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The What, Why, and How of Going Mobile

Posted by Devin Cole  November 9, 2011 03:27 PM

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Summary: A Mobile Sales and Marketing plan is inevitable because your prospects are as addicted to their phones as you are.

Here is some inspiration and direction to take advantage of the unique opportunities of making Mobile an extension of your existing programs and a new way to attract more customers and provide ongoing, automated value. Also find a free and easy mobile project you can do today.

The "What"

Smartphone marketing is so different than previous communication methods that marketers need to relearn how they talk with customers and offer content, utility, and value.

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Consider these several ways that you can deliver your customers the right experience, on the right device, at the right time:

1) Instant gratification to buy or engage with you anytime.

2) Promo and coupon incentives at their "point of highest desire"

3) Talking to customer service with a single click-to-call.

4) Their location and yours with GPS maps for destination/storefinder/In-store items.

5) Phone sensors of environment and digital triggers can add to relevancy of alerts.

6) Provide easy access to more info and promos by scanning a code seen on any media - TV, magazine, poster, tattoo, napkin … get creative.

7) Match your info to the user’s personal preferences and proximity for accurate incentives, coupons, game-play points … get more creative!

Mobile also has the unique capability to engage customers throughout their AIDAR lifecycle: Awareness - Interest - Decision - Action - Retention.

The "Why"

Your customer is changing. Mobile is the best way to evolve with them.

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  • Half of all US phones are smartphones (dotMobi)

  • Worldwide, more people own mobile phones than TVs (ITU)

  • 28% of U.S. Adults Use Mobile and Social Location-Based Services (Pew)

  • Many examples of global changes are listed here from MobileInc UK

Yes, about 80% of all consumer purchasing is offline, not through Web e-Commerce or Mobile m-Commerce. But that 20% of online buying is filled with new opportunity. Here are three reasons to focus on them:

  1. This 20% is growing faster than any market - ever! Learn how your company needs to evolve in order to communicate this way. It will take time. Get started.
  2. Mobile is not expensive. Developers are eager and are market-priced fairly at $75-$150 per hour. Also get some guidance on the hard part - your content strategy and new business models.
  3. Mobile customers are your best customers. They spend more! This is not just because they have the money for nifty smartphones, but they want to use it for both coolness and efficiency.

Don't you want to sell to, and learn from, early adopting, more active, young-minded "Tryers"?

Remember, there is nothing like experiencing a personally-tweaked smartphone to demonstrate the value of investing in the “Post-PC” era of smartphones and tablets.

Pay attention to which Apps you download, actually use, wish for and would value enough to pay for. The good ones earn their icon shortcut a place on your customers Smartphone “desktop” for easy access and, of course, ongoing branding.

The "How"

If you don’t have a tech department in-house, learn the basics and partner with someone to help you Go Mobile.

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To make the "How" of mobile technology development really easy... hire HTML5 specialists (like the folks pictured on the FutureM conference panel above) to design your content so it works on any platform your audience is using - PC browser, mobile browser, mobile app (iPhone, iPad, Android, etc.), in-store signage, kiosks, billboards, Smart TV, etc.

There. That was easy.

The truth is that you need to understand enough to partner with the right vendors and help them help you. A great way to learn is at online/offline discussions like the MITX FutureM panel, "Building and Marketing for an Increasingly Mobile Future" moderated by Jeff Moriarty of the Boston Globe - check out their state-of-the-art “newspaper” experience built with…new term warning!... Responsive Web Design and Progressive Enhancements.

Another local association that loves to share (on Mondays) is MobileMondayBoston.

What’s a good project to start with? First and foremost, make sure your Website is mobile-friendly. Next, focus on how the most important elements of your business can be just slightly enhanced by 24/7 mobile access. Then you can evolve features after learning what works. Simpler is better - users have no patience for waste during any Mobile experience. Deeper integration into your business processes can be expensive but worth the investment by increasing lead-generation and sales.

Short Message Service (SMS) Texting is huge with kids, American Idol, and around the world because any phone can do it (no need for a smartphone). You can rent a number and keyword for about $125 per month. Owning your own text code is a difficult process and starts at $10,000.

Here is a free and easy project:

Put a Quick Response (QR) Code on your marketing material for people to scan and be directed to your home page or, better yet, a page dedicated to welcoming them on their mobile phone. One of many places to get your own codes for any URL is Kayawa (you can also download a QR Code reader for your smartphone). Fees start after you want more services like tracking users. Below is an example I use to send people to my EatMedia Blog. Give it a try.


Here are some key points on How to go Mobile:

It’s safe to say that Android and iPhone are the only smartphone systems to be concerned with (sorry Microsoft, Nokia, Blackberry RIM, etc.). But you will want to choose between Native or Web Apps.

"Native Apps" are all the rage with their quick lush content only a few swipes and pokes away. But for new users, they require a few extra steps thru an App Store (not a direct link from your promo messages).

"Web Apps" are mobile-friendly sites that are easily found through any phone's browser. Plus the new HTML5 now allows for richer experiences. When wireless carrier connectivity is not a problem, this is your more effective choice - particularly when you finally integrate m-Commerce into your existing e-Commerce system. Your buyers really will be everywhere!

After you decide on the content and utility you want to provide customers, these are the main tech items to discuss with your development partner:

  1. Simple user experience is always first and should be. Mobile has no patience
  2. All site promotions, like Search campaigns, must lead to Mobile-friendly pages
  3. Easy findability of Web sites versus a few extra steps to set-up thru App stores
  4. Bandwidth availability wherever your customers/employees usually are
  5. Content rendering speed must be quick with camera, GPS, mic,+
  6. Updateability of new content
  7. A/B testing of content (hard w/ Native Apps)
  8. Security and privacy… always last and shouldn't be!

Now Go Mobile!

If you are looking for more custom ideas or vendor suggestions, reach out to me or any of the Connectors at Boston World Partnerships - we are a community of professionals that love to “Inform and Connect.”

Please share your experiences … what is holding you up? Vendor selection? Budget commitment? Understanding the creative opportunities for your company?

(All images are created by David Cutler and license-free)

David Cutler helps a wide range of clients refresh their Sales and Marketing to take advantage of the ever-evolving Web of Digital and Traditional Media. Continue the conversation about your specific questions and needs on his Blog.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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