The many mobile marketing platforms – and how to master them

Apps. Texts. QR codes. Mobile search. When it comes to potential marketing vehicles, mobile devices offer a host of options to engage customers.
And while other media predominantly support a single marketing objective – radio is all about driving brand awareness, for instance – the selection of platforms in the mobile toolbox means that marketers can achieve any of their objectives.
But at the same time, the technology can be a mobile minefield for marketers with more money than sense.
“Don’t be seduced by what your competitors are doing or the latest cool piece of technology,” warns Alex Meisl, chairman of mobile marketing agency Sponge and chairman of the UK Mobile Marketing Association. He recommends: “Focus on the customer, speak to some mobile experts… [focus on] delivering the right solution to the right target market on the handsets that they already have.”
So with so many options available to marketers, and with more mobile tools coming on stream all the time, has outlined some of the most important ones and what you need to know about them.
Mobile website
“I would always start with a mobile website and expand your touch points from there,” says Ilicco Elia, head of mobile at LBi.
Why? Because for many consumers, the mobile phone is now their primary access point to the web, and those businesses that don’t have a website optimised for mobile users – such as responsive design - or one specifically designed with mobile in mind will be delivering a sub-par experience to a large proportion of their customers.
Carin Van Vuuren, CMO for Usablenet, says:  “Consumers are mobile, and for many, a smartphone or tablet is their primary means of internet access and engagement. Smartphone penetration in the UK and US is approaching record levels and over 30% of all households in these regions now own a tablet. One out of every 10 dollars spent online comes from a smartphone. This means that having a mobile optimised website is now a basic customer expectation.”
So how can brands ensure that they meet these expectations? Van Vuuren recommends that a good starting point is to define what kind of experience you want to create for customers on mobile, and how this should differ from the desktop site. “It really does pay to develop a strategy first, which means outlining the specific elements of your business that you want to support on mobile,” she says.
“Another thing to identify is the desktop journey, and how can this be optimised on a smaller screen. Brands should use APIs and web services as much as possible to power the experience and pull in content to create a compelling interaction for the user. It is crucial to understand who the customers are, and always remember their mindset. What are their needs? What key tasks are they likely to want to accomplish whilst on their mobile?  These consumers are on the go and need to get the job done quickly. This means mobile sites need to be fast, easy to use, and support task completion.”
For ecommerce-enabled sites, brands also need to consider the entire payment journey, streamlining the payment process and key functions of the basket and reducing the number of steps and the amount of text that has to be entered to get to the checkout.
Finally, remember that speed matters. “Mobile journeys should be short and sweet. Use finger-friendly, category navigation that does not require multiple refreshes, allowing the customer to get to the add-to-cart button faster.”
Mobile ads
Mobile ads – video, display (mobile banner ads) or audio – can be effective tools to build brand awareness, as well as generate clicks, leads and conversions. Gartner predicts that global mobile advertising revenue will be worth in excess of $11.4 billion by the end of 2013, up from $9.6 billion in 2012 – an increase fuelled in part by global smartphone proliferation, but also by more targeted and relevant mobile advertising campaigns. ... / ...
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