Many marketers invest a lot of time and effort into building mobile apps in the mistaken belief it will eliminate any further need to cultivate a multi-channel line of communications with their customers. Whilst it is important to invest in mobile, this alone won’t work as an effective marketing strategy. 

A recent YouGov survey found that the average UK household now owns 7.4 internet connected devices. Highlighting that marketers need to consider the number of different devices that individuals will be communicating on, as well as the different channels that they’ll use on each device. Add to that the fact that they now demand a seamless experience across these devices, marketers, need to make sure they aware of the demands of their audiences. Considering that customers don’t engage with just one channel, marketers today need to ensure they have a strategy in place that tailors content to individuals based on their previous interactions and behaviours.

I’ve met more than a few mobile marketers in the past who have made the argument that other marketing channels are just old and irrelevant because of the arrival of mobile apps.. One of my colleagues was recently told by a prospective customer that “Email is dead… Nobody uses email anymore.” That comment speaks to a dangerous and widespread misreading of the marketing map.

Pre-Internet moments of truth

Procter & Gamble (P&G) talks about two moments of truth when it comes to selling consumer products. Picture a stack of products on a store’s shelves. The point when someone looks at the brand name and decides whether to reach out and put the item in their shopping basket is P&G’s first moment of truth. Was there something about the product that compelled the consumer to think, 'I must have that now!’ The second moment of truth comes when the customer uses the product for the first time and decides whether or not it has met their expectations. Did it leave the buyer with a smile or a frown?

Hundreds of millions - sometimes billions - of pounds rest on the answers to those two questions.

Those were the pre-mobile, pre-Internet moments of truth.

Internet moments of truth

In the digital world, Google introduced the notion of “zero moment of truth” which is when a user pulls up their browser and decides to search for something online. At that moment, everything depends on what happens after someone finishes typing in those words.

In the mobile world, the moment of truth comes when the user decides whether they will ever use the app again. But here’s what so many marketers are missing: the vast majority of apps only get opened and used once.

That reality explodes the myth behind the mobile-first strategy. A marketer may have gone to considerable effort to get the app built and downloaded by someone. But most apps wind up unused after that first open.

The mobile moment of truth really should be when a mobile app earns the right to become a part of someone's mobile habits. Either it is the lead app in a category (games you play, maps you use) or has earned a coveted spot on the “home screen” of their mobile device. For so many of us, apps such as Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram earned that spot a long time ago and feature prominently in our online lives.

That’s why the mobile-first or mobile-only world view is so off base. It’s also why multi-channel marketing remains so important. You still need to determine other ways to engage customers on other digital channels to make sure they come back.

Doing mobile right

A great example of this is the healthy lifestyle tracking app, MyFitnessPal, which is now part of Under Armour. The MyFitnessPal app has tens of millions of users but the company also benefits by making complementary use of email as well as a blog to keep consumers engaged with its content. The company sends out relevant content in email form that gives users a new reason to return to the app as their primary environment. Those reminders to someone trying to lead a healthy lifestyle guarantees constant engagement with the app.

Stats tell the story

Social and communication apps dominate the top 25 slots in the Apple Store. So, word to the wise, if you’re a marketer contemplating doing anything else. You can’t just think mobile because mobile-only is a flawed strategy. Marketers are great at experimenting with new ideas, however it’s important to remember that sometimes the tried and tested methods should be kept in mind.

Don’t take it from me. Listen to one of your marketing peers talk about their impressive results!


By Conor Shaw, Managing Director of Marketo EMEA. 

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