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Red, White, and Social: Social Media Marketing Ideas for the Fourth of July

Independence Day marks a day of festivity; family, friends, food and fireworks take center stage…and so should your business. Promoting your business on the Fourth of July can be done pool or beachside if you utilize social media promotions.

Here are seven Fourth of July social media marketing ideas to drive sales and engagement throughout the holiday:

1. Run a Photo Contest

Bring the celebration over to social media by having visitors post their most patriotic moments, or their best red, white and blue photos. Or, create a brand and holiday-specific hashtag just for your event.

The Clymb, an outdoor gear retailer got creative with their Fourth of July Instagram campaign last year. Customers were encouraged to upload photos of their outdoor Independence Day celebrations and three winners were awarded gift certificates.

Non-retail businesses can also take advantage of Fourth of July social media promotions. This Warford Orthodontics Fourth of July photo contest encouraged followers to post firework and patriotic photos on their Facebook page. The winning entries were awarded Visa gift cards.

2. Choose a Brand Specific Holiday Hashtag

Promoting your business on the Fourth of July can be as simple as creating a brand specific holiday hashtag to be used across all platforms. A brand specific hashtag will help you sort through contest entrants, as well as create higher visibility for the campaign.

The Clymb’s Fourth of July photo contest required entrants to use both their business name in a hashtag (#TheClymb) in addition to a brand specific holiday hashtag (#RWBCLYMB).

Edelman Digital offers a great roundup of 5 websites that offer hashtag generation help, if you’re struggling with creativity.

3. Curate Holiday-Specific Social Content

Provide added value by sharing Fourth of July specific content with your customers. BBQ recipes, an article highlighting local events (fireworks, parades, etc.), even trending national stories help build engagement with your community on social media platforms.
Offerpop suggests creating a Pinterest board with a roundup of the best summer cocktails.

4. Promote Holiday Specific Products

Get creative! Discount red, white and blue or holiday-related products. Lowes knocked it out of the ballpark with this Vine they posted, creating a fireworks display with a selection of their many products.

5. Create a Promotion for Visitors to Use In-Store or On Your Website

Up the ante and use a program like Offerpop’s Viral to spread the word about your promotion. Share your promotion on your company blog or through your email newsletter and have your followers retweet the promotion to unlock the discount code.

6. Run a Social Media Specific Promotion

This is a great time to grow your mailing list! Offer a Fourth of July promotion for customers who sign up for your newsletter.
Can your product be showcased in tandem with the Fourth of July holiday? Combine the idea of a photo contest with a brand specific hashtag and encourage your customers to share on social media in exchange for a coupon or discount code.

7. Support a Cause

Take a look at your community – are there any events or organizations your business can support? Entrepreneur.com says that ‘”Cause marketing’ is now the norm, and customers who visit your website and see your advertising want to know that you share their desire to make the world a better place by supporting an important cause.”

With careful planning, social media marketing can allow you to enjoy the holiday, reach the community and your consumers, and translate into Fourth of July sales. Think outside the box and enjoy engaging with your customer base, but most of all, enjoy the fireworks!

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SEO Tips for Your Houston Business

Search engine optimization — SEO for short — is an extremely effective method for driving organic traffic to your website. Having a solid SEO strategy for your Houston business not only helps to boost organic traffic but the traffic you attract is likely to be more qualified in the long run. When a user comes across your site through a web search you demonstrate your company’s value and authority by providing useful information on a topic they want to know about.

For those just starting out, Google has written a Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide that outlines the best practices for creating great web content that’s hospitable to person and algorithm alike. But while the strength of the content you post is the foundation of any successful SEO campaign in Houston, there’s some additional considerations webmasters should keep in mind to ensure their pages are achieving the rankings they should.

Have a Responsive Site

You could have the best content in the world on your website but if no one can read it, it will hardly matter. Having a clean, fast loading, and properly coded site that displays correctly on any browser or device is necessary to having a highly ranked page. This especially includes making sure your site is optimized for mobile, since Google released an updated algorithm last month that specifically penalizes sites that aren’t built with a responsive design.

Design With Pagination in Mind

Make sure to have a strategy for how you split up the content on your site into separate pages. Irving Weiss over at Moz has some great advice about the importance of designing for pagination. Sometimes splitting up an article into two pages can be beneficial, such as when different parts follow different keyword strategies. Having a large number of indexed pages with quality SEO content will ultimately improve your search rankings sitewide, while having more than a few low quality pages will put a ding in the rankings of your quality content.

Have a Keyword Strategy

Long gone are the days when ‘Googlebombing,’ and keyword stuffing could push any old web page to the top of practically any search result. Today’s complex algorithms, combined with high competition for the top spot means that nothing but the best content will suffice. On top of that, you want to find a niche. Using a keyword planner, such as the AdWords Keyword Planner, will let you find a good balance between search traffic and competing pages. The trick here is to know your customer base, and create content that targets the keywords they are searching.

Keep Your Content Fresh

It’s a myth that changing up the content of your website arbitrarily, with the hopes of attracting search engine web crawlers to your site will give a boost to your search rankings. There’s no fooling search engines by updating content. Creating new, unique content on the other hand benefits your readers and your rankings. Your readers have more opportunities to engage with your site, and having more points of entry means your site will show up in a variety of different search results.

It’s a good idea to follow a schedule when posting new content. If your readers expect new content regularly, they’ll keep coming back, share your links on social media, and maybe even link to your site from their own blog, further bolstering your rankings.

Hire a Professional

A successful SEO campaign has value that is “completely unparalleled.” But it’s a long term investment that can flop if not properly implemented. The increasing complexity of search engine algorithms means that SEO best practices are constantly changing. Hiring someone who can manage your SEO campaign will ensure that your site is targeting the right keywords, and putting your site in front of the right audience for your business.

However you choose to implement your SEO campaign, one thing’s for sure: the modern search engine has completely transformed the way people seek out information, and it’s here to stay.

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Responsive Design: We’ve Made It Simple for You.

So – turns out – Google is going to eventually have its way with Houston businesses who don’t invest in updating their non-mobile-friendly websites.  That’s because we know the majority of consumers are turning to mobile devices for their Google searches.

And how can Google help users get the info they need if businesses aren’t helping Google out by providing decent web experiences?

According to Entrepreneur.com…

“By some estimates, more than 60 percent of all Google searches are now performed on mobile devices, so it makes sense that Google wants to capitalize on this traffic and ensure the best possible experience for its users.”

Yes – it makes perfect sense. So – is your website doing all it can to help Google out?  Take a few minutes to read what we’re talking about. It’ll be worth it.

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10 Horrible Excuses for Not Having A Digital Marketing Plan

Business owners frequently make excuses when it comes to why they aren’t utilizing digital marketing despite the many business advantages it brings. In this post i’ll list 10 excuses businesses make regarding why they don’t engage in digital marketing and explain WHY we think not having a solid digital marketing plan is a terrible business mistake in the digital age.

1. Digital Marketing Won’t Work for My Clientele

You’ll never know until you try. There are new customers that can be reached online that cannot be reached via local or traditional marketing channels for pennies on the dollar, and it’s easy.

2. I Don’t Know What I’m Doing

That’s okay! Everyone needs to start somewhere. That’s what digital agencies like Cox Media Group Houston (shameless plug) are for. We’ve spent the time and resources to build a team of digital experts to help be an extension of your team. Why try to go at it alone?

3. I’ve Tried It Before and It Didn’t Work

Use your prior campaigns as learning experiences and don’t make the same mistakes. Expand your reach or go for a specific local target. Do research to back up your marketing strategy and to improve your chance of success.

4. We Don’t Have the Resources

Most marketing keyword campaigns will be very cheap and have a great trackable ROI when compared to print, TV and radio ads which are typically a little more difficult to track.

5. TV, Radio, Print, Etc. Has Always Worked for Us

Of course the traditional mediums of marketing are often successful. Continue to use them. You’re creating demand or reminding your target audience to use your product or service. That audience is then highly likely to go online before they come directly to you. You want to be where they are.

And with digital marketing, the reach is often for a cheap price when compared with the alternatives. It makes it a business advantage that many companies, stuck in the past, often miss out on. Don’t let it be yours!

6. Our Prospects Aren’t Very Mobile/Tech Savvy, Etc…

You’d be surprised according to the stats nearly the majority of every generation use mobile phones and internet.

  •   90% of American adults have a cell phone
  •   58% of American adults have a smartphone
  •   42% of American adults own a tablet computer
  •   63% of adult cell owners use their phones to go online
  •   34% of cell internet users go online mostly using their phones, and not using some other device such as a desktop or laptop computer.

Source: Pew Research Center

7. We’ve Budgeted Elsewhere

You can find room in the budget for $100-$500 for a test run on a few relevant keywords to your business. If it doesn’t suit your business needs, so be it, but the amount of customers that you can reach across the world with your businesses keyword categories makes it an undeniable way for businesses to reach new customers and expand their digital footprint.

8. We Don’t Really Use Social Media

You don’t have to, although it is recommended. With marketing campaigns such as Google Adwords and Adsense, your business can be found via Google searches and Google Maps expanding your reach and making it easier for your customers to find information about your business.

9. Our Website Doesn’t Generate a Lot of Business

Some businesses won’t benefit from a fancy website and a lot of expensive keyword campaigns but doing a small test run can surprise you and show you that maybe your website can generate business if you took a more serious look into digital marketing. Your website my not drive business, but if people don’t easily find your product or service when they search for it online, it will be your competition that they find.

10. I Don’t Know Where to Start

Do some reading and try and become more comfortable with how digital marketing works. Try reading these to get a quick understanding:

Know Enough to be Dangerous: Your Online Guide to Digital Marketing

Digital Advertising is Always Evolving: How to Stay on Top

The Five Steps of SEO 

Top 10 Digital Don’ts: Your Guide for What Not to Do

10 Facebook Best Practices for Businesses

After reading our list hopefully you have a changed mind about not implementing a digital marketing strategy. The upside is too great to not give it a shot. For retail businesses, with the amount of new customers you can generate and the cost effectiveness of your marketing efforts, digital marketing is something you can’t pass up. For other businesses it’s a great tool to direct people to you, expand your online footprint and improve the reputation around your brand.

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Why Social Media Marketing is Critical for Your Houston Business

According to Pew Research Center, 74% of all internet users engage on social media every day—which is why social media sites have become the most efficient way to market businesses. Whether you tweet, post status updates, share photos, or write quick blog posts, being active on a variety of social media sites can help your business generate leads and engage consumer bases.

A New Way to Connect

Social media users come from all walks of life and touch almost every corner of the globe. They are eager and conditioned to use social sites to connect and share. This makes integrating social media into your Houston marketing strategy the perfect avenue to find and engage with potential clients and consumers.

Unlike other marketing routes (such as traditional or digital marketing) where advertising may reach a general audience that may or may not be specific to your business, social media sites are more targeted than ever. Based on the platform your business utilizes, you are able to correctly reach the client base that works for your needs.

For example, if looking for the biggest audience, look no further than Facebook. Pew Research Center says that 71% of Internet users have a profile on Facebook, making up more than 51% of the entire adult population. B2B organizations in particular should utilize LinkedIn, a social media site specifically for career-based networking, where the users are largely college graduates and high income earners. For finding younger consumers, sites like Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr, that allow users to quickly share snippets of photos or statuses, is quickly becoming the most effective medium for reaching out.

Businesses can choose to stick to one of these targeted platforms or to branch out with unique cross posts targeted for a variety of different audiences. An example of this would be a sharing a photo on Instagram of a new menu item to reach younger, mobile audiences.

A New Way to Engage

Overall, the main purpose of social media use by businesses should be to foster engagement between the business and its audience. This begins with drawing the consumer to the central hub — the website. Social media, according to Entrepreneur, is used by nearly half of Internet users as their “go-to” source for online discovery. An additional 28% say that using links provided by social media sites has helped them discover new websites. This means that social media has a huge potential in terms of generating unique, targeted website traffic without much effort, time, or financial investment.

Where social media really shines is in being the anti-website. Instead of just being a pitch from a business to a consumer or client, social media provides the chance for a two-way conversation. This includes having a comment section where users can communicate with one another or with the business itself or having a space for the customer to make suggestions for better business ideas.

Social media also provides a space for business owners to evaluate their organization’s performance. While it may be frightening, social media allows consumers to be honest and open– more so than ever before. This may mean that your business fields complaints or receives negative reviews. However, it also allows you to discover what is and isn’t working directly from the customer. It is the instant feedback that makes utilizing social media marketing in Houston worth it.

A New Way to Market Your Houston Business

Embracing social media marketing can be challenging at first. However, discovering ways in which to engage with a new audience and seek feedback through sites like Facebook, Yelp or Pinterest can open up a wide variety of opportunities for your business. From connecting and sharing to driving targeted traffic back to your website, social media has become today’s most critical media space for Houston businesses to stake their marketing claim.

Houston Business Owners: Don’t Try Marketing On Your Own

Sometimes it’s tempting for Houston business owners to handle all aspects of  business, including marketing, in hopes of saving a few bucks. And while having control might feel better than relying on someone else, it’s very likely that you could be hurting your overall chances of success.  Here’s why…

You are an expert. And you are an expert at what you do, at running your business, being a manager, and understanding your customers. But unless you have a formal marketing or advertising background, then you are probably not a marketing expert. By hiring a Houston advertising agency or working closely with your media company rep, you can achieve much greater success while saving yourself time and money in the long run.

We Know What You Can Do and Say – Legally

When you’re running a business the last thing you need is a lawsuit for using an uncredited photo without the photographer’s permission or unintentionally plagiarizing a phrase. These are marketing mistakes like that can have serious consequences and may cost your business.

Using an agency or media company can help you avoid blunders like that. They are experts in the best practices for marketing and understand how to increase your business’s success in the Houston market.

Professionals Have Expertise You May Not

The team you work with should have expertise in areas you know little or none about, such as:

  • Understanding consumer behavior trends.
  • Choosing the right media for your needs. (BTW – are you still only using print?! Tisk. Tisk. You need to chase down the digital bandwagon. It’s left without you.)
  • Setting realistic and measurable goals.
  • Developing creative that will get results.
  • Changing trends including Google algorithm, legal issues, and general market updates.

It Takes (Dedicated) Time

You have a business to run, a staff to manage, and new clients to develop. You don’t have time to write creative, place ads, track results, and respond to every tweet. Hiring outside your company takes the pressure and the responsibility off your shoulders so you can concentrate on other business needs. (And just because your super smart niece graduated with a degree in communications and needs a job – doesn’t necessarily mean she’s got tried and true experience to effectively plan and manage your marketing budget. Internships are designed for a reason! Hire a seasoned professional folks.)

Quality Marketing

Paying for marketing services is an added expense for your business. However, by appointing a quality marketing agency or utilizing the expertise of your media company, you should see quality leads, valuable feedback, and increased ROI.

The old adage continues to stand true: You get what you pay for.

This of course does not mean you have to step out of the process or that your input doesn’t matter, because it certainly does. But your input paired with a marketing expert is what will really make the difference.

Trusting experts at a media company (shameless plug => Cox Media Group) with your marketing strategy and execution will allow you more time to focus on developing your business. Their knowledge and experience will help you to deliver quality marketing material and avoid costly mistakes that put businesses that were once profitable in Houston out of business.

Would you leave your brand new, five-speed Mercedes in the hands of a driver who has never driven a stick – let alone – doesn’t have a license?  Probably not.

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Houston Marketing Moguls: Recognizing Rachel Gottschalk

RachelGottschalk

Imagine one of the brightest, wittiest, A-game marketing professionals in Houston with a knack for effectively building marketing plans that align perfectly with strategic goals and enter Rachel Gottschalk. She’s just one of those gals who has got our ambiguous profession that IS Marketing figured out. With a work roster that includes the likes of the Houston Rockets and Memorial Hermann – clearly others have figured her out too. Enjoy.

Meet Rachel Gottschalk: Marketing Director – Orthopedics/Sports Medicine

Memorial Hermann Health System

Maintains extensive experience in developing, implementing and executing, marketing, communications and corporate development strategies.

CMG: How did you wind up in sales/marketing?

RG: I actually majored in marketing in college so it is something that has always appealed to me. I thought I would end up in the advertising world as opposed to marketing, but through my experience in media buying at an agency I realized I was more interested in the campaigns our clients were running rather than how to best place them. I also realized that working directly with clients and stations played perfectly into my strengths and therefore I migrated to that role.

CMG: Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why? 

RG: My former boss at the Houston Rockets was truly a mentor to me (ahem – Dawn Keen.) She saw a lot of potential and afforded me the autonomy and flexibility to create and implement new ideas as I had them. She trusted me and therefore played more of a support role rather than micromanaging my efforts. I also learned how to effectively manage people – different types of people – from her. She allowed me to observe and learn from how she dealt with various situations with employees and co-workers. The good, the bad, and the ugly, so to speak. That education has proven invaluable.

CMG: What in your marketing experience are you most proud of?

RG: While I was with the Rockets, a co-worker had left the organization and there was a shuffling of the deck where I was given several large, critical sponsorship accounts to manage. For a couple of those accounts, the partnership had become very strained. With focused efforts, I turned the relationships back into positive ones and secure a renewed, long-term partnership with each. I am proud that the relationships I built with those accounts and contacts continue to exist today and I still keep in touch and/or work with them in some capacity even now.

CMG: Where do you come up with your most creative ideas?

RG: Creative ideas are everywhere! I think I have gotten just as many great ideas from meetings and conferences as I have at sporting events, concerts and cocktails with friends. If something I see or hear strikes me as “interesting” or “cool” then it worked! I am still a consumer first – before a marketer – and it is worth trying to apply that “something” to what I am trying to accomplish in my role as a marketer.

CMG: One word that describes you?

RG:  Accountable.

CMG: In the Houston business world – what do you want to be remembered for?

RG: I make an effort not to just do things because they have been done before. I’d like to be thought of as someone who is able to take a step back and look at initiatives and opportunities objectively and only execute those that truly have the ability to bring value to my team.

CMG: What is one hard lesson you’ve learned about marketing?

RG: Just because you think it is the greatest idea since ‘Happy Hour’ – that is the saying, right? – doesn’t mean that everyone will agree with you. Or, that it will in fact turn out the way you expect. I have learned to be as diligent as possible when trying to predict or sell others on the value of ideas before diving into them. 

CMG: How do you integrate your marketing efforts? Can you give us an example? 

RG: Good ol’ communication is the key here for me. I have been fortunate to work for multifaceted organizations with many departments all focused on their own areas of expertise with the idea that all of those strengths will come together for an outstanding final product. Easier said than done when, in reality, everyone gets caught up in their own departments’ projects and goals and deadlines. It is easy to lose sight of the “big picture”. Communication can help bridge that gap – whether it be regular, cross-departmental meetings or off-site, team-building outings.

CMG: Do you have any tips or best practices for measuring ROI?

RG: Two lessons I’ve learned here. 1) Set target goals before activating if at all possible. 2) If you have no benchmark and cannot set a goal beforehand…DON’T! It does no good to set an arbitrary target. If you meet or exceed that target – it doesn’t mean it was a success. If you fall short of that target –  it doesn’t mean it was a failure.

CMG: What is your secret weapon? ff

RG: This will sound odd, but I try to remain a bit removed from my current position. Over time, it is easy to “drink the Kool-Aid” and not remember what it was like before you became a part of your company. This sounds like a good thing and probably what HR execs dream of at night. However, I believe that by attempting to stay closer to who you are targeting (the “consumer”), you have a better shot at actually reaching them. You become a bit jaded when you live and breathe a certain product or service or vision every day at work. It is important to remember that most people receiving your message don’t know, or frankly care, about it as much as you do. Our message can speak truer to the audience if we can still think like that audience. 

CMG: Amen. 

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Houston Businesses: Is Your Competition Stealing Your Online Traffic?

Fact: If your competition’s website loads quickly, navigates and presents information easily on a mobile device and yours doesn’t, they are stealing your digital audience.

Mobile usage has shown rapid and steady growth over the past few years and is more popular than ever with Houston residents. Mobile advertising and optimization is crucial to marketing in Houston. Your website and content should be optimized for mobile viewing in order to reach your target market, expand brand awareness and keep you from losing digital traffic to your competitors.

Browsing on the Go

Houston’s mobile users want information quickly and simply. They are using the Internet on the go and don’t have time to hunt through your website for what they need. Houston businesses must take on this challenge by creating a responsive website.

A responsive website transitions from one screen size to fit various other screen sizes without users needing to zoom in or out. This makes content easy to read and navigate to increase your clickthroughs and conversions.

Mobile-Friendly Content

Optimizing your content for mobile use is key to improving engagement with your brand rather than your competitor. Use headlines to draw attention to important information and subheadlines for support and key details followed by body content.

Long paragraphs of content are difficult to read especially on a small cell phone screen and mobile readers are too busy too sift through to find the information they need. Break up sections of content for improved mobile viewing by:

  • Keeping your content concise
  • Keeping your call to action clear
  • Using bullet points to make key points easier to read

Opting Out of Optimization?

If your website requires viewers to tap or zoom their cell phone screens to see your content or scroll endlessly to find your call to action, they will be navigating away from your website. They won’t have the information they need and with a bad experience attached to your brand, your competitors will be more likely to gain their business instead—you are losing sales.

Mobile usage is constantly growing and having your content optimized for different screen sizes isn’t something that “cool” or “hip” businesses are doing, it’s something that all businesses need to consider adopting if they haven’t already. Because as we’ve read, if your site isn’t optimized for the mobile users experience your competitors may be.

A Positive Experience

If your website is easy to interact with and your content is easy to comprehend mobile users will connect a positive experience with your brand. This will enhance your brand value to them and increase your clickthroughs and likelihood of valuable lead conversions.

The world is ready for mobile even though you may not be. If your Houston business isn’t optimizing for the growing mobile audience, your competitors will leave you in the dust.

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Houston Marketing Moguls: Recognizing Dan Parsons

Dan_Parsons

At Cox Media Group Houston, we believe in the power of relationships. We also believe in the potential of connecting with individuals and businesses with synergistic goals to succeed – especially those who make a career out of making Houston better. And that is precisely why we couldn’t be more honored to have a friend in Dan Parsons – President at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Metropolitan Houston and South Texas.

Dan’s team at the BBB and the rest of Houston’s city leaders are on a perpetual mission to ensure the growth and vitality of Houston’s business community and economic health. And it turns out – folks like Dan happen to be really good at it. But don’t take our word for it – take Forbes’.

~Enjoy. 

Meet Dan Parsons – President

Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Metropolitan Houston and South Texas.

Maintains 32+ years of experience in media and business.

CMG: How did you decide upon your current career path? What were some motivating factors that led you to where you are today?

DP: It kind of found me. I was planning to be a Band Director…as I have a great passion for music. But in college, before one could be a “DJ”, he had to cut his teeth in news. And voila! I got the media bug. In 1983, I faced a forced move to either Washington D.C. or New York.  At that point in my radio career, I also found out the BBB wanted somebody to “chase” people originally in the Witness Protection, now relocated here running scams for credit repair…timeshare scams, etc….and that was that!  From chasing politicos to con artists! [And sometimes they are pretty close in comparison!]

CMG: What are the most important lessons you would share with other business owners on how to grow and maintain a viable business in today’s economy? 

DP: Very simple….everybody wants growth.  But with it comes responsibility. So does “growing” customer service along with [increased] marketing, sales and market penetration. Failure to do that is 95% of what generates our complaints. That and basic communication.

CMG: Who has had the biggest impact on your career and why?

DP: My first BBB mentor, then-President, Dick McClain. He hired me in 1983 and showed me the beauty and purity of the self-regulatory world.

CMG: Which of your marketing or business experiences are you most proud of?

DP: Leading new generations of BBB leaders and therefore new generations of informed customers and reliable businesses.

CMG: Where do you come up with your most creative or strategic ideas?  

DP: I have a never ending flow of ideas as I am always thinking of our model and what the best, next innovation will be. [I’m] always keeping in mind our core mission and avoiding sudden, violent turns of the tiller…that is what kills organizations!

CMG: What is one word that describes you?

DP: Passionate.

CMG: In the Houston business world – what do you want to be remembered for?

DP: What the Houston Press coined on me in 2001 – “The Most Honest Man in Houston”.   Note – it did not say smartest, richest, or nicest.  But the truth is purity unto itself and of that I am constantly focused on.

CMG: What is one hard lesson you’ve learned about marketing or business in general?

DP: There are always two sides to a story, and sometimes three or four or more and one must strive to find the right one…

CMG: What is your secret weapon?

DP: Mentoring future generations by setting a role model of ethics and having those new leaders as my allies.

CMG: Describe Houston’s business landscape 10 years from now. 

DP: Wow – what I HOPE?  Increased business diversity (as the current downturn will test us) and maturing to be a city that is proud of what it IS…not what some self-appointed “elitists” would have us be. Also, comfort in our skin, even if it is a little rough at times – and remembering we are all Americans and not at war with the rest of the country, just because it is way to blow off anger.  

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A 101 on Mobile Geo-Fencing for Houston Businesses

Technology has opened new doors and broadened the ability to reach customers. In particular, geo-fencing, a mobile marketing technique, has become a go-to strategy for many Houston businesses. Understanding the intricacies and abilities of geographically based mobile advertising techniques and the latest in geo-fencing best practices can open up new opportunities for business to connect with customers on a more personal level.

What is Geo-Fencing?

Over the last five years, advertisers have increasingly looked to mobile technologies to push their products, drawing on a phone’s ability to provide data on a customer’s real-time location data. This has provided invaluable information, such as when and where consumers shop, to help marketers target users in real-time as they shop. Marketers began drawing data from cell tower pins, WiFi data, and GPS locations to advertise to customers when they are physically present at a store or business—a technique known as “geo-conquesting.”

Geo-fencing takes this one step further by hyper-targeting the location. In this case, the person at the shoe store would not just see an advertisement for a different shoe business, but the advertisement would be for a shoe store within walking distance. For Houston marketing, this includes “fencing” off an area within a quarter mile of a business. When the person’s phone data indicates they have stepped into the “fenced” area, they will receive targeted advertisements for the business.

Geo-conquesting and geo-fencing directly increase the chances that the shopper would be willing to modify his or her behavior in real time. It also ensures that targeted results are even more specific to the intended customer while continuing to push for advertising the provides clear ROI.

Geo-Fencing Strategies for 2015

Before jumping into geo-fencing, there are some basic best practices that will especially be relevant in 2015. First and foremost, Houston marketers should understand the format and the limitations of the mobile geo-fenced advertisements in order to select which type will make the most impact. Currently, geo-fencing marketing placement are used in content, display ads, and through SMS (text) messages.

However, not all geo-fencing strategies are created equal. While a SMS or push notification message may be direct and to-the-point, many users opt not to sign up for these alerts. On the other hand, the subtlety of display ads may be lost when a person is distracted.

For 2015, mobile marketers should try tapping into the market via applications that capitalize on a person’s location specifically. For example, Uber, the socially driven car service, uses geo-fencing to target customers who have landed at an airport. When the consumer enters the geo-fenced location, the consumer is greeted with a message welcoming them to their new city and asking if they would like a ride. Other apps, such as those that suggest restaurants or stores, could be invaluable for pushing out messages without being directly from the source.

A Must for Mobile Marketing

For Houston marketers interested in mobile marketing, geo-fencing is the best and latest strategy to effectively target a consumer group. By using real-time data mixed with a knowledge of a consumer base, geo-fencing and geo-conquesting will only improve as the technology expands and consumers become more amenable to such targeted advertising. For Houston marketing, geo-fencing, when done smartly, could bring a major change to how advertisers and consumers connect.