It’s no secret: Just about every person in America has a mobile device. What’s more, the growth of smartphone ownership has nearly doubled in the past four years, from 35 percent in 2011 to almost 70 percent today, according to Pew Research. As such, mobile marketing is more important than ever. If businesses want to appear on someone’s radar, they must appear on their phone.
At the same time, consumers have gotten to the point where they block out almost every advertisement — either mentally or with software, as evident with the release of iOS 9. So, marketers have gotten more and more creative in how they draw consumers onto their site or into their stores. The evolution of mobile marketing has been marked by making other tools and technology obsolete, or at the very least, much less important.
A Look at Consumers
As mentioned above, a large portion of your audience has a mini-computer in their pocket. From there, they can explore the whole of mankind’s collective knowledge, from the most recent scientific discoveries to (much more commonly) the latest YouTube video of adorable kittens. As such, the smartphone has become like another appendage. When was the last time you left your phone at home and did not go back to get it?
With this in mind, marketing strategies must revolve around the mobile device. It is the typically the first tool a consumer uses when they want information or entertainment. Your mobile-optimized website and app are a good start, but it’s not enough. The first commercially-accepted smartphone, the iPhone, was released eight years ago. Since then, your audience has come to expect a personalized experience from your business. Gone are the days of brand loyalty. If you are not providing fast service catered specifically to each individual, there will be little hesitation from the consumer to drop you and find someone who will.
Simplifying the Process
It should come as no surprise that consumers want to find what they are looking for in as little time and with as little effort as possible. If you are asking them to check multiple boxes or visit multiple sites just to get the information they need, you can bet they will not be coming back to your site or store. Simplification is key, and businesses still utilizing techniques of yesteryear, such as SMS-based discounts, may be left behind.
When mobile marketing first hit the retail market, one of its first applications was the coupon code text message. Of course, to get these discounts you would have to text a certain word, usually the store name to a generic number (standard messaging rates apply). Then, you would have to confirm you wanted to get the texts from them, as each text could potentially cost you money on your phone bill. Only after that could you get the weekly or monthly discount codes. While some retailers still do this, especially some restaurants, others like Target and Fandango have taken their mobile marketing to the next level.
A Look at Retail and Entertainment
Target’s Cartwheel app has revolutionized the in-store discount process. A consumer simply opens the app and peruses the sales available that day — categorized by section, of course. As they find items they like, they simply add them to the list. Or, you can scan barcodes in the store and find out if any discounts apply. Again, this is all from the same app; no need to go to an external bar code scanner. When your list is complete and you are ready to check out, applying all the discounts is as simple as pulling up the single, unique barcode given to you for the cashier to scan. That’s it.
The entertainment industry has also taken to simplifying the ticket-buying process. For any old-timers out there (i.e. anyone over the age of 25), you may remember the nightmare that was MoviePhone. When you called, you would get a long, pre-recorded message of different movies playing, their times and their locations. After listening for a while, hoping your movie wasn’t sold out, you would be connected to an operator from whom you could finally order tickets. Now, it’s as simple as opening the Fandango app, ordering tickets for your movie and picking them up at the theatre. Additionally, utilizing the Fandango app as a member automatically opts you in to receiving discounts and special offers.
The Gamification of Mobile Marketing
We mentioned a little while ago that today’s consumers, especially Millennials and younger, have completely blocked out mobile ads. So, businesses must find other ways to reach this potentially untapped market. One way to do so is to gamify their approach. This tactic has gone as far back as punch cards and Cracker Jack prizes, but mobile devices are bringing a whole new element to the table.
Gamification offers a fun way to connect with the brand. Sometimes it’s as simple as an award system, where certain trophies come with both prestige and, much more importantly, discounts. But even this system is faltering, and a less superficial approach is needed. This can be as simple as a randomizer. For instance, if you want a pizza but are not sure which kind, a pizza maker could provide options for you. Just simply put in toppings you know you don’t want, then shake the phone. Find a pizza you like, then add it to your cart! While this is not a highly complex method, it is a fun one that will keep more customers coming back.
As consumers become more attached to their smartphones and tablets and expect businesses to cater specifically to their needs, mobile marketing becomes more complex. Unfortunately, this is often too much for a marketing department to keep up with on top of their other campaigns. Optimized Scribes specializes in helping businesses with the day-to-day mobile marketing tasks so you can remain focused on the big picture. For more information, check out our website or give us a call today.