of an outstanding business relationship to a requirement of explicit written consent. Now there could no longer be any confusion as to what the legislators’ intents were. The law was set out to protect consumers from any annoying marketing messages and the possibility of incurring unwanted text costs.
In the Heartland case we see that even prior customers of Jiffy Lube were upset at receiving the text messages. This shows that it’s not only completely unprecedented text messages that are unappreciated (as seen in the case of Simon & Schuster). Even when there is some precedent to sending a text message (i.e. being a customer), the customer may not appreciate it since they’ve never consented to have their number used in a marketing campaign. Whenever you create an SMS or MMS campaign take the perspective of the customer. Take a look at what exactly it was that the phone number list you are about to add to the campaign consented to and determine if they would appreciate receiving the message.