Mercury New Media has hired another certified Microsoft .NET developer to join its professional services staff. Jessica Chong joins Mercury New Media as a server-side developer on Mercury’s Technical Services team. Jessica holds several Microsoft certifications, has extensive experience as a .NET developer as in-house staff and as a professional consultant and will bring a plethora of .NET and database skills to Mercury.  With this latest certified .NET developer hire Mercury further solidifies its server-side development team.

Mercury was nominated to participate in the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business of the Year competition.  Each year a select group of high performing small businesses (5 ~ 250 employees) are identified to compete for the Chamber’s prestigious Small Business of the Year award.  Nominees firms go through a comprehensive application process that allows the judges to score companies based on their management practices, historical leadership and innovativeness along with other important business metrics.

For additional information, contact Melissa Inama at (813) 933-9800 ext. 2422.

Mercury New Media has earned Microsoft’s Mobility Competency, a distinction given to select Microsoft Certified Partners. Microsoft Partners become eligible for the Mobility competency by demonstrating thorough knowledge of the .NET mobile framework and Azure platform, certified .NET developer staff and client development success stories.

“Adding Mobility to Mercury’s stable of Microsoft competencies is a great honor and an area that is very exciting to all of us here at Mercury New Media. Mobile Web development is an area experiencing tremendous growth and technical challenges so being able to demonstrate proven skills in this area is very important to us,” said Donald Bickel, Partner, Mercury New Media.

For additional information, contact Donald Bickel at (813) 933-9800 ext. 2426.

Mercury New Media is a Bronze winner in the E-commerce Website category in the 2010 Summit Creative Awards competition for its work for Sencommunications, Inc.  Entries in 22 creative categories are judged against a stringent set of standards including, innovative and creative concepts, strong executions and the ability to communicate and persuade.

Sencomm.com was originally launched by Mercury in 2009, and the website has evolved and expanded over the last year.  Sencommunications, Inc. provides customized solutions for client’s unique telecommunications needs.  Mercury New Media is pleased to add increased recognition to such a valued client.

The Summit Creative Awards recognizes and celebrates the creative accomplishments of small and medium sized advertising agencies and other creative groups with annual billings of $30 million or less. Over the fifteen years, the competition has established itself as the premier arbiter of creative excellence for firms of this size.

For additional information, contact Melissa Inama at (813) 933-9800 ext. 2422.

Matt Dunphy Joins Mercury

Mercury’s Technical Services team’s latest addition is Matt Dunphy.  Matt is a seasoned .NET Web Developer with an extensive background developing complex web applications using Microsoft’s .NET development platform (2.0 through 3.5), C#, ASP.NET, HTML, JavaScript and SQL Server.  Matt has helped many organizations identify opportunities for increased efficiency and productivity through the use of web-based applications. 

As a former military officer, Matt brings pragmatic discipline to his work.  He holds the web development certifications in MCPD (Web Developer), MCTS (ASP.NET 3.5), MCTS (Windows Presentation Foundation) and MCTS (ASP.NET 2.0). Matt earned a Bachelor of Science degree with Honors from Northeastern University.

Today Mercury New Media has been honored by Microsoft as a Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. Admission to the Microsoft Partner Program and attainment of the Gold Certified Partner level comes by virtue of three achievements:

  • Demonstrated knowledge in Microsoft’s software stack
  • Verified customer project references that involved development with Microsoft technologies such as SQL Server, .NET and SharePoint
  • The number of Microsoft Certified developers

While the full set of benefits available to Gold Certified Partners is quite extensive some of the key perks include access to pre-release software, the right to use the Microsoft Partner logo, priority Microsoft technical support incidents and advance access to Microsoft products and services.  All of these benefits will increase Mercury New Media’s ability to service their Microsoft- and .NET-based technology solutions and clients.

“Admission to the Gold Certified Partner level is a distinction that positions Mercury New Media as one of the pre-eminent providers of Microsoft technologies in Tampa Bay. This is something I’m very happy about and is something we have all been working hard to attain,” said Donald Bickel, Partner, Mercury New Media.

For additional information, contact Donald Bickel at (813) 933-9800 ext. 2426.

Leading technology market research firms Gartner, Yankee Group and International Data Corp. estimate that the number of mobile device users accessing the Internet on their mobile devices increased by at least 100% through 2008 and consensus estimates place the growth for 2009 to match that rate. The current population of mobile website users was estimated to top 60 million people worldwide as of January 2009, of which 20 million people are estimated to use their mobile device for Internet use on a daily basis.

Talking head James Cramer has even taken to referring to the rising tide of mobile Internet activity as the “Mobile Internet Tsunami”. As an organization that cares deeply about your Internet presence, the reality of the growing “mobile Internet” presents both a huge opportunity and a wide new terrain full of strategic options.

Implications to Our Clients

Based on the rapid growth in mobile Internet usage and the demographics of our clients’ typical user it is advisable for many organizations to develop a targeted mobile Internet strategy. At this time most mobile users are presented with your organization’s website which was developed for 800 or 1000 pixel-wide displays. While this is an ideal experience for desktop-based computers this is a most frustrating experience on handheld mobile devices. Locating and consuming the full breadth of your site’s content shrunk to such a small form factor is an extremely difficult if not impossible task.

The reality of the growing mobile Internet means that many organizations are considering the nature of their audience and the need for a dedicated version of their website optimized for mobile devices.

Which Platform to Target?

At this time the mobile development landscape is even more fragmented than the mobile handset market. With precious few standards the order of the day is custom development spread across the most popular mobile device platforms of iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Mobile (among others).

The mobile Internet development strategy currently recommended by Mercury is to find a happy medium between the platforms and develop a single mobile website which presents reasonably well on all handsets. While this does not result in a mobile Internet presence which is optimized to any single device (i.e. a specific iPhone application) it will result in an economical mobile Internet presence which is usable by almost all smart phone users. In short, mobile development standardization like what is possible within desktop browsers is several years off and the cost to develop a site to cater to each platform is cost prohibitive for most organizations.

The following points summarize the mobile Internet presence development strategy recommended by Mercury New Media:

  • Develop mobile interfaces to standards-based HTML and CSS (HTML and CSS are universally-supported technologies)
  • Utilize the same common backend (application platform, database and content management system) as your existing screen-targeted websites
  • Remove Flash elements (Flash is not supported on many devices at this time)

Publish the Bare Minimum

While the concept of having only one website and simply styling it differently depending on the medium the visitor is using (desktop vs. handheld) is popular, a separate mobile site is required in order to deliver an optimized experience for mobile users. Customers who are surfing on a mobile device have different needs and requirements, so to force-feed them the same content as that displayed on the traditional site is a recipe for disaster. The Best Buy mobile site is a good example of this principle; the Best Buy mobile website displays only two functions (Product Search and Find A Store) – a far cry from their traditional site.

Target the Right Users

The goal for any web site should be to know your customers in order to deliver them the most appropriate content. This goal is even more important with mobile sites. In the case of mobile sites not only do you need to know your customers but you need to know what they are likely to be doing on your mobile site as well as where they will be when they are doing it. Traditional website customers are most likely sitting at a desk facing a large monitor while visitors who are browsing your mobile site are more likely to be waiting in line, riding on the bus or running to the departure gate.

Three Typical Mobile User Segments

While the mobile user population can be split into several different categories, the following three mobile user segments are most likely to apply to your website users:

1) The Casual Surfer
Casual mobile users act in a similar way to users of traditional web sites; casual surfers are not really interested in any one thing but have a few spare minutes between tasks to take a look around. If your site is focused on the sort of content that would appeal to casual surfers, then be aware of the limitations on the time and screen-size of your mobile customer. The goal should be to make your content more “sticky”, so that casual surfers come back for more. Aim for small, bite-sized chunks that are just enough to keep customers interested, but not so long that users can’t browse your site in the time they have available.

2) The Repeat Visitor
Repeat customers are those that are constantly returning for some sort of specific news or data. The interface of a mobile device is very limited, so identifying what your repeat visitors are coming back for and bubbling that material to the top of the site will be important; avoid burying the content your repeat users want behind 3 or 4 clicks.

3) The “Urgent, Now!” Visitor
These are site visitors that are on the hunt for a quick but very specific bit of information, usually obtained with a shortened attention span and directed at engaging in business with the operator of the mobile site. By identifying the most important needs of your customers and making the relevant information accessible within one click or less, you’ll increase the usefulness of your mobile site enormously.

Which Form Factor to Target?

The following chart comes from research published by Smashing Magazine, a leading online interface design publication. It shows that the mobile handset industry seems to be coalescing around screens that are 240×320 pixels in width. Much as 1000 pixel resolution monitors are targeted for full fledged website development, Mercury currently targets 240×320 pixel displays for mobile websites.

Learn More

To learn more about a mobile website for your organization or to discuss mobile Internet strategy for your organization, contact your Mercury New Media Relationship Manager.

Mercury New Media has been selected as a member of the new Microsoft WebsiteSpark program.  The WebsiteSpark program is aimed at web development firms that develop websites for other organizations and is intended to assist with the adoption, spread and implementation of Microsoft web technologies. 

As a member of this select program, Mercury New Media has fast and easy access to Microsoft’s full-featured development tools and Web server production/hosting licenses for use in designing, developing and bringing to market differentiated, innovative and rich Internet sites and applications.  Mercury New Media is also able to preview early release technologies to identify potential opportunities for their clients, in advance of full market releases.

www.manheim-orlando.com

Mercury New Media developed a website and secure extranet that streamlines communication of all Auction sale information. The resulting solution provides for real-time publication of vehicle inventory, email distribution of 8,000 sale reports every week and publication of consigner ads, sale schedules and auction regulations.

Every week Manheim Orlando mailed 7,000 booklets summarizing the transaction results of the past sale and handled thousands of dealer phone calls and faxes. Auction management desired to reduce costs, digitize dealer communication and more effectively deliver upcoming sale inventory.

Sale reports are available online and emailed to 8,000 dealers within 4 hours of the close of each sale. Manheim Orlando has completely halted printing sale reports and dealers no longer wait one week for this market-setting data. Sale inventory data is also updated four times every hour.

More than 500 dealers have been registered or re-activated every year as a result of website communications. Staff time required to support dealers has been reduced by 12,000 man-hours per year. The strategic position provided by their website has led to several consigner account wins over other, less digitized auctions.

Seeking a method of efficiently moving vehicle inventory without jeopardizing the flow of sales, Manheim Orlando employed Mercury New Media to develop a notification system that could provide potential buyers with real-time inventory alerts. Lane Alerts offer customized notifications of upcoming auction vehicles via cell phone text messages both to buyers and Manheim Orlando staff.

“Mercury New Media works with us to ensure our auction remains a national leader by using web-based technologies to better connect with our dealers. They develop innovative solutions that make us more effective and efficient, setting the standard in our industry” said Mike Johnson, Technology Department Manager for Manheim Orlando.

Results

  • 30% increase in online contacts in its first quarter
  • 100% increase in total time spent on site
  • Dealer Locator yields 180,000 dealer views per year

About Manheim Orlando

Manheim Orlando has been serving the nation’s automobile dealers, manufacturers, fleet and lease companies, and financial institutions in their vehicle remarketing needs for over thirty years. With a weekly attendance of roughly 2,500 dealers and an average weekly consignment of approximately 7,000 vehicles, Manheim Orlando is the leading automobile auction in the Southeast. A wholly owned subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, Manheim is a global organization with 32,000 employees at its 139 U.S. and international locations.

“When times are good you should advertise.  When times are bad, you must advertise.”  This phrase hits home for many of our clients.  A great number of companies face both diminished budgets and an increased need to market in order to improve revenue stream.  Many firms have found the answer in turning to digital marketing outlets, thereby maintaining or increasing the audience they reach with a low cost per touch.  In the survey “2009 Media Survey Results %26 Analysis”, senior executives revealed that their marketing budgets would be largely turning digital, while cutting spending in traditional outlets such as print and television. (Source E-Marketer.com)

As demonstrated in the chart above, email marketing was the clear investment of choice for marketing dollars.  A good email marketing campaign is an inexpensive way to reach hundreds or thousands of prospects at once.  According to research conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing generated an ROI of $48.34 for every dollar spent on it in 2007. The expected figure for 2008 is $45.06, and the prediction for 2009 is $43.52.  The research determined that email marketing outperforms all the other direct marketing channels examined.  An additional advantage of email marketing is that it allows you to easily cross sell and repeat sell to your existing customers.  Marketing to existing customers is highly efficient because you then skip the expensive process of locating and educating prospects.

To assist our customers with implementing successful email marketing initiatives Mercury New Media has developed Campaign Manager, an email marketing system which integrates seamlessly with the Silverware application.  Campaign Manager allows you to run multiple “campaigns”, or email initiatives, as well as multiple subscriber lists.  The HTML emails are designed according to your company branding by Mercury New Media, allowing you to simply type the text you would like to send out.  All emails are equipped with simple one-click unsubscribe options in compliance with anti-spam laws.  Backend reporting allows you to view reports regarding the delivery rates, open rates, click-through paths and more.  To learn more about how Campaign Manager can boost your marketing effectiveness, contact your Mercury New Media Relationship Manager.