Mobilizing Your Mobile Marketing Campaign

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A recent study by MarketingSherpa reveals that 49.2% of consumer marketers are tracking mobile search campaigns as a potential tactic, and 13.8% will definitely conduct a full mobile campaign or test this year. Mobile search is a rapidly growing marketing tactic, and the numbers don’t lie.

Although it still has many hurdles to overcome, there is a large demand for mobile marketing. By focusing on mobile search marketing, you can stay ahead of your competition and help support your offline marketing campaigns. Here are some thoughts on how mobile marketing campaigns can affect your marketing goals and what the future holds for mobile search marketing.

The first step is probably the most apparent one, but it still needs to be said. You have to define your target audience. Most mobile campaigns fail because the brand is not matched up with the appropriate viewer. Mobile marketing is more about connecting a brand with a consumer than about a product or service you are offering. Mobile users want the right information fast and can be converted if they get it.

Engage the audience in a mobile marketing campaign. This is crucial. Mobile users typically like to do the following three things: play games, browse, and text message using their mobile devices. According to M:Metrics, approximately 10% of consumers use the mobile web for gaming, messaging, and browsing. To help ramp up your mobile marketing campaign, think of either creating an impression-based campaign for branding purposes or setting up a campaign based on engagement and interaction (e.g., a survey, a chance to win a new car, etc.).

Fit the right applications to appropriate mobile usage types. Are you going to target mobile video, the mobile web, or mobile text? Each medium has a different viewership and different audience demographics. Make sure you target accordingly.

When I set up a mobile search campaign, I always try to run other types of campaigns to help support it. At this time I would not recommend using a mobile search campaign just by itself. I normally use a mobile marketing campaign in tandem with a combination of offline and online marketing tactics. For instance, I might create a viral campaign using press releases and online advertisements along with social media marketing and offer a big prize. All a consumer has to do is use their mobile device to apply. The TV game show “Deal or No Deal” does this, as do some reality shows such as “American Idol”.

If you decide to experiment with mobile marketing, I would suggest the following to be taken into consideration when setting up a landing page, mobile versions of your site, or a mobile advertising campaign:

Mobile Search Tactics:

  • Create a clear and precise call to action
  • Create a click-to-call option
  • Enable the Send page via mobile email
  • Add ability to share with others by SMS capability

Examples of Mobile Search Campaigns

Click-To-Call Campaign: The great thing about mobile marketing is that users are more apt to take advantage of this contact mechanism. They are already on the phone, so providing a click-to-call option on your mobile site increases the odds of that user turning into a lead for your business.

Branding Campaigns: Branding campaigns are pretty standard within the marketing industry. Mobile marketing works particularly well for branding purposes. The millions of views this type of search gets provides prime branding opportunities and can lead to massive impressions, further enforcing your brand name and creating brand confidence.

Coupon and Incentivized Campaigns: These types of campaigns are reflective of standard marketing tactics, but also apply to mobile devices. Mobile search users love to be engaged! Checking out  coupons (for use online, in a store, etc.) or participating in incentivized campaigns (where an online response results in  a free gift) are right up a mobile search user’s alley.

Data Collection Campaign: Lead generation is growing rapidly online, and there are many opportunities for data collection via mobile devices. Remember that we are still on the ground floor with mobile search, so establishing your virtual real estate in the mobile arena early will allow you to compete for the high CPLs (Cost Per Lead), like the real estate and mortgage verticals.

From my experience, clear, simple, straight-to-the-point messages work best with mobile marketing. Whether you use plain text, banner advertising, or some other format on mobile devices, you need to remember that consumers are on the move. They are looking to get in and get out, and they are on a mission to find exactly what they are looking for.

Being able to steer these visitors quickly and precisely to what they are looking for is crucial. Mobile searchers are in much need of being pointed in the right direction because mobile search navigation is so poor – do this right and you will have a huge advantage.

Also be sure to validate your mobile advertising campaigns and websites to have the best chance of showing up properly on mobile devices (using the WAP protocol at http://www.w3schools.com/wap/default.asp).

Studies that claim mobile search is not converting its market are premature. For example, eMarketer released a study in July 2007 showing that over 65% of people who viewed a mobile search ad in the US deleted  the ad, while 27% took no action. (http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?id=1005120&src=article2_newsltr).

People may hear this and immediately think mobile search marketing is a bad idea. I disagree 100%. The fact that the majority of mobile search marketing campaigns appear not to do well is not a surprise to me – the reasons for this could be very simple. Possibilities include not having offline and online ads to support the mobile ad appropriately, not targeting the right audience, or even the fact that mobile Internet usage still has standardization problems which can make it cumbersome for the end user.

Actually, the fact that the mobile market in America is not as advanced as other countries gives me a couple of additional options as an Internet and mobile marketer:  1) I can utilize foreign mobile search marketing; and/or 2) Tap into and dominate the US market base that is continuing to grow.

If you want a glimpse of what may come as the mobile market develops in the US, focus your attention on the mobile search marketing revolution in Japan. With phones similar to the iPhone available for some time in Japan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications estimates that mobile ad spending grew by more than a third in 2006 alone. As well, in February 2007 Japan surpassed the 100 million subscriber milestone (http://www.emarketer.com/Reports/All/Emarketer_2000381.aspx?src=report2_home).

eMarketer’s July 2007 report further states: “Mobile ad spending in the US is expected to reach nearly $5 billion in 2011, up from $421 million in 2006.” Although these numbers sound intriguing, in my opinion, the numbers will be even larger than projected, due to some of the advancements in mobile marketing over the last couple of months.

For example, on June 21st a press release from the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association) and the dotMobi Advisory Group (MAG) announced an alliance to work together on global mobile marketing standards (http://www.advisorygroup.mobi/news_global_industry.htm). The press release reports that MAG’s recent endorsement of MMA’s Mobile Advertising Guidelines is an example of the formal collaboration of the two bodies. The latest version of the Guidelines, published in May 2007 (4th Edition) lays out suggested guidelines for ad formats, sizes, general content guidelines, technical requirements for mobile advertisers, etc. It is located online at: www.mmaglobal.com/mobileadvertising.pdf

The new alliance between these two global entities indicates to me, among other things, that mobile search marketing in the United States is primed for growth (the MMA is headquartered in the United States). This gives me a lot of confidence in placing advertising dollars into a tactic that is clearly blossoming.

The release of the Apple iPhone and the technology to produce a much higher browser compatibility in mobile use will literally revolutionize mobile search marketing in the United States. However, it will take time for mass appeal to grow, even with a product that was anticipated as eagerly as the iPhone was. Plus, specific standards for mobile use will need to be implemented very soon so other phone manufacturers don’t continue to feel the growing pains of developing phones that can mobilize the Internet as well as the iPhone will.

During the development of a competitive market such as this one, gaining the upper hand can mean millions of dollars and invaluable branding to your company. By using some of the  guidelines and marketing tactics I have outlined above and fine-tuning your efforts when targeting your market base, you have the potential to garner a huge presence in a growing market base that is ripe for the taking. Don’t put yourself “on hold” any longer.

About the Author

Joe Whyte has been developing, managing and implementing successful, innovative, bleeding edge digital marketing strategies for Fortune 500 companies for over 7 years.

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