The rapid adoption of mobile technologies means that, in Yogi Berra’s immortal phrase, it’s deja vu all over again. Just as marketing strategies in the late 90’s were adapted to incorporate web sites, email, and digital advertising, this year many marketers will be making sure they develop comprehensive mobile strategies leveraging mobile sites, applications, SMS, email, the video and audio capabilities of smart phones, mobile advertising and casual gaming. The good news is: many of the lessons learned with the internet can be applied to mobile technologies. We will want to do many of the same things, but in a new environment: create valuable (entertaining or useful) content that communicates a brand message to our consumer, find ways to bring the consumer to that content, encourage consumers to interact with brand and to deepen the relationship, and measure and optimize our results for efficiency and effectiveness in delivering business results.
Why now? To put it simply: mobile is where our customers are, and brands who can provide their consumers something of value can be with their consumer wherever they go, and at the point of purchase decision. Brands who have previously needed to rely on distributors and retailers to communicate the brand story now have unprecedented opportunities for a true one-to-one dialog with a consumer. And in many cases, a brand’s presence in mobile environments is a statement of brand identity in itself: it sends a message that the brand is innovative and forward-thinking.
Brands that are ready to develop a comprehensive mobile strategy will need to consider the following five steps:
1. Defining the Brand’s Mobile Presence. Define what your consumers need from your brand when they are “out and about”, then meet that need with a persistent mobile presence. The need might best be served by a mobile application, or by a streamlined version of your brand’s web site. Will your consumer be looking for coupons and offers? Are there ways that geo-location tools could be used to help them find and choose your brand? Will they want a recipe? Will they be looking for store locations? Would they just rather be entertained with videos that communicate the essence of the brand? Will they want to show your content to people who are with them? Think about how the use of the mobile device relates to their purchase journey, and create points of brand intersection on the journey. Matthew Poepsel’s recent post on Mobile Marketer provides a great outline of how to decide whether a site or an app is right for your brand. Don’t forget that there are many devices and operating systems available to your consumer, and you will want to be sure the brand experience is consistent across all of them.
2. Helping your consumers find your Mobile Presence. Just as with a web site, it’s not enough to build the site or the application, you must also bring people to what you have developed. Will your consumer be using a mobile search to identify a solution your product can provide, making an mobile search strategy important for you? Do you have strategies to build your opt-in SMS list so you can send alerts and offers to your consumers? Are your emails designed to be compelling when they are read on a mobile device? Will they be engaging with games or mobile sites and applications on which it would relevant for you to advertise? Do you have an opportunity to use tagging technologies or bar code scanning at point-of-purchase to bring consumers more information or deliver promotional offers for your products?
3. Empowering influencers and advocates. Mobile devices are made for sharing. As you develop content, think about what brand advocates may want to do with it. Will your consumers be reading your Facebook and Twitter updates on their mobile device? What kind of content would they want to share with their friends? Do they like to create content themselves, or do they prefer to just share content created by others? Will they be sharing in real time, in physical proximity to others? Will ratings and reviews be generating traffic to your mobile presence? How can you help your advocates and influencers have accurate information in a format that would encourage sharing?
4. Measuring the results. We all know that you can only manage what you measure. Mobile devices bring new points of data that can be measured, and it is important for you to decide how much you need to know. Think about what success looks like: how will you know your actions are having the desired effect? In some cases, you may not be able to measure a sales transaction, so what CAN you measure? Site visits, downloads, coupon redemptions, advertising clicks, time spent with an application – one or more of these may be appropriate to your objective. Jeannette Kocsis’ recent post provides great food for thought on this subject. Identify what data you need to record in your mobile database, and what needs to be synchronized with data from your other digital marketing activities (web, advertising, social, email). Your consumers may prefer SMS for some messages, email or social channels for others. Your database can help you develop a communications profile that will allow you to deliver a personalized message at the right time through the right medium.
5. Optimizing or “the continual feedback loop”. Review your results, and compare them to the objectives you established for your strategies. Where are you seeing the results you want, and where are you disappointed? Should you shift resources to the more effective tactics? Or should you take corrective actions to make underperforming assets more effective? Are there touch points that need to be added to your measurements? Your brand’s typical purchase cycle will influence how often you will want to review results, and regular review will allow you to continually improve the results for your consumers and your bottom line.
The worldwide market for touchscreen mobile devices will surpass 362.7 million units in 2010, a 96.8 percent increase from 2009 sales of 184.3 million units, according to Gartner, Inc. By 2013, touchscreen mobile devices will account for 58 percent of all mobile device sales worldwide and more than 80 percent in developed markets such as North America and Western Europe. If your brand doesn’t already have a comprehensive mobile strategy, the time to develop one is NOW.