Feb 13, 2013

Let’s Get Personal (But Not Too Personal): A Relationship-First Approach to Mobile Marketing

This year nearly 10 trillion SMS messages will be sent. 90% of those will be read within three minutes. The opportunity for marketers is huge, but sending generic, blast messages is a recipe for failure. Success requires delivering individualized messages that align with each and every consumer’s journey.

I attended a session on Mobile Marketing during OMS 2013 today and got just a peek at the nuances of mobile marketing strategy. Wacarra Yeomans  from Responsys led an informative session with great takeaways.

Amazingly, we are all intense multi-taskers.  86% of people admit to checking their phone while doing other things- at a meal with someone else, while driving, at a religious service, and even on the toilet.  Even with all this segmentation and lack of attention spans, the customer is demanding a different type of relationship, one where they are in the driver’s seat and determine the level of access and type of interactions.  Savvy customers in 2013 expect more from marketers.  Interactions need to move from campaign based to customer focused.  They expect you to “know me”, “engage me” and “lead me”.

According to a study by mobile technology consultant Tomi Ahonen and commissioned by Nokia, we are so dependent on our mobile phones that on average, we check them every six-and-a-half minutes, or about 150 times per day.   A statistic like this makes it sound like it should be easy to reach customers on the mobile devices, but it’s much more complicated than that.  Courting mobile customers and having them build a real relationship with your brand is a bit like trying to court the most fickle girl at the dance, the one who might dance with you, but is always looking around the room for the bigger, better deal, and who also might walk away and not dance with anyone if she doesn’t like the song.

44 % of opt- in email subscribers also welcome SMS marketing messages, but almost all users find text spam much more offensive and invasive than email spam.   Half of all users have actually ditched a brand entirely because of a poor mobile experience.

In order to avoid a poor mobile experience, it’s important to have a very clear intent to engage your target audience.  You must be relevant, but there are so many more personalized factors that you need to consider.  Some of the main categories of engagement are:

  • Interest- product availability and discounts or coupons
  • Desire- like texting your zip code to find a store near you
  • Action- notifications to keep you informed, like “your shoes have shipped”
  • Experience- allowing users to interact with customer service
  • Loyalty- polling and voting

It’s clear that a billboard by the side of the road or a spot on local radio is no longer the only way to reach your target audience, and that the personalization of the message is the key, especially when the  message is being delivered to a device in their pocket.  Mobile marketing is here to stay and will likely evolve to include video and other multimedia content in the very near future.  As long as brands are willing to pay attention to the voice of the consumer, we will have many messages to keep us checking our phones at inappropriate times for many years to come.

Author Heather Williams is a national account manager for MultiVu, PR Newswire’s multimedia division.

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