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To Include Mobile in Your Contextual Marketing, Go With What You Know

To Include Mobile in Your Contextual Marketing, Go With What You Know

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This is a guest post by Nick Worth, CMO of Selligent

With inputs like location and multi-screen use, mobile is certainly a complex addition to multi-channel marketing.  I’ve found that mobile consumer behavior has moved so fast that many marketers are overwhelmed with data options, understaffed to test and analyze results and limited in their ability to create truly unique messaging.

A typical marketer today is attempting to create a contextual marketing campaign that includes channels like mobile, in-store and email components. Where should they begin to craft a campaign that will not be too complex to manage, but that takes advantage of the vast array of data and flexible messaging capabilities available to them? No matter what tools a marketer is using to craft marketing campaigns, adding mobile to the plan is always daunting. It’s a new channel, with new data and new success metrics. My advice is to start small and do what you know. Why is it important to do this? Because consumers can shut out marketers that make major missteps.

Mobile Needs a Clear Role In the Established Ecosystem

Marketers may be tempted to set up a “mobile task force” complete with a mobile testing budget and a new agency or partner. But I think this “divide and conquer” approach has several flaws. Consumers have moved so quickly to mobile that it should not be thought of as a test, but as a core pillar of any marketing program. Direct marketers should take the reins to learn mobile themselves, so that valuable skills are gained within company walls.

Marketers should build contextual mobile messaging directly into their current customer journeys, starting with their most effective content. If they have a great store loyalty program, they should ask their most loyal customers if they’d like to receive mobile coupons and offers on their phones when shopping in-store. If a marketer relies mainly on email blasts to a wide variety of consumers, she should ask her subscribers if they’d like to switch to SMS updates. These simple mobile additions to the current direct marketing plan enable marketers to test mobile, and still be contextually relevant without much fuss or expense.

Focus on Mobile’s Unique Attributes, Location Included

There are literally millions of data points available on every person online. The goal of a good contextual marketing strategy is not to use every data point, but rather to use the best data points. It is no different for mobile.

With mobile, marketers have an opportunity for frequent intimate interactions with customers, but it’s a privilege that can be abused. Marketers need to tread carefully or risk opt-outs and customer dissatisfaction. For example, UK youth agency Voxburner reports that 60% of UK millenials will opt out of push notifications if they start getting too many of them. Marketers can start by asking customers for their preferences of messaging type and frequency as they sign up for mobile messaging to avoid making early cultural missteps with mobile.

Of course precise geo-location is the real winning data element for direct marketers. Mobile represents the only marketing channel with the ability to be truly contextually relevant down to a radius of a few feet. Beacons set up in a marketer’s own store can alert them to the location of current shoppers while services like xAd offer precise targeting that allows marketers to message people while they are in competitors’ stores or department stores.

I have seen many mobile marketing tests where the messages are totally irrelevant. This is a waste. Consumers know what their smartphones can do, and have come to expect relevant content. Just because a customer is in a store in August doesn’t mean she is there to buy back-to-school items. While it is tempting to take advantage of mobile’s real-time capabilities, marketers should use a near-real time approach if it means they can access more relevant data like from a CRM system and avoid being shut out of a customer’s most valuable device.

With mobile, we all get a chance to create a more intimate and engaging dialogue with consumers. By approaching this opportunity with concern for context and relevance, marketers stand the greatest chance of long-term mobile engagement with consumers.

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