Mobile Marketing, are you doing it correctly?

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What is mobile marketing?

Wordstream describes mobile marketing as the skill of marketing in order to make it attractive for mobile users. When done correctly, it facilitates companies to provide customized, time and location-relevant information to its consumers as and when demanded by them. Mobile marketing is an integral and crucial part of any brand’s multichannel marketing strategy where its marketing message is delivered to consumers on their smartphones. This can be achieved through display ads (in-app or on the mobile browser), search engine ads (SEO and SEM designed for mobiles), location-based ads (using Geotags and GPS),  SMS, Quick Response codes, Augmented Reality (AR), etc.

Why is it important?

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The importance of Mobile marketing can be seen using the data below. When mobile is used as a primary device for search, Junto digital revealed that 61% of mobile searchers contact brands if they have a mobile-friendly website, 78% of location-based mobile searches convert to offline purchases. Out of that, 18% are converted to sales within 24 hours. With regards to the traditional decision-making process, Marketo suggested that 48% of users began their purchase journey on a mobile search engine, 95% of adults (US) used mobile devices as their primary source of information and with regards to email marketing (push email – need recognition – evoking wants from needs) 65% of all emails were first accessed on mobile devices.

Overall, Comscore study revealed that mobile ads deliver better branding effectiveness when compared to a desktop/laptop ad. This effect was found to be even more pronounced at the bottom of the funnel such as likelihood to recommend and intention to purchase.

Where and what is the problem?

The problem starts when marketing content that is sent out by brands is either too much, too customized to the point where it actually scares consumers rather than making them feel special, or when it is not adapted to be viewed or acted upon a mobile device. Problem statistics are as follows: Marketo suggested that about 64% of mobile users bounce off from web pages if they take longer than 10 seconds to load. This can happen when websites content, mainly media and interface, is not altered to cater to mobile and ends up taking longer to load on mobile than on desktops/laptops. 35% of users did not complete their transaction process on mobile devices because the websites weren’t mobile-friendly. Litmus study revealed that about 69% of users ended up deleting promotion email which wasn’t completely optimized for mobile viewing. In addition to the design and compatibility problems, some of the more critical problems associated with mobile marketing are that of brands disturbing mobile users (causing nuisance) and robbing them of opportunity to engage with the brand. Studies showed that approximately 60% of mobile users were annoyed by brand promotions as they found them to be too intrusive, too frequent or ill-timed. About 30% of users were unhappy with the mobile-marketing of brands since they were one-sided and users did not have an opportunity to get involved with the brand.

Solution (4I’s)

To overcome the issues mentioned above and go above and beyond to ensure a successful mobile marketing campaign, Kaplan (2012) suggested the 4 I’s approach. The 4 I’s stand for Integrate, Individualize, Involve and Initiate.

  1. Integrate – Adweek suggested that retargeting ads wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing. But it should go only to an extent of reminding users when a better deal is available for them or items might be going out of stock. The problems start when these ads show-up even when you have purchased that brand and it soon goes downhill when it starts showing up even when users haven’t actively engaged with the brand (using data from the microphone access). Such practices can evoke strong negative emotions which may even result in negative word-of-mouth (WOM). Social media can be used effectively as a medium of soft-sell by engaging in subtle personalized interaction with users. They can be viewed as a part of a long-term strategy to create brand awareness which would eventually turn into sales. In addition to retargeting, brands should also be cautious when they design push notifications to drive sales. Forrester study revealed that more than 50% of users were irked by pop-up ads or push notifications as they disrupted the user experience. In terms of design, brands can simply use Free Google Mobile Friendliness tool to determine whether and to what extent is their website mobile compatible.
  2. Individualize – Forrester study showed that there is a massive potential for personalized advertisement. There, however, is a fine line which when crossed by brands, customized mobile ads becomes borderline disturbing. Forrester study suggests that brands need to move beyond segment-level targeting and should rather engage in behavioral targeting using the real-time input of data that is being generated. Such real-time inputs help in designing more relevant, compelling, actionable and personalized ads as well as shopping experience for mobile users.
  3. Involve – Adweek suggested that when mobile users do not have an opportunity to engage with the brand, they are not just disappointed, they may even become negative promoters of the brand. They suggested that users perceive the mobile and social media space to be a consumer-led territory. They are more than happy to incorporate brands into this territory as long as they drop the traditional hard-sell approach and behave like fellow human beings. This means that consumers desire brands to be accessible, understanding and responsive when they have a need or a problem. The rest of the time when consumers are not actively engaged with the brand in problem-solving, they expect them to be low-key or cool rather than trying hard to win over the audience.
  4. Initiate – This aspect suggests brands to encourage users to generate their own content. More famously called User Generated Content (UGC) strategy, related to any content that is created by unpaid contributors. Benefits of UGC as supported by examples of Coca-Cola, Atlantis, Spotify, Apple, etc. are; it helps in increasing sales, building customer trust, strengthening brand/customer relationships, increasing social followers, expanding social reach, boosting authenticity/credibility and building SEO value. Adweek study suggests that Content commerce is a $44 billion industry and is expected to grow in double-digits every year. It purports brands to undertake an indirect and soft-sell approach through unpaid contributors by promoting an aspirational lifestyle (that may be desired by the majority of their non-consumers, potential consumers). Such UGC was considered to be 50% more authentic and credible than traditional marketing.

These elements, when considered carefully and executed meticulously, would result in a successful mobile marketing campaign.

Do you find this framework to be useful, would you add or edit any of the elements mentioned above to increase the effectiveness of your mobile marketing campaign?

References: Kaplan, A. (2012). If you love something, let it go mobile: Mobile marketing and mobile social media 4×4. Business Horizons55(2), 129-139. doi: 10.1016/j.bushor.2011.10.009


2 thoughts on “Mobile Marketing, are you doing it correctly?

Add yours

  1. Great insights into mobile marketing here! In terms of the 4I’s, how much individualisation is too much? You mention above that ‘marketing content that is sent out by brands’ is ‘too customised to the point where it actually scares consumers rather than making them feel special’. If we focus more on tracking behaviours and real-time data mining to create more individualised content, how do we distinguish what may scare consumers and what will make them feel special? Food for throught!


  2. Hi Bandish,

    Fantastic article! Lots of valuable information. Under the Integrate approach, I complete agree with retargeting (or re-engagement) not necessarily being a bad thing and can actually be an effective strategy when done with the end user (the consumer) in mind.

    As the users have already engaged with the brand (and thus have a degree of knowledge about the company/product), the mobile marketing strategy towards these users should be subtle, and act as channel to communicate any updates (discounts/ special offer) the brand may be offering.


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