Expert Q&A: Marketing

Define mobile marketing.

EH: Mobile marketing, in simplest terms, refers to advertising or marketing through a mobile communication device, such as a smartphone, tablet or digital outdoor. What’s unique about it is that it allows a marketer to engage with a prospect in a very intimate way and when the audience is almost completely captive.

Where else do you have an advertising medium that is actively sought out by audiences multiple times per day? This allows a brand to build a relationship with its audience.

How is mobile marketing changing the landscape for advertisers?

EH: Mobile marketing is introducing a very different dimension to advertising than what we’ve traditionally used. Television and print, while still extremely viable options, are very flat. The message goes out, but there’s no two-way dialogue. So marketers have to wait to see how the message resonates.

Mobile marketing allows for immediacy in response. For instance, Short Message Service – one of the most commonly used technologies – allows a brand to communicate directly with a user by posing a question and asking the user to respond electronically.

The question may come in the form of a television or print ad – text which product you’d prefer, respond and enter to win, etc. – but the dialogue and insights occur when the audience responds. This allows marketers to be so much more nimble in response to the needs of their customers, creating greater brand loyalty and a better experience for the user.

Mobile marketing also offers better targeting opportunities. For instance, we can reach audiences geographically by targeting a location and reaching audiences within a specific digital fence. Again, this creates a better experience for users, since relevant messages reach their devices as they’re actively engaged.

In addition, mobile marketing opens the door for small businesses. Advertising used to be something that only major companies could consider, since traditional forms require sizable budgets and long-term strategies.

Mobile marketing gives the smaller business a piece of the advertising pie, because it allows them to take control of their campaigns and develop strategies that are mutually beneficial to their audience and their business. From referral programs to self-generated volume buying deals, smaller businesses can benefit from these new options.

How should mobile factor in to an overall marketing strategy?

EH: Mobile should be a component of a strategic and fully integrated marketing campaign. It should complement and enhance traditional tactics. Marketers should think of it as an extension of their campaign.

It’s also critical to consider the audience when devising mobile communications strategies. Know the audience, and if your audience is not the right target for a text messaging campaign, try something else. Since the public is so smart now, they know when a tactic was incorrectly implemented.

The unfortunate result for the brand is the appearance of being disconnected and out of touch with how their audience really lives.

Those types of errors are so transparent. They can be avoided with a little thought or by working with an agency that understands this medium and has the resources to devote to the success of your campaign.

What options do advertisers have when it comes to mobile?

EH: There are a variety of options available for advertisers, from Bluetooth to application advertising. But, the most recognizable forms are SMS or MMS text message marketing. The key here is to adhere to the 160-character rule and to data protection laws.

QR codes seem to be making a resurgence; they offer a quick, targeted way to access information through a scannable code that is translated by a reader.

Mobile applications are also effective if they solve a problem that users experience. The key is not to build an app just to say you have one. Instead, it’s important to do the research to understand what the market demands in relation to your products or services, and then allow the app to fulfill a need for users.

What’s next in mobile marketing?

EH: I think we’ll continue to see more of a proliferation of location-based advertising. This allows an advertiser to access a user when they are in a specific geographic area with the intention of promoting a product or service that can be accessed at that precise time and/or location.

An advertiser can place banner ads or other ad units on devices, and connect with potential customers through the use of GPRS.

Another next step for mobile marketing is mobile sites. It’s surprising how many brands still have not developed mobile-optimized websites. Some estimates put it at 79%. That needs to change to improve the user

experience and to keep up with the upward tick of mobile web traffic.

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