Unleashing the power of habits

They say reading makes you a better writer, which is why we love hearing about the books our clients have on the go. Recently, one of the books that’s come up in conversation is Power of Habit: Why we do what we do in life and business, by Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Duhigg.


The book delves into the science behind habits and explains how you can use this information to both develop good ones and break bad ones. After taking a “peek inside” on Amazon, and reading the first few pages, it’s definitely a book I’d like to get my hands on (both to develop some better writing habits and, perhaps, lifestyle habits as well! I need to get back on the healthy-eating bandwagon!)


What good books have you read lately? Leave a comment below—we’d love to check them out!

The Loyalty Effect

Most corporations lose 50 percent of their customer base every five years—a fact that severely stunts business growth. In his seminal book, The Loyalty Effect, Fred Reichheld outlines eight steps to increase covering customer loyalty.

Benchmark 2012 Lead Generation – Key Industry Trends for Generating Leads of the Highest Quality – Free Excerpt

I thought  this may be of interest to anyone in the midst of Q4 and planning their 2013 campaigns.
This is the company we regularly follow, and that we trained with a few years ago. 

This free excerpt from the report is excellent for anyone looking to take their lead gen to the next level in 2013 – http://bit.ly/lead-generation-2012

The information and insights from this company on lead generation are pure gold  and well worth reading.

For the latest developments in social media and mobile marketing follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/mikerabinovici

Dollar Impact of Social Media – How does a Cool Trillion or so Sound?

One of the most frequent questions we hear from clients relates in one form or another to the dollar ROI from social media.  As the industry matures, more data is becoming available to shed light on this question.

A recent report from the McKinsey Global Institute examines the current usage of social technologies in four commercial sectors:   consumer packaged goods, retail financial services, advanced manufacturing, and professional services.  It concludes that the potential value to be unlocked by leveraging these technologies across the four sectors could potentially contribute $900 billion to $1.3 trillion in annual value.

Although the value that can be captured varies from industry to industry, all of them can benefit.  The key to success? Creating the conditions for the full and enthusiastic participation of employees.

Click here for a copy of the study. Click here for a review of the report in Fast Company Magazine

For the latest information on, and best practices for, Mobile and Social Media marketing follow me on Twitter at Twitter.com/mikerabinovici

It’s the End of the Mall as We Know It and I Feel Fine

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, and author of the recently published “The Impulse Economy”.  In it, he discusses the impact of the mobile revolution on traditional retail.

Click here to listen to the podcast (Length –  22 minutes and 54 seconds of wholesome goodness).

The Impulse Economy – Click here for your copy

“We live in a world where our mobile devices have become extensions of ourselves. We depend on them for instant connections to entertainment, social media, news, and deals. The phone has become our ticket, loyalty card, and catchall wallet. Networks are faster, phones are smarter, and the mobile shopper is ready to spend money now. What can a business do to maximize the mobile buying power of the new impulse consumer?”

Go Mobile or Go Home

A recent study covered by the tech site Mashable indicates that consumers are now spending more time on mobile apps than the Web. In June, consumers spent 81 minutes per day using mobile apps, compared to 74 minutes of Web surfing (see chart below).   This change in user behaviour is further confirmed by a recent report by Mary Meeker, a partner at the legendary venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which found that for the first time combined tablet and smartphone shipments eclipsed those of desktops and notebooks.  All this data also backs Wired Magazines’ article last year “The Web is Dead”, which predicted that apps would soon overtake the Web.

What does that mean for your company? If you’ve developed and implemented a mobile strategy, you are well positioned to benefit from this coming shift.  If you have started to give some thought  to this and you move the process into high gear, you should be OK as well.  If you’ve done neither, you better drop everything else and make this your top priority.  Now.

Will mobile rule everything? No.  But a significant segment of your current audience and your future one will spend an increasing amount of their time on their mobile devices.  The question all companies have to answer is whether not they will be able to serve and create value on the devices and media on which their customers choose to spend their time.

You can find a links to the reports mentioned above here:
Mobile Apps Put the Web in Their Rear-view Mirror
Top 10 Mobile Internet Trends



Goupon Groupoff – Part II

In the first part of this post we established that all is well for Groupon.  Are the merchants using the service enjoying similar success?  By the company’s sheer growth, the answer would seem to be a resounding “yes” but it is a little more complicated than that.  The cost to the merchant who signs up for a Groupon deal, after taking into account the coupon discount and Groupon’s share, can be pretty steep. 

Let’s look at this in concrete terms:  assume Mikey’s Kona Coffee Emporium is offering $40 worth of wholesome Hawaiian beans for $20 dollars (minimum participation is 10).  Two hundred people take up the offer, paying Groupon a total of $4,000.  Groupon keeps $2,000 and $2,000 goes to Mikey’s Kona Coffee Emporium.  So we just sold $8,000 worth of beans (200 x $40 coupons) and collected $2,000.  As it turns out, most merchants make no money on the Groupon experience. BUT they do get is exposure to a large number of potential new customers. 

The challenge in the model is that many smaller merchants, as well as some larger ones, may not have the skill set to convert this rain shower of mostly first-time customers into repeat customers, let alone lifetime ones.  That, in my view, is one of the challenges facing the company on a go forward basis.  Will merchants that use it once or twice without getting repeat business come back? Remains to be seen.  The key for Groupon is to make sure it helps merchants build relationships and engage the customers brought on by the coupons.  If it can do that well, the go public valuation mentioned above can turn out to be cheap.
So what is it the take away? If you are considering a Groupon deal (or one by the many competitors that have popped up) make sure you do the following:

1.    Crunch the numbers – what exactly is this going to cost per potential new customer (you may also want to re-read the blog post on Metrics at http://bit.ly/web-metrics)
2.    What is your average customer’s lifetime value? 
3.    What information on the coupon buyers, if any does, does Groupon (or other providers) give you at the end of the promotion?  Note:  Some of them may give precious little, not even an email address. 
4.    It is incumbent upon you (especially in light of 3 above) to collect as much information on the coupon presenting customers.  Do everything you can to get an email address – that will present your best chance to convert the coupon buyer into a repeat customer.  No email address – your  product or service better be ranked in Zagat’s to bring them back without further marketing.
5.    Have a follow up campaign ready to go no later than  2 days after the first visit.

Follow these tips and chances are the group of potential new customers you just spent money and resources on will not group off.

Groupon Groupoff

Chicago based Groupon ("group coupon")  is one of the great technology stories in recent memory.  For those of you who still spend most of the time in the physical world, Groupon is a deal-of-the-day website localized to major markets that promotes itself with the now well-known tag line: 1 Ridiculously Huge Coupon A Day.  It’s been described as the fastest-growing company in Web history.

Here’s how it works:  your business gets exposure to Groupon’s gigantic user base and, in return, you give potential customers a juicy discount.  Whenever Groupon collects money on behalf of merchants from selling  coupons on its Web site, it keeps an average of 50%. The twist – the deal is on only “on” if a pre-determined number of people sign up for it (usually 10 or more). The platform is used daily by a multitude of businesses, ranging from small enterprises to large brands such as the Gap and the Toronto Raptors.

Here are some Groupon highlights:

Launched November 2008
Number of subscribers who receive emails with “Coupon of the Day” offers – 50 million
Revenue (2009 est.) – US $30 million    Revenue (2010 est.) – US $760 million    Revenue (2011 est.) – US $2 billion
Number of employees (2009 est.) – 120  in 30 cities          Number of Employees (2011 est.) – 5,000 in 565 cities
Buyout offers  –  Google made an offer for $6 Billion (offer was turned down)
IPO  – rumours of an IPO within the next 24 months at a valuation of $20-$25 billion

Now that we’ve established that all is well for Groupon, how is it working out for the merchants?  Stay tuned for my next post.