Mobile Marketing: Carla Paschke is Director of Mobile Innovation at Engauge where she is responsible for providing best-in-class mobile strategies for clients, including Coca-Cola and Chick-fil-A. Follow her on Twitter @carlapaschke.
Smartphones, the most powerful data-collection tools ever created, don't just tell brands what consumers want but where consumers are. Sometimes they even tell brands what consumers are doing at different times of the day.
Location, activity and time are a powerful combination, however, many companies, in a rush to seize a toehold in the exploding mobile market, mistakenly focus on the technology instead of the people using it.
Their messages lack relevancy and consumers filter them out the mobile equivalent of telemarketing. To be relevant to consumers, and to slip past the filter, companies must shift their approach to mobile marketing.
Consumers no longer passively participate in campaigns. Instead, they respond in real time, influencing both the scope and direction of promotions. It's a two-way conversation. It's not enough to release a sparkly new mobile app. Innovative applications are important, of course, but brands have to do more.
Brands have to motivate people to act by designing campaigns as dynamic and flexible as the mobile market, which now includes search, social, video, music, gaming, payments, retail transactions, location-based services and augmented reality.
Brands need a deep understanding of how mobile apps can drive views, downloads and checkins, and how to schedule specific calls-to-action around release dates, product trials and related campaigns, both on and offline.
Brands need real-time information monitoring from mobile apps and social media to get a broad perspective. They also need to zoom down to ground level, tailoring the user experience on an individual level.
Further, brands must build these new mobile capabilities atop a solid strategic foundation. Rather than developing a series of one-offs, brands should consider how their mobile applications integrate with the mobile web.
With all this in mind, here are four cardinal rules to consider.
1. Send Useful Signals, Not Meaningless Static
According to Gartner, the mobile advertising market is expected to double to $3.3 billion in 2011 and swell to $20.6 billion by 2015. Yet many of these mobile ads will never be seen. Bombarded by emails, Facebook status updates and tweets, consumers are overwhelmed by noise.
This dynamic isn't going to change. A wise brand strategy, then, swims within the current instead of against it, presenting itself as a useful component of the filtering process.
Mobile isn't a channel for disruption. For example, if you're a brand targeting dieters or health-conscious consumers, develop an app to filter the latest research on super foods or the latest cancer discoveries.
2. Create Two-Way Conversations to Build Brand Value
From a messaging standpoint, the great novelty and power of a mobile device is context: A mobile phone is the only consumer appliance that knows where it is at all times.
Companies can unlock that power by sending hyper-targeted messages based on narrow windows of opportunity or location. But the process shouldn't end there. Brands and their agency partners need to know how to get consumers to talk back, to register their preferences in low-key, frictionless ways.
Multi-billion-dollar companies have been built atop algorithms tied to small clickable buttons â€” think about the "Like" button on Facebook, or the "Was this review helpful to you?" button on Amazon. For Amazon, simply adding that question to each product page brought in $2.7 billion of additional yearly revenue. When people see that their input actually does have some effect, they appreciate it and come back. The more they register their preferences, the more trust brands will build.
3. Socialize the Content & Campaign With Conversation
As social networks have become seamlessly integrated into the rituals of daily life, it's not surprising to see that the social network market has become saturated.
Overall growth is slowing. In 2010, 134.6 million people used social networks across any technology platform each month, and in 2011, that number will rise by a little more than 3%, according to eMarketer. But consider that social networking is now the fastest-growing mobile activity.
Brands need to take this shift into account as consumers get in the habit of checking Facebook on the run and ignoring brands that don't respect the coin of the Facebook realm: direct interaction.
Facebook is a tool for conversations. Ad campaigns are conversations too. This is a nice coincidence and a useful one to any brand that knows how to effectively integrate the sometimes chaotic feedback that comes streaming in from this new class of smartphone-liberated consumers, jabbing at their phones in stores, schools, trains and homes.
4. Understand and Apply Usage Data
By combining three types of mobile data â€” location, activity and time â€” it's now possible for marketers to assemble a subtle and detailed picture of consumer behavior, one that also takes into account the shifting personas of consumers. A mom, for instance, is a different person at 7 a.m. when she's getting the kids ready for school, than she is at 9:00 a.m. when she gets to the office.
Can a savvy marketer shift her message to stay relevant to that mom within a few hours? Relevancy is both the challenge and the opportunity of the revolutionary data-collection capabilities of smartphones.
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