Target marketing, as defined by Wikipedia, is the group of customers that the business has decided to aim its marketing efforts to and ultimately sale merchandise. Effectively targeting the correct market for a company’s upcoming or current product generally will not only help increase sales, but will increase the number of potential customers communicating with each other about the product. Creating the correct target market takes resources from most departments, but how does a company choose which market is best for their product line and how to effectively drive the marketplace?
Recently, I have been involved in research around ProPay’s Social M-Payments platform ProPayLink (recently known as Zumogo). The company needed to define its target market for the new, upcoming product. What were the components we needed to search out? ProPayLink is an application for Smartphone users; therefore we needed to research who used Smartphones, the average income for Smartphone users, what type of Smartphones these consumers used, etc. Compiling this information helped in the decision factor for the target market and therefore we were able to create the marketing strategy for ProPayLink.
Once the target market has been decided, the next step is to effectively drive it to the marketplace. I have become a big fan of a few select initiatives to take the product to consumers; let me share them with you:
Create a social atmosphere. Social media has become integral in the buzz about any new product offering. Create multiple channels of social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Blogger); update regularly and respond to any questions/concerns in a timely fashion. “By monitoring online conversations about your brand, industry, product or related services, you can strengthen product development, customer service and a variety of other core business functions,” (Defining Social Media Engagement, Mashable.com).
Beta launches work wonders. Your product was made for success; place the product out in the field and test how the marketplace takes to it. This is the best environment to create positive feedback to take back to developers, marketers, product development, etc. and change/update what consumers are looking for.
Continually update. A product is never finished. It needs to be continually updated and refreshed to keep your target market interested.
Creating the most effective target market for your business’s products can and will be time consuming, but eventually bring consumers to the table. ProPay continually enhances its products for our merchants and offers them a variety of devices to allow their customers to pay.
Last week, ProPay’s SVP of Market Strategy, Dr. Heather Mark, PhD, was interviewed by The Paypers. Following is an excerpt from the interview.
The Paypers: Please provide our readers with a brief insight into your company’s vision.
Dr. Mark: Since 1997, ProPay has provided simple, secure, and affordable payment solutions for organizations ranging from the small, home-based entrepreneur to multi-billion-dollar enterprises. ProPay is a leading provider of complete End-to-End Payment Security solutions that reduce, and may even eliminate, an organization’s risk of having sensitive payment data compromised. ProPay’s vision has always been to enable businesses, large or small, with the latest and most secure payment technologies.
The Paypers: How does the Zumogo platform work?
Dr. Mark: Zumogo (pronounced “Zoo-MOE-go”) is a social mobile payment (social m-payment) platform that enables a new connection between the merchant and the consumer. It is a mobile payment technology allowing Smartphones to be used, not only as a payment device, but also as a social technology allowing merchants and consumers to communicate with each other in real-time. Merchants can highlight events, specials, and other information that consumers can easily find. Since the platform uses geo-location data, Zumogo can connect merchants and consumers that are in proximity to one another. This helps merchants convert foot traffic and helps consumers find the types of merchants that they prefer. Additionally, the social m-payment platform allows the consumer to find merchants, contact them for information, and make payment all from the same device. Zumogo also eliminates sensitive information from the transaction process, meaning no payment data is passed through the merchant’s system or stored on the consumer’s Smartphone.
The Paypers: What does the merchant need to integrate with the system?
Dr. Mark: Merchants can begin using Zumogo immediately. There is no additional equipment necessary. As long as the merchant can access a web browser, then they can use Zumogo.
To read the full interview, subscribe to The Paypers using this link.
ProPay is excited to announce that we received news today that our Zumogo mobile solution was selected as the winner of the 2011 ETA Techology Showcase. This is a very proud day for ProPay. As the first Social M-Payment solution in the market, Zumogo is an exciting opportunity for companies to not only accept payments from mobile phones but to directly market to potential customers. For a video of Zumogo at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival see below!
This is part three (see previous post) in a series on VeriFone CEO, Douglas G. Bergeron’s six rules for success in the mobile commerce market (found here) and how ProPay’s social m-payment product, Zumogo, addresses each one.
Rule #3: “Mobile commerce must be streamlined with existing POS services and managed well for the retailer. Retailers won’t tolerate the need for multiple methods of acceptance to accommodate what will become a wide array of mobile commerce schemes. All ideas, regardless of where or who generates them, must converge at a unified point-of-sale.”
For most brick and mortar retailers the novelty, efficiencies and increased sales peddled by new mobile startups do not justify the expense and headaches associated with an additional payment channel. Settlement and reconciliation on the back end and inventory management, ordering processes etc. on the front end are hard enough to manage with one solution.
Zumogo fits seamlessly on both the front and backend layers of the merchant’s point-of-sale system. Because Zumogo sits on top of ProPay’s “gateway agnostic” data vault, ProtectPay®, retailers do not have to worry about multiple merchant accounts. All of their Zumogo transactions will be processed through the same payment gateway as their traditional channels.
When released, Zumogo’s POS software integration will seamlessly extend the merchant’s front end application allowing the merchant to utilize the full set of Zumogo features side by side with existing day-to-day functionality. Because there is no additional hardware requirement, setup is straightforward and inexpensive. Vendors selling NFC and other hardware dependent technologies all face an uphill battle as they try to convince merchants to spend additional capital on the still young but growing mobile market. Even Google, a huge player in the NFC market is planning to give away the terminals in order to “encourage” merchants with its new technology.
As we were designing Zumogo the overriding principles we used to guide us were:
A big part of adoptability is making the product seamlessly compatible with the existing POS system; Zumogo does just that.
This week ProPay attended the 2011 Electronic Transaction Association (ETA) annual convention in San Diego, California. While it was great to catch up with old friends and rekindle business relationships, I could not help but be struck by the focus on mobile payments. While hosting a Social Mobile Payments roundtable, one of the participants made a very interesting observation. She indicated that the exuberance we are seeing today around mobile technology is similar to that we saw in the late 1990’s with the DotCom boom. As I thought about her comment, I had to admit that there are some similarities. Anyone (including this author) that has worked for a Silicone Valley company during the DotCom boom, can attest to the excitement, exuberance and confidence we all had in the future of eCommerce. Certainly some readers remember man.com, pets.com, etoys.com, flooz.com, or my favorite, kozmo.com. Kozmo.com would allow you to order literally anything, at any time and they would deliver to your door. If you wanted a chili dog at midnight…Kozmo.com. Need some nail polish remover at 4am? Kozmo.com. You can read about the ‘busts’ here. While there were some major busts, there were some great companies that arrived, as well. Amazon.com, Google.com, Yahoo.com, and ProPay.com (had to give a plug for our company).
While new technology is exciting and mobile technology certainly seems to be the wave of the future, the over excitement of investors, and developers does harken back to the glory days of the DotCom boom. While it is certainly to early to tell, history suggests that there is a potential for a bust of some level. It should be noted that this is not limited to eCommerce or mobile. At the 2011 Computer Electronics Show it was estimated that over 50 tablet PCs were released to compete with the ubiquitous iPad. Estimates suggested that by the end of 2011, only two would still be in the market. One has to wonder how many of the mobile startups will go the way of the DotComs?