Matching the Content to the Customer in Direct Digital Marketing, Part 1
Consumers today always have a mobile device within reach. These mobile devices can range from a feature-rich smartphone, like the iPhone or Android, to a flip-phone that's SMS-enabled (text messaging). While it’s easy to focus marketing efforts on a single device (e.g., creating a flashy app for an iPhone experience), marketers must break out of the “pilot” mentality and create a strategy that spans the entire mobile channel — not just an app alone.
Above all else, your mobile device strategy should pertain to the demographic you’re communicating with. Content first, delivered via the channel that best reaches your target audience.
Let’s take a look at the iPhone. While the iPhone receives quite a bit of attention in the press and from consumers, it's important to note that only a small percentage of people actually own one. Simply having an iPhone-exclusive app as your entire mobile strategy may not give you the reach you need.
Knowing this, marketers must be less concerned with device-specific mobile solutions and instead implement a more unified, comprehensive approach that spans multiple mobile subchannels. To reach any consumer in any demographic, this multichannel approach is key.
When considering mobile channels from an “addressable” direct digital marketing standpoint, the main options are SMS, MMS, mobile web, apps and emerging technology (e.g., 2-D tags). Once you understand where your customers and prospects are within the mobile channel, you can then determine how to best engage them. Consumers today fit into an array of demographics with mobile devices.
Here’s an example: An airline would make best use of mobile marketing by appealing to its main market segments. In the case of an airline, its core customers are a mix of business and recreational travelers. Knowing that business travelers are more likely to have feature-rich mobile devices such as a smartphone or BlackBerry, the airline may target them with an app to make it easy for them to check in for their flight. The airline also may consider offering an app to check flight status and gate number.
Recreational travelers may not have as strong a need for a fast check-in app. Plus, they may not be as likely to own a feature-rich smartphone. As a result, targeting recreational travelers with a similar app may not have the greatest reach. Instead, the airline may better reach recreational travelers with SMS alerts, text messaging them their gate number and on-time flight status.
Given the latest data from Pew Research, more adults are spending an increased amount of time sending and receiving text messages. If you’re targeting consumers over the age of 40, it may make sense to implement an SMS or text-to-call program.
Having a unified mobile approach in place makes it easy to get in the marketplace and reach key customer segments with useful, relevant content. This approach typically contains the following building blocks: native SMS, device-optimized mobile web, an app strategy and/or the ability to easily deploy a hybrid app.
As mobile technology continues to evolve, marketers are faced with a myriad of mobile tactics for reaching and engaging consumers. But no matter the channel used, putting the consumer first remains paramount to getting the best results.
In the second and final part of this series next week, I'll discuss how to create an effective mobile strategy.
Related story: 3 Reasons You Need to Build an SMS Marketing Campaign