May 23, 2013

5 Key Mobile Marketing Moves Mobility will turn us into direct, relationship and database marketers.That’s the cornerstone message from two new studies -- Forrester’s “2013 Mobile Trends for Marketers” and Urbanairship’s “Connect with the Connected.” The keys to successfully making this transformation will be surrendering control to consumers while continuously creating relevant and resonant content. Let’s start with a few key facts. Mobile is here. By the end of the year half of all Americans will have smartphones.Most brand and marketers know this but haven’t put either strategy or infrastructure in-place. Mobility changes almost everything. Smartphones have replaced PCs, watches, rolodexes, maps, cameras, game devices, remote controls, landlines, books, boarding passes, coupons and loyalty cards. And they are closing in on wallets. People spend as much time with their phones as they do with TV. Smartphones are an appendage for younger consumers. They are their phones, which are very personal, heavily customized and in constant use. Don’t be surprised if Levi’s or Lees creates jeans with a special quick-draw phone pocket, which also prevents inadvertent butt dialing. Apps are “hit” driven. There are millions of them. They rise into and fall out of fashion as quickly as the Top 40. The average person has 40 on their phone but only really uses 8-10. Getting onto a consumer’s phone is tough. Staying on is even tougher. A successful app must either provide instant utility or repeatable entertainment. Open beats closed systems. Android is ascendant and will continue to be because it’s becoming ubiquitous. Apple may have a few tricks up its sleeve, but bet on Android, and many variations of Android, across devices and geographies to ultimately dominate. Soon apps and native phone technologies will work together and talk to each other. Think about how interoperability might impact your business. For example, the accelerometer notices you are walking funny and double checks with the pedometer. The GPS pipes up and says you’re off course on your way home. The med app then quickly checks your heart rate and blood pressure, and then signals the Walgreen’s app to reorder your meds. Context Matters. Where you are (location) and what you’re doing (attention) determine your mood and your openness to brands. “ Your customer is not the same person when they wake up as when they are working mid-day – each persona has different needs and desires.” Americans are putting computers in their pockets and expecting them to work and add value on-demand. Brands have to ask themselves, “ Are you interrupting them or making life a little better?” To the extent that consumers use your app, you have an always-on virtual private network (VPN) connection to them. You have to respect this, insure privacy and use it sparingly. There is great opportunity for first movers to claim mind and heart space and an equal opportunity to frustrate, annoy and alienate. When you’re in, you’re in till you blow it. When you’re out; you’re out for good. The implications of these facts are staggering and challenging, especially for brands used to dominating their category, setting the product or sales agenda or deciding the communications cadence to their customers. In order to harness mobility, brands must master these 5 moves. Think Differently. Forrester put it this way. “In 2013, the ultra-connected consumer base will continue to grow at a staggering pace, destabilizing marketing as you’ve come to know it. These customers demand personalized, relevant attention, designed around their needs and wants rather than around your marketing channels. If you don’t change the way you think about engaging these customers, you will quickly lose relevance.” Surrender Control. Interested and loyal customers prefer to drive the relationship. Enable them to set preferences for all aspects of their interactions with the brand. Let them tell you how often they want to hear from, what channels they prefer and which products or services they care about most. Ask permission to use location, purchase history and other data to customize their experiences. The guys at Urbanairship point out the marketing paradox. “When customers have the control to customize and limit a brand’s messages, they become more engaged. Less is more. Brands that focus on relevance over reach and value over frequency build enduring relationships and outpace the competition.” Target Context. Think about lifestyles, life stages, time of day and the customer journey with a UX and a service-oriented mindset. Smartphones and tablets are used to do distinct tasks – check an account, make a payment, find directions, grab a coupon, research a restaurant, compare...
Winning the E-mail Numbers Game It’s not the number of email addresses on your list. It’s the behavioral quality of the names. In email marketing size doesn’t matter. Segments do. Too many marketers measure their email program by counting valid email addresses. This is a classic way marketers are evaluated. If you grow the list you’re good. If you shrink it, you’re not. But while this may get you a bonus, it won’t get you results. The ugly truth is that at any given moment 20-30 percent of your list are dead men walking – consumers who haven’t opted out but have stopped caring, opening and clicking. Email lists are fluid. Consumers want info and deals and then they don’t. Need, greed, timing, serendipity, promotions, cash flow and personality all drive inflows and outflows. The quantity, cadence, content, subject lines and offers in e-mail incent future interest and clicks or they don’t. Monitoring these variables is tedious but well worth it. The key to continued email effectiveness is to be brutally honest about the list. Focus on these 3 critical tactics. Recency Rules. People have a huge propensity to re-take a recent action again. They just did something. It feels good. They’ll do it again. Segment your list by recency and you’ll have a proxy barometer for brand health. Make your best offers to the people who bought last and they’ll buy again. If you can factor in purchase history, product cognates or monetary value, you will get even better results. Recent responders are the sharp tip of the email marketing spear. Behavior Beats Demography. It’s what they do; not who they are that matters. Separate your list by opens and clicks. Mail more frequently to responders. Remember recency rules. After 6 touches and no response check their pulse. Tell them you are ending their subscription. In the absence of a response, dump them off the list. If you don’t you’ll have a bigger list but lower response rates so your bonus or promotion will be in jeopardy. Content is King. They signed up with expectations of interesting news, deals and offers. If the content doesn’t deliver, consumers bail out. You must constantly test and evaluate the content. Mix up the offers. Test the sequences. Limit the number of items and stories in your email. More than 5 choices generally confuse consumers. Less is more. Consumers are paradoxical. They want consistency and surprise. They want to know you are there for them regularly but they don’t want the same thing every time. Factor in offline behavior like average number of store visits, average ticket and average annual purchases per customer into your thinking. Nobody lives by email alone. Your content plan has to integrate into shopping mindsets and practical creature behaviors. Plan on cross-pollinating the experiences and parse your email messages to synch with sales, seasonality or style changes. A smaller more responsive email list trumps a monster list with few responders. Assume that the list will wax and wane. Focus on the active participants to drive your business. Don’t get hung up or faked out by big numbers.

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

The Typepad Team

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