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The 7 Pillars of Digital Marketing Blog

Best practices, training and innovations in Digital Strategy.

Saturday Blueliner Newsminer

June 18, 2011 – 12:13 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail

Hello everyone. I had a couple work items yesterday afternoon which prevented me from posting the weekly digital media wrapup. Thus, I present to you a special Saturday edition. Let us begin with the who, what, when, why, and how.   

1.  The Webby Awards

I didn’t have a chance to watch them, but I heard this year was one of the better editions.  It took place here in New York at the Hammerstein Ballroom. They also continued the tradition of acceptance speeches with five words.  Here is a good synopsis of the event. The headline link is a portal to complete video coverage presented by YouTube.

2.  RIM Not Producing Spring Blackberries

Investors came down on the Canadian firm this week after sluggish data on earnings for the last quarter.  They also worry about RIM’s ability to maintain standing in the mobile marketplace.  Android phones and the new iPhone are scheduled to launch in September with upgraded OS servers while RIM plans to continue pushing older devices which have struggled to gain sales traction.  RIM executives feel that their products will produce juice for developers. The cup dryeth for others.

3.  Apple Trying To Shut Down Venue Recording

Many of you know that in the blogosphere, the video of a live concert experience is the new cassette recording. It can be shared in real-time as opposed to being found through tertiary sources like a music vendor or shop.  Apple is looking to earn a patent to stop all that.  According to the headline from Mashable, the motivation lies in avoiding copyright infringement with major content distributors.  The article makes an interesting suggestion that Apple could charge users a fee for recording in a public concert space.  If scaled, it could change the video sharing experience for everyone involved.

4.  The History of Email

This morning, Mashable had an infographic depicting the history of email as a communication tool.  You can view it above in the piece. According to the release, email networks existed in the public sector for a decade before the term was coded.  Some people today wonder about the future of email with the continued development of video content and social media outreach.  Quality marketers believe that email remains an effective measurement of customer preferences and tastes.  It also offers the widest platform to debate and discuss objectives of the day. Viva email!

5.  Senate Reviews Digital Privacy Mandate

From, the Senate is looking to revise a 1986 law for modern times to protect the personal data of the public. This law, named the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, has a clause where Internet users have more protection when data is stored locally.  The article also touches on law enforcement obtaining a search warrant before obtaining data records for a criminal investigation.  Other Acts are being debated in Congress now between Republicans who refuse to budge an ounce, forcing Democrats to seriously weaken mandates before submission. Corporations, as we know, need to step up their security encryption policies before the government does it. And fast. I’m talking to you, Sony.

That’s the Blue news on this Saturday at midpoint. Enjoy.








Carrier-Unlocked GSM iPhone 4 available in US online store

June 14, 2011 – 12:36 pm
Mohsin Sharief

This is big news for the United States, where unlocked phones aren’t always readily available in stores for purchase and we get locked into a carrier.

Apple updated their US online store on Tuesday offering carrier unlocked models of the GSM iphone 4 – starting from $649.

Both white and black versions are available, with the 16GB and 32GB models priced at $649 and $749.

The black models are shipping in 1-3 business days while a white model will take 3-5 days. US customers can choose from AT&T and T-Mobile Networks, though data speeds will be slower on EDGE Protocol and Verizon’s CDMA Model is not available at this time.

When travelling abroad, US iPhone users who don’t want to be locked with AT&T contract, freedom from contracts and free with international roaming charges get a Prepaid SIM card from local corner store.


Fiscally Hip To Be Square

June 13, 2011 – 5:52 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail

Small businesses, as we know, need to be resourceful. They must be aware of nascent technologies before established merchants. Inherently, the partnership can provide reflexive benefits. A small business can maximize production for a minimum investment while building brand equity.  

Legion members of the mobile payment, we introduce you to Square.  Square is a free credit card service that includes many beneficial services. Signees receive a pocket-sized reader that attaches to your audio jack. The mobile application is available for use with both smartphones and tablets.  Transactions fees are static at 2.75% with no contracts or monthly fees.  This application also has the versatility of an open source platform, allowing the mechant to engage with customers coupled with altering online advertising campaigns based on financial reporting.

It will be interesting to see if Square engages with the geolocal movement spearheaded by social media ventures like Foursquare and Gowalla.  Local businesses could extract significant earnings lost to nominal ATM kiosks when cash is the only accepted form of payment.  Live artists who spend a premium on devices for recording can use Square on the road without compromising storage space.  Huey Lewis knew it all along.


Apple’s iCloud Slowly Dissipates

June 3, 2011 – 3:01 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail

This will be the second story about cloud services for the week. This is the reality of today, where storage space has been consumed on the hardware front and space is above our heads. Mobile applications for the cloud are here to stay. They provide an invaluable resource for marketers who rely on data mining services. The technology sector is acting accordingly by ramping up a marketplace to place entertainment content.  

Other companies like Dropbox and long have been centers of data storage. But those companies mostly hold business documentation and carry less cache with the nominal consumer. Some of you heard that to counter Amazon and Google’s foray into mobile cloud applications, Apple plans to release its own version next week at the Apple World Wide Developers Conference. The iCloud could represent another gold standard for consumer products.

According to this report, Apple’s new iCloud service will retail at $25 per annual subscription.  They have secured music licensing deals with the four major record labels: Sony, Warner, Universal, and EMI, for a large fee.   PC Magazine states that Apple will receive 30% of revenue earned from sales. Music publishers are also solidifying deals as I type across the keyboard.  I have some curiosity on certain topics. Apple will probably answer some of these next week at the conference.

1. Will Mobile Me subscribers be able to upload all of their content from said service, including iCal, Address Book, etc?

2. Will customers who utilize Windows for their mobile devices be able to sync with the Mac OS X Lion?

PC World has these questions.  The public will get the answers when the cloud parts.


QR Code Marketing and Advertising Tips, Ideas, and Strategies for Internet Marketing

June 2, 2011 – 1:37 pm
Asif Anwar

There are very few things that connect the real world with the digital world and QR Codes are one of them. There are several QR Codes scanners available for your mobile phones and handheld devices that will help you to generate a certain call-to-action. Previously, you had to wait for print media to generate traffic for your site. However, with QR codes, this can stimulate quick responses from your potential customers. Again, the use of QR codes are not limited to print media as it has several other uses.

What are QR Codes and What Can you do with it?

QR Codes, or Quick Response Codes are 2D barcodes. The traditional barcodes you see with zebra stripes are really 1D barcodes. The name Quick Response itself tells you that they are used for generating quick responses for various devices, including mobile devices and smartphones. The pixilated square barcode is capable of generating various functions, that are defined by the mobile devices. Some of the things you can do are:

  • Send an event invitation with the ability to save ICS event file in your mobile phone
  • Send contact information to save them on your mobile phone
  • Use mailto: tags to send email immediately
  • Send information about a specific location or any maps app your phone uses
  • Allow people to call a number in a snap, instead of having them to type in your long digit numbers
  • Automatically generate an SMS message/template to be sent to another mobile device
  • Show specific text, hidden text, or coupon codes in your mobile
  • Get instant connection to an WIFI network
  • And last but not least, push the scanner to a specific URL

Please click to learn more. See here for a list of various QR Code Scanner Apps for smartphones. Most are free.

Getting Ready for QR Code Marketing

Google has been providing it”s chart API for QR Codes for free and it has been the best source for marketing for many businesses using the QR Codes. There are some free online tools to generate QR codes, which actually uses the QR Code Chart by Google Chart API. You can find them by googling “QR code generator”.  To make the QR Code marketing to work for you, your business, and your site, you need to get some things working properly to get the most out of it.

  • Make sure you have valid contact mechanisms
  • Make sure your QR code is not too complex and contains too much information.  If your code is complex it will generate comparatively smaller pixels and many QR scanners on lower quality smartphone may not be able to read it properly
  • If you are using coupon codes, make sure they are properly working
  • If you are pushing the QR scanner to a specific URL, make sure the URL is properly working
  • Prepare a proper URL from Google URL Builder to make scanning activity trackable in Google Analytics. This usually adds an extra tracking parameter at the end of your URL immediately followed by question mark (“?”). So, your URL can contain parameters like: campaign source, campaign medium, campaign term, campaign content, campaign name or any other custom parameter
  • If you are using the Google URL builder, also make sure you have canonical meta in place for the site. This will help your site to fight duplicate content problems
  • You can also get an easy to memorize short URL from bitly or other traffic tracking URL shortening tools
  • You can automate the use of QR codes using Google Chat API and embed the code on your webpage using permalinks or the URL structure on your site or blog. Here is an article on how you can do it
  • Test your QR code to see whether it is working properly  using various QR Code readers and on various devices and also make sure it can be tracked in your web analytics tool.

Print Media to Business QR Code Strategy

Most of the QR Code marketing experts will suggest you tips, strategies, and idea on using QR Codes for your printed marketing materials. Because, the best utility of QR codes is it’s ability to connect print and digital media through your smartphone. QR codes are a great way to generate traffic for your site through yellow pages, billboard, business cards, and print ads.

QR Code Strategy from Yellow Pages to Shop

Here are some examples of print media where you can use QR codes:

  • Business Cards: Download business card or point to the URL on your site where business card can be downloaded or a featured video or promo can be played in mobile.
  • Billboard: You can direct people to a site or shop via QR Code on a billboard. Here is a good article: How to Turn Your Billboard into an Interactive Marketing Campaign and Measure ROI
  • Newspaper/Magazine Ads: If your are  advertising in a newspaper or magazine, wouldn’t it be nice if you can show your newspaper audience a video advert in your mobile website? You can do this with QR Codes.
  • Newspaper/Magazine Articles: Making your voice heard and allowing comments in print media is a hard task. However, at the end of each article in newspaper and magazine, you can print the QR code to make them go to the URL of the article and help them to make comments on the online article and make them more engaging.
  • T-Shirts and Promotional Souvenirs: If you give away promotional souvenirs, then it’d be nice to have QR codes on them with call to action messages.
  • Various other print media: The use of QR Codes in print media are boundless. Use your creativity in making your print media audience visit your site.

Cross Device Audience Transfer Strategy with QR Code

Aside from print, QR Codes work with digital screens, be it small or as large as a billboard.  You can help your visitors to transfer content to their mobile phones or other handheld devices from any other devices. You can help them land on the same URL through the page they see on Desktop/Laptop screen. If you have a recipe site, it’ll be very convenient for your visitors to transfer your visitors to the same page in mobile, because it’s very convenient to move around with your mobile instead of laptop.

Cross Device Content Transfer with QR Codes

You can also help your audience to read your content in multiple devices by posting a QR code at the top, bottom, or sidebar of any article online. You can also encourage them to engage any content with other mobile applications.  You can also send the audience of Interactive TV Ads to your site. If American Idol would use QR codes to send SMS template with QR codes on TV screen, then voting would be a snap.

In the future, devices will be more mobile. And more services in clouds. You will have more portability and mobility of everything. QR codes can also play a great role in making you jump from one device to another. When your smartphone browsers become more advanced with JavaScript, then there are endless possibilities of what QR codes can do.

QR Code Bookmarking Strategy

The web is getting stuffed with so much information these days. People are overwhelmed with more information than they can consume.  So, they have even less time for many things. For those quick surfers, you need a mechanism to make them stay with your site, even if they don’t have much time. Bookmarking strategy with QR codes is a great way, and will ensure future traffic for your site. You can have the QR codes printed in your site, shop, promotional media, and business location with proper messages encouraging the QR scanners to bookmark your site.

QR Code Bookmarking Strategy

Here are some messages that can help you understand this strategy:

  • Bookmark this product to shop later (QR code in products label)
  • Bookmark this shelf in our shop to shop later (QR code in product shelf)
  • Read more information about this product (QR code in products label)
  • Bookmark the commercial or feature of this product (QR code in products label pointing to video URL)
  • See other product, if an item is out of stock (QR code in product shelf)
  • See the available sizes & other features (QR code in products label)
  • Save Contact for this products  (Onsite QR code in product for sale. e.g. your in car dealer place)

These messages should represented with respective QR codes to generate proper call to action. Instead of allowing your visitor memorize a long URL, you can help them to bookmark even deeper and specific link on your site.

Place or Large Physical Product to Site or Contact Strategy

QR codes can be on any place or large physical products (e.g. cars) that are for sale or at any point of sale location. Usually to guide people to some information on the place or products – QR codes are interactive and can help people to make contact or visit a website from a specific location.

House for Sale Appointment Booking QR Code Strategy

Property to Site with QR Codes

Like all other display products, property is a great place where you can advertise your site. It is very convenient for people coming in taking a snap on a QR code that makes them visit your site. Moreover, if you have a real estate bidding site, it’s better to have people visit the property listing. And this also can be a good idea for traditional marketing for your property auction site.

Tourist Place to Travel Site with QR Codes

If you have information rich travel site, you can engage people in travel destination to get travel information, maps, DYI guide, and various other information on your site. As you spread to more destinations, the greater traffic you’ll have for your travel site.

Shop to Site with QR Codes

If your shopping site is more interactive than your physical store, then it is convenient for your shop visitors to get more info and interact with your products online. Or maybe if you don’t have any product in inventory, they also can see the products you sell and can get availability alert.

Convert Window Shopping to Online Shopping

Window shopping one of the great advertisement media and has been around for a very long time. Add a touch of interactiveness to the window shopping of your potential customers with QR codes. You can help them to buy online even if they don’t have time to shop at your store.

Use your creativity to find various ways you can advertise your site on any place or large physical products. Usually, try to seek what type of utility would help a person to purchase a product from a specific location and how can the information and interaction with your site can help you potential customer.

Facebook Page Promotion with QR Codes

Facebook Marketing is great way to connect your audience, create brand value, and engage with your customers. Now-a-days, there are many strategies to increase your fan-base and QR codes can be one of them. People that visit your shop, window shops, and/or engaged with your business location – are more likely to be your fans. By directing the audience with QR Codes placed in various locations or one prominent location, you can increase the fans for your Facebook Page. With QR codes, direct them to this location:

If you ❤ us

Then also like us in Facebook

Like Blueliner Marketing in Facebook

Or you can create a multi-functional mobile sites where people can also become page fans, follow you on Twitter, and interact with other social web apps. You can also offer some special discount, coupon codes or freebies which visitors can get access to by paying with a tweet for your business or a like on your Facebook page.

Word of Mouth Sale Strategy with QR Codes

“Hey! Where did you buy it from?” is perhaps the commonly asked question by everyone when they find a cool product. And the oral answer to this question might point to a domain name, but the answer very rarely points to any specific page on the site where the product can be purchased.  QR codes can very effectively help in this for Word of Mouth marketing strategy to point to more specific deeper links and/or encourage effective engagement.

QR Code in Product Labels and Tags

Credit Note: Photo Credit is available on QR Code

QR Codes on Product Labels, Tags, Packages

In word of mouth marketing, information spreads from mouth to mouth. But, you can make it more interactive with QR Codes in product labels, tags or Packages. This will help your potential buyer to get more information about the product or make a purchase online from your mobile site or from desktop.

Buyer to Shop with QR Code

Referral QR Codes on product labels can also point to the location of your store or contact information to encourage word of mouth marketing. For referred customers, you can use QR codes on product label and redirect to them to a page where they can get coupon codes, get direction to come to the store, and/or purchase online.

The QR code marketing tips, strategies, and ideas mentioned in this article is just a tip of the iceberg on what you can do with QR Codes to increase visitors and sales through your site or business location. You can be more creative on gathering more QR code marketing tips, ideas, and strategies based on these strategies or other innovative strategies.

Have fun with these QR code marketing tips & strategies and happy marketing.


appMobi Not A Passing Cloud Developer

June 1, 2011 – 5:06 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail

appMobi is a cloud-based mobile service platform that offers strong value for small businesses looking to integrate mobile marketing into corporate strategy.  Mobile marketing includes the creation of smartphone applications by mobile developers and presence of their support systems.  These applications get integrated across smartphones and tablets.  Gaming software has really exploded with this open architecture.  appMobi has generated a strong ecosystem for mobile technology, but they are not done with innovation.    

appMobi utilizes the web development standards of HTML5 and Javascript in order to expedite software deployment.  They believe that this will accentuate push messaging, which is the option of fresh content initially subscribed by the customer being revealed when they opt-in with an application.  In layman’s terms, you are looking at a sports application on your Android smartphone. You have your favorite team preferences logged into your account.  Push messaging procures pop-up messages to signify fresh content updated in real-time. For those who are conferencing through their smartphone either through voice or chat, this is a great feature.  Over time, this technology will prove advantageous to brands who look to capitalize with PPC and  various online advertising. They can properly segment their subscriber bases to increase engagement.

appMobi also is looking to improve the measurement of mobile analytics.  Desktop analytics, although far from perfect, have programs that can measure relevant metrics to determine an angle of consumer behavior.  We know about them. appMobi wants to integrate mobile statistics into desktop dashboards. appMobi is exploring some ideas. One of them is by improving the mobile resolution display through the deployment of a WC3 compliance weblog.  Once this weblog has the ability to validate new measurements, then we can see the effects of touch, augmented reality, and QR codes on strategy.

Over the air updates and mobile payments (one-touch) are two of the other cloud services in which appMobi is developing to improve cross platform application performance. Mobile payments are entering a period of stronger development and their transition into public behavior looms on the horizon. You can learn more about appMobi by following this link.


Skype Voices The Middle East Spring Protocol

June 1, 2011 – 2:48 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail

The newswire has flashed stories of internet communication’s impact on global developments.  Social media has been utilized to create support communities in the light of natural disasters.  These support communities share meeting locations, access to goods, and topics of discussion.  The recent dissident springs in the Middle East have spotlighted the mechanizations of a popular communicative software.  As this story displays, an ecosystem could be developing which affects speech first, then discourse into the present and future. Third-party software developers have created applications in this vein.

A feature in today’s Wall Street Journal talks about how Skype has been utilized as a tool for dissenting parties.  Many citizens know of Skype as the software to execute free and low-cost international calls over a live Internet wire.  Youth groups in Egypt cite its effectiveness in leveraging their movement to topple the Mubarak regime.  Skype was designed with a high level of security encryption, making it a fortuitous dissident tool.  The web application runs multiple calls through one computer. Other nations in the region, however, are making efforts to block certain content with negative sentiment, then store said content in government records.  Smaller technology firms like Gamma and HackingTeam have developed programs to circumvent those firewalls. Law enforcement agencies are sitting back to accept all offers.

The interesting development is where the benchmark lies in future regional conflicts. We are seeing the convergence of public and private elements with interactive marketing, an embryonic, largely public forum.  These energies are testing censorship, especially in the voice communication sector.  Research In Motion has run into conflict with Middle Eastern and Indian government bodies for maintaining proprietary control worldwide of their user storage content, despite being in Canada.  They seem to have the customer’s interest in mind when it comes to protecting intellectual property.  With Microsoft’s purchase of Skype, it will be interesting to see which strategy they pursue when it comes to data storage.  As a leader in business software technology, the private sector would welcome some data storage protection. What are your thoughts?




Mobile Payment Sector Zaps Up Currency

May 25, 2011 – 4:32 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail

This summer, the banking industry and technology companies look to help consumers move around. Their money, that is. I spoke a few weeks back about the seismic shift in activity. The intensity is stronger from many angles over the past couple days. The mobile payment sector has built itself through small companies producing site platforms to hold beginning applications.  Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, believes the mobile marketplace is seeing the revolution come to pass.  In this piece from Financial Times, he talks about the changes in depth.  

PayPal has been a steady performing company for years with the stewardship of eBay.  The revenues have tripled since 2005, making them the market leader of mobile payments.

Google has announced the release of an application that will allow consumers to make purchases with a wave of their mobile device. Tablets are also eligible to make payments with participating retailers.  Google is taking on the leader of daily e-commerce coupons, Groupon, with a new coupon service.

According to this piece in the Journal, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and J.P. Morgan Chase are the banks looking to launch a  mobile payment system where customers send money from checking accounts to merchants with a phone number or email system.

This shift could be a watershed for e-commerce retailers who do not have existing debt in brick-and-mortar venues.  It could also intensify security encryption for personal data. Stay zapped.


True Venture Stories For Marketing CRM, By L. Carlson

May 17, 2011 – 5:04 pm
Abdul Fattah Ismail

This morning, I briefly discussed the emergence of a telecommunications cloud company named Intelepeer. Intelepeer recently submitted an IPO to leverage their valuation for future investment into cloud technology. Intelepeer works with corporate partners to integrate service allowing IP-based communication using rich media, chat, and text among other options. This flexibility to transfer content over traditional telephone network grids will attract marketing agencies.

Once marketers and advertisers have their interests piqued, they need to investigate their venture potential. Will we gain a significant improvement in sales after investing capital in a prospective customer? Can these new software applications efficiently validate the subscription model? Are metrics such as lead scoring effective measurements in a CRM solutions campaign?

My industry colleague, Lauren Carlson, specializes in answering these questions for venture capitalists. She gathered metrics from several sources to generate an extensive report. This piece contains substantial graphs and data to outline which marketing automation firms receive funding. You will also see reports that spotlight the principal stats of several firms next to industry leaders (SAP, Oracle) to explain the correlation between investment and earning potential.

Marketing automation solutions seek credibility from certain industries. The beliefs in its CRM potential to maximize profit in the future are growing positively. Investors must look forward with a deeper perspective than the traditional demands of immediate sales benchmarks. Lauren investigates the necessity to invest wholeheartedly with marketing automation right here.


IntelePeer Floats Under The Radar

May 17, 2011 – 9:15 am
Abdul Fattah Ismail

The technology world has been under the microscope of large investors. Since the end of last year, venerable firms like JP MorganChase and Goldman have been making valuations on large technology players seeking initial public offerings. It is unclear whether these valuations are accurate. It is also uncertain the effects of a public venture on firms accustomed to innovating digital discourse without a financial benchmark. This week, the professional social media network LinkedIn made its long expected filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Another company, despite its name, floats above the radar.

IntelePeer filed its own initial public offering six days ago to little fanfare except with employees and savvy investors. Lined with a strong investor backing, the cloud communications company looks to raise over $100 million in common stock to fund new ventures. Intelepeer offers voice peering services for cable, VoIP, internet communications (email, chat, instant messaging) along with other digital instruments.

One big advantage that could catapult IntelePeer as a sleeper is the integration of live streaming video. Live streaming video is crucial to support rich media applications for online video advertising campaigns. As I mentioned yesterday, the development of rich media technology is crucial to sync content across mobile marketing channels. Cisco, the leading videoconferencing tech firm, has taken a hit in the marketplace on failed bets with consumer goods. Intelepeer has approximately 45% of its 2010 sales in Sprint and Qwest. If the firm invests into working capital proficiently to improve corporate sales, a windfall could stand at the end of an investor rainbow. More than a windfall, Intelepeer would gain credibility in the growing marketplace for Internet voice telecommunications.

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