Sometimes I like to imagine what famous philosophers would say if they were asked to comment on timely topics like global warming or mobile marketing. In today’s case, I thought it would be illuminating to hear what the Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra would say about multi-screen environments, rich media, and conversion rates for smartphones.
So when I sat down for an imaginary conversation with the lifetime 0.285 hitter (with more World Series rings than fingers), it went something like this:
Andrew Edwards: Yogi, thanks for spending a few minutes on this important topic. What do you think of mobile marketing in general?
Yogi Berra: Taxis with signs on top? They move too fast to read.
I spent a minute getting us focused on the mobile marketing we know today – reaching customers on tablets, smartphones, and laptops with responsive design, apps, and HTML5 experiences; as always seeking to convert users into buyers in the smartest way possible (much as discussed at the recent Kontagent Konnect event in New York).
AE: What stands out for you about the mobile marketing space today?
YB: It’s déjà vu all over again.
If you look back at the late 1990s when everybody was rushing to create any website, right now, “just to have one” – and there’s no strategy or any good plan on how to make it make money – then that’s what mobile looks like today. There’s still so much to learn and understand about mobile, it’s going to be a while before we figure it out. But people in the content business are pretty optimistic that rich media for mobile will exceed the success of web marketing. They’re smart to remember that for marketers, an app is more or less a rich-media engagement-marketing tool.
AE: Yes, I believe they mentioned that at the Kontagent event. What’s different about mobile as compared with the desktop?
YB: You can’t hit and think at the same time.
In other words, don’t try to use your web strategy for mobile. The user dynamics are different, the experience is different, and the measurement criteria are different. With the web you can talk about page views, but inside an app you are measuring levels of engagement very differently depending on the app itself.
For instance, where email marketing works really well on the desktop, it pretty much fails on smartphones. Companies are seeing much lower conversion rates on one of their most important channels. So the way you reach people on smartphones needs to be readdressed because the “old” way doesn’t translate.
Also, you have to break out mobile into segments. According to the latest scouting reports, users on a tablet are two and a half times more likely to convert than on a smartphone. I would think you’d want to adjust your roster of marketing efforts to reflect what’s going on in the game right now.
AE: How fast is the mobile space evolving?
YB: It gets late early now.
Organizations need to move quickly but carefully…that takes skill. So you won’t be able to do it with a Little League effort. You will need domain expertise and the right tools: for publishing, for measurement, for optimization. And one of the hidden dangers is loss of discoverability inside of your apps. Google crawls the web, but not inside your app because it’s compiled code – so Google won’t find in-app content right now. Also, Apple doesn’t provide campaign identifiers on app downloads, so attribution is a major challenge for mobile marketers.
Finally, there’s the issue of Facebook apps and how you deal with Facebook as a company rather than as a platform. Many people forget that Facebook can move the fences anytime it wants in its own ball field, so how do you deal with that kind of potential disruption in your social channel?
AE: It sounds like you have some reservations about Facebook.
YB: Facebook? Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.