The New Rules of Mobile Marketing

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rules_smallADOTAS – Studies indicate the consumer adoption rate of mobile devices (like smartphones) is significantly faster compared to the adoption rates of laptop computers and wired Internet access in the ‘90s. Basic mobile devices are everywhere. Market saturation of Smartphone devices and mobile internet access is not far behind.

Consumers who already “get” connectedness — such as online shopping, networking and sharing — are seeking mobile devices with similar expectations for productivity. They want accessibility, usability and simplicity, with user experiences tailored to their device — both its strengths and weaknesses. They also want the mobile experience to be customized to their immediate needs and use patterns, often with a blend of “offline” and “online” experiences.

To help you better understand the trends and expectations of mobile engagement, here are six new rules to replace the old ones when developing and updating your mobile game plan.

#1: Planning and budgeting

Old rule: Taking a “wait and see” approach to mobile, or employing an under-funded “toe-dipping” methodology.

New rule: The consumer is mobile. This is a reality. In 12 to 18 months, the mobile landscape will be forever changed. The “wait and see” and “toe-dip” approaches will land your brand squarely in the consumers’ rear-view mirror. At minimum, a brand’s mobile strategy and budgets should be aligned to create mobile-friendly experiences across key digital touch points and critical business services.

#2: Channel management

Old rule: Digital channels like mobile play an exceedingly important role in supporting offline operations and media, but online and offline operations remain separate business units, even if mobile is correctly recognized as the bridge between them.

New rule: The consumer doesn’t care about business units and sales channels. They expect a seamless, consistent interaction with their favorite brands, whether through a mobile web site or an in-store salesperson. If mobile is the bridge between channels, some consumers are decisively moving back and forth across it, while some consumers want to stay put. They are neither “online” nor “offline” – they are simply “mobile.” Consumers love this gray area, and your business better start loving it, too.

#3: Text Messaging

Old rule: The convenience, immediacy and novelty of text messaging means positive results can be seen even with relatively flat, “push” campaigns.

New rule: Text messaging can be applied in surprisingly effective and elegant ways, above and beyond pushing offers and alerts. Brands must leverage explicit and implicit data points, such as geo-location, and online behavior, for targeted and timely messaging. Brands also need to tap into back-end business systems to create diverse and comprehensive on-demand services. SMS is so inherently flexible, and with its tremendous reach, it may be one of the most effective tools in delivering convenience and timeliness to the mobile brand experience.

#4 Mobile Web

Old rule: Creating a mobile-friendly layout of the brand’s web presence (or adapting the most commonly visited pages specifically for a mobile device) is enough to support the relatively small proportion of site visitors who are mobile.

New rule: Mobile web visitors are inherently different, so mobile Web design and development strategies must be aligned to this fact. Mobile Web content should be specific to mobile users looking to accomplish smaller tasks more quickly. The design, UI and functionality should be tailored specifically to varying device and browser types. This makes device-recognition capability even more critical, and emphasizes streamlined delivery of content and services.

#5 Email

Old rule: Email marketing is a well-established channel with its own team and operating resources, driving revenue for the e-commerce site.

New rule: The mobile consumer is viewing and reading email on their handheld device every day, so email is inherently one of your brands’ primary “mobile marketing” channels. Like your web presence, your email may need a mobile overhaul, starting with a basic audit to understand what portion of all emails sent are being viewed by which mobile device, and how the emails render and function for those users. Email design and functionality – perhaps even email content and subject lines—will need re-thinking.

#6 Apps
Old rule: “We need a branded iPhone app!”

New rule: A branded iPhone app may not be a sound investment for the foundation of a mobile strategy. Consider the initial development costs and resources needed to create awareness of the app and drive downloads. Marketers need get over their app envy take serious consideration of:

  • Whether the app can deliver business value over and above a well-executed mobile web solution;
  • What aspects of the app take advantage of the inherent capabilities of the device, such as the camera or accelerometer;
  • Whether an optimized, branded presence in already popular apps like Yelp, Foursquare and Facebook can accomplish the same goals as a branded standalone app.

The increasingly mobile consumer is dictating the terms of engagement with brands and marketers, setting the bar high with expectations of quality interaction through their mobile devices. Adapting to the new rules of mobile marketing will be necessary to finding success with mobile in the next 12 months.

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