Does Your Agency Have a Real Mobile Plan?


phones_smallADOTAS – In past years, having a “mobile plan” meant running a text-to-win contest or developing an iPhone application because the CEO thought it could get mentioned in The Wall Street Journal. Any mobile element was enough for agencies to claim, “Yes, we can do mobile!”

However, the industry hit a turning point without someone officially proclaiming 2010 the year of mobile. It is now clear that mobile is no longer just a nice to have component in a marketing program, but rather a core element. And offering just one mobile channel is not enough.

Mobile should be viewed as a comprehensive, ongoing, holistic program which is tightly integrated into your overall marketing initiatives. That being said, many CMOs are putting their business in a potentially perilous position by not asking the right questions before proceeding.

Here are some of the essential areas to consider when looking to employ a mobile marketing vendor:

Does the agency have mobile capabilities that extend beyond the sizzle of a mobile application?

While mobile applications can be branding tools, it’s important to keep in mind that the majority of the U.S. population (and likely the majority of your customers) do not have smartphones. Currently, just 21% of mobile phone users have “smart” devices which are capable of downloading apps, making it important to integrate other far-reaching mobile elements into your plan. SMS, for instance, has the ability to reach virtually every U.S. mobile phone user.

Does the vendor’s mobile offering include localization capabilities? How about those that extend beyond standard GPS functionality and into the hyperlocal realm?

In mobile marketing, location is the new black. That is to say, it’s becoming a very popular tool to target both new and existing customers. However, it’s more than just the latest buzz word; it’s got staying power.

According to ABI Research, location-based marketing will increase from about $43 million this year to $1.8 billion by 2015 as part of overall mobile marketing budgets. There are many ways to take advantage of location-based services, but keep in mind that all users don’t have GPS-enabled devices. However, there are other ways to target a customer’s location including area code, zip code and local databases from which to draw.

Can the vendor’s mobile team tie its efforts into my CRM and marketing resource management (MRM) systems?

Mobile campaign integration with CRM and MRM systems is a topic which is relatively new, but is quickly becoming important. By integrating your mobile campaigns, a brand can have a single, clear read of each customer, ensuring that the right messages are reaching the right customer at the right time and that no customer is being overwhelmed by marketing messages.

Does the vendor’s mobile practice interface with your social media team to deliver campaigns that marry the power of both channels?

By integrating your mobile and social media strategies, you’re able to better take advantage of both channels.

Does the vendor have proven analytics and reporting capabilities that can be successfully leveraged for mobile campaigns?

Analytics and reporting are a crucial element to any marketing campaign, as they allow you to measure success. One of mobile marketing’s most attractive features is real-time analytics, which help track the success of each initiative in real time, allowing you to make changes on the fly to better optimize each campaign.

Mobile marketing isn’t overly complicated. However, by asking the right questions and partnering with an agency that has the right answers, you will put yourself — and your brand — in a position to succeed.


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