In 2015, all those previous-year predictions about the rise of the mobile device as the key driver of commercial and marketing activity may finally come true. Which also means that 2015 will be year of challenges, opportunities and – for some marketers – huge learning curves as the promises of mobile marketing catch up with marketplace realities.
The numbers already tell the story: more than 90% of today’s consumers always have a mobile device within reach. According to OVUM, 13% of the world’s population (1 billion people) will become mobile device-only in 2015, no longer tethered to a desktop or laptop but perpetually connected with a smartphone or tablet.
And changes in the marketplace further cement the influence of mobile – and the role that mobile messaging will to play throughout this decade.
The September arrival of Apple Pay recharged momentum around mobile payments, as did the broader introduction and use of wearables and other devices that allow consumers to do just about everything from a device that straps on a wrist, is sewn into clothing or fits neatly into a pocket, backpack or purse. A recent study by the Consumer Electronics Association, found that 58% of shoppers would rather use their mobile phones than talk to sales clerks in a store – a finding that certainly raises the bar for marketers who are thinking about, testing or already fully engaged in mobile marketing. If consumers are indeed more comfortable dealing with a handheld screen for information, the mobile messages they receive should be helpful, timely, relevant and personal.
Among the tactics and strategies that mobile marketers should consider in the New Year:
Use mobile marketing to build the bridge
In just about any environment today – entertainment venues, retail locations, public spaces, hotels, restaurants and even airports - look around and you’ll see people everywhere, staring down with intense focus on their smartphone or tablet. This ubiquitous behaviour is the moment of mobile marketing opportunity – the foundation from which marketers can build a bridge that connects where consumers are on their mobile devices to the specific marketing opportunities that exist nearby.
Current mobile marketing platforms, combined with the increasing use and adoption of beacons and near-field communications technologies, allow marketers to “follow” consumers as they move through the world, able to communicate with them in real time, based on what they’re doing, where they’re going, what they’ve done in the past, or what interests they pursue. As such, marketers will need broad marketing programs that embrace mobile components, including knowledge of and reliance on specific mobile platforms, technologies and content strategies that can build bridges between traditional marketing content and omnichannel opportunities in the mobile environment.
Leverage mobile’s intimacy and data capabilities for personalisation
With the smartphone acting as the bridge to the broader marketing plan, mobile messages must deliver something of value, and they can do that if marketers take advantage of data that mobile interactions provide – data from the devices themselves, data from beacon and in-location technologies at their disposal, and customer data from other sources (transactional, purchase history, loyalty programs, CRM). Data that’s based on consumers’ activities, needs, behaviours and preferences can then shape mobile messages that are personal, timely, relevant and satisfying.
Based on how consumers react and engage, mobile messages can be targeted, tested, re-targeted and optimised for continuous engagement and success: more interactions and transactions, more activity, more purchases, and deeper loyalty. Without data-informed content, messaging is likely to fall on inattentive eyes, switched off or deleted because of irrelevance of frustration, which is why key 2015 mobile marketing tactics must focus intensely on compelling, surprising and personalised content that keeps consumers’ attention at every step of the way and is informed with each new communication cycle.
Make marketing meaningful and seamless
Consumers navigate the world accompanied by their mobile devices. Marketers need to adopt the same kind of attitude toward marketing – another comfortable channel from which they can market to consumers with ease. That ability requires focusing on the types of communications that consumers want: convenient, relevant, timely, fast and flexible on a single platform.
Content needs to be tested and optimised for various formats – smartphone screens, larger tablet screens, images, videos, pop-up messages, in-box communications and notifications. Content has to be easy to understand at a glance. It has to load quickly on a mobile devise, and it has to be relevant and targeted to that particular customer at that particular time and in that particular place. Customers will take note if a “welcome” mobile message arrives the moment they walk past a favourite store – or an hour later, when it’s no longer worth paying attention to.
2015: Time to Move the Needle Toward Success
It’s quite possible that any predictions or advice about mobile marketing in 2015 will be dated soon after they’re offered, and that possibility is the key challenge: how to stay nimble in a mobile marketing environment that is moves too quickly to set benchmarks, let alone measure or compare against them.
Marketers in this new mobile environment will be wise to focus on key skills and tactics:
- platforms, technology and content that builds a bridge between consumers’ reliance on their mobile devices and the physical worlds in which they navigate
- mobile “conversations” that are personal, timely, relevant, as well as targeted, optimised and re-targeted with a wealth of mobile-enabled data
- mobile marketing initiatives that function seamlessly and conveniently for consumers on the go
With those skills as a foundation, marketers will be well-positioned to move the needle in 2015 beyond predictions toward the ultimate goal: the confidence and skills to deploy successful mobile marketing initiatives and campaigns.
By Ramsey Masri, CEO of OtherLevels.
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