It is no secret that mobile has taken over. In fact, by 2016, research firm Portio predicts that three out of four adults in the UK will own a smartphone, which means the rate of smartphone penetration in the UK will surpass the rate in the United States.
For brands and marketers, this has resulted in a bigger emphasis (budget) on reaching customers via mobile channels and devices: in 2012, UK marketers spent more per mobile web user than any other country and, more recently, an Econsultancy report showed that more than half of companies now have mobile-optimised websites.
Mobile marketing involves much more than big budgets and a mobile-optimised website. These are the three things brands should focus on getting right:
1. Master your data to customise your content
Mail, phone and email will remain important channels for a long time, which means that contacting customers on the mobile channel may not be appropriate for all interactions – and, moreover, it may not be the customers’ preferred channel!
Data about customers’ preferences for channel, type of content, buying habits and more must be understood to determine how and when to connect via mobile.
Additionally, analysis of buying habits and customer history can help marketers figure out which piece of content should be offered to which customer and at which time.
Mobile is perhaps the platform that allows the most diverse array of content types to be consumed – video, short-form, long form, graphics, etc. Therefore deciding what to offer customers and when is very important.
2. Think like a customer
We’re all consumers, and we can all remember a time when we received a poor offer from a brand that was off-base or unwelcome. Customers are even more sensitive to this on the mobile channel because mobile devices are highly personal possessions.
One of the most important general marketing aspects to apply to mobile is maintaining consistency across channels. Customers expect brands to ‘remember’ every interaction they have had on every channel and the stakes are even higher on mobile.
Synching up all channels with mobile to create a relevant experience is paramount.
Location is also a key factor in mobile. Consumers basically never let their mobile devices out of their sight, so using location-based services to offer something truly customer centric presents a large opportunity.
At the same time, though, customers have a comfort zone. With a smartphone, customers can access their social, email, voice, web, and any other channel from one point. The last thing they want is to get brand overload on every one of them!
Because of mobile devices’ personal nature, a ‘less is more’ approach is generally best, and it may also be wise to let that dictate the volume and flow of communications on other channels, too.
3. Not everyone uses an iPhone
HTML5 is increasingly viewed as the de-facto web and mobile programming “standard”, and creating mobile technologies, websites and applications that enable the rich interaction experiences customers want using HTML5 will ensure the ability to reach customers across an array of different devices and operating systems.
However, an interesting statistic from Econsultancy’s recent survey was that only 33% of companies say they built their mobile products (websites, applications, etc.) using HTML5.
Although it sometimes cannot be avoided, it is important not to exclude customers because of their choice of mobile device.
Balancing personalisation and privacy in mobile marketing is one of the biggest challenges marketers will face in the coming years. Marshaling data of various types and working to create a culture that can take a considered approach to customers’ preferences will be the difference between creating a banished brand and a mobile master.