Mobile is not a medium for blast marketing

With so many opportunities to benefit, why wouldn’t marketers want to get involved with mobile? Aden Forrest asks.  

 

Marketers can no longer afford to ignore the power of mobile. Deloitte’s Media Consumer Survey revealed that, in Australia, 81% of us have a smartphone, and more than half have the trifecta of tablet, laptop and smartphone. Cisco forecasts our mobile traffic will increase by more than 40% a year, with us each downloading 6.3GB of data per month by 2019. And the Deloitte survey shows more than half of us consider our smartphone our ‘go to device’, replacing our PCs, televisions and laptops.

You just need to glance in the street or on the train to see how many faces are seemingly welded to their screens, seemingly oblivious to the world around them.

All in all, it’s a fantastic opportunity for marketers, provided they treat this relatively new medium with respect. When screen real-estate is limited, people don’t like to be bombarded with irrelevant messages. A PWC survey last year showed that in the US and UK many mobile users saw advertising as intrusive, crossing the line into their personal space. Some described it as just plain wrong and they “felt violated” as a result.

Of course, marketers have realised that online conversations with clients and prospects are becoming increasingly important. Traditional advertising techniques will only take people part of the way down the decision-making process. It will help to raise awareness, but the hard grunt of engendering affinity with your product comes from ongoing engagement: conversations, rather than push messaging.

Mobile devices are the obvious venue for these conversations between brands and their audiences. People spend two hours or more on their smartphones, and whether it’s making calls or chatting on social media, it’s all about two way interactions. No wonder traditional advertising is viewed as being out of context on a mobile.

Marketers can leverage the conversational role of the smartphone, using it as a convenient channel for relevant, timely content. Whether it’s an email, an SMS, an instant message, a sponsored post or an app’s push notification, will depend on the message, its context and the audience.

 

Mobile as a source of rich data

There’s another benefit mobiles provide for marketers serious about engaging in dialogue with their customers. These devices are a rich source of data. They can tell you whether people are active on their device, what they are doing and where they are. You can build insights into patterns of behaviour to help understand when best to touch your audience. In short, smart devices provide a far richer feedback mechanism than your PC and Mac.

To illustrate the power, imagine the success rate for a message that alerts a prospect on the move to a product demonstration in their immediate vicinity. You know they have already researched the product and now they are close to a showroom. An invite to “Call in and speak with Jeff” has a far greater chance of triggering a sale than a generic message saying, “Check us out next time you’re in our neighbourhood”.

There’s only one significant downside. It’s complicated. Engaging in mobile marketing in the wrong way can damage your brand, as you cross that line into intrusive advertising. That’s why it’s important to consider mobile as part of an integrated nurturing program, where content is carefully managed and delivered through automation software that ensures a highly tuned message is delivered based on insights and behaviour.

It could be that for some customers very little of your interactions occur on a mobile device. Even so, a mobile component can still help gather behavioural intelligence that can be used to develop more appropriate content and timing decisions. Or, as this is more likely, mobile could become the most significant channel which has the biggest influence and provides an opportunity for more of those trigger events.

To understand how influential our mobiles are, consider how consumers get their news. The Deloitte media usage survey shows that social media is now usurping the 6pm bulletin as our source of breaking news – and we spend most of our Facebook time on our smartphones. Why wouldn’t you want to be part of that?

Aden Forrest
BY Aden Forrest ON 29 May 2015
Aden Forrest is Australia/New Zealand managing director at Marketo.