Mobile marketing's best days are ahead of us due to smartphone penetration rates of more than 50 percent, search from mobile devices in the 20 – 25 percent range and consumers reading email from mobile devices in the 10-20 percent range.
With new mobile tactics and technologies such as Google Wallet, location based services, augmented reality and mCommerce, the opportunity to enhance the consumer experience is at an all-time high. If what happened in mobile marketing during 2011 is any indication of what will happen next, 2012 will be an historic year! This is the first time in my seven years of working in the mobile space that the sector is starting a new calendar year with so many arrows in the mobile marketing quiver.
Why? By now, at least 1/3 of the major consumer brands have a mobile marketing strategy with several of these brands already executing multi-year strategies. We're now seeing a slew of case studies of mass and niche mobile marketing tactics driving impressive results. We're also seeing mobile outperform other forms of offline and online media. Many of the mobile marketing tactics, including text messaging, mobile Internet sites, downloadable apps and mCommerce moved beyond experimental and have become key elements in marketing strategy. So, as we move into 2012, expect to see continued momentum with consumer engagement surging.
By now, most of you have completed 2012 budget allocations with mobile taking on a more prominent role in the media mix. You've either committed to becoming a mobile marketer or, for those of you with mobile marketing strategies already in place, you're thinking about how to evolve and grow your programs. Some of you reading this article may even be responsible for delivering what will surely become some of the most talked about campaigns next year. The questions that need to be asked include: How will each of you spend your time in mobile, how will you measure success and how will your focus change in 2012?
Generally speaking, there are three categories of marketers practicing mobile marketing: emerging, intermediate and advanced. Think of this as an evolutionary process where all marketers need to start somewhere. Marketers need to develop something called the mobile IQ. A high mobile IQ is cultivated over time. Consider this a guide on where to focus, based on your level of experience within mobile marketing.
- Focus on developing your mobile strategy including a set of mobile personas that will help clearly identify your target audience through a mobile lens. This will provide valuable insights into psychographic and demographic behaviors and habits which will determine which mobile tactics to use and media to integrate with.
- Select reputable partner(s) to help evolve your strategy, while delivering on marketing objectives and goals. A strong partner will help you objectively review and set marketing objectives and goals based on prior experience and research of what works and what doesn't.
- Start implementing proven mass mobile marketing tactics such as SMS, mobile Internet sites and scannable codes, enabling the consumer to engage with you across all devices - including phones and tablets.
- Properly integrate the mobile program with priority media channels, including email, site, direct mail, social and in-store for maximum growth. Mobile does not work as a standalone media; it must be fully integrated within your media plan for maximum results.
- Begin segmenting your mobile database, which enables you to reach your target audience and increases response rates. Think about the concept of high, medium and low value customers. How are each of these consumers different, and should I message them?
- Connect the mobile data to the customer database, enabling you to include mobile in the CRM and media mix. Whether you integrate data through disposition files or API integration, mobile data is highly valuable and helps complete the digital picture of the consumer.
- Implement more advanced mobile marketing tactics such as downloadable applications and location based services to increase your ability to target on a local level. By successfully implementing the core mobile marketing tactics based on consumer response, you can implement additional tactics with lower risk and higher results.
- Add special mobile marketing promotions and programs to the overall marketing calendar to spike the mobile marketing database growth. Hint – mobile sweepstakes work extremely well when they are tied to delivering value to the consumer beyond a grand prize!
- By now, just about all of your mobile data should be connected to the customer database with mobile analytics you will gain valuable marketing insights. Your CRM partner should be helping you do this!
- Implement multi-channel analytics to determine how mobile consumer behavior drives results in other channels. We know consumers move between media and channels. Defining that intersection is critical!
- Leverage analytics to develop contact streams that target high, medium and low value customers. Communicating to each group based on the unique behaviors and habits will yield better results.
- If you do not have a mobile loyalty program, consider offering one. Mobile loyalty programs are a framework driving commerce opportunities. As the concept of loyalty, offers and discount blends, especially for Millennials, this could be an important marketing strategy that mCommerce sites and discounting along cannot offer.
Chris Wayman is vice president and general manager, Mobile Practice, at Merkle.