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November 6, 2006

Mobile Marketing 101

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This was a packed session, which should come as no surprise given all the attention that the mobile Web has received over the last month. Mobile marketing is being called the "any" era because customers are always on and always available for a one-on-one dialogue. Like Visa, the mobile web is suddenly everywhere you want to be.

Establishing a company presence on the Web means that you have access to your audience whenever and wherever they happen to be. It’s your job to deliver the right message, to the right customer, at the right time. As mobile becomes important, it means integrating mobile into your already established campaigns.

Mobile can build brand awareness, generate revenue, drive up attendance to events, encourage engagement and improve customer loyalty. Basically, it’s the Swiss army knife of marketing, with tools you never knew you didn’t have.

But how do you start? What should you keep in mind when creating your first mobile initiative? Here are some tips.

  • Panelist Laura Marriot noted the first step in your mobile marketing campaign should be to define your strategic objectives. Your goals don’t have to be complex, but you should be able to define them in order to measure success later on. Let your customers dictate where you choose to stick your toe in the water. They’ll tell you what sites they are interested in, don’t try and dictate them.
  • Find a carrier that you’re compatible with. Realize that your audience is also the customer of the carrier, meaning they may dictate what you’re allowed to do. If carriers aren’t 100 percent on board with your marketing campaign, they may shoot down your marketing ideas. Know this in advance.
  • Another tip, understand that mobile marketing really is similar to marketing on the traditional web. Its choices may be more complex, but the actual medium is no different.

What about obstacles?

According to panelists, the biggest obstacle to mobile marketing is coming up with a valuable consumer proposition so that users want to communicate with you. Your first meeting about mobile should be why a consumer should let your company send them a text message. There must be some sincere value or users won’t opt-in. Your mobile marketing campaign should address user needs, not your own.

A second obstacle is the lack of education. Getting the word out about mobile marketing is still a difficult process. Users are more engaged now than before, but there is still a hesitation to accept a new format. The existence of browser charges is always keeping many users off the Web.
On the marketing side, many companies still don’t know what it means to market on the Mobile web, so there’s a learning curve that needs to be addressed there, as well.

To sum things up, the panelists gave their predictions on where will mobile marketing go in 2007?

  • Mobile video
  • Mobile search
  • More locally-based

Overall, this panel gave a good introduction to mobile marketing. I would have loved to have seen more in-depth analysis and more information on starting a mobile campaign from scratch, but this session gave more tips than new information. Maybe next time.

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