Some industries absolutely must use mobile marketing to survive, but using it well can be difficult. There is so much to learn both on the marketing side and the technical side. Read on to learn how you can easily and effectively integrate mobile marketing into your business plan.
Older cellphones cannot properly display the same sites as newer smartphones or tablets, so your links need to lead to different sites for different phones. If you use a flash player on your website, only provide the cellular link.
Do not send too many offers on mobile platforms. Stick to the essential ones. With this you know that your customers will not tire from your messages and look for to see all you have to offer.
It is important to have your own dedicated short code. The price tag is higher, but this will help to protect your brand. Doing this will also protect you legally.
Every successful mobile campaign should have a home base. Your mobile presence should be about driving people to the home base, or keeping in touch with people who already visit your home base. Do not ever base everything completely on a mobile marketing campaign.
Remember who you are talking to if you are going to make phone calls, they are people whose lives you are interrupting. Realize that is an issue and act accordingly.
Check to verify that your mobile web site works on every popular mobile web browser in use. It’s important that your messages work no matter what type of phone your customer is using. It’s going to be a lot easier for you to use a simplified message, rather than trying to make a custom message work across all platforms. Mobile marketing and the KISS principle work well together.
Be sure to test mobile websites and ads on multiple mobile devices. Some mobile devices use special browsers, and others have limitations based on their screen size or resolution. Your website and content might look different on each device. Your mobile marketing campaign should be tested on all popular devices, to be sure that it looks right on each one.
Creating a mobile app with lots of helpful information for your target market is a great mobile marketing strategy. Any apps that give users helpful hints or useful information are wildly popular. You can use your app as a lead-generation tool for other products, or sell the app directly for profit.
Understanding how mobile marketing works is very important if you want to use it to help your business reach as many people as possible. The points in this article have hopefully given you a better understanding of how mobile marketing can work for your business. Use the pointers presented here as a starting point.
Mobile bar codes are increasingly gaining momentum and companies such as Toys R Us and Glamour are placing them on billboards and walls – providing consumers another way to shop their favorite products.
Although the technology is still emerging, it certainly has the opportunity to change the way consumers shop. Brands and marketers are beginning to see the potential of mobile bar codes and are using them in their marketing strategies.
“The immediacy of being able to purchase something you see advertised in a magazine or other out-of-home signage allows consumers to conveniently purchase the product on-the-spot, without having to search or step foot into a store,” said Nicole Skogg, CEO of SpyderLynk, New York .
“We believe that the use of mobile bar codes overall, especially mcommerce-enabled bar codes, will continue to grow as consumers become more familiar with the technology,” she said. “Adoption rates will also continue to grow as marketers think more strategically about the use of bar codes and become more focused on delivering value.
“Well-executed, mobile bar codes drive consumer consideration and help position a brand as relevant and enticing. Poorly executed mobile bar codes, at best, serve to frustrate consumers and, at worst, are ignored all together.”
On the go shopping
Last year, Toys R Us rolled out a virtual store that let consumers scan QR codes featured on billboards and shop the company’s 2011 Hot Toy List.
On-the-go commuters and travelers in the New York metro area were encouraged to take part in the initiative. The billboards were located in John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and nearly 40 NJ Transit Stations feature the showcased items (see story).
Most recently, Glamour unveiled its Apothecary Wall that features products from Unilever and Juicy Couture.
The Apothecary Wall has SpyderLynk Snaptags next to each product. Users are encouraged to download Glamour’s Friends & Fans iPhone app to scan the mobile bar code and buy the featured product right then and there.
“Placement is critical to success in adoption rates,” Ms. Skogg said. “One of our key messages to our clients is that the placement of a mobile bar code will drive usage.
“Engaged media such as magazines, email, online and street teams at events will drive higher response rates than passive media such as event displays and out-of-home signage like a billboard – which is typically passed by rather than viewed from a closer proximity while standing still, making it difficult for consumers to engage,” she said. “There are much more creative ways to deploy bar codes with the Apothecary Wall being an excellent example.
“Glamour’s innovative use of the Apothecary Wall allowed them to extend the reach of the magazine, while making it fun for consumers to shop on-the-spot. By recreating a shopping isle with a 2D design, the Apothecary Wall was intuitive, approachable and easy for consumers to interact with.”
There is an increase in the sophistication of mobile bar codes and their implementation compared to last year.
Brands and marketers are incorporating mobile bar codes across their entire marketing mix.
This comprehensive approach to mobile is giving marketers the ability to model, segment and better target consumers.
Mobile commerce-enabled mobile bar codes give retailers the opportunity to extend the reach of their bricks-and-mortar retail outlets.
“We are beginning to see mobile bar codes have an impact on the retail experience however, there is still much consumer education and awareness needed for mobile bar codes to really change the way consumers shop,” said Laura Marriott, CEO of NeoMedia Technologies, Boulder, CO.
“Many major global brands and retailers, such as Calvin Klein, McDonalds, Macy’s and Target, have helped to increase this awareness by taking advantage of the ability mobile bar codes provide to bring engagement and interactivity to a consumer’s experience with a brand,” she said.
“By simply scanning the mobile bar code, consumers can instantly access an unlimited amount of data on the brand and product of interest – from product information and reviews to special offers – but further integration with a brand or retailer’s existing loyalty, CRM or couponing implementations will also help to drive consumer uptake.”
According to Ms. Marriott, mobile bar codes provide an easy, instant means to connect with the brand.
“I believe we will see significant uptake of these services,” Ms. Marriott said. “Mobile bar codes still have a bit of the newness factor and are fun to engage with, which definitely also helps to drive interactions.
“And making the shopping experience even more accessible to consumers via mobile bar codes, is definitely a winning combination,” she said. “We do expect to see these types of initiatives becoming more commonplace in the next year, which will help consumers become more comfortable with using their mobile to scan and buy on the go.
“In 2012 we should expect to see a rise in mobile bar code scanning implementations resulting in greater consumer participation, expanded loyalty initiatives and an overall enhanced consumer experience when in-store – much more than a simple resolution to a Web URL. Coupled with this, we expect to see hardware solutions in retail support mobile bar code scanning on a much wider basis in 2012.”
Mobile bar codes make shoppers more intelligent wherever they may be.
Consumers access more relevant content based on what their specific interests.
Additionally, with mobile bar codes shoppers can now access product reviews and price comparisons via their mobile device. This allows them to make more informed decisions on the spot when making a purchase.
“We do see some customers getting more comfortable buying products on their mobile devices, but we are not at the mass adoption level yet,” said Mike Wehrs, CEO of Scanbuy, New York. “Thousands of people made purchases through our app over the holidays as they were scanning UPC codes from products, but there are many ways for retailers to harness that activity.
“Virtual shops are a growing phenomenon which can really enable someone to buy from anywhere,” he said.
Young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are even more connected to their mobile devices than you might think.
Nine in 10 young adults spend between one and five hours on their mobile devices daily. Nearly one in 10, meanwhile, are on their gadgets between five and ten hours each day. Just under a third would actually like for brands to send them promotions via smartphone and tablet, but more than half say that it’s “extremely important” to be able to opt out of such come-ons.
This is all according to a study by mobile interaction and payment agency mBlox, which commissioned a December study of more than 4,000 young mobile users in the United States and United Kingdom. According to mBlox’s chief marketing officer Michele Turner, the research provides important insight as advertising and marketing to people on the go continues to proliferate.
“With 2012 largely being seen as the advent of mobile commerce, this research helps validate the huge revenue potentials for brands and an appetite by consumers for mobile marketing,” Turner said in a statement.
In just one illustration of mobile’s importance to advertisers and marketers, Google reported that mobile devices accounted for 41% of searches for Super Bowl TV ads during the game earlier this month.
But brands need to be careful about how they target those mobile users and how much knowledge they reveal about them. While 30% of survey respondents said they want offers to be located nearby, two-thirds said they don’t want brands knowing their whereabouts. More than half worry about their credit card information being stolen, and nearly half fret the risk of signing up for fake websites.
The mobile revolution is underway, but many marketers are underutilizing the medium and making mistakes with the strategy and execution of campaigns.
The hyper-connected consumer of today has little patience for clutter or noise. His smartphone is the compass with which he engages the world, the persistent interface that guides him through the ever-evolving digital landscape. How then, as marketers, do we evolve in order to not only keep pace with the mobile revolution, but also to utilize it as intended?
The smartphone is intensely personal, intimately integrated into our social graphs, superior in its contextual awareness of time and space, hyper-connected and nearly always within arm’s reach. The smartphone has, in essence, become a natural extension of our human selves.
Yet, despite the newfound wealth of opportunities available to mobile marketers, we have been consistently and fundamentally flawed in both strategy and execution. Quite simply put, we’re doing it all wrong.
1. Flaw: De-Emphasizing the Unique Nature of the Medium
Although they share a common infrastructure, mobile is not the traditional web. In fact, the two have few equivalents in the stationary web world. The stationary web is exactly that – inactive. With that said, why would mobile design, which should be focused on creating an experience unique to those who are actively on-the-go, be constructed with an inactive model in mind?
Mobile events are inherently transitive in nature. The different elements of the medium — constant connectivity, location awareness, personalization and social connection — add affinity to consumer/brand interactions and empower the medium uniquely as an events-driven interface. These features form the foundation for consumer interaction — a tight, relevant orchestration of branded communications among increasingly interconnected brand advocates.
2. Flaw: Treating Connected Consumers as Stationary Targets
Mobile consumers are moving targets; therefore, marketers must consider the variability of exchange. Where is the consumer right now? What is she interested in? How can I compel her to visit my store location? What can I reward her with to increase her loyalty to the brand? What can I do to make her feel included? How can I use the medium to make her encounter the brand more efficiently? What experience can I provide to her that she would feel compelled to share? When viewed through this lens, the possibilities for engaging consumers are limited only to the imagination and ingenuity of the brand.
3. Flaw: Ignoring the Power of Contextual Relevance
The mobile medium represents the most powerful mechanism for delivering contextually relevant, consumer-brand marketing communications. To take advantage of its unique capabilities, however, successful marketing strategies must evolve alongside these communicating customers. The digital natives of today’s hyper-connected world seek contextual relevance when engaging with brands. Their experiences are defined not only by the message itself, but by the context in which the message is presented.
Marketers who effectively tackle today’s mobile variables will provide consumers with unique experiences that are differentiated, highly relevant and intensely personal. Only then will we collectively realize the power and influence of marketing in the moment.
4. Flaw: Employing Old World, Unidirectional Strategies
Effective consumer engagement can no longer take an unidirectional mindset. Today’s digital natives are constantly presented with a dizzying array of branded digital touchpoints. They are expecting consistent yet unique communication and brand message.
Brands are now challenged to become adept transmedia storytellers, to create a message that syncs with the communication medium in which it’s delivered. Brands must move beyond simply marketing to people but, instead, must master marketing to a context that is determined by device or platform. They must consider the specific medium which they choose to engage.
5. Flaw: Not Offering Value in Exchange for Value
Establishing consumer relationships through mobile marketing, as with any successful relationship, inherently requires a mutual exchange of value. Whether consumers are opting-in for brand communications via SMS or engaging with the brand in a single instance by scanning a QR code, the onus is on the brand to deliver value in return for customers’ time and information.
Without the perception that value is mutual, the relationship becomes essentially one-sided and unrequited. The customer may attempt to end the relationship — perhaps permanently. Regardless of the strategies or technologies employed, successful mobile marketing relies heavily on a fair and evenly balanced value exchange between consumer and brand. Given the intensely personal nature of smart devices, coupled with the fact that the device is nearly always within arm’s reach, it becomes extremely important that mobile marketing avoids being intrusive and irrelevant.
Conventional marketing wisdom advocates a right audience + right message + right time methodology, designed to entice a stationary audience. In mobile, the same principles don’t necessarily apply. Rather than marketing at the target with brand-centric storytelling, wherever and however she may encounter you, allow the tale to travel along with her as she goes. Communicate the narrative, allow the mobile medium to reveal ensuing chapters in a continuum of branded engagements.
Mobile channels such as advertising (search and display), apps and mobile Web sites will rake in the most in spend for brands and retailers. The exponential raise in smartphone uptake is indicative of the importance mobile will soon play in the marketing mix.
“It starts with consumer behavior. Every indicator says mobile activity considerably increased in 2011,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA. “The latest was the IBM report that said sales from mobile devices doubled in December 2011 versus December 2010.
“Even the most stubborn of marketers has had to take note,” he said. “The smartest ones know that consumers expect brands to have a significant mobile presence – and they are punishing companies that don’t.
“Many mobile channels will benefit from increased spending. Mobile Web will be one of the winners driven by consumer demand. Another will be SMS because it provides reach to all, including the 50 percent who won’t have smartphones and, when used wisely, leads to permission-based, monetizable databases.”
Retailers and brands will focus heavily on incorporating check-ins and deals into their mobile apps. The next generation of retail apps will be extremely sophisticated, focusing on loyalty and driving sales among loyalists.
Will the majority of big box retailers having built their mobile database and built a relationship with the consumers that have opted-in for communications, companies will now focus on way of making the marketing messages more personalized to more effectively drive sales.
For example, instead of getting a message for a mobile coupon with 10 percent off of the next purchase, imagine getting a message that says Macy’s just got a pair of peep-toe shoes that match perfectly with the cocktail dress you bought last week.
In order for personalization like this to be possible, data mining and segmentation of lists is an absolute must. Brands and retailers will be spending a lot of time and money on understanding their database and breaking it up into segmented lists.
“Similar to social media, mobile marketing spend as a whole will impressively increase in 2012 not so much in terms of greater budget allocations by a few enterprises but in terms of volume due to more SMBs and consumer affinity groups getting in the mobile marketing game,” said Angelo Biasi, adjunct professor for mobile marketing at New York University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies and general manager of SMART Marketing Solutions LLC, New York.
“Easy to use do-it-yourself SMS campaign, mobile Web sites and especially mobile app creation tools that remove traditional barriers to entry, will become more attractive and consolidated service offerings by organizations that cater to these segments,” he said.
The fact that the big guys get mobile, has been driving mobile marketing spend. But, in 2012, the smaller guys will invest more heavily in mobile as well.
Mobile has become more mainstream for a few reasons. Faster network speeds, function-rich smartphones and tablets, a burgeoning portfolio of applications and more engaging ad formats like screen takeovers and expandable ads enable mobile to compete with more established media.
Mobile will account for 15.2 percent of global online ad spend in 2016, according to Berg Insight. According to the Berg, the total value of the global mobile marketing and advertising market will grow from $3.4 billion in 2010 at a compound annual growth rate of 37 percent to $22.4 billion in 2016.
HTML5 is already changing consumers’ perception of the mobile Web. HTML5 will play a prominent role in mobile development in 2012 and will be used to try to overcome fragmentation issues that the industry has consistently battled.
Adobe’s decision to give up on Flash was abrupt but also signals how HTML5 will have to play a role in the future because it was one of the most successful Web add-ins.
HTML5 is helping companies create rich content and bypass the App Store and we will see this trend increase dramatically throughout 2012.
“Mobile is growing rapidly and is quickly becoming the norm for many consumers,” said Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. “PriceGrabber predicts an increase in mobile budgets, both in the development of new mobile features and mobile options, as well as a raise in marketing funds assigned to the mobile category.
“Merchants are investing heavily in the development of mobile capability as far as mobile check out goes,” he said. “They want to ensure a smooth process and experience for the consumer.”
Many large retail brands are starting to manage their mobile marketing development in-house, instead of using service providers. How will this change affect mobile marketing in the future?
One guess would be that the competition would increase greatly with less fish – a.k.a brands – in the sea looking for services such as application and mobile Web site development, database/CRM, location-based services, QR code efforts, SMS/MMS and mobile video.
“Generally speaking, it is smart for companies that can afford it to take as much mobile technology as possible in-house via acquisitions,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at unbound Commerce, Boston.
“By acting fast, they’re out ahead of the curve and block their competitors from using these tools,” he said.
Buying up mobile
Amazon has been acquiring mobile companies like Snaptell and Yap, PayPal bought Fig Card and VeriSign, and Walmart brought its app development in-house through its purchase of Small Society.
Left and right the industry has been seeing mergers and acquisitions. The daunting part is that a lot of this M&A activity is brought on by big brands that are truly investing in mobile long-term.
Is this good for the industry? Yes, because it means that companies finally understand that mobile will end up being one of the most disruptive technologies of the 21st century.
On the other hand, if there are fewer brands that need to turn to mobile marketing service providers like app developers, LBS providers and others, then these companies may be at risk.
“There is a big difference between technology or payment platform giants like eBay, Groupon, and Visa and a consumer-direct retailer like Walmart,” Mr. Kerr said. “Walmart stands out, because they have embraced a holistic, long-term strategic vision regarding the impact of mobile and social commerce.
“And they are investing heavily,” he said. “They acquired One Riot for ad targeting, Kosmix for social media search and, most-recently, Small Society, a mobile agency.
“They not only lock up the technology, but the hard-to-find, fresh-from-the-mobile-front-lines personnel. Walmart Labs has 60 employees and another 25 openings listed on their site. They claim to be defining the future of commerce and mobile clearly sits as the cornerstone of this roadmap.”
Retailers with mobile teams
In 2012 expect that more retailers will bring services like check-ins and deals in-house and incorporate them into their branded apps instead of working through third-party apps such as foursquare and Groupon.
The consolidation that is going on in the mobile industry points to the importance of mobile to retailers and the overall growth in retail apps. It is also evidence of the fact that retailers are looking for more control over their customers’ mobile experiences. They don’t want to have to share their data with third parties.
Expect to see further consolidation among app developers in 2012.
Online guys go mobile
Deloitte’s purchase of Ubermind last week points to an increased interest by old-school Internet companies to jump aboard the mobile train. Deloitte wanted to amplify the professional services it offers to brands.
Another example of a traditional Internet company investing in mobile includes WPP’s launch of Possible Mobile, a mobile commerce agency.
There have been 41 mobile-related acquisitions worth approximately $780 million in 2011 and 39 investments worth $314 million. Mobile marketing deal activity in 2011 increased 150 percent from 2010, according to Petsky Prunier’s summary of 2011 M&A and investment activity.
Service providers are also consolidation in the mobile space. Some of the noteworthy mobile acquisitions in 2011 included Motricity’s $93 million deal for mobile marketing provider Adenyo, Augme Technologies’ $45 million purchase of mobile marketing firm Hipcricket and Lenco Mobile’s $42 million acquisition of mobile marketing company iLoop Mobile.
“The recent acquisitions we’re seeing in the mobile space bear striking similarities to the Agency of Record (AOR) relationships that formed in the traditional advertising sector 50-plus years ago,” said Jessica Legg, product marketing manager at Digimarc, Beaverton, OR. “In the Mad Men era of agencies, we saw a model established where brands created retainer agreements with big ad firms—based on the two-for approach of tapping a resource with a broad range of capabilities at an all you can eat price.
“But those glory days are gone, as the media landscape has become more fragmented and complex, the Agency of Record is in decline—because no agency can do all things well,” she said. “Less CMOs are hiring traditional creative AOR’s, and instead are opting to work with a mixture of firms with highly specialized areas of expertise, including mobile service providers.”
Brands that still have traditional AOR’s are still funding big budget programs with other service providers—often because their main agency does not have the bandwidth, is not agile enough, or does not have expertise in that area, per Ms. Legg.
“There are some comparisons that can be drawn to what’s going on in the mobile arena,
” Ms. Legg said.
“No developer can be all things. Unless a brand has the capital and a justifiable amount of ongoing work in each area to acquire mobile firms across the spectrum of capabilities—there will always be a market where mobile companies with unique and compelling service offerings will thrive,” she said.
“It’s up to mobile service providers to find out what the thing is they do really well, and do it better than anyone else.”
So is all of this mobile M&A activity good or bad for service providers?
Brennan Hayden, vice president of WDA, East Lansing, MI, believes it is good news.
“These acquisitions are a welcome validation that competent mobile executions are critical to a healthy marketing program, and that expertise is in short supply,” Mr. Hayden said. “With these acquisitions, it is now in even shorter supply.
“Even for those vendors looking to do business with the companies mentioned, I would go so far to say that the volume of external expenditure on mobile services at these companies is about to increase dramatically,” he said.
Mr. Hayden believes that the volume of work still exceeds the resource available, and the acquisitions are being made primarily to provide leadership and core internal functionality that necessarily resides in-house.
Once these essential elements are in-place, the ability of these acquiring companies to out-source will increase, simply due to the speed at which they need to move, per Mr. Hayden.
“The bottom-line in that you can’t outsource what you can’t manage, and you can’t manage what you don’t understand,” Mr. Hayden said. “That has been the fundamental problem in mobile marketing budgets for years.
“These acquisitions mark a very encouraging turning-point in this regard,” he said. “Companies can no longer punt on the subject of mobile marketing.
“They have to get serious, they have to understand and invest in that understanding. These acquisitions are a sign of that investment, and I would suspect there are definitely more to come.”
Take your stake in the mobile marketing game, because the industry is booming with success.
With so many new innovations in mobile technology flooding the market—smart phones, mobile web, and social media platforms—it’s no wonder the trend is moving to the fore so quickly.
Let’s think about the facts. Cell phones have become the nucleus of people’s lives in the past decade. Approximately 90% of the U.S. population owns one, and about 98% of those cell phones are SMS-enabled. What’s even more remarkable is that about 99% of all text messages are read by recipients—most within three minutes. You do the math.
The newer generations are constantly on-the-go, engaged in their mobile devices, and more technology savvy than those in the past, which is why the marketing world has learned to adapt. Understanding those trends and leveraging the mobile opportunities is absolutely essential to marketing in the future.
eMarketer, a group dedicated to research and trend analysis on digital marketing and media, projects that the global market for text message marketing will reach $12 billion in 2011.
The reality is that mobile has an advantage over other advertising mediums. It’s relevant, instantaneous, personalized, and the reach is beyond compare.
At Google Inc.’s Think Mobile today, Dennis Woodside, senior vice president of the Americas at Google said, “We believe that mobile will create the largest technology market ever,” he said. “This market will dwarf the PC and all the PC industry has done.”
With experts expressing such high expectations for the industry, it’s a mystery as to why some businesses aren’t yet channeling the power of mobile.
The industry has hit a global critical mass, and its lightning-fast evolution is nothing like the world has ever seen before. But as the network of mobilized consumers is expanding, so can your business.
Cash in on the opportunities and move forward with the trend. Don’t just sit back and watch as mobile transforms into one of the most lucrative markets in the world. Jump in.