Engadget did a great article recently about China and their mobile market that got me thinking. In China, mobile devices are far more commonly used to access the internet than desktop/laptop computers. This is also true in Asia as well as Africa and even large parts of the Americas.
Most people get and understand why laptops in the US are far outselling desktops. However, a lot of businesses don’t get that mobile devices, and that includes iPads, slates, as well as phones, are becoming primary sources of internet use.
So Why Is It That You Desperately Need A Mobile Strategy?
At first, laptops weren’t considered real computers. The only people that used them were sales reps and people that used them in the field. They were bulky, had trouble communicating, and were vastly underpowered and were ridiculously priced.
In the mid to late 90s, with the popular adoption of the internet, advances in chip production, the industry upped the power and dropped the price of laptops. The one thing holding them back was having to be tethered to a wall to communicate, they were fragile thanks to accidental cord yanks.
With the advent of wireless networking, things changed in a very big way. Now you could carry and use your laptop anywhere. Targus laptop bags became a standard fashion accessory. Adoption rates soared. Laptops quickly surpassed desktops as prices dropped. Nobody thought twice if you had a laptop vs a desktop. In fact almost all development and production work at our shop is done on MacBooks.
Recently, another change occurred. In 2010, 50% of internet access was done through mobile. At this point, 45% of mobile owners actually check their email or social media before even getting out of bed, really.
iPads and Kindles have gone from cutesy portable devices great for playing games or reading books to being full powered business devices.
Frequently, businesses are now issuing tablets with keyboards to new employees the way laptops were issued just a year ago. In the consumer market, the Gartner Group points out here that the market is becoming dominated by tablets and cell phones. In fact, Google released research that shows over 50% of search is done from mobile and is going up every day. What about your business?
So What Is Not A Mobile Marketing Strategy?
Please don’t confuse a mobile strategy with social media marketing. While a good mobile strategy does included elements of social media marketing, it’s not just that.
BTW, it’s not just about marketing, it’s about usability and user experience.
Then Just What Is A Mobile Marketing Strategy
Yes, it actually can be this complicated
A mobile strategy, or at least a good mobile strategy is more than just one thing.
- Mobile Friendly Sites
- Mobile Subdomain Sites – It used to be that you had to develop a totally separate site for mobile. Ugly WAP browsers required that you use a special site to take advantage of mobile devices. This is quickly becoming a thing of the past with the adoption of responsive design. Companies like ESPN and Blue Nile have mobile specific sites that work for them.
- Responsive Responsive design quite simply is building a site from the ground up with the mobile market in mind. It actually saves time in development since you only have to do one site. An example of responsive design can be seen an a place near and dear to my heart, WebTegrity. http://WebTegrity.com/ Another critically important element of responsive design is Google has announced that having a responsive design will enhance your search ranking.
- Social Media – The most used apps across the board on mobile devices are various social media sites. Having a social media marketing plan is actually a critical element of any mobile strategy
- Mobile Campaigns– Starbucks is one of the more common mobile coupon apps. I can’t go on enough about how well their marketing works. The in app barcode for purchases encourages people to load their Starbucks cards with cash and also rewards people for using their mobile app. Most major retailer apps have some sort of mobile only coupon strategy because they work.
- Mobile Apps – These are the apps on your phone like the Facebook or Google Maps app that you probably already use. They are very different from responsive design. They are actual apps that sit on your phone. They have a distinct advantage of having direct access to things like GPS and other things are not nearly as fast or smooth as doing via a web browser is. They also lock people in more or less to your app and won’t be distracted by a competitors ad.
- Geolocation – One of the first apps that people became familiar with that used geolocation was FourSquare. It encouraged you to check in but when it saw where you are, it offered up specials based on other retailers in the area to encourage you to shop there. Target has a wonderful “Find My Nearest Target” button. This allows people to not only find a Target as they could with Google Maps but it doesn’t show any other retailers at all. This control over the flow of data is one of the key reasons that a mobile app can be important.
- SMS – SMS isn’t just text messaging. It is also brief videos and audio files. Used correctly, it is a great tool for announcing flash sales and time based offers that will drive traffic to your site or stores. Also, if you have exposure to the youth market, kids use text and other messaging based services more than they use the actual phone itself. You are missing out on a critical path to contact them if you aren’t using SMS.
- Gamification – Google has gamified and crowd sourced data collection in the form of the Ingress Game app. It allows an army of people to go around doing data collection for them for the cost of creating and maintaining the game. Going back to Starbucks, the more you use their mobile app, the more you get. Common sense really.
- Mobile As A Profit Center – Companies like Yelp, FourSquare, etc have found ways to monitize their mobile apps. This can also include rewarding the more people buy using mobile with mobile only rewards or discounts towards in app purchases.
- Bluetooth Messaging – One of the more controversial tools retailers and especially the hospitality industry is trying is bluetooth messaging. Most people aren’t aware that it’s possible. Still very early in its infancy and only used, for the most part, by either people that are very fully aware of the capabilities of their phone or the totally clueless.
Targeting Your Market
You don’t need to do it all. It’s all about your target market. You need to find out what your target market uses. You may be surprised. Little things like did you know that African Americans are twice as likely to use Twitter in comparison to their population? Do your clients use Instagram more than they use Twitter? Are they more likely to use iPhones or Android. This could rapidly become
Hopefully, I helped you realize why you need a mobile strategy for your business or organization. We are going to discuss in a later article on how to actually actually set out and plan your mobile strategy.
If you have any questions comments or concerns don’t be bashful shy or timid. Please, contact me today and I’ll be happy to help.