January 7, 2013
What a breath of fresh air to finally see a shift in marketing budgets to include mobile.Perhaps more importantly, we’re finally seeing the same shift in point of view from brands to agencies. We all recognize that when a new medium for marketing appears on the scene, the adoption period can be frustratingly long. We also know that the education process can be incredibly swift when powerful players lead the way. Once upon a time, it was only Out-Of-Home marketing…a “campaign” on a sign hanging from the side of a building as travelers passed by. With the advent of the printing press the first “shift” began and the marketing budget had to be adjusted! Over time, radio and television again split marketing budgets and came to dominate “the spend”. Most of us do not remember this but that is ok…history will continue to repeat itself again and again.
We do however remember when the internet burst onto the scene. Even for this now ubiquitous channel, it was difficult to foresee that personal computers would be popular enough to find their way into more than 80% of American households. Technology and progress triumphed. The communication and marketing power of the World Wide Web was harnessed, and yet again the marketing mix changed and budgets shifted to meet the massive amount of consumer eyeballs now online.
Enter Mobile! The first mobile phones were the size of bricks and coverage was terrible. The industry’s dream was to envision a day when there would be enough cell towers to create a network with the coverage to allow a mobile phone call from anywhere in the US. A mobile device where the “Third Screen” would become more important than any other was not yet even a thought in a marketer’s mind.
Fast forward to today…past American Idol‘s popularization of text messaging, and enter Google’s Android and Apple’s iPhone. We have stepped into an era where consumers are carrying a computer in the palm of their hand. “Mobile Marketing” is no longer an empty term used by brands and agencies to simply sound relevant. The fully interactive mobile platform has arrived, and it is no longer acceptable to say “We realize how important mobile is” or we are “Working on a mobile strategy”. If you aren’t connecting with your clients on their mobile devices, you are missing out on an enormous opportunity.
The tide has finally turned in the board rooms as new and effective technologies have closed the gap by integrating Social, Digital, Local and Mobile into a measurable reality. The fear and confusion has begun to dissipate. Marketers are beginning to trust the new mobile solutions and embrace yet another shift.
In the recent past, it was easier to wait for others to pioneer effective mobile solutions while debating a “strategy” behind closed doors. The hammer had not yet fallen from those above. That is no longer the case. Today’s mobile marketing options are relatively simply to analyze…SMS, Aps, QR, NFC, Mobile Search, Mobile Banner Ads, location based Mobile marketing etc. The comparative value analysis of actual results has become more well-defined. We can measure engagements, click-throughs, views, re-tweets, downloads etc. As marketing professionals, the newest challenge we face is in evaluating these results. Did my mobile interaction create brand awareness, re-inforce brand recognition or actually drive a purchase?
By now, we have all heard the stories and the anecdotes. We have heard of billion dollar accounts telling agencies not to bother submitting a proposal if it does not include an effective mobile strategy. We are well aware of the “fat finger” problem that causes our clients to pay for inadvertent clicks on a mobile banner ad. We have heard prominent CMO’s tell their team to “take a risk” and to “be an innovative leader”. The fear of not understanding how a mobile technology works is being thrown by the wayside as high-level executives remind their decision makers to focus on mobile’s relevance and effectiveness instead.
The proverbial cat is out of the bag. Mobile is NOT a simple extension of an online strategy. Campaigns play out much differently on a monitor than they do on a smartphone screen. Remember what the term “mobile” means. It is an opportunity for brands to stay relevant at nearly any time, in any place and in almost any situation…IF you activate the right mobile solutions.
Set your mobile strategy first, and fine-tune the tactics later. Understand the attributes, and limitations of specific mobile platforms. Focus on the right audience, employ a multi-faceted strategy, and allow them to choose how and when to engage with the campaign!
Mobile is here to stay. Remember…You either get on the technology bus or you get run over by it!!!