I am not going to predict this to be the year of mobile marketing, since we have all seen that falsely predicted for a number of recent years now. But I have been very impressed by some key mobile trends that are on the rise. The fact that there are now more mobile devices than televisions and computers combined, speaks of opportunity to me! As marketers plan their engagement marketing strategies for the rest of the year, they should consider these important trends.
Text Messaging Surpasses Monthly Mobile Phone Calling: A recent Nielson study found that texting is now more popular than calling someone on your mobile phone. The tipping point seemed to come in Q3 of last year, when it was reported that 202 million of 263 million American wireless subscribers were now paying for text messaging either as part of a package or on a transaction basis. Not only are people signing up for text messaging, but they are texting at an amazing rate each month. What this translates into is a huge marketing opportunity for companies to make the move closer to “conversational marketing” with a broad audience of mobile users who are engaged and open to communicating with brands they know and trust.
Customers are More Mobile than Ever Before:
Wireless subscribers in the U.S now represent about 84 percent of the U.S. population. We are talking on our mobile phones over 1.22 trillion minutes per year, according to Nielsen. That’s not quite as much as our national debt, but it is still a lot of talking.
Annually we are text messaging each other over 600 billion times. Another key trend we are seeing is the rise in wireless-only households, which currently represents 15.8 percent of U.S. homes.
Of course, this article would not be complete without mentioning the iPhone. Yes, Apple has changed the way many people use their mobile phones and mobile web applications. Apple has challenged the entire mobile handset manufacturing community to develop more engaging, web-enhanced phone experiences. The resulting key trend this year is that all of the major mobile device manufacturers are either introducing or enhancing their touch screen capabilities and improving their web access and application experiences.
So, you say, how do we reach this mobile market and with what mobile strategies? Let’s review how business is working their way into the conversation:
Mobile Consumers are “Hunters” — Before we begin, we need to understand that the mobile user is in a different mind set than a person watching TV, or browsing the Internet. A mobile consumer is more often than not in a “hunting mode” vs. a “browsing mode” or “watching mode.” They have less time to engage with the marketer and are typically looking to accomplish a task such as make a call, send a message, get directions, get quick updates on news, sports, weather, traffic etc. Another thing to remember is that they are perpetually connected through their mobile phone. They don’t want to engage at set program times for example. They need tools for instant information and communication. The mobile device is inherently social since people are using it as their primary social interaction devise for phone calls, emailing and text messaging.
Advertising Moving from Impressions to Engagement — Another factor to remember is that a majority of the new mobile devices are GPS-capable so not only can you communicate with the customers, you can know where they are while you are communicating with them. So with this in mind what kind of mobile marketing is working today? Both Google and Apple are at the forefront of enabling your Mobile phone to be an engagement marketing platform through mobile web applications and native mobile device application technologies.
How to Get Started in Mobile Marketing: There are a number of ways to start experimenting with mobile marketing this year. Remember it is generally a two-step process when engaging a mobile consumer. You need to reach them with an offer, content or application, and then drive them to call you, visit your website, or visit a brick and mortar storefront. So be sure that your company and partners are ready for your mobile campaigns. When a mobile client comes into a store with a coupon on his phone be sure that the clerk at the counter or your web site knows how to respond with the discount. Some mobile marketing ideas to consider:
Special Text Offers – Text special offer codes to mobile customers and prospects.
Mobile-to-Web Links – Add links in your text marketing to drive visitors to your mobile website content.
Mobile Search; Advertising – Experiment with mobile search marketing that is local and location based.
Mobile Loyalty points program – Credited through mobile devices at point of sale.
Mobile Coupons – delivered to mobile users at point of sale.
Add Mobile to all Campaigns – Incorporate your text campaigns into all of your marketing channels for instant engagement.
Text-to-Win campaigns- Text now for a possibility of instant prizes – Builds your SMS marketing database quickly.
Free Mobile Content – Attract mobile consumers with free content such as real estate property listing information available on your phone while you are sitting in your car in front of the property.
Free Mobile Web applications – customized to the mobile user for maps, directions, traffic reports, weather, sports scores, stock quotes, etc. (best if used for dynamic content)
Remember that Mobile Consumers are “Hunters” not “Browsers,” so your mobile content needs to be presented quickly, and in a highly organized manner that delivers value for in the small screen format.
Mobile Commerce is coming: Google, Yahoo!, AOL and Paypal are all launching transaction services via mobile. In Japan and other international markets, mobile phones are already enabled to conduct commercial transactions replacing the need to carry your credit cards. So expect to see financial services solutions, sporting events, travel, event ticketing, and in-store point of sales promotions to become common in the coming years.
I would recommend that you use this year to experiment and prepare for the inevitable mobile engagement marketing opportunity. This means preparing your online and offline content to incorporate mobile, prepare your channel and partners to be mobile ready, and, finally, integrate mobile into all of your marketing to leverage the opportunity.