Mobile Marketing: Connecting With Your Audience on the Move


Imagine having a computing chip in your toothbrush to count the number of strokes you’ve racked up so it can alert you when you need a new toothbrush. And as a marketer, what if you can access that data so you can deliver an email to that person’s mobile phone, alerting them of a sale on toothbrushes.

This is a dream use case of digital marketers today, as their ultimate goal is – and has always been – to reach the right person with the right message at the right time. Mobile marketing is bringing consumers and marketers closer to that dream.

At SES New York, a keynote panel addressed the opportunities of mobile marketing and channels available today for brands to engage with their users as well as what challenges are appearing from this new marketing mix. In addition to mobile marketing for customer acquisition, the panel also discussed how brands are delivering additional value and fostering brand loyalty with a holistic mobile approach.

Here are the discussion highlights with leading experts in the mobile industry: Eric Litman, Chairman & CEO, Medialets; Michael Bayle, Senior VP and General Manager, ESPN Mobile; and Brendon Kraham, Head of Global Mobile Sales and Product Strategy, Google. The session was moderated by Dana Todd, SVP Global Marketing, Performics.

We all can imagine the endless opportunities of mobile marketing, what are some of the initial challenges?

The panel discussed that the integration of mobile is an opportunity to have a holistic marketing program that spans across TV broadcast, web, mobile, tablets, and more. The challenge with mobile specifically is that the metrics that you measure aren’t the same metrics as any other channels.

Brendon suggested that marketers are just not trying mobile marketing, referencing data about the number of mobile landing pages that are out there. Marketers should be embracing the opportunity even if it’s something basic as a responsive designed website.

Marketers that dive in and do it early to develop a strategy for mobile are more likely to be the businesses that are going to win. Think about the early days of search engine marketing, when businesses went in early and built their brand online, it gave them a strategic advantage. A good experience for a consumer can change brand preference.

Eric added that the number of channels available to a marketer is expanding. Which can be a concern for marketing because the attention from consumers is shrinking. Measuring the impact of your investment is also difficult because the return comes in small increments along the adoption curve until it really hits and takes off.

There’s a limitation of measuring a buyer’s journey cross screens and determining the level of impact. What are best practices for tracking that?

For mobile there are means where you can measure, says Michael. Look up stream to determine the impact as you would with other media channels. The difference is in interactivity. The planning and purchase is all the same.

Since tracking is a difficult problem to solve do you have any creative workarounds? What are some operational issues you need to solve?

Eric first talks about the operational issues with mobile. Right now, reach and frequency are the fundamentals in mobile marketing. And unfortunately that’s not even being done well by vendors. This leads to frustrated execution teams who cant report their success well.

That’s a huge fundamental issue because we all know that we interact with our devices all the time, but marketers are having problems attributing their mobile efforts because there is no standard…yet. Dana noted that 25 percent of all social media users have interaction with their phone within 5 minutes of waking up.

Brendon offered three measurement approaches:

  • Upper funnel brand work: Measure top of the funnel metrics as you would with other branding campaigns
  • Application download: This measurement is unique to mobile and marketers are starting to capture these types of metrics to optimize their campaigns. Cost per install, lifetime value and in-app purchase are examples of app metrics.
  • ‘Other’ conversions: Instead of direct response metrics, on mobile there are other ways to ‘convert’ such as buy on device, call, download app, sequential usage and in store purchase.

Brendon mentioned that Google launched a new product “How to GoMo” to help marketers understand and track full value attribution.

What are some creative examples for thinking through convergence events?

Mobile commerce is the biggest opportunity, said Michael. Marketers should try to remove friction and bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds. For example, online marketing drives traffic to store then the store manager’s job is to remove friction for a seamless buying experience.

If consumers are using on average four screens, the simple response is to have responsive design, said Brendon. It’s lowest common denominator, the low hanging fruit. One of the most interesting points he mentioned is to align your campaigns differently if it’s simultaneous usage or sequential usage of these screens. The entire experience needs to be stitched together. One example is how Chevy integrated a game time app during the Superbowl to captured interactivity simultaneously with TV and app.

When watching TV on multiple screens, are you watching TV or a mobile device? Eric also suggests that marketers start thinking about channels as the output of the reporting instead of an input of your marketing strategy. Focus on finding audience in the right moment rather than by spending money on a channel.

So, responsive design or mobile apps?

The panel all agreed that you need both. Michael said that for ESPN users, it’s about 50/50 usage for web vs. mobile app. Also, 30 percent of people who visit ESPN via mobile web will also use ESPN for apps. However, only 16 percent who use them for apps, never go to website. So build both because they each have their strengths and you have opportunity to reach your audience differently with each channel.

Brendon also said both but for a different reason. Responsive design is primarily for customer acquisition. The purpose is to make it easy for a user to convert. An app is to create brand loyalists and upsell opportunities. Apps on your phone are bookmarks to your life.

What about intra-app advertising?

Eric mentioned that for upper funnel campaigns, which are generally use richer ads, mobile is included with media buys. He has seen engagement rates in tablets more engagements then display ads.

To wrap it up, what’s next for mobile?

Michael: “Wearable computing. Interactivity with your home.”

Brendon: “Everything will have an operating system.”

Eric: “We’ll be able to do real things. Reach real campaign goals. Find people in the moment. Cross channel marketing.”

It was a great discussion to hear the different perspectives on the current state and future of mobile marketing. If you missed the keynote I recommend you watch it online to learn ideas on how to integrate mobile into your overall marketing strategy to significantly boost your reach and revenue.

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