Monthly Archives: May 2015

The future of marketing is mobile…

mobile

An IBM (2012) technology trends survey indicated that mobile devices could increase the productivities and efficiencies of organisations. This study showed that mobile software was the second most “in demand” area for research and development. In addition, Gartner BI Hype Cycle (2012) also anticipated that mobile analytics was one of the latest technologies that may potentially disrupt the business intelligence market. At the same time, the market for mobile advertising is escalating at a very fast pace. Interestingly, eMarketer (2012) had predicted that mobile advertising shall experience a surge from an estimated $2.6 billion in 2012 to more than $10.8 billion in 2016. Evidently, there are niche areas for professional growth, particularly in this specialised field; as more and more individuals are increasingly creating new applications for mobile operating systems.

Recent advances in mobile communication and geo-positioning technologies have presented marketers with a new way how to target consumers based on their location. Location-targeted mobile advertising involves the provision of ad messages to cellular subscribers based on their geographic locations. This digital technology allows marketers to deliver ads and coupons that are customised to individual consumers’ tastes, geographic location and time of day. Given the ubiquity of mobile devices, location-targeted mobile advertising seems to offer tremendous marketing benefits.

In addition, many businesses are commonly utilising applications, including browser cookies that track consumers through their mobile devices as they move out and about. Once these users leave these sites, the products or services that they had viewed online will be shown to them again in advertisements, across different websites. Hence, businesses are using browsing session data combined with the consumers’ purchase history to deliver “suitable” items that consumers like. Therefore, savvy brands are becoming increasingly proficient in personalising their offerings as they collect, classify and use large data volumes on their consumers’ behaviours. As more consumers carry smartphones with them, they are (or may be) receiving compelling offers that instantaneously pop up on their mobile devices.

For instance, consumers are continuously using social networks and indicating their geo location as they use mobile apps. This same data can be used to identify where people tend to gather — information that could be useful in predicting real estate prices et cetera. This information is valuable to brands as they seek to improve their consumer engagement and marketing efforts. Businesses are using mobile devices and networks to capture important consumer data. Smart phones and tablets that are wifi-enabled interact with networks and convey information to network providers and ISPs. This year, more brands shall be using mobile devices and networks as a sort of sensor data – to acquire relevant information on their consumers’ digital behaviours and physical movements. These businesses have become increasingly interactive through the proliferation of near-field communication (NFC). Basically, embedded chips in the customers’ mobile phones are exchanging data with retailers’ items possessing the NFC tags. It is envisaged that mobile wallet transactions using NFC technologies are expected to reach $110 billion, by the year 2017. The latest Android and Microsoft smartphones have already include these NFC capabilities. Moreover, a recent patent application by Apple has revealed its plans to include NFC capabilities in their next products. This will inevitably lead to an increase in the use of mobile wallets (GSMA, 2015). Undoubtedly, the growth of such data-driven, digital technologies is adding value to customer-centric marketing. Therefore, analytics can enable businesses to provide a deeper personalisation of content and offers to specific customers.

Apparently, there are promising revenue streams in the mobile app market. Both Apple and Android are offering paid or free ad-supported apps in many categories. There are also companies that have developed apps for business intelligence. For example, enterprise / industry-specific apps, e-commerce apps and social apps. Evidently, the lightweight programming models of the current web services (e.g., HTML, XML, CSS, Ajax, Flash, J2E) as well as the maturing mobile development platforms such as Android and iOS have also contributed to the rapid proliferation of mobile applications (Chen et al., 2012). Moreover, researchers are increasingly exploring mobile sensing apps that are location-aware and activity-sensitive.

Possible future research avenues include mobile social innovation for m-learning; (Sharples, Taylor and Vavoula, 2010; Motiwalla, 2007), mobile social networking and crowd-sourcing (Lane et al., 2010), mobile visualisation (Corchado and Herrero, 2011), personalisation and behavioural modelling for mobile apps in gamification (Ha et al., 2007), mobile advertising and social media marketing (Bart et al., 2014; Yang et al., 2013). Google’s (2015) current projects include gesture and touch interaction; activity-based and context-aware computing; recommendation of social and activity streams; analytics of social media engagements, and end-user programming (Dai, Rzeszotarski, Paritosh and Chi, 2015;  Fowler, Partridge, Chelba, Bi, Ouyang and Zhai, 2015; Zhong, Weber, Burkhardt, Weaver and Bigham, 2015; Brzozowski, Adams and Chi, 2015).

 

References:

Bart, Y., Stephen, A. T., & Sarvary, M. (2014). Which products are best suited to mobile advertising? A field study of mobile display advertising effects on consumer attitudes and intentions. Journal of Marketing Research, 51(3), 270-285.

Brzozowski, M. J., Adams, P., & Chi, E. H. (2015, April). Google+ Communities as Plazas and Topic Boards. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3779-3788). ACM. Retrieved May 22nd, 2015, from http://static.googleusercontent.com/media/research.google.com/en//pubs/archive/43453.pdf

Chen, H., Chiang, R. H., & Storey, V. C. (2012). Business Intelligence and Analytics: From Big Data to Big Impact. MIS quarterly, 36(4), 1165-1188.

Corchado, E., & Herrero, Á. (2011). Neural visualization of network traffic data for intrusion detection. Applied Soft Computing, 11(2), 2042-2056.

Dai, P., Rzeszotarski, J. M., Paritosh, P., & Chi, E. H. (2015). And Now for Something Completely Different: Improving Crowdsourcing Workflows with Micro-Diversions. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (pp. 628-638). ACM. Retrieved May 17th, 2015, from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2675260

eMarketer (2012). eMarketer in the News: June 1, 2012 Retrieved January 28th, 2015, from http://www.emarketer.com/newsroom/index.php/emarketer-news-june-1-2012/

Fowler, A., Partridge, K., Chelba, C., Bi, X., Ouyang, T., & Zhai, S. (2015, April). Effects of Language Modeling and its Personalization on Touchscreen Typing Performance. In Proceedings of the 33rd Annual ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 649-658). ACM. Retrieved May15th, 2015, from http://cslu.ohsu.edu/~fowlera/Fowler_CHI2015.pdf

Gartner (2012). Big Data Drives Rapid Changes in Infrastructure and $232 Billion in IT Spending Through 2016. Retrieved January 20th, 2015, from https://www.gartner.com/doc/2195915/big-data-drives-rapid-changes

Google (2015). Human-Computer Interaction and Visualization Research at Google. Retrieved May 20th, 2015, from http://research.google.com/pubs/Human-ComputerInteractionandVisualization.html

Ha, I., Yoon, Y., & Choi, M. (2007). Determinants of adoption of mobile games under mobile broadband wireless access environment. Information & Management, 44(3), 276-286.

IBM (2012) Tech Trends Report. Fast track to the future. Retrieved May15th, 2015, from http://www-01.ibm.com/common/ssi/cgi-bin/ssialias?subtype=XB&infotype=PM&appname=CHQE_XI_XI_USEN&htmlfid=XIE12346USEN&attachment=XIE12346USEN.PDF#loaded

Lane, N. D., Miluzzo, E., Lu, H., Peebles, D., Choudhury, T., & Campbell, A. T. (2010). A survey of mobile phone sensing. Communications Magazine, IEEE, 48(9), 140-150.

Motiwalla, L. F. (2007). Mobile learning: A framework and evaluation. Computers & Education, 49(3), 581-596.

Sharples, M., Taylor, J., & Vavoula, G. (2010). A theory of learning for the mobile age. In Medienbildung in neuen Kulturräumen (pp. 87-99). VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften.

Yang, B., Kim, Y., & Yoo, C. (2013). The integrated mobile advertising model: The effects of technology-and emotion-based evaluations. Journal of Business Research, 66(9), 1345-1352.

Zhong, Y., Weber, A., Burkhardt, C., Weaver, P., & Bigham, J. P. (2015). Enhancing Android accessibility for users with hand tremor by reducing fine pointing and steady tapping. In Proceedings of the 12th Web for All Conference (p. 29). ACM. Retrieved Ma7 20th, 2015, from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=2747277

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Creating Shared Value: Doing well by doing good!

Relevant research has shown that those companies that had undertaken social and environmental responsibility did prosper in the long run (McWilliams and Siegel, 2001; Orlitzky, 2003). However, other research has indicated that it is also possible to over-spend on strategic CSR — as this is true of all discretionary marketing expenditures (Lantos, 2001). It may appear that there is an optimal level of spending on strategic CSR (Orlitzky et al. 2010). The factors contributing towards creating value are often qualitative and may prove very difficult to measure and quantify, such as; employee morale, corporate image, reputation, public relations, goodwill, and popular opinion (Miller and Ahrens, 1993). Lantos (2001) advocated the need to identify CSR activities that will yield the highest payback. Of course, every stakeholder group has its own needs and wants. Therefore is is important to continuously balance conflicting stakeholder interests and measure the returns from strategic CSR investments (McWilliams and Siegel, 2011; Freeman, 1984).

Porter and Kramer (2006) believed that organisations can set an affirmative CSR agenda that produce maximum social benefits and gains for the businesses themself, rather than merely acting on well intentioned impulses or by reacting on outside pressures. They referred to the value chain (Porter, 1986) as an appropriate tool to chart all the social consequences of business activities. Figure 1 illustrates inside-out linkages that range from hiring and layoff policies to green house gas emissions, as follows.

Figure 1. Porter’s Value Chain
value chain
(Source: Porter, 1985, reproduced in Tsai et al. 2010)

This value chain model presents operational issues which have an effect on the companies’ performance. It depicts some of the activities a company engages in while doing business. This model can be used as a framework to identify the positive and negative social impacts of those activities. Porter and Kramer (2006) held that through strategic CSR the company will make a significant impact in the community.They suggested that companies may be triggered to doing things differently from competitors, in a way where they could lower their costs. The authors went on to say that strategic CSR involve both inside-out and outside-in dimensions, working in tandem. Interestingly, the authors indicated that there are ‘shared value’ opportunities through strategic CSR (Porter and Kramer, 2006, 2011). They argued that the companies’ may strengthen their competitiveness by investing in social and environmental aspects, as featured in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Corporate Involvement: A Strategic Approach
Figure 2
(Source: Porter and Kramer, 2006)

The success of the company and of the community may become mutually reinforcing (Porter and Kramer, 2006). They maintained that the more closely tied a social issue is to the companies’ business, the greater the opportunity to leverage the firms’ resources and capabilities and will in turn benefit society at large. Falck and Heblich (2007) related the notion of strategic CSR to the shareholder value theory. This approach implied a long term view of wealth maximisation. As it was also the case for the agency theory. These authors suggested that proper incentives may encourage managers ‘to do well by doing good’.

“…as the company’s goal was to survive and prosper, it can do nothing better than to take a long term view and understand that if it treats society well, society will return the favour” (Falck and Heblich, 2007).

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Responsible Tourism that Creates Shared Value Among Stakeholders

Excerpt from the paper entitled; “Responsible Tourism that Creates Shared Value among Stakeholders” This contribution will shortly be published by  Tourism Planning and Development Journal.

This study revealed how different tourism organisations were engaging in responsible behaviours with varying degrees of intensity and success. It has identified cost effective and efficient operations. There was mention of some measures which enhance the human resources productivity. Other measures sought to reduce the negative environmental impacts. At the same time, it was recognised that it was in the businesses’ interest to maintain good relations with different stakeholders, including the regulatory ones.

rtThe researcher believes that responsible tourism can truly bring a competitive advantage when there are fruitful communications and continuous dialogue among all stakeholder groups (including the employees, customers, marketplace and societal groups). The tourism enterprises ought to engage themselves in societal relationships and sustainable environmental practices (Chiu, Lee and Chen, 2014). The tourism owner-managers admitted that responsible behaviours have brought reputational benefits, enhanced the firms’ image among external stakeholders and led to a favourable climate of trust and cooperation within the company. Similar findings were reported by Nunkoo and Smith (2013). This study reported that a participative leadership boosts employee morale and job satisfaction which may often lead to lower staff turnover and greater productivity in the workplace (Davidson et al., 2010). Evidently, stakeholder relationships are needed to bring external knowledge sources, which may in turn enhance organisational skills and performance (Frey and George, 2010).

The governments may also have an important role to play in this regard. The governments can take an active leading role in triggering responsible behaviours. Booyens (2010) also reiterated that greater efforts are required by governments, the private sector and other stakeholders to translate responsible tourism principles into policies, strategies and regulations. Governments may give incentives (through financial resources in the form of grants or tax relief) and enforce regulation in certain areas where responsible behaviour is required. The regulatory changes may possibly involve the use of eco-label and certifications. Alternatively, the government may encourage efficient and timely reporting and audits of sustainability (and social) practices. The governments may provide structured compliance procedures to tourism enterprises. Responsible tourism practices and their measurement, reporting and accreditation should be as clear and understandable as possible. The governments’ reporting standards and guidelines may possibly be drawn from the international reporting instruments (e.g. ISO, SA, AA, and GRI).

This research posits that sustainable and responsible environmental practices leverage the tourism enterprises performance as innovations can help to improve their bottom-line. This finding was also consonant with Bohdanowicz’s (2006) contribution. This research indicated that the investigated enterprises were increasingly pledging their commitment for discretionary investments in environmental sustainability, including; energy and water conservation, alternative energy generation, waste minimisation, reducing, reusing and recycling policies, pollution prevention, environmental protection, carbon offsetting programmes and the like. Indeed, some of the interviewees have proved that they were truly capable of reducing their operational costs through better efficiencies. Nevertheless, there may be still room for improvement as tourism enterprises can increase their investments in the latest technological innovations. This study indicates that there are small tourism enterprises that still need to realise the business case for responsible tourism. Their organisational culture and business ethos will have to become attuned to embrace responsible behavioural practices.

Nevertheless, it must be recognised that the tourism industry is made up of various ownership structures, sizes and clienteles. In addition, there are many stakeholder influences, which affect the firms’ level of social and environmental responsibility (Carroll and Shabana, 2010). Acquiring new knowledge must be accompanied by mechanisms for dissemination. Perhaps, there is scope in sharing best practices, even with rival firms. It is necessary for responsible businesses to realise that they need to work in tandem with other organisations in order to create shared value and to move the responsible tourism agenda forward. Therefore, this study’s findings encourage inter-firm collaboration and networking across different sectors of the tourism industry.

“…responsible behaviours have brought reputational benefits, enhanced the firms’ image among external stakeholders and led to a favourable climate of trust and cooperation within the company”.

This contribution contends that the notion of shared value is opening up new opportunities for responsible tourism and the sustainability agenda, particularly with its innovative approach to configure the value chain (Pfitzer, et al, 2013; Porter and Kramer 2011). There are competitive advantages that may arise from creating and measuring shared value. Evidently, there is more to responsible tourism than, ‘doing good by doing well’ (Garay and Font, 2012). As firms reap profits and grow, they can generate virtuous circles of positive multiplier effects. This paper has indicated that the tourism enterprises, who engage themselves in responsible and sustainable practices, are creating value for themselves and for society. In conclusion, this research puts forward the following key recommendations for the responsible tourism agenda:

• Promotion of laudable business processes that bring economic, social and environmental value;
• Encouragement of innovative and creative approaches, which foster the right environment for further development and application of sustainable and responsible practices;
• Enhancement of collaborations and partnership agreements with governments, trade unions and society in general, including the marketplace stakeholders;
• Ensuring that there are adequate levels of performance in areas such as health and safety, suitable working conditions and sustainable environmental practices;
• Increased awareness, constructive communication, dialogue and trust;
• National governments may create a regulatory framework which encourages and enables the implementation of sustainable and responsible behavioural practices by tourism enterprises.


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