Thinking Before You Go Mobile

22nd Apr, 2013
by Todd Wackrow

There is a massive amount of hype around mobile as a marketing channel, and despite it having been “the year of the mobile” for the last 5 years it really feels like the next 12 months will see mobile step up as a legitimate channel to go alongside the incumbents of TV and print.

BUT, whilst people are fast considering putting a budget line called “Mobile” into their Brand Plans there is still a general lack of understanding around the channel, and a high risk of not getting Return On Investment despite mobiles huge potential. Whilst I am not going to give any answers here today, I am going to hopefully raise a few questions to ask yourself before you get started.

Think about your customer

This is something that should be at the core of what we do as marketers but it often is forgotten. 73% of New Zealander’s don’t leave home without their Smartphone but this doesn’t necessarily mean you can just treat it like a TV channel and expect to interrupt them to get their attention.

Think about how your customers do, and could, use their phone in relation to your brand. Are they looking for a way to kill 20 minutes? Do they simply want to find the nearest store to them where they can buy your product? Do they want to find key information in 30 seconds?

As a starting point about a role you could play to add value to your customer’s life. Maybe it’s giving them access to the latest surf reports, or finding a store near them they can get a great special on their favourite product. Just don’t expect customers to simply start searching your website on their phone whilst sitting at the bus stop just because you have made it look pretty on their phone.

Don’t just jam your current website into a smaller square

Obviously making websites mobile optimised is something that should be on everyone’s agenda given the crazy growth of Smartphone and Tablet usage, but this doesn’t just mean you should replicate everything you have on your current website for a smaller screen.

Think about mobile specifically and why customers would be wanting to engage with your brand via their mobile. Think of what is most likely to be relevant when they are on the go e.g. Store locators, current specials, location based information etc and start with delivering this.

While you might get people downloading a 10 page whitepaper from your website it is unlikely people are after this on their phone so perhaps you don’t even have it available on mobile? Mobile is about fast, relevant information so make sure you put what they are likely to be after front and centre.

It’s not all about “Apps” and Games

Everyone wants to launch their own App. But before you do this put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think whether you would actually use it? Or even get to see it?

Sure, you could put out your own mobile game App thinking customers will kill time at the bus stop whilst engaging with your brand but do you really expect to compete with game manufactures who have spent millions on developing a game and sell it for $0.00 through the App stores?

A mobile App or game may well be for you but something simple like an SMS reminder of an upcoming appointment, or having your most popular website content available in a mobile optimised format, could be all you need to get started in mobile. Are you really that desperate to be App number 845,911 on iTunes?