2007 was heralded as ‘the year of the mobile. Nokia became the first company to sell over a million of a “non-candy bar smart-phone”, Google released Android, and Apple released their very first iPhone, allowing the user to download apps, check the weather, access their emails and settle a pub argument with a simple internet search. You could even use your phone to occasionally make a call.
This phone-frothing frenzy of course infected companies everywhere who could see that the advent of the smart phone would be a game-changer for marketing, sales and advertising. The problem was no one knew exactly how this would play out.
Nevertheless, money was thrown at creating mobile-focused marketing divisions, predictions were made and research undertaken.
The problem with this knee-jerk reaction was that there wasn’t an understanding of how consumers would use their phones and how phones would be used in relationship to other devices.
Eight years later in 2016, we have now seen twelve incarnations of the iPhone, numerous smart phones and the creation of tablets, and there is still a perception that companies need to create a separate marketing strategy for their mobiles.
However there is a significant problem with this: separating mobile from the rest of your strategy creates a piecemeal, ad-hoc approach to the brand that won’t maximise the reach.
Before allocating a spend to mobile, or any marketing campaign, it is vital to ask two questions:
- What are consumers doing with their mobile devices?
- How does that fit into the broader scope of consumer behaviour?
Even though technology dominates discussion these days, the traditional methods of marketing are still very valuable when thinking about how mobile fits into the broader scheme things.
Start with the key question:
Who are you talking to?
The wonderful thing about the mobile is that you have constant access to a prospective consumer. People have “deeply personal relationships with their devices” and while this affords you with countless opportunities to access your audience, this same advantage can turn into a huge problem if your message is clumsy or too intrusive because people feel harassed and become deeply resentful, creating a very negative impression for your brand.
Given the intimacy of the platform, it is vital that companies look at how people are using various platforms and channels, exploiting the available social media analytics and data for market research.
A crucial element in this research is establishing:
What constitutes a mobile phone?
As the below list from Will Critchlow’s excellent article demonstrates, the distinction between traditional mobiles and PCs are definitely blurring:
Given that there is a relationship between devices, there is a much bigger need to look at a campaign as a whole – to promote cohesiveness and ensure that there is a brand narrative throughout all the phases of a campaign. Neil Davis, editor of MyCustomer.com describes how groups must combine “silos” (separate marketing strategies) in order to maximise exposure:
“Digital teams now need to bring strategy, branding and marketing together for greater consistency rather than running these sectors in silos. Furthermore, you need to ensure all your platforms like mobile, online and the in-store are connected, thus giving your customers a seamless brand experience.”
Therefore it is important to integrate as many forms of the experience as possible, from uniform artwork to finding new and innovative ways of using content.
As consumer behaviour is rapidly changing on these devices, strategies that once worked for mobiles can be easily applied to PCs and vice versa, therefore to solely focus on mobile element is not understand where technology is going and more importantly, where it is taking consumers.