Four Ways to Simplify a Mobile Marketing Campaign

Verizon’s launch of the Motorola Droid phone is definitely going to make the mobile world a lot more interesting. Sporting a form factor similar to the iPhone (but with a nifty slide-out keyboard), a $199 price tag, Google’s Android 2.0 OS, and (probably most important) running on Verizon’s network, the Droid seems like the first new smartphone with the possibility of actually giving Apple a run for its money.

Droid’s new entry into the market will probably be the next big shot in the arm that mobile marketing’s been looking for. Sure, the iPhone’s cool and all (and seemingly ubiquitous), but Verizon has many loyal subscribers who haven’t wanted to make the switch. In fact, as of Q1 2009, Verizon had 86.5 million subscribers, over 8 million more than second-place AT&T. And many of these folks have been chomping at the bit for a phone like the Droid.

With all these new potential users, it’s a given that more money is going to be spent on mobile marketing in the coming years. Mobile search has been the most obvious candidate for mobile marketing spends, and pundits are now predicting mobile marketing spending in the billions by 2012. If mobile isn’t a part of your marketing mix now, it probably will be in the coming years.

But what’s the best way to develop a mobile marketing strategy that works? It’s simple: begin by realizing that mobile is different.

Why? Because mobile marketing isn’t about interrupting the consumer’s media stream with advertising like most traditional ad models. Mobile users hate mobile advertising that they haven’t asked for. Instead, building a successful mobile marketing model relies on realizing that mobile users are…well…mobile. They’re not reading a publication. They’re not browsing the Web. They’re not passively watching TV. Instead, they’re on the go, and reaching them with your messages means fitting in with this simple fact. It’s why mobile search works as a marketing medium: just like with desktop search, consumers encountering your messages in a mobile search situation are doing so because they’re actively engaged in looking for the kinds of products and services you’re offering.

If you’re going to develop mobile marketing that works, you have to pay attention to four simple things:

  • Where is the person you’re trying to reach? Location-based technologies (such as those found in the iPhone and in Android phones with Google’s new location-finding technology) mean that you can take advantage of someone’s physical location when targeting your messages.
  • What are they doing? A businessperson trying to figure out where to get a cab, take a client to dinner, or find their way to their hotel in a strange city is a much different target than some 20-something out for a night on the town. Targeting messages based on the context of the consumer’s situation makes your message much more effective.
  • Who is the person encountering your mobile marketing? While figuring this out isn’t all that different from what we normally do when developing ads in any medium, understanding who you’re trying to reach in the context of where they are and what they’re trying to do is vital for reaching consumers.
  • Why are they using their device? Are they trying to communicate with their friends? Are they trying to find something? Are they trying to entertain themselves while sitting on the subway?

Make no mistake about it: mobile marketing is different than any other form of marketing because it’s the context that matters as much as the content. As we move forward in our efforts to reach consumers with mobile marketing, developing campaigns that address these four simple questions will help you develop mobile marketing strategies that work.

Meet Sean at Search Engine Strategies, Chicago, Dec. 7-9, 2009.

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