Shawn Nesaw

Melissa Mauldin, Sr. Marketing Specialist, A. Bright Idea

According to an AVG Digital Skills Study in 2010 presented at the ABA Marketing Conference, 30% of U.S. toddlers can operate a smartphone or tablet app. This may or may not surprise you. It does not surprise me as my daughter, by age two, knew how to “slide to unlock” on the iTouch, go to the Entertainment folder, select Peek-A-Boo Barn, play her game until she was board and then go back to the folder to select a new game. Now this doesn’t mean that I’m a bad parent (I hope) or allow technology to babysit my child, it’s just an example of how “times, they are a changing” and technology is something the next generation is born with not being able to live without.
Because we as a society demand information at our fingertips and have the expectation of immediate gratification with our smartphones, banks are readying themselves for market capture. Mobile banking isn’t something new but it is something that many of our community banks are just getting into.
Launched two years ago, mobile banking was invested primarily by the large, national banks. In one of the many sessions on mobile banking at this year’s ABA Marketing Conference, it was cited that many of the larger banks may have launched this added feature to compensate for the areas where they were lacking (i.e. customer service, personalized attention, service fees, etc.). In terms of technology in the financial industry, mobile banking was more quickly adopted than any other technology launch. ATMs and Online Banking technologies took anywhere from four to ten years or more to acquire more than 50 percent adoption per household. Since its launch, mobile banking has seen a market penetration of 10 percent within the first two years and it is expected to eclipse Online Banking (in terms of usage) by 2014.  With consumer desired features including mobile deposits (scanning an image of a check and depositing it via your smartphone app), as well as balance inquiries, transfers, etc., customers desire the accessibility to manage their funds while they’re on the go.
Additionally, with the growth of couponing companies like Groupon and Living Social, banks are also adopting personalized service features based on a customer’s spending preferences and offering discounts that relate. How would you like your bank to offer you a coupon for the GAP the next time you log in to online banking, simply because they noticed you purchased something there before? Or offer you access to determine the cheapest gas based on your location simply because they noticed you bought gas with your bank card? Approximately 76 percent of customers said they would like discounts based on spending habits, and that they would switch banks for one that offered these personalized services.
While these conveniences are steadily on the rise and becoming more and more desired, 55 percent of consumers still primarily say they select a bank based on the convenience of location more than anything. The traditional bricks and mortar bank branches will not be a thing of the past.
National banks continue to primarily be the first to test out new product and service features, but community banks will soon follow to meet the growing demand by customers. While customers may need to wait a bit longer for these benefits at their community bank, when they do come they’ll be packaged with all the benefits of local, personalized service we value from our neighborhood banks.

Shawn Nesaw

Baltimore Advertising Week gives us an excuse to talk about one of our favorite things in this town – advertising. After 15 years of working with small to mid-size businesses, government clients and non-profits struggling to get their message out, it’s refreshing to discuss new and innovative approaches with our peers downtown and experts from across the country alike.
Sure, the art of marketing still relies on the basics of research and strategy and budgets can still be a big piece of the puzzle. But with the rate of emerging technology coupled with the rate of adoption, the options and opportunities for engaging with your audience are simply exciting.
Now we can target our audience wherever they go, right through their own mobile devices. Marcus Startzel of Millennial Media provided some insight on “How to Succeed in Mobile.” A few take-aways we found interesting:

  • Mobile advertising hones in on demo, geography and immediacy, even day-parting ads
  • Mobile traffic patterns – low between 3-4 a.m., increasing through 11 p.m. and highest on weekends. PC traffic dies at 5p.m., Monday- Friday.
  • Digital/mobile advertising holds 8.1% share of voice against other mediums
  • Who’s spending in mobile? Retail, restaurants, finance, directories
  • How are mobile advertisers targeting? Broad reach, local market, demo, pay scale
  • Types of mobile advertising – text, direct response, click to call, point-of-sale
  • Geo-targeting focuses on physical location of cell phones, not registered location of user
  • 59% of mobile ads go to touch screen phones, allowing more creativity of ad
  • Ever notice an ad appearing after you searched on the same topic? That’s not coincidence; it’s geo-targeting
  • eReaders are ripe for advertising, however there needs to be enough in the market for advertisers & developers to invest
  • Smaller businesses who may not have the client list or funds to support a large mobile marketing campaign are encouraged to stay on top of other mobile trends such as utilizing QR codes.

Even as organizations continue to take the leap into social media, there are legal considerations – not necessarily from transparent communications, but based on ethical communications. A discussion led by Jim Astrachan, Principal of Astrachan, Gunst Thomas, P.C., explained the new Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules and guidelines concerning social media and those favorable reviews an organization craves:

  • Social media marketing accounts for a $4 billion market in 2011
  • Abuse/deception under the FTC rules includes paying employees of a company to post favorable reviews and comments about that companies products; employees hyping a companies products; and paying employees to pose as street teams to enhance a product. All of these practices are not illegal if you disclose the people work for the company—but this discredits the value of the endorsements.
  • Advertisers are now obligated to monitor and police the endorsers.
  • Even if employees are truly satisfied about a company product, they cannot post and praise the products if they do not disclose their relationship because they have a financial interest.
  • If an employee lists their employer on their Facebook or Twitter page, that is sufficient disclosure.
  • Companies can encourage others to tweet about their products, but cannot reward them later, i.e. ‘Show us proof of your tweet and receive a discount on your next visit/purchase.’
  • Facebook vs. MaxBounty – a case involving alleged misleading advertising on Facebook by MaxBounty. The company is said to help create fake Facebook campaigns, providing advance payments if its clients agree to participate. MaxBounty also tells the company’s Facebook approves these campaigns. A result is yet to be determined.
  • All in all, the answers aren’t always clear—be conscious of your social media interaction and use.


Shawn Nesaw

AutoCorrect – not always correct.

The AutoCorrect feature, originally developed by Microsoft, gained additional popularity when introduced by Apple for the iPhone in 2007. It’s designed to automatically detect and correct typos, misspelled words and incorrect capitalization. Considered a feature of smartphones now, the AutoCorrect function has been known to produce strange (and sometimes inappropriate) results leaving it to users to “correct the auto-correct” changes made.
With the intention of making our lives easier and communicating faster, faster communications are not necessarily better, especially when a machine is doing the interpreting. In an article on, AutoCorrect was the source of panic when a retired couple decided to go on a month-long trek through Nepal, keeping their daughter and son-in-law up to date by checking in at local Internet cafés. The first message their daughter received read: “Help. Visa bad. Can you send money to water? Autopsy not working.”
Needless to say their daughter panicked and a 16-hour effort ensued to clarify the situation. What the couple meant was that they couldn’t use their VISA credit card to pay the water bill and AutoCorrect had changed the intended word “auto pay” to “autopsy.”
With more and more communications being conducted via text-based sources, technology has offered tools to make these interactions happen better, faster and more accurate – but nothing’s perfect. According to CNN, the United Nations International Telecommunication Union cited that approximately 200,000 text messages were sent every second in 2010, and more than 107 trillion emails are sent every year, which no doubt produced countless instances of miscommunication – many of which were human error, but also a good many prompted by technology.
According to a social strategist at, these kinds of mistakes are a natural part of learning a new communication technology. When you think about it, it’s true. We still encounter people not understanding the appropriate use of “Reply All” in email, which was highlighted in this 2011 Bridgestone Super Bowl commercial, and when Facebook first launched there were plenty of misdirected posts on users walls that were intended for a private message string. Now we are on to the horror stories of bad texts and emails due to AutoCorrect.
Reply All advertisement for Superbowl XLV
Because we reach more and more people via text-based communications and because they’re permanent (in writing) there’s more reason to ensure our language, words and phrases are accurate when communicating.
AutoCorrect has been the topic of several humor websites that allow users to upload images of funny text messages based on the inaccuracies of the spell check and AutoCorrect on the iPhone, iPod Touch, via email, Android and other smartphones. Taking a peek as some of these interactions may give you a chuckle, but it should also remind you to slow down the pace for a minute – or be ready, and hope the recipient of your message has a good sense of humor.