To say that mobile marketing is the next big thing is a bit like saying that Simon Cowell has a bit of cash. Mobile marketing might not be new, but it is hitting the big time. According to a report from Rutberg and Co., VC investment in mobile marketing and advertising companies went from $128m in 2010 to $592m in 2011. As smartphones proliferate, it is widely accepted that this trend will only accelerate.
While mobile has opened up a host of opportunities for marketers to capture the hearts and wallets of the one in five consumers who begin their purchasing process via their mobile, however, it has also created some barriers for traditional advertising. Many consumers have become totally engrossed in their mobile world. How many people look out of the bus or car window and see the billboards on their way to work? These days many people seem to have their eyes glued to the small screen.
I have heard of quite a few dinner parties starting with a request to hand over mobiles, the first person to reach for theirs having to pay for the first round at the pub later! Of course not everybody is addicted to their phone, but one thing is certain: how people interact with and use their mobile device is a very personal experience.
Research from Nielsen has found that mobile is the most challenging device type for marketers to deliver campaigns that create an emotional connection. You aren’t going to be able to recreate the Coca-Cola Christmas ad moment via a mobile, because it is difficult to convey important visual signals like smiles on the small screen. Between 2010 and 2011, mobile ad spend in the UK grew by a staggering 157 per cent according to a report by the IAB and PricewaterhouseCoopers. If this growth continues, and marketers put their money into mobile, how can they ensure that they’re really capturing the consumer’s attention?
Brands must consider that people take their mobile devices everywhere, but also, that they constantly flick between desktop machines, their TV, even perhaps their partner’s Tablet, multi-screen multi-tasking to be precise. If a consumer encounters you via a punchy mobile display campaign, but not at any other point in their purchasing journey, the chances are that your message will get lost in the sea of other ads they have come into contact with. Yes, having a mobile presence and strategy is important, but it is not the only place marketers need to be, particularly at a time when brand loyalty cannot be guaranteed, and consumers are increasingly making their decisions based on price, rather than quality.
One of the key characteristics of a successful multi-channel marketing strategy, therefore, will be to ensure that it is present at the right place at the right rice at the right time. In the mobile environment it is possible to reach the customer via push notifications from apps, email broadcasts, in-app banner placements, ads in mobile search results, and within barcode-driven price comparison applications.
Mobile will become more emotionally engaging, but we must not forget that when we reach out to someone via their mobile, we are trying to enter into their private world, often uninvited. True engagement, which remains the holy grail of marketing, is achieved by interacting with individuals across multiple channels and devices on their terms. Increasingly, mobile will become the centre of the marketing ecosystem, but it must also complement and reinforce messages from across the marketing mix.
Out if hours Paul is at his happiest drinking wine, eating cheese, travelling the world, playing sport and discovering new music and film.