Goodnight Phone. Good Morning Mobile.

Posted on May 10, 2011 by Comments Off

The definition of a “phone” is changing.

A few years ago my brother-in-law was reading “Goodnight Moon” to my 2-year-old niece.  As they read, he asked her to point things out to him. It went something like this

“Where’s the kitty?” She points to the kitty.
“Where’s the moon?” She points to the moon.
“Where’s the bed?” She points to the bed.
“Where’s the phone?” She gives him a quizzical look and says, “No phone, Daddy.”

To her:
I recently attended the GSMI Mobile Marketing Strategies Summit in San Francisco.  It was great to hear from so many smart people who are doing a lot of smart things with mobile.

Over the course of the three-day workshop it was obvious: If you are not incorporating mobile into your social media strategies, you are missing the mark.

Unsure about mobile? Have clients who are unsure? Here are a few reasons why you need to start thinking mobile – and including it in your social media efforts.

Mobile is everywhere

The growth of mobile is incredible, and mobile is quickly overtaking PCs.

  • According to recent numbers from the Altimeter Group this year more smartphones and tablets will be sold than PCs. They estimate there will be just under 500,000 devices sold in 2011 and by 2013 that number will jump to over 700,000.
  • Gartner claims by 2013 mobile phones will replaces PCs as the most common devices for Web access.
  • Nielsen predicts smartphones will overtake feature phones in 2011 as the most common devices.

Everyone is using mobile, which means your customers and clients are using mobile too.  They may not all be using the same type of mobile device (iPhone, Android, WP7, Smartphone, Feature Phone, etc.), but they are using a phone.  With a bit of research and a solid understanding of your audience you can reach them on whatever platform they are using.

Mobile is personal

As marketers we attempt to reach people where they are and in relevant ways.  There is no more relevant and prolific way than mobile. 

Many people use their phone as their alarm clock in the morning and go to bed reading their RSS feeds on it at night.  It is literally with them all waking hours.  Recent research shows a growing number of people are more willing to leave the house without their wallet than without their phone.

The personal nature of mobile also makes it a tricky platform.  We must make extra sure our campaigns and tactics are adding value to our audience and providing them with something they want to carry around with them.  Mobile apps and content are more like fashion accessories than tools.  Looking at what someone has on their phone is analogous to looking into someone’s purse or wallet.

Mobile offers a multitude of ways to engage

When people think mobile, many people think “smartphones using apps.” But the mobile market is much larger.  There are many ways to engage with your audiences depending on who they are and what they want. Mobile offers marketers a multitude of touch points to engage with customers.

  • Mobile apps
  • Mobile sites
  • Display ads
  • Search ads
  • Mobile payment
  • Text messages (SMS & MMS)

Maybe your customers are not using smartphones and do not want a mobile app.  Do they have a feature phone?  If so, they can still receive short videos via MMS or updates and coupons via text message.  For the youth market they would rather receive a text message than an email any day and spend way more time on their phone texting than they do checking email. Have you adjusted your email newsletter to factor this in?

It’s all about the strategy

At the end of the day it all comes down to being strategic about how you create and execute on a mobile marketing campaign.  Mobile allows you to be with your customers throughout the entire purchasing cycle and beyond. 

Jeremiah Owyang, with the Altimeter Group, talks about customer hourglass, instead of the traditional purchase funnel.  It is similar to John Jantsch “7 Little Words that Sum up the Entire Marketing Machine” and goes something like this:

  1. Awareness – People become aware of your product. Apps like the North Face “Snow Report” help potential buyers become aware of how North Face is solving a problem for them – the mountain conditions. 
  2. Consideration – They need something and consider you. Tiffany’s engagement ring app is a prime example of being with the customer as they are considering the purchase.
  3. Intent – They go to a store or Web site to buy. Target is providing shoppers a way to create their own shower registries on their mobile device and is a good example of getting customers when they show intent to purchase.
  4. Purchase – They actually buy. Can people make a purchase from you on their phone?
  5. Support – The customer gets help after the purchase. USAA is letting customers scan and deposit their checks all from the phone — no trip to the bank required. AAA allows roadside assistance via your phone.
  6. Loyalty – Programs that make them want to come back for more. Starbucks is a classic example of a retailer providing loyalty programs for customers.
  7. Advocacy – They like the product and tell their friends. When done right, this takes the customer, and their friends, back to the top of the hourglass and starts the cycle over again.

A smart man once told me companies need to adopt a “fast fail” mentality — meaning, they need to be okay with failure, learn from it quickly and adjust tactics for success. This is especially true with mobile. Mobile is a new frontier, things are changing quickly and not everything marketers try will work.  Nevertheless, try something. With the right metrics in place to gauge success we can learn and adapt for success.

For mobile, this is just the beginning. Good night phone.  Good morning mobile. It’s going to be a beautiful day.

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