Technology companies and marketing gurus have been touting mobile as the next big marketing thing for a while now. In fact, hum and hype around mobile marketing have reached a point where corporate marketers can hardly go a day without a new study or webinar invitation suggesting you’re woefully behind the curve if you’re not already well down the road with a “mobile strategy.”
Then again, for every statistic that says mobile devices are today’s happening marketing medium, you needn’t search far to find another which suggests mobile marketing’s momentum might be overstated.
In his recent presentation at BlogWorld (captured in this post by TopRank Online Marketing Blog’s Ashley Zeckman), Jason Falls, CEO of Social Media Explorer, encapsulated with three quick (loosely attributed) stats the conundrum mobile mania can pose for marketers:
- 87 percent of people own mobile phones
- Mobile devices account for only 9 percent of all website hits
- It’s projected that one in eight people in the United State will use mobile commerce by 2015…which presumably means seven in eight won’t
Smart Steps Forward
It would be foolish to think smart phones, tablets, gaming devices (plus mobile tools yet to be invented) won’t be a major factor in marketing’s near-term future. Mobile marketing is real. It’s almost certainly “coming” for most of us. And it may indeed be already “here” for your business, depending on the geographies and demographics your company needs to reach, serve and engage. (Check out this infographic on mobile share of web traffic globally).
But if you’re just beginning to chart a mobile course, there’s still time to avoid a “ready, go, set” approach. While now is a good time to start moving purposefully down the road, you needn’t jam mobile activity into overdrive based on the latest hair-on-fire blog or e-newsletter headline.
Instead, consider these basic, but important, early moves:
1) Locate your customers within the landscape. Before you invest lots of time, effort and money, discover where they are in their adoption and use of mobile devices. If you do a satisfaction or needs survey regularly, include a question or two about mobile. Ask which devices they use for product research and decision-making support. Ask whether they want to interact with vendors and service providers via mobile, and which types of content or functionality they’d most like to access on the go. If you don’t routinely conduct a survey, consider commissioning one. Or, at least, poll your sales reps and ask them how they see customers using mobile devices.
2) Find your place along the road. Are you behind, ahead or in the middle of the pack within your category? Study trade magazines and newsletters to see how much “ink” they’re devoting to mobile. Is it a hot topic at industry conferences? Your trade media partners might also have research and white papers to suggest just how prevalent mobile is becoming as a marketing and commerce channel.
3) Check out fellow travelers. If you care what competitors are doing, scope their activities. Are their websites mobile friendly? Do they have dedicated mobile sites? Does anyone offer a custom mobile app (and does it do anything meaningful for users)? Are they using QR codes — and doing so in an effective way? Decide whether where you stand with mobile, in relation to your competition, is consistent with the image and positioning your brand wants to own.
4) Check the numbers. If you haven’t paid close attention, start monitoring web metrics closely to see how much traffic is coming from mobile devices. If those numbers are minuscule and holding steady, it’s a sign you’ve got time to figure out an approach that’s smart for you and your audiences. If the numbers are starting to climb, dial up the urgency, by all means. But still, start by making it an immediate priority to find out which mobile experiences and content will best meet the needs of customers, prospective customers, or business partners and stakeholders.
Depending on your business, brand, industry and audiences, there might not be quite the rush to pursue mobile marketing full-throttle as some would have you believe.
But now is definitely the right time to start looking and driving forward in a thoughtful direction.
What’s the best early move you made — or plan to make — when embarking on your mobile strategy?
This post, originally published on Hanley Wood Marketing’s Content Is Marketing blog, is cross-posted here for subscribers to Touch Point City. For more marketing ideas and insights from my colleagues at HWM, subscribe to Content Is Marketing.