Why it’s time to get serious about mobile marketing

Brendan Watmore, head of strategy at InMobi Australia and New Zealand, discusses mobile’s role in brand building, lead generation and nurturing, and driving foot traffic into stores.

Some marketers today are yet to adopt mobile. Perhaps they don’t understand it. Or maybe they just want to watch the space and see how it develops.

But the opportunity is there now. Close to 80% of Aussie phone users are on smart devices today and that’s pretty close to saturation point. Google’s research has shown that 74% of people are more likely to return to a mobile-friendly site, and they are now including mobile friendliness as a determinant for site rankings in their search results. That’s important, but only the tip of the iceberg.

InMobi’s own Mobile Media Consumption Research has shown that 91% of Australian smartphone users intend to conduct commerce from their device this year. Basically, if you’re not mobile ready, you are losing out.

The stumbling block for many marketers, though, is knowing where to start. They might have tried formatting banner ads for mobile devices as part of a broader online campaign and seen poor results, but let’s face it, that’s a bit like taking a newspaper ad and blowing it up to fill an outdoor billboard. Advertising always has to be right for the medium, the audience and the context.

Mobiles and brand

The small screens of mobile devices are sometimes dismissed as unsuitable for building brands. You need those big screens and deep voice overs to really hype a product. Really? Or do you just need to reach people in the right frame of mind. Smart devices are often used to fill in time that would otherwise be spent doing nothing – sitting on the train, relaxing at the beach or, ironically, sitting through an ad break on television. These provide ideal opportunities to relay your brand message, while your audience is not lost in thought. We call this the moment of maximum opportunity (MMO) and it will differ by audience. MOMOs can be tested against consumer experience profiles, compiled using past behaviours.

That’s the beauty of mobile campaigns – you can collect vast amounts of data that can be collated and used to add intelligence to successive activity. Campaigns that are not based on advanced analytics are missing one of the key advantages of the medium, so make sure you book through a platform that can add this advanced intelligence, ensuring you make the most of profiles and context.

Mobiles and leads

It has become natural behaviour for people to reach for the smartphone whenever there is a moment spare either to check email, social networks, play a game or for entertainment. This is the new behaviour that the smartphone has created and it is the new behaviour which marketers need to learn to capitalise on.

We are starting to see that if a consumer is happy killing time playing a game, they are also prepared to transfer that time to achieving a task like checking the price of insurance or investigating a car they are thinking of buying. Smart marketers are targeting low engagement apps and transferring the consumers attention to their own proposition and in doing so have created a new source of leads.

Mobile and foot traffic

It’s a no brainer that mobiles can drive traffic into your stores. People are out and about, they’re close by, a well placed ad could bring them your way. Geotargeting is a significant, unique characteristic of mobile advertising. An obvious application for this is that a consumer would be able to react to an offer within their vicinity. As this technology becomes more broadly available we can see it being adopted by small, local businesses. The real benefit of geo for marketers is likely to be in analytics of consumer behaviour. Understanding the location habits of consumers will help a number of marketing functions – advertising of course, store distribution strategies even feeding into product development. Collecting and facilitating the analysis of geo signals from mobiles will certainly play a major role in for marketers in the future. Many of the benefits we can’t imagine today.

Mobile and nurturing

Smart marketers realise that successful brand building involves an ongoing conversation with prospective buyers. Marketing automation systems have sprung up to help engage audiences on a one to one basis. Mobile adds a lot to this mix because, as we’ve just mentioned, people often consume content during down time – on a bus, over breakfast, waiting for a meeting.  Integrating these systems with a mobile platform will help you to understand the behavioural response to content and build a profile of is the best time to serve new stories.

Mobile and apps

There’s a tendency for marketers to jump straight into apps. If you have an app, promote it, people download it, you’ve got them for life, right? Wrong. Apps can go discarded if they are not treated as part of a cohesive campaign. More often, they simply don’t get downloaded because they are lost in the plethora of other content buried deep in mobile app stores.

Earning an app download requires the same approach as any other mobile campaign element, using context, interests and location to determine who to promote, when and where.

So, how do you start?

You’ve read this far and, hopefully, realised that there’s more to mobile marketing than meets the eye. The fact that it provides so much data on behaviour, tied with the ability to target people based on what they are doing or where they are, makes it far more powerful than any other medium.

It’s a far cry from the simplistic approach of building a mobile friendly website and running some mobile ads based on high level targeting criteria. A few weeks into that approach and you’ll be wondering why you’ve had such a lacklustre response. The reality is, to succeed, you need to throw yourself in to mobile marketing, boots and all. That means:

  • Engage a mobile marketing specialist,
  • ensure you are using a mobile platform that is data rich and can enable placement based on profiles and context,
  • make sure your approach is close to real time. The days of plan and leave don’t apply in the mobile space, you have to plan, place, learn and adapt,
  • keep refining. However successful your campaigns are, there’s always room for improvement.

The key starting point, of course, is recognising the opportunity and budgeting accordingly. Treating mobile as a sideline activity is dangerous and could lose you customers. Similarly, declaring it all too complicated is a fast track to irrelevance. Mobiles won’t go away – there are about 1.5 billion smartphones on the planet – and marketing won’t become any less sophisticated.

 

 

 

  • HapticGeneration

    All good points Brendan. The problem is especially apparent in the local retail
    space. According to the research, only 30% of Australian retailers have mobile websites and 21% have mobile apps. Recent findings from AIMIA show that over half of us already go shopping using a smartphone and three quarters using a tablet, so the balance has already shifted in the direction of mobile. As you say – anyone waiting for the scales to tip is already on the fast track to irrelevance!

    Google’s recent changes to their search algorithm may be the wake up call that Aussie retailers need – apparently more than half of our largest companies were impacted. A hit in the effectiveness of other digital
    campaigns may be enough to direct focus where it’s needed.

    We recently reviewed a white paper from a U.S. software company called Phunware. http://www.hapticgeneration.com.au/australian-retails-mobile-challenge/ They aggregated data from a number of studies that confirm the potential of mobile in retail. The data is U.S. centric, but still valid here I think. There are also a number of strategies and techniques reviewed – worth a look – particularly for any retailers needing ideas for that first step.

  • With the introduction of NFC, Beacon Marketing and the continued popularity of SMS Marketing, small business will be left behind if they continue to ignore their customers preferred way to communicate.