The evolving SoLoMo experience
The central drivers of good mobile advertising are the quality of the call to action and the relevance of the offer: the time, the place, and what’s in it for me. As a consumer, I’m only going to engage with a mobile ad if it’s relevant to me at the right moment in time and has some context with my mindset, which of course has a lot do to with where I am located at that moment. This leads me to ‘SoLoMo’.
Clearly the whole SoLoMo phenomenon has momentum, and if you can get past the clunky tag, it makes a lot of sense – particularly the ‘Lo’ bit. It’s a point of difference that most offline media, apart from out of home, can’t offer. And it’s a really important point of difference.
If offline is to be an on-ramp to online (try saying that fast!) the user experience must be intuitive, seamless and immediate. As a consumer if I see a call to action in an out-of-home ad, I just want an immediate connection, on my terms. I don’t want to have to work within a framework that a brand has created, like a web page that’s not mobile-optimised, or a clunky app. But if an app is a good app or I land at a mobile page, and it solves my problem when I need it to, in a way that I understand and I don’t have to think about, it’s a fantastic thing.
I recently used and was impressed by beverage manufacturer Toby’s Estate’s app. It combines great product content like details about their different coffee bean and tea options, and mixes it with good mobile functionality. You can buy online, ‘Like’ the Facebook page and the ‘find a café’ option sorts by postcode or your current location, which adds to the ‘Lo’ feature. The local element also features a very cool augmented reality overlay, too – as you point your phone in different directions, the app shows you the nearest café in that direction which serves Toby’s Estate. The key element though that takes this app from good to great is their virtual loyalty card – when you scan the QR code in store, you get a virtual stamp on your loyalty card. I don’t drink coffee, yet I’m raving about it.
Both as a consumer and someone working in media, I like the concept of asking people to opt-in through advertising which means something to them, and then giving them a mobile experience which very specifically targets that consumer’s need at that moment in time. Search is obviously a different take on this concept as the search itself defines the consumer’s immediate needs.
In these early stages our role, and that of other out of home companies, is to be advocates for experimentation and curiosity and provide a range of thought-starters on what a mobile experience initiated in our environments could look like. There’s quite a bit of potential in the behavioural and response data that mobile can provide too, and as the database grows no doubt we will have ever-greater insights into consumer behaviour and response, cut a range of different ways.
When it’s done right, mobile marketing is fantastic; when it’s done poorly, it’s underwhelming at best. The opportunity for brand fame could be replaced by the reality of brand apathy, or worse. What’s not in doubt is that there will be clear winners and losers as the mobile space continues to reinvent itself at a furious pace.
There are so many developments that are nascent in 2012 – but I suspect we will look back at this year as one of those years that things really changed in mobile.