The rise of smartphones has lead to a proliferation in mobile marketing campaigns.
Brands know that they need to have a mobile presence that more than likely extends beyond a mobile-optimised version of a site. But the fact is that mobile marketing is still new to brands and consumers alike.
As consumers we’re not quite sure what we expect out of brands on mobile - in much the same way as when brand activity started on Facebook - and brands are not quite sure how to use the medium in the best way.
Within mobile there are unique features such as being able to communicate with people on a location basis and utilise new mobile technology.
When looking at your mobile marketing strategy, it’s important to focus on all aspects of mobile that are relevant, and this still very much includes SMS.
A recent study found that marketing offers via SMS had a return rate 6-8 times higher than email marketing, showing that it’s not just about an online mobile marketing method.
But given all the opportunities open to brands in mobile, what is it that consumers actually want or need?
This may sound a little bit odd, but think about the situations in which you get your phone out to go online. Queuing for a bus, killing time before a meeting starts, a train journey...all settings in which you are ambiently browsing. Once you’ve checked your email, Facebook and maybe Tweetdeck, then the surfing begins or you go into your apps to ‘waste’ a little bit more time.
This presents the single biggest opportunity for brands. People are there, accessing sites and apps on their phones, calling out for something to amuse them, if only for a short period of time.
This is why brands need to invest more in campaigns and content that are built for mobile. Investment in a feature-heavy Facebook app won’t cut it, as it probably won’t work through mobile access or within the Facebook mobile app. But if you’re concentrating more on investing in the newsfeed in Facebook and producing real quality articles, videos or design-led content that people can engage with, you’ll likely get a much better response.
There are some marketing tactics that stay around and get continually reinvented or reformatted purely because they work so well and it’s what consumers want. Coupons are one such tactic that have stayed around, gone through endless iterations, even had websites dedicated to them (hello Groupon) and they also happen to present the perfect opportunity in mobile.
People will always want free money, or a free something and with mobile, brands have the opportunity to offer couponing in a new way. First is the physical nature of mobile coupons. You can effectively eliminate the process of cutting a coupon from a magazine or printing it out and allow customers to present their phone in store to redeem the coupon. This is the basis of good mobile marketing. Maximising the tactile advantages of a phone to offer a seamless process for your customers.
But what’s even more exciting, is how brands can target consumers in a new way, making the most of mobile and location data.
This is a pure win-win for the customer and the brand; the brand gets to target only those consumers that are more likely to redeem the offer, and consumers only get targeted (if you’re doing your job well) with offers that are relevant to them there and then.
Target is a great example of how mobile couponing can work well. Target has developed a complete mobile marketing strategy, where couponing features heavily. Their offering includes simple mechanics such as texting offers to customers as well as a mobile experience that allows you to find your nearest store, locate top offers and even renew your prescriptions.
Data generation is key here. In order to offer the most relevant content to your consumers, you need to have a social data generation policy that requires little effort from your customer. Remember, you don’t have their attention for very long on mobile so you need to make it easy. Linking up with an existing social platform is going to take the pain out of the process, so look at ways of using Facebook Connect to integrate with your app or site to build up social profiles quickly, where all that’s required of the user is to touch a single button.
A simple build
Often brands can get caught up in the excitement of a mobile marketing campaign and forget that the person on the other end is actually going to be accessing it on their mobile, and probably while they’re on the go as well.
Using up your data allowance within your contract is a big consideration for a mobile marketing campaign, that can often be missed by brands. As we access the internet more on our phones on the go without being connected to wifi, it’s something we’re all aware of. We’re probably not going to download an app to access something on the go. Marketing messages that feature a call to action such as this miss the point and are ultimately frustrating for consumers.
When it comes to your mobile marketing campaign. Think about your target consumer and what other mobile apps they might already be using, that you could be a part of. This might be as simple as a campaign run via an Instagram account, or you might invest more time in aligning yourself with an app where you can a social ad campaign or offer your content in a unique way.
Simplicity is what we want/need when it comes to mobile marketing for brands. Don’t force your consumers to download an app just because you can. Think about what they’re already doing where you can fit in easily and probably get a better return.
It’s important to remember that while mobile marketing is growing steadily, consumers still need an experience that is relevant to them, rather than one that uses the latest technology just because.
A recent study found that PCs/laptops still far outweigh mobile when it comes to preference for shopping online. This can be put down to mobile shopping still being a fairly new experience for many, but also the fact that it doesn’t necessarily fit with how we use our phones.We may well research a purchase on a mobile or look for money-off coupons, but right now we’re not completing the purchase on the phone. So think about what the consumer may need that can encourage them to shop with you, while keeping the actual transaction to the store or online.
About the Author: Lauren Fisher is the co-founder of Simply Zesty, Ireland's largest and most successful bespoke social media agency. Lauren co-founded the company two years ago at the age of 24 and during this time has developed social media campaigns and strategies for a number of brands, including Vodafone, Sony, News International, Ebookers and The Body Shop. Lauren also manages the international Simply Zesty blog, which is currently ranked at number 74 on the AdAge Power 150 - a global ranking of marketing blogs. Lauren Fisher is a keen contributor to online discussion about social media, the role it plays for businesses and the future direction of social technologies. She has written on social media for a number of online publications, including Mashable, as well as regularly speaking on social media at conferences and seminars.
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