Mobile Marketing Strategy

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For marketers, the challenge of creating a mobile strategy can be daunting.

November 5, 2013

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A good starting point for thinking about mobile is how food companies have thought about mobile over the years. On one hand is Kentucky Fried Chicken, which recently introduced “Go Cups” –chicken fingers, potato wedges or small sandwiches jammed into a vessel that fits neatly in a car’s cupholder. This is a mobile product to be sure, but it’s mainly KFC’s existing product made mobile. On the other hand is PowerBar, a product that is built from the beginning as a mobile good, not a mobile retrofit of an existing product.

Marketers thinking about mobile have to be both KFC and PowerBar. For certain channels, such as email and webpages, you’re going to have to play the role of KFC — making an existing product mobile. But the best marketers are going to look at mobile as a place to play the role of PowerBar, and build relationships with prospects and customers that are built with mobile in mind.

Mobile Today

The most important thing to remember about mobile today is that your prospects and customers are leading you in adoption. Nearly half of all emails are opened on a mobile and 10-15 percent of all web traffic is done from a mobile device. That said, more than half of all marketers aren’t designing their emails for mobile.  Especially given that mobile emails aren’t subject to the automatic filtering found in Gmail’s new “Tabs” feature, marketers need to get their mobile act together on email immediately.  This is a quick fix — make your emails either scalable or responsive.

For scalable email the layout is clickable and the type is readable, even when reduced 50 percent in size. Scalable design avoids large widths and includes big type and big buttons. For responsive design, the layout of a page responds based on the proportions of the screen on which it’s presented. This design is becoming increasingly common for use in emails, as well as on websites.

As a marketer, it’s important to think about when and how your email is opened. Imagine you’re sending an email first thing in the morning about an event you want your prospects to attend. There’s a good chance your prospect will open this email on a mobile device and read it in bed. That means whatever you make clickable in the email also needs to be optimized for mobile. For this example, requiring a form with a dozen fields isn’t going to get you many sign-ups, but a simple social sign-in can. No one loves typing things out on a smart phone’s keyboard, so keep that in mind when making your marketing communications.

Optimizing your emails, websites, and landing pages for mobile is something you must be doing today, or else you’re going to push potential customers away.

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Mobile in the Future

The more fun challenge facing marketers isn’t how to make their existing programs work on a smart phone, but how to build campaigns that wouldn’t be possible without mobile.

Mary Meeker’s annual “Internet Trends” report highlighted the opportunity for mobile this year, as mobile ad spend isn’t keeping up with mobile usage by a wide margin. Consumers spend 12 percent of their media consumption time on mobile, but only 3 percent of ad dollars make their way to mobile. This means more businesses can experiment with mobile ads, especially ones on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Marketo’s experience with this has been that mobile ads on Facebook are five times more effective than their desktop versions.

There are also ways to communicate with your customers that would never have been possible before mobile, such as push notifications. If a prospect or customer downloads your company’s app, you now have another channel to them where you aren’t sharing attention. This opens up numerous possibilities for creative marketing. If a consumer gets close to your retail store, a promotion could be sent as a push notification to get the consumer to enter the store. If you’re in the BtoB market at a conference, you can send promotions to stop by your company’s booth, and track how much time people are spending in the booths of your competitors.

The growth of mobile marketing will be about much more than “How can I do the things I’m already doing in a way that’s compatible with iOS or Android?” The future is about making PowerBars — starting with mobile in mind and building from there. Location data paired with behavioral data will give your marketing department the best-yet view of your consumers, and make sure they’re getting the right message at the perfect time. A good mobile strategy is, above all else, about being hyper-relevant. Not just thinking about, “What does my prospect want this season?” but instead, “What does my prospect want right now?”

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