It’s no secret; mobile marketing is the next new thing for marketers. The buzz about smart phones, mobile web browsing and text messaging has the big spenders chasing new ideas on how to reach out to the mobile user. With 5.3 billion mobile subscribers in the world (77% of the world’s population) it’s not surprising especially when you consider that most subscribers are connected 24/7. One in five of these subscribers have high-speed mobile network access and more importantly, forecasts are suggesting that the use of mobile networks will double in the next five years.
Hell if I were a marketer….oh right I guess I’m…well anyway I would be taking a very serious look at mobile. In 2011 the worldwide mobile marketing spend is estimated at 3.3 billion dollars, no big deal at the moment. Especially when you compare it to television/online at $78 billion, it sort of makes mobile marketing looks rather incidental. But, think about the potential. Mobile Internet usage is growing at an exponential rate and as a result marketers believe that the spend will follow. In fact, analysts are so confident in the shift that they are predicting a 500% increase in the marketing spend over the next four years. If you’re serious about marketing you have to be prepared to take advantage of this transformation.
Combine this grow potential, mobile reach and the rapid change in our socioeconomic landscape thanks to the steady growth of social media and you have a marketer’s match made in heaven. Smart phones are connecting people and tighten the social fabric of the web. For the past 10 years I’ve heralded the importance of one-to-one marketing. Reaching the right person, at the right moment, in the right place with the right message. Mobile marketing has the potential to become the most powerful marketing tool in the marketer’s tool belt if we can avoid the splatter and focus on the matter.
Here are the 10 things I believe will help you become an effective mobile marketer:
- Don’t worry about the numbers focus on the message – To often we get measure success by size. Don’t go looking for an audience of millions expecting your message to mean something to everyone. - Find your true enthusiasts and reach out to them through mobile. The rest will follow.
- Remember mobile is Now – unlike television or the Internet where users often sit in front of a screen leisurely reviewing content the mobile user is working in the moment and needs immediate, relevant responses. They are not interested in surfing; they’re interested in finding. They go looking for information at a point when they need it. - Your message has to consider the moment and the location.
- It’s a phone, phones can ring. Make sure you call - one of the biggest concerns with the introduction of the Internet into the marketing media mix was the shift in how people consumed the medium. Marketers no longer had the ability to control the delivery of the message. Mobile puts some control back in the marketer’s hands. Location based software, text messaging and Near Field Chip (NFC) technology allow the marketer to push out a message when and where they want making it easier to reach their audience at the right time and place. - Build a mobile contact database and use it to engage your audience.
- Use mobile technology for measurement– counting customers, surveying audiences and measuring traffic in areas of interest have all been KPI for marketers in the past. Quite often this research was a statistical exercise that involved formulas for extrapolating total numbers based on sample measurements. Now mobile can allow marketers to measure real totals and connect them to real people. - Make sure you look at ways to measure the physical by using the virtual.
- Mobile phones are “Sociocentric” tools – the younger audience, in most developed worlds, don’t know what it means to be without a mobile phone. They talk to the person standing next to them via text messages. I laugh (i.e. LOL) every time I see it happen, but for some reason the person doing it doesn’t laugh with me. They usually give me that ugly face and continue doing it. For them their phone is “Sociocentric” to their life. - Remember that when you reach out to a younger audience, use the right message and you will become a part of their social universe.
- Make sure you have a mobile web presence – mobile web searching has quadrupled in the last year. Mobile web browsing volume is expected to surpass computer web browsing volume with in the next 5 years. The increased use of mobile web browsing means that your web site has to be able to adjust to a mobile screen. If you haven’t already designed a mobile website now is the time or you’ll get left behind. – Look at content management platforms that offer mobile templates or consider using responsive design techniques if you’re budget sensitive.
- Mobile Apps are cool, but they limit your audience – Apple’s App store has created a lot of work for mobile app developers. The popularity of mobile app development has help to drive the adoption of smart phone technology. It’s been a great sales tool for iPhones. The danger with mobile apps is the rapid change of phone technology. New types of phones and evolving versions of their operating systems make it very difficult for a marketer to reach all of their potential audience. - Beware of mobile app development; it can suck the life out of a budget while yielding a relatively small return.
- Start thinking about NFC technology and how it could change your business – Google Wallet, Mobile Payment, Paypal are a few of the platforms who offer NFC payment processing. Over the next five years NFC phones will transform how customers pay for their goods and services. - You need to start looking at how NFC could change your business.
- Develop a SMS strategy – 6.9 trillion text messages where sent in 2010. It’s expected that this will climb to 8 trillion in 2011. Of all the different types of mobile marketing, opt-in SMS messages have the highest rate of return on marketing investment with 40% of message recipients who say they respond to their SMS marketing messages. - Develop a SMS contact list and start to profile your database. Create a strategy for building your list and remember not to be careful not to wear out your welcome.
- Mobile couponing is going to grow - if you’re in a business where couponing could have an impact start thinking about mobile couponing. In the US alone over 3.8 billion dollars in coupons traded hands in 2010. If you consider that a coupon is usually 10 -15% of the sale value that means $300 – $380 billion in business resulted from coupon transactions. Mobile couponing tied to NFC technology will mean that customers will no longer have to worry about searching for the right coupon. Using a combination of geo-location and push messaging marketers will be able to initiate coupon deliver when their customer is near the redemption opportunity. - Develop a mobile coupon plan.