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Checklist: how to hire a mobile agency and make sure they’re a good fit

(Business Marketing) When your mobile marketing campaign is ready to grow up, it’s time to hire a mobile agency, but how do you know they’re a good fit and not snake oil sales folk?

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Graduating your mobile marketing efforts

Mobile marketing is becoming a standard part of any business’ marketing plan, be it a solopreneur or a Fortune 500 company, and there comes a point where you may outgrow the DIY approach, but how do you know what steps to take next or how to navigate the waters without losing money?

Gregory Kennedy, VP Marketing at TapSense tells us that there are ways to know when to hire a mobile agency and ensure that they’re actually the right fit.

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“For most companies, mobile marketing begins in-house,” Kennedy said. “A single person starts working with self service tools on a popular mobile platform. This approach works great in the beginning, but as the complexity increases and campaigns scale, that model breaks down. The creative team becomes overloaded. The tech team isn’t set up to move fast enough to support mobile marketing. The marketing team lacks inside knowledge and close relationships with major media buying platforms, which makes media planning less efficient. If this sounds like your situation, perhaps you’re ready to seek agency help?”

In Kennedy’s own words below are tips on hiring a mobile agency, with a complete checklist you can start working on.

Agencies Have Knowledge and Expertise Your Organization Doesn’t

The best reason to engage with an agency is to maintain your focus. A marketing team needs to focus on the business, not become experts in mobile advertising technology. A good agency will provide you with expertise, knowledge and partner access that otherwise would be difficult to get. Even the most well organized and thoughtful companies rely on an outside agency for many tasks. Why? Because agencies can attract and manage talent that wouldn’t thrive in the very culture that makes your company successful. It is access to these ‘outliers’ that enriches the agency offering, providing you with original thinking and niche technical expertise.

Creativity Comes Unleashed

If there is one single area that agencies excel in, it’s creativity. Agencies have experience and personnel who are great at generating ideas, lots of good ideas. Good ideation is at the core of every good creative approach. Marketing teams should leverage this capability of an agency as much as possible. Generating these ideas is time-consuming, but having a great creative agency frees up marketing to work on other more essential aspects of the business.

Stay On Track With a Rigorous Process

Securing approvals from different stakeholders in your organization is another key function an agency can manage. Because they’re a third party, they have nothing vested in any particular strategy, in fact they’re highly motivated to ensure that your campaign is a success from the start. This means they will push for what they truly believe will work based on experience with other companies who have faced similar challenges. A good agency will also have a rigorous process in place. This will help make approvals happen on time, as they are required for the agency to move onto the next phase.

Hiring a Mobile Agency: A Checklist

Once you’ve made the decision to hire an agency, you should meet with multiple candidates of varying size in order to determine the best fit. Here’s a checklist of core attributes you should evaluate them on:

1. Capabilities Get a detailed list of services and capabilities. Ask which services are filled in-house and which are filled by outside contractors. If they use contractors, try to understand the depth of those relationships.

2. Partners Understand the platforms or partners they have direct experience with. Some specialize in a particular platform, which is the ideal fit if that’s the platform you need.

3. Business Model Take time to understand their monetary incentives. Some charge hourly, while others a percentage of media spend. Match the model to your performance goals.

4. Culture Agency culture is surprisingly diverse and varied. It ranges from nerdy and quantitative to quirky and irreverent. Find the culture that best matches your expectations.

5. Case Studies Get detailed case studies of past client engagements. Be sure to have key people take you through them and ask questions. Try to gain an understanding of the role the agency performed.

6. Key People Meet with the principals and key partners to find out exactly who will be assigned to your project. Be sure to have this in proposals as part of an hourly breakout.

7. Success Metrics Determine with the agency what the success metrics should be. Clearly articulating this from the start is the best way to ensure a successful engagement at the end.

8. Approach Get a good sense of their overall approach. Are they process driven? Creatively driven? Technology driven? Try to understand what motivates them. This will help you determine the right fit.

The American Genius is news, insights, tools, and inspiration for business owners and professionals. AG condenses information on technology, business, social media, startups, economics and more, so you don’t have to.

Business Marketing

Tired of “link in bio”? Here is a solution for Instagram linking

(MARKETING) The days of only one link in your Instagram bio are over. Alls.Link not only lets you link more, it gives you options for marketing and analytics too.

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Woman checking Instagram on phone

If you’re like me, you’ve probably swapped out the link in your Instagram bio 100 times. Do I share my website? A link to a product? A recent publication? Well, now you don’t have to choose!

Alls.Link is a subscription-based program that allows you to, among other things, have multiple links in your bio. I’m obsessed with the Instagram add-ons that are helping business owners to expand the platform to further engage their audiences – and this is NEEDED one.

With the basic membership ($8/month), you get up to 10 customizable Biolink Pages with shortened links (and you’ll be able to choose your own backend). You also get access to Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel for your pages. With the basic membership, you will have Alls.Link advertising on your Biolink Page. Plus, you’ll be allotted a total of 10 projects, and Biolink Pages with 20 customizable domains.

With the premium membership ($15/month), you get link scheduling for product drops and article releases, SEO and UTM parameters, and you’ll have the ability to link more socials on the Biolink Page. With this membership, you’re allotted 20 projects and Biolink Pages with 60 customizable domains.

If you’re unsure about whether or not Alls.Link is worth it (or which membership is best for you), there is a free trial option in which you’ll be granted all the premium membership capabilities.

Overall – premium membership or not – I have to say, the background colors and font choices are really fun and will take your Biolink Page to the next level. Alls.Link is definitely a program to consider if your business has a substantial Insta following and you have a lot of external material you want to share with your followers.

The day-by-day statistics are a great tool for knowing what your audience is interested in and what links are getting the most clicks. Also, the ability to incorporate Google Analytics into the mix is a big plus, especially if you’re serious about metrics.

If you have a big team (or manage multiple pages), I would suggest going premium just for the sheer quantity of domains you can customize and link, though there are various other reasons I’d also suggest to do so. Take a look and see what works for you!

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible. If your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Google Chrome will no longer allow premium extensions

(MARKETING) In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue on Chrome.

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Google Chrome open on a laptop on a organized desk.

Google has cracked down on various practices over the past couple of years, but their most recent target—the Google Chrome extensions store—has a few folks scratching their heads.
Over the span of the next few months, Google will phase out paid extensions completely, thus ending a bizarre and relatively negligible corner of internet economy.

This decision comes on the heels of a “temporary” ban on the publication of new premium extensions back in March. According to Engadget, all aspects of paid extension use—including free trials and in-app purchases—will be gone come February 2021.

To be clear, Google’s decision won’t prohibit extension developers from charging customers to use their products; instead, extension developers will be required to find alternative methods of requesting payment. We’ve seen this model work on a donation basis with extensions like AdBlock. But shifting to something similar on a comprehensive scale will be something else entirely.

Interestingly, Google’s angle appears to be in increasing user safety. The Verge reports that their initial suspension of paid extensions was put into place as a response to products that included “fraudulent transactions”, and Google’s subsequent responses since then have comprised more user-facing actions such as removing extensions published by different parties that accomplish replica tasks.

Review manipulation, use of hefty notifications as a part of an extension’s operation, and generally spammy techniques were also eyeballed by Google as problem points in their ongoing suspension leading up to the ban.

In banning extension payments through their own platform, Google addresses a compelling, if self-created, issue. The extension store was a relatively free market in a sense—something that, given the number of parameters being enforced as of now, is less true for the time being.

Similarly, one can only wonder about which avenues vendors will choose when seeking payment for their services in the future. It’s entirely possible that, after Google Chrome shuts down payments in February, the paid section of the extension market will crumble into oblivion, the side effects of which we can’t necessarily picture.

For now, it’s probably best to hold off on buying any premium extensions; after all, there’s at least a fighting chance that they’ll all be free come February—if we make it that far.

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