Why agnosticism is good for Mobile Marketing Initiatives

Mobile marketing comes in so many shapes and forms that they might be hard to distinguish from all other initiatives that are linked in to mobile marketing efforts

What would be my personal take on it… I think that every time you try to set a tag on something in the marketing world you make a mistake… based on the assumption that you think you own or understand the consumer of a medium, tool or message you will do something not so well thought through or at least something that would be misinterpreted by those you wish to target or build a relationship with.

I am going to be provocative and state that most mobile marketing initiatives, campaigns and apps are only to be viewed as an add on to other on/off-line marketing.

You might disagree with me to this statement but let me put it into a perspective…

Out of a branding perspective it is very hard to build new general brands on a mobile platform but to extend and add value or test new initiatives, then mobile marketing is great.

Mobile Marketing spans from location initiatives like Gowalla or Foursquare, search marketing/listings for local guidance initiatives through HTML5, branded apps, general apps, mobile site, QR-codes, sms-marketing, mobile coupons, display ads, sponsored contents… well there is as for any other marketing initiative a broad variety of opportunities to explore and utilize depending on your needs.

When speed is of essence mobile is fabulous to run, reach your audience while they are on the move… it might be a great campaign or it can be total failure all based on your business and your audience.

There is a hype for apps, branded apps (specifically developed for a brand with content that is brand or lifestyle centric) for an example Absolut Vodka and many wish to develop an app for their brand to target their audience with all the content and offering you have. There is however a specific downside to this effort, it might hurt your brand a lot if you are not doing it correctly and the cost for doing a fancy ipad/iphone/android app is not insignificant either and to really rub it in… the usage (approx 26% of all apps are used once) of an app is seldom in par with the cost of development…

How could you do it then?

I would have the approach of looking at my customer and their needs, how do the interact with us a service or a product, what can we do to make their contact and usage easier. Not with our own brand as a focus and how WE want them to interact…

  1. Understand in what context your users are interacting with you through mobile devices today and plan for how to move them to the next step based on their needs and your ideas for services
  2. Platform agnosticism – i.e. develop for usage no matter what vehicle used to interact. Do not focus on specific delivery vehicles immediately
  3. Focus on UID – usability and interaction design are of immense importance to any service or product and yes a webservice is exactly that purely depending on usability and interaction design to make you come back for more!
  4. Think scalable as always with everything
  5. Fast iterations, better with more minor updates than few major (some of the minor stuff is really annoying)
  6. Motivate mobile usage with all methods at hand if it is of importance that they use it… for an example look at Target and how they use mobile in-store incl bar codes to show demonstration videos etc.
  7. Finally test, test and test with potential users, not employees and people from your development team because they only will do what you already are thinking about… and do not test like a real user…
And as for closing words to this blog post… this goes for all marketing… 

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