Mobile Marketing: Getting Brilliant at the Basics

With the launch of the iPhone 5, everyone is suddenly abuzz about mobile. OK, everyone was abuzz about mobile before this happened, but with every new launch or technology advancement in the space, it draws more attention to this space. And so the idea for my column today was hatched – with all the growth of mobile usage, why isn’t more of advertisers’ budgets dedicated to mobile tactics?

If you’re not already incorporating mobile tactics into your digital plan:

  • My gut reaction: Have you been living under a rock for the past five years?
  • The reality: You’re not alone. Not by far.

Although the mobile ad market is growing rapidly – especially in the U.S. – it still remains under-penetrated, according to a report by eMarketer. “Mobile is an exciting, fast-growing category, but it’s still a very small piece of the overall ad pie,” eMarketer says. “Mobile advertising accounted for less than 1% of total ad spending worldwide last year – and it will be a long time before it challenges other mainstay global advertising channels like TV, print and internet ads.”

There is a huge disconnect here – it is the age of mobile, yet advertisers have yet to truly embrace this medium. What’s up with that?

The reality is that I think some marketers are simply scared of the unknown. They think branching into mobile is going to come with a whole host of other complications that they don’t need to deal with on desktop. Well, that may be true, but there is also a whole host of opportunity as well.

For those marketers who may be shy to dip their toe in the mobile waters, I say: start simple.

Get brilliant at the basics first, then you can start exploring all of the crazy mobile-enabled opportunities like augmented reality.

So what are the basics?

  • A mobile-optimized website. No longer a “nice to have,” it’s a must. This means at minimum making sure your site is mobile compliant – e.g., everything works, nothing is broken. Ideally, however, you design a separate version of your site that is truly mobile optimized – designed for the mobile environment/context of use. Responsive design can also work well here.
  • Mobile-optimized emails. One of the most popular mobile activities remains checking email. If you undertake email marketing of any kind, there is a good chance a proportion of your audience will be viewing these on their mobile device. So your emails going to prospective or existing customers should be mobile optimized.
  • A mobile search presence. If you have a desktop mobile search campaign, you should probably have a mobile one. People “Google” from just about anywhere so you don’t want to miss out on opportunities to capture your audience. Especially if you are a local business or provide a service that is commonly accessed by users “on the go.” Click-to-call ads are great here.
  • A mobile ad “pilot” campaign. Again, if you are undertaking banner advertising on the desktop, why not try the same thing within the mobile environment? Minimum spends are typically quite low and targeting capabilities are usually quite good. Create basic static or animated GIF banners – cheap and cheerful – to test what kind of response you’ll get in the mobile environment. Then, once you see results, you can amp up your presence and start considering more innovative rich media mobile formats.

As you can see, it’s not a lot of additional effort to bring your mobile presence up to benchmark, and the pay-off for your brand could be huge. Good luck getting started in mobile!

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