Commentary

Relative Mobility

Media Marketplace: Relative Mobility/Jay Suhr

I left my iphone in the cab." it was both the panic in our usually stoic analytics director and the scramble to locate the phone that said everything. Mobile phones are not just devices, they are 24/7/365 lifelines. (BTW: Phone was recovered and returned by a NYC taxi company. Thanks.)

Mobile is this month's focus, with Michael Becker of iLoop Mobile and Ben Gaddis, T3's director of mobile and emerging media, weighing in. iLoop is the leading provider of mobile marketing solutions and services. T3 has a fully integrated mobile practice. As mobile continues to explode, the big questions are how to tap this channel with an eye on strategy, customer experience and measurement.

Mobile as part of the overall strategy
It works better when it's not bolted on
Ben Gaddis: It's a mistake to view mobile as just another media channel. Mobile is everywhere. It's growing. It is another way for customers to connect with brands, and for brands to create great experiences for customers, wherever those customers are. The best way to make it work is to integrate mobile into a brand's overall marketing strategy.
Michael Becker: Strategy must be defined, because it exists at corporate and campaign levels. Right now, companies are overly focused on mobile campaigns. In the best case, consumers will have a really good mobile experience from a campaign. So they naturally expect to engage with the brand's mobile site on future visits. But 90 percent of brands have not tuned their Web sites to be properly rendered on mobile phones. So the consumer is left with a bad experience of the brand. If the brand is not ready to build a persistent corporate mobile site, it needs a simple placeholder site with basic content to leave the consumer with a good impression.
Jay Suhr: Mobile should be viewed as another connection point like a URL, phone number or a front door. The critical difference is that the mobile connection is virtually always within arm's reach and always on.
BG: Consumers understand that their mobile number is a form of currency. They are protective of it, but will share it if they believe they will get something valuable in return. That may be the capability to place a carryout order, get information from a mobile-enabled Web site, or text in to vote or win.
MB: Companies should create a "Mobile Czar" to coordinate mobile efforts across their corporation and its brands. This will help mobile thinking permeate the organization. It will work to define mobile as a communications and marketing channel and not solely an advertising channel - which is just one of usage.

Jumping without planning
Test internal programs before leaping to customers
MB: Marketers should avoid launching a mobile program because everyone is doing it. There is a smart way to wade in.
BG: Too many companies try one-offs and get inconclusive results that leave a bad taste with both consumers and internal teams. It's better to have a good plan with goals and expectations that are both reasonable and measurable. From there, be ready to apply what you learn to future programs.

Turning off customers
Smart mobile marketing starts with a list of don'ts
BG: Mobile is the most personal medium, so smart marketers need to respect both the user and the user experience.
MB: Start with the "don'ts." Don't contact people unless you have their expressed and informed consent. Don't limit your program to just one type of handset. The iPhone is amazing, but it's just 2 percent of the market. Don't jump in without mapping it to your overall strategy.
BG: Don't overlook the user experience. Optimize your Web site for your mobile customers. Simplify forms. Keep keywords short. Make participation worthwhile and build metrics up front so you can make the experience more rewarding the next time.
JS: People don't want mobile spam. But they are interested in getting functionality, information, entertainment, even deals when and where it works for them.

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