The Ins And Outs Of Group Text Messaging

By Perks |

Communication is all over the place with Email, Twitter and Facebook. Recently a surge in the group messaging market has given us many options to solve the problem of being able to communicate with people quickly, efficiently and reliably. The competitors are many but the winner is clear: GroupMe.

Group Messaging works by connecting many different phone numbers to one random phone number that everyone texts to. The group messaging company figures out who is texting by their registered name and number and posts their message to the random group number along with their first name in front so you can identify who is sending the message.

But before we get to why GroupMe is winning, here are some other companies in the group text messaging space:

Beluga recently was purchased by Facebook for obvious reasons. Facebook launched their messages platform that links your email and phone number to your Facebook message inbox. Facebook sees the need to provide their users a way to communicate with each other like they do in messages but easier. It’s no secret that Facebook’s mobile app isn’t up to snuff. With the purchase of Beluga Facebook bought both team and technology. For now Facebook said they’ll leave Beluga open and running, but who knows how long that will last? Facebook cannibalized the last two companies they purchased (Hot Potato and Drop.io) and they left Friendfeed all for dead when they kept it open and took the core team into Facebook to work on their own products.

Gogii has a product called TextPlus that gives users phone numbers if they don’t have one in order to text message with their friends through their app and not sms. This is good for teens who don’t have unlimited text plans, non-smartphones and have iPod Touches. Their longterm goal is to take this highly engaged group of users and get them to play social games with each other, thus transforming their conversations into conversation based gameplay.

Brightkite pivoted not too long ago from a location based checkin service that offers you badges as rewards to a group messaging platform. They saw that their group messaging service was much more popular than their checkin service so they decided to refocus on what their customers wanted.

Fastsociety came out around the same time as GroupMe. Their big seller was that you could create quick groups that expire after a certain amount of time. GroupMe now does that too in addition to keeping groups in an ongoing state.

So why has GroupMe won the group messaging market? For these reasons:

  • Get push notifications instead of text messages, thus reducing texts and consolidating where you read them
  • Checkin on Foursquare and share your location with your group to let them know where you are
  • Share photos and videos easily
  • Mute noisy groups when you need to
  • Start a conference call from the group you’re in
  • The GroupMe app is available for iPhone, Android and Blackberry

In addition to this if you go to GroupMe.com/Foursquare on your mobile phone you can see which of your friends are nearby and add them to a quick group to find out if the nearby event is hot or not and where they’re going to next.

That last out of app feature is their real killer feature. Although I’ll be using GroupMe to coordinate plans for my startup Addieu at SXSW, I’ll also be interested in what parties are hot and where to go next. The Create a Group using Foursquare feature will be the killer app at SXSW as everyone is always looking for the next hot party.

How can you use group messaging?

  • Coordinating quick messages amongst your team.
  • Collaborative real-time product feedback from your best customers.
  • Create very specific groups for very specific issues.
  • Plan events on the fly

As with any new communications, make sure that the people you are adding to your group are ok with it before you add them. Some may be familiar with the technology and fine with you adding them. Others, like your best customers, would definitely need to be asked before you add them as you don’t want to alienate them.


Mashable Awards 2011 at Zumanity Theater Las Vegas

By Lauren |

Zumanity Hoops treated the attendees of the fourth annual Mashable Awards this year at CES 2011 with a special performance. The Cirque du Soleil favorite within Las Vegas’ New York New York Hotel was a special surprise for Mashable’s many media, brand, digital and social influencers in attendance.


Motorola Xoom Tablet

By Lauren |

Motorola and Google teamed up for the Xoom tablet, which features Android’s Honeycomb 3.0 technology, HD video capture and much more. It’s previewed here in the Motorola press announcement of their 2011 product innovations, exclusively at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2011.


Vator.tv – CES Trends to Watch in 2011

By Lauren |

http://vator.tv/n/15dc

Our CEO Lauren Perkins just came back from CES 2011. She’s posted a couple videos from CES to our YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/perksconsulting as well as articles for Vator.tv and an interview with CES/CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro coming out on America 1.


CES 2011 Trend Rundown

By Lauren |

Perks Consulting recently went to CES and we garnered a ton of insight from it. Here’s a high level overview of what we learned:

Forecasts from CES for 2011 see the global and north american/US market growth in the double digits. The FCC made an announcement and commitment statement for spectrum.

Biggest product innovations:
1. Ford fully embraces a digital and integrated lifestyle with the announcement of electrification.
2. Motorola makes a big come back with Atrix, Motoblur Cliq2, Xoom and Droid Bionic.
3. Samsung has innovation across the board w/ big contributions via tablet PC and thin bezel super flat screen 3D TV.

Key Consumer Electronics Trends to Watch
1. Tablet Market
2. Smart phone mass adoption
3. 3D TV growth and consumer video cams

More on this to come in a detailed blog post soon.


Ask an Expert

By Perks |

Meet Felicia Moeis,
Managing Director at Girls in Tech NYC

Q: What does experiential marketing entail?

A: Experiential marketing takes a savvy and management oriented professional that is immersed in the cultural trends and developments of all things digital, media-related, and lifestyle oriented. My experience has been incredibly diverse with work in the entertainment, fashion, lifestyle, consumer research and tech industries, providing a range of valuable insight into the intersection between each of these realms and their unique culture.

Marketers must be able to thrive on making sure goals and projects are achieved between multiple people, groups, and organizations with sensitivities to the nuances and priorities from each party. These psychographic details sometimes make or break the underlying attitudes towards a project or the community being fostered. With Girls In Tech NYC I manage a team of volunteers to support promotional efforts, social media initiatives, and produce events. Given the organization’s broad mission, it is imperative to always keep a toe in a variety of discourses and dialogues, especially with technology’s far reach in new and fascinating capabilities.

As the Assistant Producer for Perks Consulting on Vator Splash NY and TEDxTribeca Women, I look to make sure all details are considered as it relates to the promotional plan as well as the day of event logistics. Especially at Perks, we take special care to ensure we are taking all of the different audiences into consideration as we work with media partners, sponsors, venues, industry influencers, speakers, VC’s, founders, start-ups and many more.
Connect with Felicia on LinkedIn.


5 Unwritten Passed Down Through The Ages Principles At W+K

By Perks |

1. Don’t give people what they want—give them what they never believed possible. A considerable amount of research is structured to seek conceptual permission from consumers. But given the chance, most consumers are going to revert to familiar constructs and ideas. As Dan points out in this interview, the most powerful work is stuff that people never saw coming.

2. Research early, research late, boycott the middle. Conducted in the right way, research can be a powerful enabler of creativity. We love exploratory research—research with influencers and opinion-leaders, ethnographies—anything and everything that can lead to stronger, more insightful briefs. When it comes to the creative itself, however, we rarely test animatics or ideas prior to production. An ad isn’t an ad until it’s done and a storyboard just isn’t going to do the work the justice it deserves (see #3).

3. Animatics are scary (a.k.a. production = magic). W+K strongly believes in high-production values. Directors, editors, producers, talent—all of these pieces can elevate and transform an idea from the page. Testing an idea in animatic form ignores the creative contribution these folks bring to the party and fails to account for the magic that typically happens on set. I shudder at the thought of “The Man Your Man Could Smell Like” as an animatic. The idea would have never made it out alive.

4. An “acceptable” ad is unacceptable. Be provocative, entertaining, polarizing, and disruptive. Have a point of view. Move someone. Do something that people will talk about, debate and discuss. Take, for example, the latest LeBron spot. My least favorite focus group maneuver is to ask for a show of hands to see how many people liked an ad, as if this metric is the ultimate barometer for success.

5. No diagnostic or predictive test is better than the real world. One of the most exciting aspects of the new media landscape is that you can experiment with lots of different ideas and executions at a relatively low cost. If we live in a world where engagement and shareability are key, then why is most research conducted in solitary confinement with positioning statements or half-baked concepts? To truly understand an idea’s potential you have to make something and release it into the world.

via blog.wk.com

Some great insight and universal truths from the great minds at Wieden & Kennedy. Think about how you can apply these principles to your life, personally and professionally.


Tips To Organize Your Business Processes

By Perks |

Creating your business process involves a lot of trial and error, but, when done correctly it can be the key to your success. Small business owners and entrepreneurs have so much flexibility and freedom in shaping their business, that sometimes the process gets overlooked. Organizing your processes in a consistent, streamlined manner is essential to understanding how your company works and where you are capable of going in the future.

To begin creating successful processes, begin with tracking what each employee is doing and how long it’s taking to complete. Having a solid understanding of where time is being spent and on what will help you to plan out deadlines and estimates for the future. Take a look back at projects that didn’t fall within the average time you estimated for completion and ask why this happened. Were you working with a particularly demanding client? Did an employee come across a roadblock that might lead you to change your estimation for the future? These learning’s should be considered into new projects so that you can properly live up to your employee’s and your client’s expectations.

In addition to understanding how much time is being put into running your business, it’s helpful to create repeatable processes from success stories. Once you know what steps need to be taken to complete specific projects, write them down and implement this process for similar programs that come up in the future. The goal is to create a system that can be repeated again and again until you and your employees become efficient at it. Having repeatable processes in place eliminates the need to create a brand new plan-of-action for every new client and helps you to develop a sense of mastery over the work that you do.


Things To Do Before Re-designing Your Website!

By Perks |

Re-designing your website can be a good idea if it has looked the same for years. It can also be an excellent way to reach new markets and attract new customers. We have listed the key factors to consider before starting the process of modernizing your site that will help you increase your chances of getting more leads, increase conversation and overall revenue.

  • Don’t skip the strategy.

Strategy is the foundation and holds all of the pieces of the puzzle together. Ask yourself; What do you want to achieve with the website? What do you want the user to do when visiting the site? No matter if the website is for a company, product, or service, a solid strategy must be implemented prior to design. When outsourcing the website project to an agency, having a deep understanding of the business structure and ability to differentiate the business’ value is essential. By uncovering how the primary objective of both your business relates to the new website, the designers will be able to visually translate the business’ mission, vision and philosophy.

  • Something Old, Something New.

Research the latest technology and the potential challenges and obstacles of selecting specific programs and platforms. For example, part of your team may be intrigued by a Flash website. However, what they may not know is that most mobile devices do not support Flash, making your site not easily viewable from anything other than a computer. Luckily, there are alternative solutions that are functional, visually pleasing, and that don’t involve loosing any potential new customers.

  • Check out the current state of your website.

What pages are getting most visits and how long are visitors staying? Do most users leave your homepage after 3 seconds? How can you change this? This is all important information that will be a decisive factor for the success of the website and the business. Look at the analytics of your site. Setting up certain accounts will aid you in tracking analytics, stats and set future goals for the website.

  • Content audit.

If the site has not been updated recently, there will most likely be some outdated and irrelevant content. See if there are better ways to present your content like video, sliders, and/or in pdf format. Analytics will be beneficial here to understand the user and how you can reach them more effectively.

Make sure you’re asking yourself and your employees the right questions so that your site ends up serving your best interests and contributes to the growth of your company.