A recent Cisco study revealed that 90 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-30 check their smartphones for updates in email, texts and their social media accounts before they get out of bed. This means the first thing U.S. adults do in the morning is reach for their mobile devices (probably even before a cup of coffee). It also means mobile marketing—if done right—has the opportunity to offer an unparalleled level of intimacy.
How can marketers seize the mobile opportunity? For starters, you must understand how intimate people are with their phones and how to effectively use mobile marketing to become an integral part of their day without being obtrusive. Being top-of-mind first thing in the morning through an SMS or push message is a great start.
Second, marketers should know that great customer experiences are a big differentiator for your brand. This is especially true in mobile. Done well, these experiences can increase engagement, loyalty and intimacy with your brand. On mobile, marketers have a chance to engage in a two-way dialogue with people, rather than a one-way broadcast. Through intelligent use of data collection, they can also facilitate a specific conversation with a specific person. But the key is using the data in a way that makes the most impact and provides the best user experience.
To help marketers, I've coined a new test, called the "Bedside Table Test," that will tell if your mobile marketing strategy is making maximum impact.
The bedside table test is simple: Ask yourself, if this mobile message is delivered when a person is asleep, and it's the first thing that person sees in the morning, will it reflect positively on your brand? Does the marketing outreach strategy increase your consumers' trust? If the answers are no, it fails the bedside table test.
For example, imagine that an American woman, let's call her Jenny, wakes up at a hotel in Germany, where she's staying on a business trip. While still in bed, Jenny sees a push message from her favorite brand on her iPhone. The message offers her information about its international partner brand, Brand Y, which happens to have a store close to Jenny's hotel. The message supplies a nice discount, a map, and the store hours.
Did Brand X pass the bedside table test? You bet. They analyzed data points, such as Jenny's profile, behavior, geolocation and time zone, and sent her a targeted and timely push message. Plus, the care taken by the brand to preserve the customer relationship means that Jenny will be highly receptive to future communications.
The mobile phone is an intimate, personal channel, and having the ability to know when and how your customers want to be contacted is critical to a successful mobile strategy. Remember that immediacy in mobile works both ways. While it's easy to get a message delivered quickly, it's just as easy for the recipient to unsubscribe. To avoid this, you must take into account timing, location and relevancy in all mobile conversations.
When in doubt, apply the bedside table test to ensure that your brand offers only the most engaging, most relevant and most impactful mobile marketing communications.