6 Tips for Getting Mobile Marketing Right
With mobile devices close to hitting the saturation point for the U.S. population and having become an essential tool in most users' daily lives, the siren call of mobile marketing has become a powerful tug on CMOs' agendas and budgets.
Between mobile applications, mobile Web sites and good old-fashioned text campaigns, marketers have options when it comes to crafting their mobile marketing approaches. In the session, "Mobile Marketing: The New Marketing Wave," at the Direct Marketing Association's NCDM conference held last week in Las Vegas, a panel of marketing professionals discussed the ins and outs of these options. On the panel: Tony Branda, senior vice president/executive head of business analysis at RBS Card Services; Deborah Wall, senior vice president/marketing executive, applied CRM and loyalty at GE Commercial Finance; and Michael Ricci, vice president of mobile solutions at Merkle. The following are some of their insights:
1. Marketers first need to ask their customers (and potential customers) what their needs are with respect to a mobile application, said Wall. You want to fit your application into your customers' lives, not the other way around. She urged marketers to ask their customers questions such as:
- What kind of mobile phone do you have?
- How do you use your mobile phone?
- What would you like to be able to do on your mobile phone?
2. Build your mobile application to target specific audiences, initially your top one or two customer segments. While an application can serve all segments, Wall explained, you will drive better value when the tool focuses on the preference sets of a smaller, high-worth customer set.
3. Never launch an application or mobile program without researching the other offerings on the market, said Wall. Your entry either should improve upon what's currently available or fill a gap for customers/users.
4. Customer data generated by the mobile marketing program or application needs to be integrated into customers' digital profiles, noted Ricci. Marketers need to be able to look at all activity across each customer's life cycle in order to make the appropriate decisions for targeting and service.
5. Develop nondiscount offers for the mobile channel to build stronger loyalty and value perceptions with customers. Coupons currently are popular motivational levers in mobile programs, Ricci stated, but they are not a good long-term strategy for a brand.
6. Keep the sign-up process for mobile marketing programs very simple, such as just collecting the registrant's mobile number and e-mail address, said Ricci. Follow up later via the e-mail address to gather additional insights that help you target communications further. Keep in mind that the mobile numbers you collect expire more quickly than other types of contact data, he added, so you should plan not to use this data after a certain window of time. The longer mobile numbers stay on file without their owners verifying continued interest in mobile communications from you, he explained, the more likely your mobile messages will encourage spam complaints to the carriers and program opt-outs.
Wall added that your legal department most certainly will provide guidance on how to structure data collection efforts.