Tag Archives: technology


Digital Radio: The Next Marketing Frontier

Date Posted: March 31, 2015 by


ScreenShot2015-03-31at3.31.50PMOver the past few years internet radio has been testing the traditional radio market. People are not only listening to music through a radio in their home or car, but instead they are streaming music through a web browser or app. Unlike traditional radio, we are now able to customize what we are listening to via internet radio sites such as Pandora, iHeartRadio, iRadioPhilly and Spotify. So how did we get here? And why should marketers be aware of the emerging market of internet radio?

When radio began it was a form of communication for news and entertainment. The invention of the television shook up the radio industry, and ever since, radio has become more of roadside companion. Now radio is facing competition once again. Internet radio began in 1996 with sonicwave.com. After the introduction of internet radio, the Digital Millennium Copy Right Act was enacted, forcing internet radio broadcast to pay additional royalty fees compared to traditional radio’s charges. Even with the additional royalties, internet radio companies have been flooding the market with great success.

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Radio has many listeners, especially people commuting to and from work or school. The issue marketers tend to have with radio is that it is broadcasted to a wide audience that is not easy to track. However, internet radio listeners must have a registered account, so it is possible deploy messages based upon demographics and other audience specific metrics. What is helping to make these internet radio sites attractive to listeners is the ability to customize music stations. For example, Pandora’s Music Genome Project creates personalized playlists based on each listener’s unique tastes based on their choices, and subsequently linked with genres, artists and songs.

The share of time adults spend between media channels has been shifting throughout the past five years. EMarketer has shown that Pandora’s growth has doubled, while traditional radio dropped by 3%. By the end of 2014, Pandora reported 81.5 million active listeners, while Spotify and iHeartRadio, reported 60 million listeners, each. According to The Infinite Dial, just under 2/3 of 12-24 year olds listen to online radio weekly. Therefore, internet radio caters to a younger demographic, which have been more of a struggle to reach for most marketers.

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Internet radio advertising has the advantage of targeting within their platform. For instance, most internet radio providers can target by age, gender, zip code, time, day, and device on which the ad is shown. Beyond that, internet radio companies offer the use of ad banners, takeovers, sponsored sessions, audio, video, custom playlist, and engagement functionalities within the site and app to provide advertisers a full brand experience. Beyond advertising as a junction in the listening experience, some listeners with opt in for ads to have longer period of time without them. As an example of such a tactic, Spotify now offers a sponsored session where listener receive 30 minutes of ad-free listening if they watch a video in its entirety.

So what does all of this mean for the future of the radio industry? Radio is still a large part of people’s lives and should not be overlooked, at least not yet. Internet radio is evolving and could soon be as integral of a part of the daily commute as traditional radio. Car are currently being built with Wi-Fi capabilities, which will make it easier to stream internet radio while driving. However, Android may be taking it a step farther with Android Auto, creating an platform for vehicles that would be optimized for driving with integration within the digital world – apps, music, and directions. All-in-all the future of radio is changing and marketers should embrace the new channels that are emerging as a way to better reach specific audiences, and tie back exact performance metrics.

 

 

 

How Leveraging Mobile Matters to Marketers

Date Posted: March 19, 2015 by


In light of the release of the Apple Watch, it is imperative to recognize the momentum and merit of digital technology. Whether it be wearable tech or the GPS programmed into your

Recently, Google worked with Ipsos and Sterling Brands to measure the influence of mobile technology on consumer shopping behavior and expectations. This research revealed that 71% of consumers cited the increasing importance of their smartphones to their in-store experience.

Perhaps one of the more prominent pieces of information drawn from this study (and one that we as marketers should draw from) is that the consumer experience begins well before the act of in-store shopping. In fact, 87% of shoppers look for information before going into any store. Whether to compare prices, diversity of goods, or user ratings of product value, consumers increasingly look toward their mobile devices to sway their decision of where, when, and how to shop.

The value in this information lies in the knowledge that consumers will avoid stores that lack searchable information on location and stock availability. Indeed, data shows that 3 in 4 shoppers who find local information via search results are more likely to visit stores.

But the necessity of mobile-compatible search and utility isn’t exclusive to the pre-shopping process. Consumption of online information also occurs during a shopper’s in-store visit, as well as afterwards. Whether for retail, technology, food or healthcare shoppers, the availability and accessibility of shopping information is evermore essential to the shopping—and marketing—landscape.

At the end of the day, mobile more than matters: it has become a lifeline between the consumer and the brand. As eMarketer predicted, smartphone usage worldwide would have grown 25% in 2014, with the number of smartphone owners totaling more than 1.76 billion by the end of last year. The merit of this is immense; shoppers today carry a communication channel in their pocket and are equipped with amounts of information unlike ever before. If we, as marketers, want to continue to enliven our brands in this digital age, we must embrace and optimize mobile utility for brands and respective consumers.

Technology Obsessed, Marketing Challenged: Part 1

Date Posted: July 17, 2014 by


Did you ever wonder what life would be like without technology?

Well, before you answer that…since everyone else on my team decided to introduce themselves at the top of their first blog post, I’ll do the same.  I’m Drew, co-founder of this fun little agency we call i76 Solutions.  I run point on the technology and operations for the business…in addition to replacing the hand-towels in the bathrooms when they’re out…Now, back to the initial question.  What would you do without that smartphone?  Your laptop? Headphones?  SmarCar?  Television?  In some ways, life would be much simpler.  But we’re beyond the point of no return – and now, we need to keep up the pace to stay relevant.
This isn’t my first attempt at a blog.  The wildly popular (cough, cough) “Tones in Your Headphones” was born back in 2009 and hasn’t been touched since 2011.  Maybe I’ll get back to it someday. Thank God I have our awesome intern Rachel to keep me on schedule with this one.  I feel good things coming…I’ve always had an obsession with technology—computers, video game systems, the internet—and have followed their innovations and advancements from a very young age.  I wrote my first “application” at the age of 12 (okay, it was a “basic” programming app on a Commodore VIC-20 but it worked.  All 1,811 lines of code!). Like some of you, I was on AOL when it had no GUI and was just a glorified bulletin board.  At age 15, I figured out how to connect my modem directly to my friend’s computer across town so we could chat by typing to each other. I’m pretty sure I invented peer-to-peer chat before AOL did.  Okay, maybe not.  But, yeah, I was a geek…Fast forward to my adult years, and I’ve never been more excited than about where the world is right now—from a technology perspective, anyway (we’re severely lacking in common sense).  Innovators much smarter then I could ever hope to be are constantly challenging the universe with advancements that offer new ways to communicate, interact, and live.

First, I have to say, I love what I do—helping people navigate the ever-changing landscape of marketing and technology.  What was once, for the most part, single-layer solutions to accomplish a client’s goals and objectives (although sometimes multiple single-layered solutions were run parallel to each other) has now become multi-platform, multi-channel, multi-device insanity!  And the best part about it all is that when you know what you’re doing, you can pretty much ensure that you’re getting a return on your investment.   Running lean and efficient—and EFFECTIVE.
So I thought I’d use my maiden post to tell you about one of our latest toys here at the office.photo_(2)-418070-edited
Meet “A.v.a.” (aerial video agent), the i76 drone. You might ask, “Why does a digital media agency need a drone?”  My answer is why the hell not!  :)  Actually, this amazing little piece of technology has tons of real-world applications outside of being super fun to fly!  Equipped with a hi-definition, 14 megapixel camera, the still shots and HD video that A.v.a. beams back to earth are spectacular. Looking at the world from a whole new perspective—literally—keeps my creative juices flowing and helps my agency to stay relevant by coming up with new ideas and strategies that could generate buzz and awareness for our clients.  We’re not the first company to adopt a drone and begin to integrate the technology into our thought process, but we do think exposing the technology to some of our clients allows us to stay ahead of the curve and promotes the forward-thinking conversations that can help differentiate our strategies from the rest.  Think about the real estate vertical, the commercial and residential home services industry, photographers, event and entertainment companies.  The list of possible applications goes on…
Now of course, there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to flying drones.  Some states are passing legislature to limit drone flying—and we’re keeping up with the latest news and information. If and when we have legislature governing what we can and can’t do with A.v.a., we’ll be sure to fall in line.  But until then, we’ll practice safe flying and keep our eye on the communications from the FAA.
So how does the title of my blog post and an introduction to A.v.a tie together?  Well, personally, the “technology obsessed” part absolutely refers to me as an individual—however, I use it in terms of referring to the majority of the world.  A.v.a. is just MY latest little obsession; however, when is the last time you sat through a meal where you or someone you’re dining with DIDN’T check their smartphone (See “23 Signs You’re Addicted To Your Smartphone“)?  Get it? This obsession applies to us personally as well as in our business life.  If people don’t respond to emails within the hour of them being sent it’s almost considered ignorant.  That being said, the majority of us can probably agree we’re constantly connected—and it’s hard to disconnect.

Smart marketers realize that in order to penetrate an “obsessed generation,” they need to talk to you through your technology—by way of advertising in your apps, on your lockscreens, embedded in mobile websites, through direct email and using text / SMS messaging.  The “marketing challenged” part of the blog title comes in here.  Which platform or content channel is most effective?  How successful are in-app banner advertisements?  Does a higher CTR (click-through rate) on a mobile banner campaign mean that people are truly more engaged with your brand—or are our fingers just too fat to click and browse on those small screens?  That’s where we’re focusing much of our time as an agency when we deal with the marketing and media placement portion of our business.  We have great relationships with our partners in the mobile marketing space (Google, MoCentric, to name a few) that have enabled us to really have some fun and do some real-world testing with the latest mobile marketing technologies.  Mobile marketing needs to be a core part of any marketing campaign in order to ensure success.  It’s where the people are….  The tough part is navigating through the options.  My agency loves that challenge and I believe it’s something we do quite well.  We are a technology and marketing company—so we narrow down the options and turn the best into opportunities for our clients.
But mobile marketing is only one piece of the puzzle.
In my next post, I’m going to spend some time taking a look at the process involved in building and executing a strong digital marketing strategy.
But before I sign off…take a look at some video A.v.a. shot of the i76 campus:

Where Technology and Marketing Meet

Date Posted: July 7, 2014 by


It’s been a few fun, hectic weeks here at i76 Solutions. As a digital agency that provides both technology and digital marketing services to clients in Philadelphia and around the world, we are constantly coming across marketing projects that are fun yet challenge us to live out our brand message of “Think and Do.” While you read in a previous post about our efforts to dig deeper into inbound marketing with our partners at Hubspot, in this post we wanted to focus on a great project that defines who we are as a digital agency.

Our business at i76 is driven by providing clients with digital solutions that enable them to conduct business better, quicker, and with a greater opportunity to accelerate their revenue and increase customer engagement. That means building responsive websites that can be accessed across multiple devices, developing mobile applications which can enable a field technician to troubleshoot a problem in the middle of nowhere, or upgrading a database so it can deliver better analytics and business intelligence across an organization.

In the case of Scriptacom, a medical transcription provider, i76 is providing an over-haul to their entire business process and, eventually, will set and execute their digital marketing and customer acquisition efforts. At the heart of Scriptacom’s business is a database engine which manages the uploading of audio content from physicians and transports that audio to their team in order to be transcribed and eventually shipped back into the physician’s patient file. This is a process that has many moving parts including a billing engine which records lines of type per audio file. Up to this point, Scriptacom has relied on a series of scripts and dated technology that required a lot of manual updating and prodding. With the updated technology platform being built using the latest in responsive design and a more robust back-end, Scriptacom will now have an automated workflow from end-to-end and will have the ability to add on layered services and, more importantly, account for them in more revenue. All of this will result in less human intervention, better business intelligence, and, most importantly, a better customer experience.

The other important part of the Scriptacom project we are working on currently at i76 is the redesign of their site so that it is a responsive website. Stating a bit of the obvious, but with almost 60% of web traffic now coming over from mobile devices, it is critical that Scriptacom’s site can be seen and function across any browser or device. Below is the initial look at Scriptacom’s responsive web site:Scriptacom

In an upcoming post, we’ll talk further about our digital marketing strategies which will include a deeper look at inbound marketing as well as other forms of digital marketing including search engine optimization (SEO) and pay per click (PPC) marketing. If you’re curious in the meantime, check out Katie’s recent blog postdiscussing digital media marketing. Until then, keep thinking and doing. #THINKandDO.