Mobile Marketing |ˈmōbəl ˈmärkitiNG | What is it, exactly?
Literally, mobile marketing translates into any activity that revolves around being on the move; some think of mobile marketing as cars wrapped in brilliant colors that catch the eye of motorists. Others consider billboards, high-rise digital message panels and street hawkers as a form of mobile marketing. Most marketing strategists today consider mobile marketing as a combination of campaigns that revolve around mobile devices like laptops, cell phones and iPads.
Most experts agree that these campaigns are designed around text and graphics to compel consumers to purchase a product or service. They also pique consumer interest and are very effective at building brand loyalty. Building corporate awareness doesn’t always involve directly driving consumers to a retail website or neighborhood store. Sometimes it’s a subtle suggestion. Consider Charmin, the toilet paper manufacture. Charmin released an interactive application for mobile device users that locates the nearest public restroom. Users can review restroom ratings from other “resters” and add their own opinions. How ingenious is that? We’ve all stood in line waiting for the key, just to be told there is no public restroom on property. Charmin’s Sit or Squat app fills a need that few other apps are going to satisfy. This is one way mobile marketing excels above TV or radio ads—it meets the customer with the message exactly when they need it.
Maribel Lopez of Lopez Research says that it’s time to combine mobile data with big data processing and analytics in order to respond effectively to customers. By reaching out to customers through targeted advertising and responding with exceptional customer service or efficient streamlined order-on-line options, businesses can draw in the consumer and then cement the relationship. Business-to-business marketing channels are excellent venues for real-time-experiences. When communication is time sensitive, these integrated campaigns could prove highly beneficial.
Mobile application development is expanding with technology that gives business owners and marketing managers opportunities to reach specific sectors of the population. Rather than a newspaper ad that relies on volume and hopes enough buyers happen to read the Sunday Post, mobile campaigns can be designed around apps that appeal to certain age groups, sports enthusiasts or supporters of charities. Media specialist and marketers are coming together in October 2012 for the 4th annual Integrated Marketing Communications Conference to discuss the changing environment and keep professionals abreast of the newest trends and fading fads. Attendees to the workshop style conference are given the opportunity to engage with the speakers more freely about creative customer conversations that lead to more conversions—which is, after all, the primary reason for marketing.
Freelance marketing consultant Luan Wise insists now is the time for marketing strategists to seriously invest in mobile marketing and the infrastructure involved. She reminds business owners that a significant amount of website traffic now originates on a mobile device and loading times need to catch up with the traffic. She also cited a Juniper Research study that estimates by 2017 on-the-go purchases will reach $730 billion. It makes sound fiscal sense to develop and maintain apps and other mobile media to capture the expanding market.
In a recent article for Mashable, Joan Pan discussed the emerging sound technology that is very close to being in place for mobile marketing strategists. She discusses the interactive, audio activated technology developed by Sonic Notify. Some of the expected applications for this new sound media are receiving a thank-you note from your local barista after your morning cup of Joe and an instant coupon that appears on your smartphone while you browse the frozen food section of your local market. If you can imagine it, the time is fast approaching you can incorporate it into mobile marketing plans. Imagine pharmaceutical companies providing options for travelers to receive a three day supply of medication if they leave theirs at home, a moving company that has real time hands free communication with truck drivers so they can see if Fido followed the dog house into the truck on moving day, or a snap and shoot game from the local fast food restaurant. With the proper design tools and motivation, these are all available today.
While communications companies continue to release new interfaces to open the door for industry specific applications, marketers can reap the benefits of targeted mobile marketing. Consumers are an ever-increasing society of mobilites that depend on mobile devices to manage everything from tickets for the opera to scheduling heart surgery. It’s time to start more conversations with customers and supporters where they are—connected to a mobile device. If you don’t see it out there, this might be the best time to roll up your sleeves and design your own app to bring in traffic and build lifetime brand loyalty once they come.
Post by Jessica Stark*