The big winners in mobile will be those who are skilled at creating a great user experience, leveraging the mountains of data that supports and directs it, and breaking down the corporate silos.
I heard a great war story the other day. It is not a digital story, but it illustrates beautifully two important aspects critical to the success of mobile marketing.
My friend's company is in the direct mail business and has a large customer who balked at paying for their address change service. This service ensures delivery by updating mailing addresses with the latest changes submitted daily to the Postal Service. The company explained to the client that not mailing to bad addresses saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in postage, not to mention print, production, and foregone revenue. The client insisted, so the company started sending them a daily tally of bad addresses and the cost of sending to them. The client finally requested that they stop sending the report, as it was embarrassing them.
Eventually they learned the reason for squandering money. The client team's bonuses were calculated on production cost savings, and postage was not figured into the mix.
This highlights two significant success hurdles for digital marketing: metrics and collaboration.
In a collaborative environment, where the production team was an integral part of the overall effort, the practice of ignoring cost and revenue would not survive. There is no shortage of studies demonstrating the benefits of collaboration, but most of us feel powerless to combat the silos.
Collaboration is critical to effective digital marketing. We need to combat not only the business unit silos but the marketing silos as well.
We are in an unprecedented stage in marketing history that is characterized by the generation of behavioral data. We can receive impulses that indicate customer interests. What she is browsing, downloading, researching, liking, commenting on, reviewing, sharing. Not what she's bought in the past, but what she's interested in now.
By the same token, our marketing silos are exposed. What is the customer's perception of your company as she encounters it across many touch points? Is the message clear, coherent, and relevant? Or is it a disjointed mess, produced by the independent mobile, social, email, and website teams?
To harness and make sense of big data to deliver an exceptional user experience, despite the channel, what's needed is leadership. In "Silos, Politics and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers that Turn Colleagues into Competitors," Patrick Lencioni writes:
"In most situations, silos rise up not because of what executives are doing purposefully but rather because of what they are failing to do: provide themselves and their employees with a compelling context for working together."
If you're the CMO, creating that compelling context has to be a priority.
The second lesson from our story is the obsession with metrics, occasionally at the expense of common sense or actual success.
While we have an astonishing amount of data available, assembling and acting on it remains a challenge. Mobile marketing in particular has a paucity of "industry averages" that too many rely on to justify the launch or gauge the success of a program.
The big winners in mobile marketing will not be those who take the safe route. The big winners in mobile will be those who are skilled at creating a great user experience, leveraging the mountains of data that supports and directs it, and breaking down the corporate silos that stand in the way.
Image on home page via Shutterstock.
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Melinda Krueger is a senior marketing consultant with ExactTarget and a digital marketing veteran – starting with direct, moving to interactive, specializing in e-mail, and now charting a course for mobile marketing. Working with the best agencies in the business, she has helped Harley-Davidson, Miller Brewing, Sears/Kmart, CDW, and many others build their interactive marketing programs. Melinda holds an MBA from Marquette University and is a highly-rated speaker for professional organizations and business schools. As the Email Diva, Melinda answered questions on all aspects of the practice. Your questions about mobile are welcome!
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