Tag Archive for 'Chuck Martin'

Is your business ready for mobile prime time?

A smartphone is as close to a magic wand or lightsaber as exists outside of the dimension of fantasy.

Recent research by eMarketer indicates that more than 130 million Americans will own one of these in 2013. The same group is projecting that number to grow by a third – to almost 200 million smartphones – by 2016. That’s just about every American who isn’t a small child or nursing home resident. Here’s another way to say that: Essentially every one of your prospects and customers. Allow me to spell it out for you: If your business isn’t ready for mobile prime time it’s a dinosaur waiting to become extinct. Any questions?

Here are two important first steps so your business will avoid extinction by mobile:

1. Get your online information optimized for local search. This is critical for a comprehensive online strategy, but mandatory for mobile prime time, because mobile searchers are often trying to literally find a business. If I’m in Peoria and hungry for pizza, you want me to find you in my local mobile search for “pizza in Peoria.

2. Decide whether to invest in a mobile site or a mobile app; either one will get your business ready for mobile prime time. Here’s the difference:

Mobile app: A software application that downloads to and resides on a customer’s mobile device.

  • Advantage: Downloaded information, like an article or podcast, that can be used later without an Internet connection.
  • Disadvantage: Updated information, like today’s menu or discount, has to be downloaded and will likely take longer to present than a mobile page.

Mobile site: Your website condensed for the smaller mobile screens. When your regular URL is requested from a smartphone, the mobile site presents automatically with the most important elements and less graphics. In other words, form follows function.

  • Advantages: Most mobile sites cost less than most apps to create, update and maintain, and a mobile site icon looks just like a mobile app icon.
  • Disadvantages: Most mobile sites aren’t as sexy as most mobile apps. And just like your regular website, a mobile site cannot be used unless the device is connected to the Internet.

Here are Blasingame’s Ready for Mobile Prime Time Rules of Thumb:

1. Not all businesses need a mobile app, but every small business needs a mobile website;

2. Get ready for mobile prime time or get ready for extinction.

The Age of the Customer is being driven by customer expectations, and nowhere is this truer than with mobile.


Last week on The Small Business Advocate Show I talked more about mobile computing and the 21st century marketplace with Chuck Martin, mobile-marketing researcher and guru, and author of the award-winning book, The Third Screen. Click on the links below to download or listen to our conversations. Is your business ready for prime time?

What is the current state of mobile computing?

What is the impact of mobile computing on consumers?

Small business can compete against Amazon with a mobile strategy

Check out more of Jim’s great content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

Watch Jim’s videos HERE!

Small Business Advocate Poll: How much do you rely on a smartphone?

The Question:
Not counting calls, how much do you rely on a smartphone for texting, email, music, social media, books, or accessing online content like news, videos, etc?

12% - It’s my primary device, every day, all day

16% - Increasingly for more tasks

56% - It supplements my PC when out of the office

16% - Zero - don’t own a smartphone

My Comments:
The primary thing to take away from this survey response is that more than eight of 10 of our respondents use a smartphone. That should be a wake-up call for small businesses that don’t have a mobile strategy for attracting and serving customers. I’ll have more to say about this in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.

Chuck Martin, author of The Third Screen and CEO of The Mobile Future Institute, appears regularly on my radio program to discuss the future of mobile computing and why small businesses need a mobile strategy. Click on one of the links below to listen to our latest conversations. Also, leave a comment and tell us how you use your smartphone.

Mobile computing is the future of small business

Take advantage of mobile business opportunities

Business owners get closer to their mobile devices

Check out more great SBA content HERE!

Take this week’s poll HERE!

What kind of mobile phone do you use?

For some time now, I’ve been encouraging small business owners to buy and use a smart phone - the kind that allows those cool mobile apps to be downloaded - like an iPhone or a phone with Google Droid operating system. The reason is because mobile computing is the future. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google said he expected Google to be more successful in the future with mobile than they ever had been with the desktop.

We wanted to know what kind of hand-held communication device you were using, so last week we asked this question: What kind of mobile phone do you have? Here’s what our small business audience told us:

Those who said they used some kind of a smart phone, represented 53% of our respondents. The rest, 47%, said they were still using a regular cell phone. Based on industry numbers about the smart phone adoption rate of all users (27%), our survey would indicate that small business owners are employing smart phones to a higher degree.

I love it when people listen to me.

On The Small Business Advocate Show, I’ve talked with Chuck Martin, author of the new book, The Third Screen, many times about the future of mobile computing and creating a mobile strategy to remain relevant in the 21st century. Click here to see all of the conversations I’ve had with Chuck on this important topic.

Executives are not confident of their social media activity

How confident are you about your company’s social media strategy? That’s the question NFI Research asked thousands of corporate managers in a recent poll.  NFI’s president is Chuck Martin, who is also a member of my Brain Trust. 

The results of Chuck’s poll might shock you: Approximately two-thirds of the respondents were not confident about their company’s social media strategy, and only around 10% were in the confident category.

When you think about it, the response to Chuck’s question isn’t that surprising since we’re still basically on the threshold of the development of corporate social media strategies. And clearly, developing a social media plan for a business is a lot more complicated than creating a personal Facebook page or Twitter account. Plus, the larger the business the more complicated the process. So for a majority of executives to be less than confident about their foray into social media should actually not be a big shock.

But the primary reason for executive exasperation with social media is not just because it’s an emerging market discipline that most of us are just learning. Indeed, I predict that larger companies will still be unsettled about their social media strategies five years from now. I think the real reason is all about control – actually, the loss of control.

It’s in an executive’s DNA to control corporate messaging, whether PR about the company or their marketing messaging. But when a business launches into the social media universe it literally is an exercise in watching control evaporate. As I’ve said many times before, in the social media world, companies – large or small – cannot control conversations in online communities, they can only influence them. And influencing takes time and patience, the latter of which is not a natural by-product of the quarterly report mentality so prevalent among managers of big companies.

Small businesses don’t operate with a short-term attitude; our business decisions aren’t based on what analysts will think or how the stock price will be affected. We’re already comfortable with merely influencing community activity, and operate so close to customers that a two-way conversation has always been the norm for us.

Social media is nothing if not about connecting on a more personal level, which is good news for small businesses. Consequently, once social media has evolved to becoming just another tool – like websites, email and instant messaging, which will happen soon - small businesses will not only become confident in their social media activity, but will thrive with these tools to a much greater degree than the Big Boxes.

The advent and ultimate universal adoptions of social media practices (for businesses: creating online customer communities) is just more evidence of something I began predicting in 1999: The 21st century is the century of the entrepreneur.

Recently, Chuck Martin joined me on my radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, to talk about his research and our thoughts on it. Take a few minutes to listen to this conversation. And, of course, be sure to leave your thoughts. 

How fear gave small business a competitive advantage

Over 30 years ago a survey was published that revealed the top ten things that are most important to employees. The findings were shocking: The most important thing was how employees felt about their manager and how much their work and ideas were valued by the company.

Stop the presses! You mean to tell me that the most important thing to an employee is not compensation? Not money?

And here’s more shocking news: In every subsequent survey I’ve seen in the intervening years, money has never even been in the top three most important things for an employee. Until now.

That’s right. A brand new survey, conducted by my friend and Brain Trust member, Chuck Martin, revealed that perhaps for the first time ever, compensation topped the list of things that are most important. But the big news is why. I think the answer to that question is fear.

The sudden collapse of the global economy beginning in Q4 2007 has created more fear than I’ve seen in my long career. And as if that weren’t enough, the way top corporate management and politicians have reacted – and over-reacted – has poured fuel onto the fear fire.

When a manager or employee is afraid to propose a new idea or take a risk for fear of losing his or her job, creativity and innovation are the victims. Without creativity there can be no optimism. And without optimism the spirit is wounded, trust dissolves and relationships break down.

In this kind of environment – where relationships up and down the organization chart are questioned – the historically reported feelings for remaining in an organization give way to survival. If I can’t find fulfillment in how my boss appreciates me, the only other source of employment fulfillment is money.

As the economy recovers, fear will abate. But in the meantime, there is opportunity for small businesses with this change in attitudes. There is still plenty for small businesses to be fearful of, but we are less likely to have fearful work environments than big companies. Perhaps that’s the reason Chuck’s recent survey also revealed that 71% of respondents would rather work for a small or medium sized company than a large organization.

Consequently, there has never been a better time for small businesses to recruit top talent. And as you interview those candidates, make sure you demonstrate that creativity and relationships are alive and well in your small business and that fear is not part of your management style or business plan.

Recently, on my small business radio program, The Small Business Advocate Show, I talked with Chuck Martin, CEO of NFI Research about the impact of his research. Take a few minutes to listen to what Chuck and I had to say. And be sure to leave your comments.

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