Mobile University

On 4/28/2010, I attended a conference called Mobile University.  The Heartland Mobile Council did an excellent job of bringing together a variety of viewpoints on best practices and the future of mobile marketing.

There were a couple of key insights that I gained from the day that I wanted to share with you.

Mobile vs. Portable. This was an interesting topic of discussion – what devices should we categorize as mobile.  The majority seemed to say that while most cell and smart phones are mobile (because we can use them when we are moving around), the iPad is a portable device.  You can carry it with you, but you must be sitting to use it.  So the way we present content and applications to users is truly different from other phone devices.

SMS / Text Message. Only 32% of phones have access to the mobile web.  While that number continues to increase, we still need to consider how we will market to or connect with our consumers who have  non-web accessible phones.  As marketers evaluate how mobile fits into their overall plans, they need to remember that many of their customers are  accessible only by text message and that there are many creative ways to take advantage of that.

Phone Shopping Mentality.  Gary Schwartz, from Impact Mobile, gave us a great metaphor for thinking about mobile e-commerce (or m-commerce) shoppers.  He likened it to having a snack, whereas shopping at home on a PC is more like eating a meal.  The phone shopper is most likely making an impulse buy, a last minute purchase or seeking information to use at a bricks and mortar store.  Given the smaller screen size and the difficulty of doing in-depth product research, this makes a lot of intuitive sense.  As marketers and merchants work with their mobile developers to build applications, they should keep this in mind as they choose what information to present to the user at different points in the application.

Marketing Your App. When marketers set up their budget for an app, they have to remember that they must let potential users know the app is available.  It is really hard to get attention in the app stores – they are overcrowded with apps now.  One of the speakers recommended allocating 1/3 of your budget to the app development and 2/3’s to paying for the marketing of the app.

Think Programs, Not Campaigns. This is the same story we saw 2 years ago with Facebook.  Brands would run an advertising campaign that included a Facebook Fan Page and they would get tons of people to follow them on Facebook. When the campaign was over, they would stop updating the page and lose all those connections they had made.  Mobile tactics need to avoid this same mistake.  So don’t think of a mobile solution as a short term campaign, but more of a long term program.

If you are struggling with how mobile tactics fit into your overall business and marketing strategy, please feel free to reach out to me for assistance.  There are many frameworks I learned at this conference as well as many I have developed over the last few months that I would be happy to share with you.

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