Mobile Is The New Black

Marketing technology traditionally follows communication technology: people find a comfortable way to be approached and preferto be approached that way, so we try and connect with them via their communication vehicle of choice.

But we’re also currently experiencing an explosion of communications technologies. And if you’re an email marketer, chances are good that your prospects and customers are already eyeing that not-too-distant horizon of new devices and new means of access while you’re still scrambling to reach them on today’s devices of choice.

Marketing has always been about watching — and sometimes influencing — how people communicate. Most online retailers probably already know their demographic, the segments of people most likely to want to purchase their product. Smart marketers have probably done studies and taken surveys about who is buying, who is considering buying, and who may be influenced to buy. They’ve have identified who their best customer is and have targeted that customer in acquisition and retention strategies and processes.

It’s time to take that information and ask the next question. How are these people most likely to buy? Do they sit in front of their laptops and use search terms on Google to find what they’re looking for? Are they in coffee shops or office cafeterias with a tablet and a latte? Are they scanning their smartphones on the commuter train? Do they sometimes do all of these things?

The data that is coming in is clear: Yes, to all of the above. In fact, mobile is the new black.

Depending on the study source, mobile devices now account for between 15% and 70% of clicks and opens, so market share is already significant and on the rise. Smart marketers have started allocating more of their budgets for mobile and are using responsive design to allow for better viewing on smartphones and tablets. Good steps: but they’re only first steps.

What smart marketers need to do is learn how to segment and target in this brave new world. Finding out which emails are being opened on which mobile device (tablet, smartphone, etc.) is going to be essential information in the coming months, so that marketers can send specific emails to one device that wouldn’t be appropriate for another.

There are endless possibilities once you’re able to build offers and designs specifically for users of a given device. They could include things like a single product sale (instead of a sitewide sale that requires browsing) with a quick click-to-buy, a campaign with an offer code good for one hour, a coupon that can be shared, a coupon to be scanned in a store, a single image/quick-link to a social media site, a link to a video, etc.

This kind of segmentation ability leaves responsive design as an email strategy in the dust, and opens up marketers’ understanding of customers’ preferences so that targeting and segmentation can be efficient, effective, and profitable.

Understanding which devices are used is essential information in the new multichannel environment; understanding when these devices are used also impacts email marketing. We’ve all discussed the best times to send email, but what does that mean when different device usage is introduced?

A comScore study shows that there’s a real fluctuation of device use on weekdays: Mobile devices brighten the morning commute up until about 10 a.m., when laptop and desktop computers take over; early evening and prime time are dominated by tablet use. So targeting the right device at the right time also has to be part of an effective marketing strategy.

Remember that optimization isn’t just finding a technology to keep your mobile email marketing efforts alive and well; it’s the beginning of a wider strategy that will enable you to target specific devices at specific times of day, that will help you with geo-targeting to entice mobiles users into brick-and-mortar stories, and that will allow you to best use the communications technologies we have now — and be better positioned for what will happen tomorrow.

Mobile is the new black. Wear it well.

Tags: email
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