Sometimes it's not a bad thing to state the obvious and do it with perspicacity. There are, for example, 10 million studies on mobile marketing. And lots of the time they didn't take their own advice: the font is too small, they make Emanuel Kant seem like beach reading, they are inane, or they are not-too-veiled advertisements. That's why it's good when something comes along that hits all the buttons of a good mobile experience: clear, simple, to the point, helpful, evolves as feedback provides new insights, links to best practice examples and other studies. And has nice font. And doesn't have some ulterior sales motive. Come to think of it, a good data-based guide should be like the Boy Scout handbook.
The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) Mobile Marketing Playbook kind of hits those imperatives. The MMA, comprising some 800 global brands, did this jointly with Adidas, which gives it some real-world heft in best practices, measurement and optimization. The organization says the study also gets some support from an archive of some 450 case studies.
A lot of the playbook involves things you probably know, but may not know you know, and need to be gently reminded that you know. So in that sense it's like therapy, but cheaper. Right off the bat, the study, which the MMA calls a "living framework" that will evolve with consumer behavior shifts and member insights (try that with paper), states the obvious: mobile is about permission, relevance, location and convenience. Know your customers before you start raining down apps on them. If you don't know how your customer is using mobile to interact with you and what they are doing in general with mobile in your space, you might as well not waste your time and your consumers’.
The study makes some great points. Remember the bromide about how great sculptors don’t create a form from stone, but find it in the marble by chiseling away the excess stone? The playbook says with mobile strategy, start with the easy work: get rid of what you don't need. And don't do mobile as an add-on, or retrofit some TV creative for a smartphone. And don't make an app a mobile strategy. Repeat that one 10 times. Also, make mobile a core exercise, not an "oh, right, let's check this box." Some marketers are coming around to this. Most aren't, which is completely understandable to most people, unless those people happen to be the Millennials you are trying to talk to, or for whom you are hopefully trying to make life easier, not just "reach."
So what do you do? The MMA and Adidas have a concise turn sheet on this that you could print, laminate and put in your back pocket. It’s good to look at it now and then. Like the first step should be making your Web site mobile, not fake mobile. There is nothing worse than a non-mobile Web site because it means you are inept and out of touch, literally: the mobile site should be thumb friendly, easy to navigate, light on graphics, brand authentic, should link to the desktop site, and shouldn't launch without a beta.
For mobile ads, the book says branding, legibility, call to action and mobile optimization are key to mobile ads. For the latter, MMA suggests its UMAP version 2.0 standards, including things like using the 15-second standard for audio ads and 300 x 250 for large ads for smartphones. A lot of optimization data on video is in MMA's Mobile Video Benchmark Study. The association also rolls in work it did with Tremor Video on mobile video that garnered five "key foundations" for the practice, which pretty much adhere to good storytelling and visual narrative musts and must-nots.
And there's the requisite section on measurement, which I won't get into because there's enough data out there already. Good luck. Not my words -- theirs.