This is the first in a series of posts I am going to do regarding mobile marketing strategy and tactics. You can't surf through the web today without seeing some iteration of mobile marketing. Everyone from the Wall Street Journal to AdAge is covering the ways in which marketers are creating new, mobile customer engagement opportunities.
While I'm sure some of these campaigns are founded in keen strategic insight, and not by "me too" marketer-envy, there are some significant challenges to overcome. The mobile web is, compared to the web we access from our computers, in its infancy. We're talking about straight up 1996, buttonized, non-engaging user interfaces and one-size-fits-all content. The problems I see with the mobile web are about 5% in technology and 95% in a lack of understanding on the part of marketers. Go to most major sites on the web today and take a look on your phone. It's ugly, it's impersonal and 99% of the time it's the same site you see on your desktop but scrunched and battered into an almost incomprehensible form.
Does it take a lot of work to get your mobile initiatives up and running? The answer is yes. I won't lie. You have to change your thinking and apply different rules. You may even need to make up new rules. The format and architecture is new and can't be borrowed from someplace else.
Is it worth it to do this? Absolutely! If you go to a site that is made for mobile, you will see what I mean. The formatting is clean, the response is quick and the information you need is right there in front of you. You find yourself appreciative of the effort that company has taken to make sure your experience is a good one. Try going to http://m.google.com on your device and let me know what you think.
We need to put things into perspective. Mobile marketing is new. Devices are improving all the time and standardization is slowly beginning to creep in. Acceptance of mobile marketing is also just starting to pick up. I posted late last week on a study that the Mobile Marketing Association published, which found that only 2% of all US phone users have engaged in any form of marketing on mobile devices.
Mobile marketing is a growth area for sure, but should not be treated the same as a website. It needs new thinking, new strategy and new tactics to make sure you're reaching the right people with the right message.
So, let's look at mobile push marketing. To re-iterate my previous post, only after a user confirms their opt-in to receive your message should you engage in any marketing campaign with them. Unrequested push marketing is spam and could lead to a major backlash and loss of subscribers. Mobile users should be treated like a delicate flower, show lots of love, and only give them content when they ask for it.
One practical example of push marketing that works is content alerting. You see this all the time with sports sites where users can sign up to receive score updates. The information is generated as it happens and each instance is not specifically requested by the user. These short messages are great ways to add value to an advertiser or promote an upcoming contest. This method works well with content that is followed closely and updated frequently. Best practices here would include batching information (sending scores at the end of the game or inning and not every time a point is scored).
Other examples of push marketing are using advertising on other related content sites, sending one-time surveys or picture messages (if opted in for), weather and other site content updates and sending instant coupons to users. The coupon idea will be discussed later this week and has some major hurdles to jump before it becomes a reality for users. The more customized and relevant the message the more value your customers will see.
So, do your customers use mobile technology? One way to determine some level of interest is to look at your current web site's stat reporting software (HitBox, WebTrends, etc.) and look in the browser info section to see if mobile devices are hitting your site. You may also want to run a short poll or survey to get more information on what customers would find useful. Some businesses may be tailoring something like this to an internal audience who all use one device. In this case more specific campaigns can be created and opting in could be automatic (i.e.; all sales people receive real-time quota info or pricing updates).
No matter what your industry this is something you could be participating in now with some planning and dedication to the medium. Next up I'll talk about creating mobile versions of existing websites. That's one example that every single marketer should be looking at to meet the status quo, but to do it right takes some new thinking.
Past Mobile Marketing 101 posts:
mobile marketing, marketing, advertising, mobile devices, innovation, interactive marketing, trends, mobile