MIMA (Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association) does a great job of hosting breakfast events with smart speakers on timely, relevant topics. With mobile getting as much buzz as it has, it was great to hear Julie Roth Novack of Vibes speak on integrating mobile marketing into existing mobile channels.
Ms. Novack only focused on Mobile Marketing, the largest area of the four identified mobile functions – the other three functions being Mobile Service, Mobile Experiences and Mobile Advertising. She segmented Mobile Marketing further into what she called her (four-layer) Mobile Wedding Cake. The largest segment, SMS (80%), created the cake’s foundation. Web capabilities (40%), Applications (20%) and QR codes (3%) made up the remaining layers of the cake. The percentages represent an estimate of users who regularly use these segments based on their phones technology. Her message was to test mobile marketing campaigns from each of the four layers and see what works. While this is sound advice, we typically find clients are looking at only one of the segments due to tight marketing budgets. So which of these areas should you focus on if your budget is slim?
Growth in QR codes is imminent. More and more smartphones are coming pre-installed with QR code readers and more companies are perfecting their QR offerings. If you are not testing this segment now you may want to consider a small testing budget so when it does hit you have a basic understanding of the strategy you want to lead with.
Our clients typically show interest in mobile applications. This is where most of the buzz is surrounding mobile. For me, Julie’s description about whether an application is the right fit for your mobile strategy was the best take-away of the morning and something I will carry forward. Complex, service-related businesses are more likely to have success with an application over an uncomplicated, product-related business. Julie used CHASE bank’s mobile application and the Oreo cookie application as examples. CHASE mobile users are more apt to frequently access the mobile application relying on it as a tool to manage their bank accounts and household finances, seeing it as an extension of the bank’s service offering. Conversely, the Oreo cookie application provides simple information about a cookie we all know and love. The need to repeatedly use this application is minimal, if necessary at all.
Taking a more strategic view, the Oreo cookie application might have had more reach and longevity as a mobile web experience instead of an app. With HTML5 and a solid understanding of mobile UX and audience segment needs, an application-like experience can be achieved. Applications do cost more to create and maintain while not reaching as broad of an audience. Aware sees most of its clients benefiting from the addition of an improved mobile web experience. This is especially true if budgets are tight and this is their first ‘test’ in mobile. A mobile web experience provides users with a mobile-specific experience similar to an application but does not include some of the hurdles (platform choice and maintenance) of building a mobile app.
While Ms. Novack identified SMS was the largest of the mobile marketing segments, it is the one we see our clients engage with least. There is certainly an opportunity here however most of our clients market in the B2B space which could be why we see less interest in SMS. SMS does have some advantages – like email you are able to build a database of proprietary customer information and from a technology standpoint it is the most widely accepted mobile marketing tactic. Note that SMS requires a budget. Carrier changes and additional surcharges could be costly.
As web consultants, Aware continues to receive a growing number of questions about mobile strategy and how to budget for mobile in 2012. As with any campaign, strategy will be based on need – hopefully this information can help you focus your efforts.