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Three Principles for Mastering Mobile Marketing in 2014

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In 2013, Pew Research Center reported that 91% of American adults own a cell phone; 56% own a smartphone. And they're using those phones to shop: Mobile generated up to 42.6% of all online traffic and 25.8% of all online sales during Thanksgiving weekend.

So, with consumers primed in 2014 with mobile technology and eagerly using it, how do you best reach them?

To succeed in mobile marketing this year, you must master these three principles: immediacy, simplicity, and context.

1. Immediacy

We've become an on-demand society. Mobile is an on-demand medium. Users want information now.


That mobile mind shift condenses everything marketers have known about a path to purchase or sales funnel into a matter of minutes. In fact, according to Google, 63% of mobile search-triggered actions happen within one hour of the initial search.

Mobile accelerates consumers' decision-making but also allows marketers to influence those decisions quicker than ever. Your message isn't relegated to mediums that consumers may (or may not) see as they contemplate a purchase decision. Your message is now in front of consumers at the very moment they make that decision.

The combination of data, analytics, and platform can make sure your message is available at exactly the right moment. Match the data you have on existing customers to the site or app where your ad will appear. Real-time bidding can get your ad in front of the right eyes at the right time.

Match desired action with consumer behavior. People use smartphones and tablets differently. Smartphone users tend to act in shorter, more frequent bursts; tablet users act for longer periods of time but less frequently. Decide which behavior your campaign is looking to elicit then target devices based on that information.

2. Simplicity

If people are coming to your site for information, your site must be mobile-optimized and perform well.

Mobile users are in a rush. So much, in fact, that 40% will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. So, you must present the information mobile users want immediately, or they will leave for your competition or take to social media to damage your brand's reputation.

That information must also be easy to digest on mobile. When we're on a desktop or laptop, we might have the time to click on small links, fill out multiple forms, or tolerate full-page images. However, when we're using a mobile screen, we don't have that time. Space is too limited to present any extraneous information or have users perform unnecessary actions.

Strip the fat out of your mobile-optimized site. Present only the information customers need. That might include product information, store locator, FAQs, useful content, or a simple customer service form.

Simplicity should also rule your text message marketing and mobile advertising. Make your offers or information easy to digest at a glance. Due to mobile's limited character and screen space, there is no room for fluff or filler. Get to the point—then get out of the way.

3. Context

The point you make must be relevant. It must be in context with user expectations and actions.

For example, take a car manufacturer's SMS campaign that can be tracked from mobile to final purchase. Once the company knows a purchase is made, it should stop with sales-focused texts and offer information related to ownership, such as service reminders, car wash coupons, and warranty details. That information makes sense in the context of user experience. Messages offering discounted financing on a pre-owned vehicle do not.

Data and analytics play a big role in providing the context for engagement. By synthesizing customer loyalty databases, mobile opt-in lists, customer purchase history, and third-party data, you can serve relevant and contextual mobile content.

A consumer is not interested in your store's sale. They are, however, interested in what dress shirts are on sale. Maybe they haven't bought a shirt in two year. Or they got a promotion and have purchased this item from your store before.

If you can understand that context, you can serve the correct ad or message that fits this consumer's needs. That type of message—properly timed, clearly presented, and in the correct context—is how you will succeed in mobile marketing this year.


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Doug Stovall is chief operating officer at Hipcricket, a mobile marketing and advertising company.

Twitter: @DOStovall

LinkedIn: Doug Stovall

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