Author: lorrainebrownweb

Six things to know about Gen Zers this holiday season

Young and happy urban people having fun with digital tablet


The year 2017 may very well be the first one in which Generation Z is more important to retailers than millennials when it comes to holiday advertising. If young people are an important part of your customer base, then here are six things you need to know about this particular demographic heading into the holidays.

They do their homework

Gen Z likes to research and read reviews and weigh options before buying; 80% of Gen Z holiday shoppers say that they research a product online before buying it and as the price of the product increases, the likelihood of researching it first goes up. More than half of Gen Z holiday shoppers said they began researching products in October or earlier.

What this means for businesses: make any relevant information about products you sell online or in stores readily available. Especially try to promote good reviews of those products.

They can be impulsive

At seeming odds with the previous point is the fact that Gen Z can be quite impulsive in their shopping habits. This is the generation that coined the phrase “YOLO” after all. 70% of Gen Zers say they make impulsive holiday purchases especially when they see a good deal, that’s higher than any other age demographic.

What this means for businesses: make sure there are plenty of “stocking stuffers” on display through the store and especially near the point of sale so they can discover last minute ideas as they’re about to check out. Online businesses can offer an online equivalent by offering a deal as shoppers head to their cart to complete a purchase totaling more than a specified amount.

They’re open to suggestions

Fifty-nine percent of Gen Z holiday shoppers said they routinely make purchases based on a retailer’s recommendation. Since they were born and raised in the social media age, they’re also heavily influenced by the recommendations of peers, bloggers, and vloggers.

What this means for businesses: Feature a deal of the day leading up to Christmas or the New Year. Publish a top ten list for popular products. Get the right influencers to promote your brand and encourage your loyal customers to share your brand and products with their friends.

They’re picky

On average, Gen Zers are four times as likely than the other generations to leave a store without making a purchase at all because they can’t find exactly what they’re looking for. They’re also the most likely to return an item in the week following Christmas.

What this means for businesses: Make sure you have plenty of stock for items that are sure to be popular. You might poll your target audience to know their preferences as Christmas approaches. Make sure you have plenty of staff to quickly and efficiently manage after Christmas returns.

They leave positive reviews

We’ve already covered how important it is for Gen Zers to see other people having good things to say about your products when they’re weighing the decision to buy. Lucky for you, Gen Zers are also the most likely of all the age demographics to write those kinds of reviews for you. An incredible 72% say they will write a good review for a brand when they have a positive experience.

What this means for businesses: Don’t be shy about asking for a review especially when it’s clear the customer has received great service and seems happy about their experience. You can also encourage social media check-ins by offering a small freebie or discount at the point of sale.

They’re kind of into smartphones

No surprise here. The average Gen Zer spends about three-and-a-half hours a day on a mobile phone.

What this means for businesses: Businesses absolutely must have a mobile-first approach to digital marketing this holiday season and moving forward. Emphasize mobile channels in your marketing budget like SMS and location based marketing. SMS is a great way to notify your customers of great deals since 90% of all text messages are read within about three minutes of being sent.

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Holiday Email Marketing Tips


Some of the most shopping people will do during the year will happen in the next month. So how can your business make sure you are a part of the biggest shopping season of the year? While email marketing has been looked down on by marketers for a few years now as a less effective way of marketing, it has actually resurged as an extremely effective method. Most customers will check their emails for promotions before deciding where to shop, and it could be the one place that reminds customers your product is a good fit as a gift for others. Here are some holiday email marketing tips for your business to follow.

Personalization is key

One of the most effective ways of advertising, and something that customers have come to expect from businesses, is through personalization. By working with a machine learning startup, businesses can set up computer programs to analyze data and give recommendations to artificial intelligence, which can then create and send out personalized emails to customers. It will send emails when the customer has put stuff in their shopping cart but didn’t finish checkout offering discounts likely to get them to come back. It can send marketing ads targeted towards families vs single individuals. It can even send emails to customers who haven’t come in a while and offer an extra promotional savings to come back. This type of email marketing will benefit your company and keep customers happy.

Build a strong, quality list of customers

A business is going to have a much better conversion rate from customers getting emails than they are from random people stumbling onto their website. That’s why it is so important to build a strong, quality list of customers who opt-in to receive the emails and who are most likely going to be long-term customers. Here are some ways you can build your email list:

  • Offer a promotion: A good promotion and a promise to keep customers up to date with the latest promotions is going to be the easiest way to get customers to sign up.
  • Advertise to customers on your site: If someone has been on your site for more than 10 seconds looking around, an auto pop up ad offering an immediate discount in exchange for an email is one great way to get customers on your list who are truly interested in your product.
  • Use social media: Use social media to advertise your promotion for signing up for an email club.
  • Post perks upfront: Customers who know they are going to get a free meal on their birthday or who know how often they can expect to get emails are more likely to sign up right away. Transparency is important in our society, but especially if someone is going to sign up for an email service.
  • Advertise with bloggers: Bloggers who post deals online are always looking for more things to post about. Give your company information and what promotion is being offered in exchange for an email, and have them post it on their blog. All their followers who are interested in the perk will sign up immediately.

Look at the data

The best part about email marketing is the ability to see exactly what happens with the emails you send. This data can be used to then focus your future marketing efforts to ensure a better conversion rate. One nice thing about machine learning is the ability to record and analyze this data on its own without any human having to look it over. The machine will then pump out future recommendations based on how the emails have been taken in by customers. The information, such as whether or not the email was opened at all, how many times it was opened, and whether or not a customer clicked the links to get to your website, will help you determine what should be changed in your future holiday marketing emails.

Take advantage of all opportunities

There are many different opportunities to offer a great deal, and it’s your company’s job take advantage of them. For example, sending emails telling customers exactly how many days there are left to order and have a gift arrive before Christmas is extremely helpful to them, especially as we near the 25th. In all communications with customers, offering a discount or promotion of sorts peaks a customer’s interest.

Make your call to action clear

One of the most important parts of an advertising campaign is the call to action, though it is even more important in an email to a customer. If they open the email but don’t understand what exactly it is your company wants them to do, they definitely aren’t going to buy anything. Make it clear exactly why you sent the email in the first place and what you want them to do after they’ve opened the email up.

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Source: huffingtonpost.  com/entry/why-you-should-be-paying-more-attention-to-your-holiday_us_5a1ef90ee4b00579aa29f9ba

5 Tips for Marketing to Generation Z



It took some time to understand and market to Millennials. Now, marketers are working to start understanding how to best market to Generation Z. This group includes anyone who is 22 or younger now, though it will make up 40 percent of consumers by 2020. That’s only a couple of years away, which means it is time to start putting marketing strategies in place to marketo the new generation of buyers. Here are 5 tips to follow when planning a marketing campaign aimed at Generation Z.


1. Use AI technology to communicate

If you haven’t gotten set up with an artificial intelligence company yet, now is the time to do so. Generation Z knows how to use technology extremely well, which means they often prefer communicating with computers than humans. They know that computers are more concise and clear in their communications and will give a straight answer. Artificial intelligence can be setup to respond to texts from consumers or even chats through social media. By offering a quick and easy method of communication, you’re giving Generation Z a way to get all the information they need before making a purchase.


2. Get on social media, and don’t waste time

Generation Z is very involved in social media, though they spend mere minutes on a social media site at a time. They might still check the site up to 100 times a day, but they won’t spend long checking things out. That means you have very little time to make an impression. Make sure all advertising efforts are clear and to the point. The ad needs to grab their attention quickly and hold their interest enough to keep them from quickly navigating away.


3. Focus on the greater good for society

One thing we know about Generation Z compared to other generations is that they are very focused on providing a solution that helps the greater good instead of just themselves. They seem to have more money than previous generations, and they want to spend that money with companies that are benefiting a good they believe in. Your advertising efforts should highlight the ways your company benefits the greater good and why the product or service you offer is worth their attention.

This generation values social issues such as race, gender equality, income equality, and the environment. Show your company cares about those issues. Try to avoid saying anything that could be potentially damaging because Generation Z can take you to the Internet and destroy your reputation in minutes on social media.


4. Focus on real people

The reason why using social media influencers has been so successful is because it gets real people involved in sharing your product instead of just the big stars. In our current political climate, Generation Z tends to be distrusting of big name celebrities. However, they trust the people they spend time following on social media because they feel as though they are friends.

Another thing to consider is that it can be very valuable to highlight real people in your ads and marketing campaigns. Find a few teens or teachers who are doing great things and highlight them. Generation Z wants to see real people instead of size 0 models trying to sell them stuff.


5. Get them involved

Don’t just advertise to Generation Z. Get them involved in what you are doing. There are a lot of different ways to get them involved, some as simple as asking yes or no questions on social media in order to elicit a conversation about something on your page. Communicate with customers on Twitter, especially if you can get to joking around with customers. Work with geofilters on SnapChat. Social media is your biggest ally when it comes to involving your customers with your business. And if you can get customers talking about your business, you’ll have plenty of new customers coming in too.

Ultimately, the biggest thing to remember with Generation Z is that you have to be quick to catch their attention, and you need to give them something important to talk about. It’s the best way to get their business, which you’ll definitely be needing in just a couple of years.

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Small Business Marketing Tips to Compete



Competing with large companies such as Walmart and Amazon seems daunting, especially for small businesses. Trying to find a way to reach customers and keep prices affordable at the same time are two of the biggest challenges small businesses face when competing with the big guys. Fortunately, there are many ways a small business can stay just as competitive, if not more, as the big brand stores, and it is all because of the internet.

Before widespread use of the internet, small businesses were limited to the audience they could reach. It was really only possible to advertise to the fe people who lived in your town or nearby. Now, however, a business can sell products online and send them all over the world. It gives companies an opportunity to reach their same audience throughout the world instead of hoping to find a large enough audience in their one area.


Use of Artificial Intelligence

A small business can compete much better through the use of artificial intelligence (AI). The availability and capabilities of AI over the years has increased dramatically, especially recently. It can be used throughout your company to help in decision making, but it is especially effective in the marketing and customer service departments. While having real people to help make final decisions is important, AI can actually automate a lot. You can use a chatbot to communicate with customers who text or chat customer service. It can also be used to automate marketing decisions. An artificial intelligence company can help you get AI setup for your small business, so you can start competing in a meaningful way



In today’s world, personalization is everything. Generic advertising isn’t as effective as it used to be, and people are more likely to actually buy what you are selling if it is something they want or need. Companies are using AI to send ads to customers that apply to their situations and even location based advertising, which is one of the hottest new trends. A customer is more likely to visit if they are already close by than making a special trip.


Text Marketing

Another way AI can help beat the competition is through sending out personalized text messages. It is extremely important to focus on maintaining your current customer base; it is the group of people who have opted in to receiving texts from your company. They already know they love your product. They just need a reminder that you are there here and there. A personalized, automated texting service will let you text them reminders and even allow them to text you when they have questions they need answered. A chatbot can then communicate with them to get their questions answered.


Email Marketing

Email marketing is another great way to stay in communication with your current customer base. It took a bit of a hit a few years ago when texting became more popular, but there has been a resurgence as customers are now checking their emails almost as frequently as texts. Plus, email is the perfect place for sending discounts and coupons. It is one of the first places customers will look to find store discounts, and they will check it on their own time when they are ready. But they can keep it there as long as they need it


Social Media Marketing

If you haven’t already gotten on social media, now is the time. It is the easiest and best way to reach customers for a small business. There are many people who prefer to shop small, and small businesses can reach out to each other and work together more easily through social media. For example, some companies will run promotions with 4 or 5 other companies to provide a large prize package to one customer if that person is willing to like all company pages. It is a great way to get new customers who didn’t even know your product or service exists and to get more exposure to other people who are in your same type of industry. Social media is one of your most effective tools for gaining new customers for a small business.

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Source: entrepreneur.   com/article/305064#


How to succeed with digital marketing in 2018


Word Cloud "Digital Marketing"


The world of digital marketing is always changing so quickly, that if you’re not constantly and proactively making adjustments to your strategy, you’ll quickly fall behind. Now that 2017 is drawing to a close, it’s a good time to look ahead to 2018 and try to anticipate which things are going to be the most important as you decide how to allocate digital marketing funds. Here are a few predictions about what’s going to be important for your brand in the coming year.

Video marketing

Video is going to be the single biggest content marketing channel. Already the big social media platforms are trying to prioritize video content through algorithms and improved video capabilities. Adding video content to your website greatly increases the chances your site shows up on the first page of Google search results. People are ten times more likely to comment on, “like,” or share video content as they are non-video content. Approximately 65% of viewers will watch at least three-fourths of a video; the retention rates for text-based content is much lower so video is the best way to get a message across if you want people to actually get to the end of it.

Location-based marketing

Google search is becoming increasingly localized. By that we mean that people are more likely to include the name of their location in their search. You can optimize for this by targeting Google ads by location. You can also encourage check-ins on social media if your business has a physical space so that friends and acquaintances of customers can discover you online. Finally, you can invest in real-time geolocation marketing in which customers can be notified of special deals via SMS (with their permission) when they get within a certain distance of your place of business.

Influencer marketing

Influencer marketing has never been important. For Gen Zers especially, traditional marketing can seem inauthentic whereas influencer marketing feels more organic and genuine. If other people are promoting your products for you without being paid to do so, people will have an easier time trusting your brand. Influencer marketing is about building relationships with people who hold influence with your target audience already and sending them free samples so that they can publish an honest review of them for their audience.


Chatbots went mainstream in 2017 and will continue to grow in popularity in 2018. Chatbots can be used as a shopping assistant and/or a customer service agent to assist your customers in finding the product that is right for them through asking questions and it can answer frequently asked questions or provide other limited customer service.

Social proofing

Along with influencer marketing mentioned above, social proofing helps customers overcome the hesitance to buy when they see their peers saying good things about your brand. You can invest in social proofing by encouraging your loyal customers to become advocates of your brand by sharing their positive experiences with your brand on social media and directory pages like Google or Yelp.

Augmented reality

Recently, IKEA launched an AR-enabled mobile app that allows customers to aim their smartphone’s camera at a place in their room and on their phone screen, the customer can see IKEA merchandise in that space so they can visualize what it would look like in their own home before purchasing. Augmented reality will let your brand display advertising not just on customers’ screens but all around them as well.

Voice search

One-word, short-tail keywords are never going to go away completely but longer search strings are becoming the norm especially thanks to voice search functionality that encourages people to use a more conversational style when using search engines. Long-tail keywords are going to need to be emphasized by brands in 2018.


Only 3% of consumers make a purchase when they visit an online store for the first time. Retargeting will be especially in 2018 and you will need to find ways to retarget customers who visited but didn’t purchase.

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Five things your customer service chatbot needs to succeed



By the end of 2015, more than half a million Americans had professed their love for Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant/chatbot. It shouldn’t come as a surprise then to learn that in 2016, more than a quarter of a million Americans had proposed to Alexa. Fortunately, Amazon had the foresight to program Alexa with a number of witty and noncommittal answers for just such an occasion. Though silly, this anecdote illustrates an important point: US consumers are becoming more accustomed to and comfortable with interacting with artificial intelligence and brands are paying attention to this trend. Of businesses surveyed, 80% said they planned to integrate AI into their customer service efforts by the year 2020.

Of course, not everyone is in love with chatbots. While humans may not be able to tell the difference between communicating with a chatbot and communicating with a human early on in the conversation, it usually becomes apparent within the first several exchanges. Chatbots seem weird, or even creepy to some and many feel that humans still provide superior customer service. Since getting humans to accept chatbots is a huge step in the chatbot revolution, chatbot developers need to provide them with five key traits if they are to succeed.

Just a touch of personality

Creating a personable chatbot is a tricky balancing act. On the one hand, people don’t like chatbots to be too cold and impersonal. On the other hand, chatbots that are too life-like tend to creep people out. The balance, then, is to create a chatbot that is merely pleasant but not overly conversational. An effective chatbot will efficiently and accurately assist customers all while remembering it’s manners–greetings, please’s and thank you’s, etc…)

The ability to delegate

Artificial intelligence and related fields such as natural language processing simply haven’t come far enough yet to create chatbots that can handle any and all customer service issues. There will be questions that chatbots can’t answer and requests that chatbots can’t fulfill. An effective chatbot will be able to recognize early on in a customer service interaction when it isn’t suited for the situation and transfer the person to a live agent in the appropriate department who is best suited to assist that customer.

A willingness to admit defeat

Along with the ability to delegate must be the willingness to admit defeat. Too many chatbots, when unsure what a customer is asking, get stuck in a cycle of “I don’t understand” or “please say that again” responses.” When a chatbot gets stuck, customers will grow frustrated quickly if there isn’t an option to get routed to a live agent.

The ability to explain what it can and can’t do

As mentioned above, chatbots can sometimes be indistinguishable from humans at least initially. This can cause people to overestimate a chatbot’s ability and will lead to frustration when it can’t do what they expect it to be able to do. An easy solution for this is to have your chatbot provide customers with a list of functions it can fulfill early on in the interaction so customers have some direction about what kinds of things they can ask of the chatbot and which things they might need to talk to a human about.

Access to CRM data

Every good customer service department needs an up-to-date customer relationship management (CRM) database. This is where information about customers such as their preferences or notes about ongoing matters can be recorded so that they are available to other agents who might assist that same customer. Surprisingly, many chatbots aren’t programmed with access to this CRM data. This is a huge missed opportunity because one of the biggest advantages chatbots have over humans is the ability to process vasts amounts of data quickly. There’s no reason your chatbot shouldn’t be able to use machine learning and data from prior interactions to provide customers with the best possible service that is tailored for them individually.

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Five ways chatbots can save businesses and customers time and money

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In all likelihood, you’ve used a chatbot before even if you didn’t know it. Chatbots are the new hype in the tech world just as mobile apps were in 2008 and just like mobile apps, it seems chatbots are here to stay. Hundreds of thousands of chatbots have already been developed and deployed across various messaging apps and websites. Chatbots are helping businesses by driving increased sales and reducing the strain and customer support staffs. They’re helping customers by automating customer service and offering a customized online shopping experience. Here’s a more detailed look at how chatbots are helping businesses and customers alike to save time and money.

Chatbots as personal assistants

The average small business doesn’t have room in the budget for personal assistants and many don’t even have office assistants or secretaries. Thanks to chatbots you don’t need to worry about finding more office space or room in the budget for personal assistants. Chatbots can be programmed to work at every employee’s workstation. They can assist in setting up, modifying, or cancelling appointments, they can manage employee’s calendars as well as remind them of upcoming appointments, they can send and receive emails on employees’ behalf and they can connect employees with the appropriate IT or HR staff when needed.

Gathering feedback

Chatbots are excellent tools when it comes to gathering feedback. Helpful feedback is essential for every business and chatbots can aid in gathering feedback both formally and informally. The advantage chatbots have over automated surveys via text is that they can ask follow up questions to better understand customer responses and customer responses don’t have to be limited to numbers on a number scale. Another advantage that chatbots have is they have access to every prior interaction it’s ever had and can access that vast database of information to provide better assistance.

Personalized newsfeeds and reminders

Chatbots that scour the news sites for only the information that’s relevant for the user are hugely popular and are great time savers. Whether it’s for work or pleasure, having a chatbot that can sort through all the news and handpick only stories that you want to see are a huge help.

Automated business processes

Chatbots are great for automating tasks including many business processes. For example, a chatbot can be setup to alert relevant team members when a given task is complete. It could be set up to ask frequently asked questions posed by either employees or customers. Chatbots can facilitate better communication between departments and can even automate a lot of customer service by asking for identifying information, pulling up accounts, determining the nature of the customer’s problem, and routing them to the support staff member that’s best equipped to provide assistance for that customer.

Knowing what customers think

Thanks to machine learning and natural language processing, chatbots are better than any employee can ever be at offering a customized experienced for every customer. With each successive interaction with the same customer, it can get better and better and knowing what the customer is thinking and it can make suggestions and upsell to customers when they think they’ll be receptive to it.

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