6 Mobile Lessons Learned in 2013

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It’s that time of year again: time to reflect, look forward, make resolutions and enter the new year with gusto. If you work in the mobile world like I do, you know that if you haven’t thought about your mobile strategies for 2014 yet, you’re already very behind!

2013 saw many brands, early- and late-adopters alike, continue to embrace mobile: some things worked, some things didn’t, and for some new technologies and tactics their long-term viability is yet to be seen. Regardless, there are always lessons to be learned that we as marketers can apply going forward.

1. Mobile is the core of campaigns, not just a component.
Mobile is becoming the central focus; the main hub that all other campaign channels lead to or spring from. It is time to use customized calls-to-action on every channel –  broadcast, print, email, Web – to direct shoppers to their cell phones in order to execute a quick, easy task that they know will give them something of value in return. Mobile amplifies the efforts of every other channel and makes the connections between them; no matter where customers see the CTA, through mobile they can (and will) go right to their devices and take action.

2. Consumer habits must be reinforced, not forced.
Customers are increasingly fickle and demanding. And mobile hasn’t helped sooth those behaviors. If you believe the recent stories, our always-connected mobile activated world has pretty much made all of us completely impatient. This means that today’s consumer is not willing to deal with brands that do not understand how to provide on-the-go, real-time experiences. Email inboxes are cluttered. Direct mail is expensive and untimely. Commercials are only useful to when your audience is at home on the couch. Mobile, on the other hand, allows any brand to play go right to where their consumers are in real time.

3. Showrooming should be embraced.
Yes, the fear is that consumers are going to shop in your store and then buy your product cheaper somewhere else. But before mobile technologies came along, it was impossible to gather information on you customers unless they bought something. Now businesses have the opportunity to reengage and know who is there through mobile. Using strategies such as check-ins, in-store coupons and other mobile loyalty initiatives will increase the likelihood that they will buy with you on the spot.

4. Mobile should be used to enhance broadcast campaigns.
Television is poised to be one of the biggest areas when it comes to activating mobile audiences. A 30 or 60-second television spot is a direct path to one-on-one engagement with audiences. In fact, 50 percent of smartphone owners use their devices while watching TV on a daily basis, and 80 percent use it at least once a week. With numbers like that, advertisers simply cannot miss the chance to use mobile to not only engage their audiences, but fully understand the value and efficacy of media buys.

5. Real-time really matters.
Customers no longer have the time to hunt down deals every week, but mobile strategies can send offers to the device via SMS, calling code or email for fulfillment. This can be done in real time, right when the customer wants and needs it most. Not only does this sweeten the deal on the immediate transaction, but it also creates customer affinity for the retailer. So retailers must let go of the idea that coupons and discounts are unprofitable, rather, due to their immediacy, the rate of redemption is much higher — especially for exclusive in-store items — which leads to a potential increase in average order values.

6. Do not build an app just for the sake of building an app.
In cases where app ROI and revenue are not your main concern, a mobile app may be a great solution for meeting other objectives. However, for brands that are dependent on their mobile marketing initiatives to carry a heavy ROI load, deciding to build an app is a more complex process. Often, there are other types of mobile content that will get the job done with less effort and heartache.

As technology improves and the barriers to viewing and delivering different types of content across the full spectrum of devices are broken down, it will be important to balance priorities and strategies that your exact audience needs to connect with you in-the-moment. Here’s to a innovative New Year!