Courtney Eckerle

Mobile Marketing 101: 5 ideas to help you begin a conversation with your team

August 31st, 2012

Since cavemen gathered around the first fire, technology has changed the way humans relate to each other, and modern times are no different. For marketers, it’s about figuring out at which fire their consumers are.

So W. Jeffrey Rice, Senior Research Analyst at MECLABS, has a point when he says, “I believe smartphones have changed not only the way we interact, but what our expectations are.”

For more than half of Americans, 50.4%, their smartphones are that gathering place, according to a March 2012 study by Nielson. Really, that number only stands to grow (and it already has — up from 47.8% in the same study in December 2011) since 33% of Gen Y Internet-user moms have let their children use a smartphone by the age of two, according to a BlogHer study. Laptops barely beat them out at one percent more.

Essentially, smartphones are babysitting your future consumers.

According to research by Antenna Software, many businesses are planning to invest in mobile projects in the coming year, but where to begin? Jeff’s advice when entering the world of mobile email marketing is simple:


Idea # 1. Start with your website

“For the most part, a website is still a hub of most website communications. Whether you’re sending out a mobile email or a mobile ad, the call-to-action is most likely bringing them back to the website or a landing page.”

If the mobile email or ad entices consumers to click through but they then reach a non-mobile website, momentum from the first interaction may be lost in the disconnect.

According to Jeff, “There is nothing more frustrating than going back to a company’s website that isn’t optimized for smartphones.”


Idea #2. Market to the moment

The reliance and near tick-like impulse people have to reach for their smartphone when an email or alert comes in has led Jeff to describe a smartphone as an adult’s “baby blanket.”

“The ability to check into and get a coupon for a retail store, or do a quick search and find a place to eat … No one goes without their smartphone because it is so incredibly powerful.”

According to Jeff, smartphones allow unlimited access to consumers from the very beginning of their day, until the end.

“[People] use it as their alarm clock in the morning to wake up, and the first thing they do is check their email. Whether they’re going to work, or driving a car, or going to a sporting event, it is always with them and always allowing them to have access to whatever they want.”

On the flip side, one of the most difficult aspects of mobile email marketing is not only to get a consumer’s attention, but to keep it. Most likely, you will only have a few moments to accomplish this before they move on.

“You need to make sure it’s quick, to the point … it’s very clear copy, very straightforward of what you want them to do. You can’t give them too many choices; it needs to be short and sweet.”


Idea #3: Design with two in mind

One of the greatest aspects of modern technology is the two-way conversation it facilitates between consumer and corporation. While mobile email marketing may have to keep it brief, according to Jeff, companies shouldn’t skip out on an opportunity for feedback.

“The dream is to get to a one-on-one conversation, but that’s not a possibility. But, the closer you can get to that, the better.”


Idea #4: Respect the power of the smartphone

As Spider-Man’s Uncle Ben would put it, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

When wielded properly, the power smartphones give marketers to reach consumers anytime, anywhere is great, but it can also be overwhelming. Figure out the best ways to optimize your message, such as what times your consumers respond the most and what mobile options to highlight.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re B2B or B2C, you’ve got to make sure you have a presence there,” Jeff said. “I think for companies where it gets tricky is it’s so powerful that people don’t know how to take advantage of it right away.”


Idea #5: Learn from an outside perspective

When determining where your customer’s mind is at, social commentary in media can be extremely useful.

A recent episode of the CBS sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” spotlighted how immediate the use of smartphones has become — infiltrating our more complicated interactions to the simplest barstool debates. The episode begins with five friends sitting at a bar booth in 2005, heatedly debating for hours on what the most popular food in America is: pizza, Chinese food, a cheeseburger or a hot dog.

“Then came the smartphone,” the narrator says. Cut to 2011 when the same gang is hanging out in the same bar, but all have a phone in their hands. “Remember when we were debating what the most popular food was? It’s bread,” one character says, turning her phone screen so the others can see.

A debate, which had taken hours a few years earlier, was solved in mere seconds. That is the kind of accessibility consumers have to information about your products and services, thus necessitating that you become part of the conversion.

After exploring current assets and putting yourself in your customers’ shoes to learn how they use this technology, another resource is to start exploring what other marketers have already found to be successful.

Not to toot our own horn, but MarketingSherpa is one source to help you here. For example, the case studies found below the related resources will give you a few good ideas. …


Related Resources:

Mobile Email Marketing: 53% higher clickthrough rate for mobile-optimized newsletter

Page Tests Cut Mobile Bounces 22%: 3 Steps to Improve Experience for Mobile Visitors

Mobile Email Marketing: iPhone-targeted landing pages boost conversion rate 40% for Ritz-Carlton Destination Club

Businesses to double their mobile investments over the next 18 months (via Mobile Marketer)

Mobile Marketing Statistics 2012 (via snaphop)

Mobile Marketing: Get your audience’s attention – wait till they’re bored

The Rise of Mobile (via Digital Buzz)

Mobile Marketing: Juniper Networks’ QR code event strategy leads to paperless conference

Courtney Eckerle

About Courtney Eckerle

With a focus on aspirational, customer-first marketing, Courtney’s goal has been to produce clear, interesting and actionable external content for MarketingSherpa readers. This has included writing over 300 case studies, moderating live event interviews, and producing video content. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, Mass Communications and Film Studies from Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., and was a correspondent for USA Today College prior to joining MECLABS Institute.

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