Editor’s Note: We’re kicking off Mobile Marketing Month on the Thunder Blog with a post by Marco Koenig, Executive Director at Meteor Group USA. This is the first of a two-part series from Meteor, so make sure to check back throughout August for more mobile marketing expertise!
The modern consumer does not retrieve information about products, brands, shops, and restaurants at home or in the office anymore. It’s the age of the “on-the-go” consumer, who looks up product reviews, searches for stores near-by, and buys goods on their mobile devices while being anywhere else but home. Smartphones and tablets are America’s favorite toys and consumers are highly engaged with them.
For marketers, this means that it is not enough to have a website or even an extensive online strategy alone to get the job done. In today’s market, they need a mobile strategy, or otherwise run the risk of being left behind by consumers.
Consumer Usage and Behavior: Does Anyone You Know Not Have a Smartphone?
According to Google within the next 18 months, more people will use their phones than computers to get online. A Mobile Content Study by Frank N. Magid Associates has discovered that 58% of American consumers are using smartphones, and more than three-quarters of them are under age 44. Of course, this percentage is rapidly increasing, since phone manufacturers are enticing consumers with more high-tech devices at prices lower than the cost of a decent laptop. And although there are many competitors selling cool smartphones, there are only two platforms that really matter: iOS (Apple) and Android (Google). This means marketers have to make their strategy work on these two platforms and know about some of the unique functionalities each provide. This also relates to the booming tablet market, which according to the Online Publishers Association (OPA) has risen now to 31% in the U.S., up from 12% last year. That’s 71 million tablets accessing businesses nowadays and around 85 million estimated by 2013.
Mobile Strategy 101: Marketers Need to Invest in a Mobile Site
The smartphone consumer is selective and expects nothing but the best from his “mobile-online” experience. If he finds a website that is not optimized for mobile, meaning he has to zoom and perform “finger ballet” on his screen to navigate around, chances are he will never visit the site again. According to a study by Compuware, 57% of smartphone users would not recommend a business with a user-unfriendly or missing mobile site. Even worse, 40% turned to a competitor’s site after they had an unsatisfactory mobile experience. Further research has shown that 95% of smartphone users search for businesses and local information. This means marketers are pretty likely to lose a significant amount of business should they not address the need to have a mobile presence in place.
Today, even a small budget can produce a good mobile site. Marketers simply need to be aware of not conceptualizing their mobile presence like an online desktop site. Keys to success are a quick load time, easy navigation, providing easy to read content, prioritizing information, and integrating call to actions (e.g. click to call) for instant engagement.
Mobile Strategy Advanced: Marketers Convert Through Extensive Mobile Marketing
While having an eye catching mobile site is the starting point to connect with the modern consumer, there are many other mobile marketing initiatives to engage with the target customer.
Nielsen reports that 6% of smartphone owners have made a purchase of a product they saw advertised on their mobile device. That number actually increased to 13% for tablet owners. Click rate to view a mobile ad is around 11% on the smartphone while it is an astonishing 24% on the tablet. The success of mobile ads combined with the increasing sale of smartphones and tablets has led to almost doubling the mobile ad spend in the U.S. to $2.4 billion in 2012, up from $1.23 billion in 2011.
Just like a mobile site, apps are usually used for providing the consumer with an array of content. The advantage with an app, however, is that more content, especially rich media content, like videos, animations and games, can be accessed immediately even if there is no Internet access available. Apps allow for a deeper experience but demand downloading them. Surveys have shown that many prefer mobile sites to apps for shopping. In a study by Adobe Systems, 81% preferred mobile sites to apps for researching prices and 79% preferred mobile sites for product review.
Apps are fun and useful, with games being the number one downloaded category. Marketers can profit from the popularity of the latter by placing mobile ads in emotionally engaging apps to create positive brand awareness. Most tablet and smartphone owners prefer free games with advertising to paid games without brand messages.
Quick Response (QR) Codes and Image Recognition
QR codes have become mainstream and are heavily used, but sometimes overused. QR codes link to digital content online; activate a number of phone/tablet functions including email, click-to-call and SMS; and connect the mobile device to a web browser. Marketers should use QR codes wisely and not just utilize the code to direct to their mobile site. A QR code should provide some sort of instant gratification, since the user actually has to go through the trouble of scanning the code: “Scan the code to download our app”, “Scan the code to get a coupon”, “Scan the code to watch this unreleased teaser trailer” etc.
The brand new trend is image recognition, which means marketers can use their existing print materials as a call-to-action for mobile engagement. The user can scan posters, billboards, adverts, product packaging and even building walls to open up an overlaid 3D augmented reality experience. This cool and new trend is a fun way to cut through the clutter.
Near Field Communication (NFC)
This brand new technology allows for contactless communication between smartphone or tablet and an NFC compatible device. Google is using the technology for its Google Wallet, which lets the customer pay easily with his mobile phone. Furthermore, hotel room keycards, transit passes, or any membership related cards could be served by NFC technology. In France NFC was recently used in bus stop billboards, where several brands communicated its brand message to NFC capable smartphones.
In the future, this technology will make smartphones a virtual wallet and make brand interaction even more direct. The retail industry will especially benefit from NFC.
Probably the pioneer initiative of mobile marketing, text marketing is still highly popular. It is one of the cheapest ways to instantly connect with the target customer and to build a solid database. SMS marketing can be used to provide updates on products, notifications on promotions and sales, sending of short news, and links. Today, SMS marketing is often connected to Location Based Services (LBS), which reaches the customer as soon as he gets close to the business and engages him directly: “Good to see you in the neighborhood. In the mood for a Vanilla Swirl?”
In the end, marketers cannot deny the mass mobile market and must find a strategy that both fits their brand needs and spreads the brand message. Regardless of the size of your budget, there are many mobile marketing initiatives to connect with the target customer and to keep them engaged. As consumer behavior quickly shifts to retrieving information from their mobile devices, marketers have to be ready to have their brand found and remembered.
ABOUT METEOR GROUP USA:
Meteor was founded in 2004 as a branded entertainment marketing agency, creating strategic connections between the entertainment industry and brands. The agency broadened its services by adding mobile marketing expertise in 2007. They created powerful mobile engagements targeting consumers long before the widespread adoption of smartphones.
Today Meteor is a full service creative digital agency that not only specializes in mobile, but also works across all digital platforms to realize unified campaigns and brand/product messaging. The agency works with Fortune 500 companies offering multiple service solutions depending on client’s needs. Meteor can take brand objectives and create digital solutions that tell the brand story in a meaningful and fun way. They also operate as a development partner.
The agency’s dynamic team prides itself on being very creative, innovative and design-oriented. Let Meteor Group help you create powerful customer engagement and extent your brand narrative.
Meteor Group USA, 5700 Wilshire Blvd Ste. 560, Los Angeles, CA 90036 | firstname.lastname@example.org