Mobile marketing is about mobile consumers, not devices. Consider these factors.
Some marketers view mobile too narrowly. They see it as a digital channel limited to cell phones, best used as a 160-character text-messaging machine. Unfortunately, that mindset limits mobile marketing's full potential.
Let's look at five things marketers may overlook when evaluating mobile marketing plans.
Mobile Is More Than Cell Phones
Mobile marketing is about mobile consumers, not devices.
Putting a mobile advertising buy on a media plan will get you some reach and possibly access to an audience that doesn't watch much TV. But it's only the very tip of the iceberg. Consumers have mobile devices with them nearly all the time, in and out of the house. And there are a variety of devices that serve different constituencies, such as the Sony PSP, the latest Nintendo DS handhelds, and the iPod Touch. Even though different audiences use these devices, the common threads between them are Wi-Fi access to data, browsers, high-quality screens, and computing power. Just the presence of those factors opens up opportunities for brands to be relevant to consumers with device in hand.
Mobile offers rich opportunities to get interested consumers to respond to offers, drive deep into content such as video trailers and demos, and engage in signups and e-commerce on the spot. If brands and advertisers diagnose how consumers buy and where, they'll find that allowing them to interact through their mobile devices when they are making buying decisions is essential to driving business and customer satisfaction. Mobile users expect to be able to make purchases on their devices.
Mobile Isn't Just a Digital Medium
Mobile screens are out-of-home, print, TV, local, and search opportunities for brands. There is no better way for static media to add a valuable response capability than to tag an ad with a mobile URL or a short code (text messaging address). And since most static media has never had access to interactive metrics before, adding mobile is an opportunity to incorporate accountable tracking data into ROI (define) calculations and campaign results.
Mobile Is a Computer in Your Pocket
Mobile devices are computers with Internet access and location awareness. If you think of a cell phone as a 160-character text-messaging machine or a neat alert mechanism that tells you if you're flight is delayed, you're missing out on a ton of super-productive, engaging, consumer-focused applications.
Smart marketers realize that putting dynamic shopping lists, map-driven deal finders, medical status readers, and even all 64 games of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in consumers' hands is an incredible way to drive brand awareness and open a direct channel to consumers' purchase decisions.
Don't Forget About Voice
We don't live our lives exclusively interacting with servers and databases. Often, connecting a consumer to a live representative is the best approach. And it's possible in mobile marketing to make this connection at the point of need rather than when a consumer eventually reaches a landline. Voice is certainly the mobile phone's original application. With all the newly minted capabilities, it's still a very powerful way to interact with consumers. If your brand needs incoming calls from intent-driven consumers, voice is essential, especially when promoted at purchase decision points.
Apps Are the, um, Killer Apps
There are already more than 25,000 apps available for the iPhone and additional ones for Google's Android platform. Many applications are ingeniously useful, productive, and addictive. Sure, a lot of them are dumb and frivolous, but there's demand for those, too. A dedicated brand app that helps users solve a problem, expands their understanding of your offering, or generates promotions has great advantages to both the consumer and the brand.
There are a lot of ways to get started with mobile plans that drive impressions, reach, interactions, and ultimately sales. Think more broadly about mobility and how and why consumers use devices. This can help define how brands use mobile in ways not available through other media.
Consider any of the five above and start writing that plan!
Does your company or client offer one of the best online marketing products or services? Nominate it now for one of the 2009 ClickZ Marketing Excellence Awards!
Eric Bader is a partner in BrandInHand, a full-service mobile marketing and media company that serves global brand marketers, partners with agencies, and assists emerging media companies. BrandInHand's clients span the consumer goods, financial services, technology, and retail industries.
Prior to forming BrandInHand, Bader served as managing director of digital at MediaVest Worldwide. A new media veteran, he was formerly the head of online enterprises at CSTV Networks (now CBSSports) and, prior to that, executive director of interactive marketing at Ogilvy.
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