Though they say nothing moves faster than light, it could be argued that if anything comes even remotely close to recreating its pace, advances in technology would be it. In the space of just a few decades we’ve moved from the invention of the telephone, the first television broadcast to the first dial up connection made in 1965, all with one simple aim in mind – to communicate.
But of all these communication methods over the years, perhaps none have been as successful as the mobile phone in connecting people regardless of location. From a business standpoint, this is important. To develop key marketing strategies, we need to understand how our competitors are interacting with our potential customers and learn what digital platforms our customers seek out when they are online.
It’s now thought that most digital media time is spent using mobile internet rather than logging in to a desktop (Marketing Land, 2016). This comes as no surprise when we consider that Ofcom has stated 93% of the UK population owns a mobile phone (Internet Retailing, 2017), so ensuring that our digital game is strong – particularly in mobile marketing is vital to develop long-term relationships with our audience.
It’s amazing to think that just a few years ago the mobile phone was nothing more than untapped marketing potential waiting to happen. Sure, savvy companies were beginning to realize the importance of contacting their customers on the go through phone calls, but they would still have to rely heavily on leads gained from traditional marketing techniques to target these people. But change was on the horizon. On 11th July, 2008 Apple released the iPhone 3G (App store, 2017) allowing customers the real possibility of information at their fingertips. Mobile web became the thing that every discerning customer wanted.
Apple’s iOS app store was launched at the same time, followed by Android’s ‘Android Market’ in October of the same year (later renamed Google Play store). This allowed users to download games and apps, but was very much in its infancy. In March 2009, there were just 2,300 apps available on the Android market (Wikipedia, 2017) and many of these were games or useful tools such as calculators and weather widgets as opposed to apps aimed at customers. Still, the technology was there through the Android software development kit (SDK) and Apple’s equivalent.
Fast-forward to today and you’ll find that apps are much more prominent. There are 500 million weekly visitors to the Apple app store (Techcrunch, 2017) with more than 180 billion apps downloaded from its interface. Google Play Store followed a similar pattern. Covering 145 countries, there are 2.7 million apps available to download, with 82 billion of them downloaded worldwide since its creation (Wikipedia, 2017). When first checked in 2009 there were just 2,300 apps, showing the massive growth of the mobile app market over the years. Many of these are created with B2C marketing in mind; restaurants offering discounts, apps to order taxis and homeware businesses taking advantage of phone camera technology to sell curtains have utilized mobile technical advances of the past decade to reach their audience in a subtle way.
Marketers have always sought out new advertising capabilities to target their audience. In days of old you would see newspaper advertisements for tinctures that claimed to cure all ills. These made way to radio advertisements, then television and finally web-based marketing techniques such as link building and content marketing became the communication method of choice.
On the flipside, the popularity of radio, TV and print advertisements has dwindled but they still have their place in the world of marketing. Digital marketing also plays a crucial role in many B2B and B2C marketing strategies. But with the dawning of the mobile revolution we’re at a crossroads when it comes to our marketing activities. Should we invest in mobile, or do we invest in our web activities?
We’re not here to tell you which would be best for you, after all each business needs a different approach to reach their target market. Instead, let’s look at the advantages (and disadvantages) of adding mobile marketing to your marketing strategy.
Have you ever sat down and thought about mobile phones? With GPS technology built in these are literally a tracking device, which might sound a bit sinister, but from a marketing point of view its a valuable tool that can help you target your customers at the right place at the right time.
Instead of focusing on widespread activities that connect with the masses, you can instead use location specific advertising through geo-fencing and push notifications. There are various uses for this, for example, setting up a geo-fence to communicate with potential targets when they leave a rival shop to remind them of your services or offering a discount code to previous customers of your restaurant when they pass you by.
Jamie Fuller is a digital marketing executive at AppInstitute. He spends his days building links, creating content, and drinking far too much coffee at one of the world’s leading DIY App Builders (over 70,000 apps built).
It’s amazing how mobile Internet and the devices that use it have brought on a literal transformation of the consumer environment. From cafes to bus stops, waiting rooms and even the comfort of home, mobile users are tapping into what’s proven to be a game-changing resource.
So what does this mean for business? For small businesses, it means that mobile Internet will undoubtedly transform the way consumers and businesses interact for 2014 and beyond. In fact, the transformation has already begun in a number of ways.
The widespread availability of fast, reliable and affordable mobile Internet is a key ingredient in this stunning transformation. Major cellular service providers are strengthening their commitment to LTE 4G mobile Internet technology as a result. For instance, T-Mobile is one of several companies that has modernized and expanded its 4G network to not only cover most of the United States, but also to accommodate growing levels of data traffic.
With faster and more reliable connections also comes the ability for employees to stay connected to the workplace – for better or worse. While many will appreciate the quantum leap in productivity and availability, this transformational aspect unfortunately blurs the boundaries between work and personal time.
Mobile apps are also transforming the way enterprises do business in two distinct ways – by offering businesses a broad range of productivity tools to get things done quickly and more efficiently and by giving businesses the opportunity to market to loyal and prospective customers with an infinite variety of mobile apps. By 2017, Portio Research estimates that over 4.4 billion people worldwide will use mobile apps by 2017, with half of those users originating from Asia.
Yet another transformational aspect of mobile Internet involves the growth of cloud-based apps. With better, faster connections and more refined devices, businesses can finally turn to cloud providers for applications, storage and server needs. This reduces and even eliminates overhead in the form of in-house tech support personnel and software developers. The cloud allows businesses to seek out and quickly utilize new solutions and cultivate a majority-mobile workplace.
For instance, Microsoft’s Office 365 offers business users a way to access, maintain and create critical documents as they would on a full-fledged version of the Office Suite from virtually any location and with any mobile device.
If your company already has a BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy in place, chances are you’re already ahead of the curve. According to VMWare’s Mobile Secure Desktop Brief, 49 percent of respondents expect their employers to favor employees using their own personal devices with IT approval within the next 3 to 5 years. With mobile Internet as an indispensable tool for most enterprises, it is expected that more employees will favor using their personal devices for workplace tasks rather than use standardized devices approved by the organization.
And what IS it?
Mobile marketing is just marketing using a mobile device, such as a smartphone. It can provide customers with personalised information promoting goods, services, and ideas. With GPS technology, this information can be targeted to a specific location, at a specific time.
And with the UK market for it set to grow by 90% this year, you’ll need to learn how to use mobile marketing effectively.
The humble text message can kick off a mobile marketing campaign. At a basic level, this could be a blanket broadcast (“Buy My Brand – It’s Good!”) to all the contacts in your Phone Book.
The problem with this?
Like those leaflets through your letter box, uncalled-for text messages can be interpreted as spam – and spam’s not good. For this reason, subscribers should be given the option to receive promotional SMS, or not. e.g. A consumer may opt out at any time by texting the word STOP.
So, assuming you have a host of willing recipients, you can use dedicated software to deliver your message. SMS Mobile Marketing Pro lets you organise delivery and reception of SMS text messages with keywords. You can create SMS information services, to send newsletters or other types of information. You can also create identifiers for discount coupons, invitations, or prizes and send them in SMS text messages.
SMS Mobile Marketing Pro costs $108 for a single licence or alternatively, you could subscribe to a hosted service like Text Marketer or ExactTarget. Whatever the case, it’s better to use software to manage your campaigns as it will automate the process and increase office productivity.
Short codes are 5 or 6 digit numbers assigned by all the mobile operators in a given country for use by brands, campaigns, and other consumer services. Due to their high price ($500–$1000 a month), many small businesses opt to share a short code, to reduce costs.
Brands have begun to treat the short code as a mobile domain name, which consumers can text to gain access on the move. The benefits of short codes are pretty self-explanatory, as they are easier to remember than standard phone numbers. After all, how many of us know our own mobile number these days without looking at our phones?
SMS can be received on long numbers (international number format, e.g. +44 7624 805000 or US number format, e.g. 757 772 8555). They can be used instead of short codes or premium-rate short messages in product promotions and campaigns. Long numbers are internationally available, and enable your business to have its own number, rather than a shared one.
Nearly all new phones produced with a colour screen are capable of sending and receiving standard MMS messages. MMS mobile marketing can contain a timed slideshow of images, text, audio and video.
For example, Nike PhotoID lets mobile phone owners send pictures to the company, and order a pair of trainers based on the main colours featured in the shots.
ChaCha (one of the largest free answering services) is moving into advertising and content distribution via MMS. Consumers receive content, ads, or images from brands after asking a question. While waiting for the answer, the consumer will have the option to opt-in to ads or not.
Web forms can be used to integrate with mobile texting sources for reminders about meetings, seminars and other important events. QR codes allow a customer to visit a web address by scanning a 2D image with their phone’s camera, instead of manually entering a URL.
Small devices like a smartphone or tablet don’t take kindly to desktop website format. Even big players like Google and Yahoo! have realised this. However, this is something that has been recognised in the design community and it’s now starting to be addressed. Either use a professional to design the functionality of the site, or get specific training, Adobe Illustrator Training for graphics, CSS training for layouts and so on. Make sure your site is fully usable for mobile!
The Mobile Marketing Association provides a set of guidelines and standards for mobile advertising on the Web. They give the recommended format of ads, presentation, and metrics you can use.
There are 3 types of ad networks available:
1. Blind Networks: The largest in terms of publishers, and advertisers. Sadly, they don’t allow you to choose the websites where your ads are displayed.
2. Premium Blind Networks: These offer blind or semi-blind targeting. They may also have options to buy search and display ads and/or specific spots on sites of your choice.
3. Premium Networks: The big guns. If you’re Gucci or Next, this is for you.
Google Adwords is a great place to start for the smaller business advertiser. It lets you target users within a certain radius of your location
Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver recently launched an app – Jamie’s 20-minute meals – through software agency Zolmo.
The product (from their paid-for apps products list; £4.99) allows consumers to “shake” their phone to receive a quick, simple recipe. They can then pop into a shop to buy the ingredients for it, on their way home.
It’s likely that we’ll see an increase in this as the discipline evolves and with popularity growing for augmented reality apps, that can do everything from help with the shopping to interact with digital signage, it can only get better.
Think interactive. Show, don’t tell. Create experiences and tools that do something.
Blanket message customers if they have trusted you with their details. Sounds funny, but resist the urge to oversell.
Use GPS, and the power of location. Deliver the right message, at the right time, in the right place.
Underestimate the value of a simple SMS campaign. Texts aren’t yesterday’s news.
Think about “pull messaging”. You might give consumers the option to text “deal” in return for your latest offers. Then, using GPS, that offer can be accompanied by directions to your nearest outlet.
Think of mobile in isolation. It should be part of an integrated marketing strategy including traditional methods.
Offer your mobile contacts a way to opt out of receiving messages, such as sending the word “stop”.
Miss out on the chance to let mobile marketing work, for you!
Mobile marketing isn’t a new concept, but it’s one that continues to grow at an astonishing rate. Overall, a marketing plan that includes mobile will beat the competition but it’s not for all businesses. It’s necessary to ensure that you have the right resources and are fully aware of the legalities before taking the plunge.
However, when used well, it can substantially help your business to reach a whole new audience, one that carries the potential for a sale in their pocket at all times.