Marketers can no longer afford to ignore the power of mobile marketing. Deloitte’s Media Consumer Survey revealed that in Australia alone, 81% of people have a smartphone, and more than half have the trifecta of tablet, laptop, and smartphone. Cisco forecasts our mobile traffic will increase by more than 40% per year, with each of us downloading 6.3GB of data per month by 2019. And the Deloitte survey shows more than half of us consider our smartphone as our “go-to device”, replacing our PCs, televisions, and laptops. While this data is specific to Australia, it points to a bigger picture of what mobile consumption looks like around the globe. Bottom line: mobile is everywhere, and it’s time for marketers to get on board.
Why? Just glance at people on the street, in line at Starbucks, or sitting on the train during their commute. Notice how many heads are down, with faces welded to these tiny screens, seemingly oblivious to the world around them. People like—no, LOVE—mobile. And this is only the beginning.
To understand how influential our mobile devices are, consider how consumers get their news. The Deloitte media usage survey shows that social media is now usurping the 6PM news bulletin as our source of up-to-the-minute information, and we spend most of our social media indulgence time on our smartphones.
R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find out What It Means to Your Customers
Therefore, this is a fantastic opportunity for marketers, provided that they treat this relatively new medium with respect. What do I mean here? When screen real estate is limited, people don’t like to be bombarded with irrelevant messages. A PwC survey last year showed that in the U.S. and U.K., many mobile users saw too much advertising as intrusive—particularly advertising that did not pertain to them. They preferred fewer ads and more personal engagement on the part of the brand.
With that being said, marketers have realized that online conversations with clients and prospects are becoming increasingly important. Traditional advertising techniques will only take people part of the way down the decision-making process. It will help to raise awareness, but the hard grunt of engendering affinity with your product comes from ongoing engagement: conversations, rather than push messaging.
Mobile devices are the obvious venue for these conversations between brands and their audiences. Why? People spend two hours or more on their smartphones per day! And whether they’re making calls or chatting on social media, it’s all about two-way interactions. No wonder traditional advertising is viewed as being “out of context” on a mobile.
Marketers can leverage the conversational role of the smartphone, using it as a convenient channel for relevant, timely content.
Mobile—The Future of Data
There’s another benefit mobile provides for marketers who are serious about engaging in dialogues with their customers. These devices are a rich source of data. They can tell you whether people are active on their device, where they are, and even what they are doing at the moment. You can build insights into patterns of behavior to help understand when best to touch your audience. In short, mobile devices provide a far richer feedback mechanism than your PC or Mac.
To illustrate the power of this, imagine the success rate for a message that alerts a prospect on the move to a product demonstration in their immediate vicinity. You know they have already researched the product and now they are close to a showroom. An invite to “call in now and speak with Jeff” has a far greater chance of triggering interest and a sale than a generic message saying, “check us out next time you’re in our neighborhood”.
Here, instead of crossing the line into intrusive advertising, you’re showing interest in the buyer and putting the ball in their court. That’s why it’s important to consider mobile as part of an integrated nurturing program, where content is carefully managed and delivered through automation software that ensures a highly tuned message is delivered based on insights and behavior.
It could be that for some customers few of your interactions occur on a mobile device. Even so, a mobile component can still help gather behavioral intelligence that can be used to develop more appropriate content and timing decisions. Or, as this is more likely, mobile could become the most significant channel which has the biggest influence and provides an opportunity for more of those trigger events.
So, how do you see the difference between personal engagement and blast marketing on a mobile device? Let me know in the comments below! And for more information on mobile marketing, check out our Definitive Guide to Mobile Marketing.