Editor’s Note: Although this is targeted to marketers specifically, it could just as well be directed to insights pros as well. The underlying thesis about mobile quickly becoming the primary engagement channel for consumers and the tips to leverage that channel have applications for MR from participant recruitment through methodology design. We need to think and look more like marketers (while acting like researchers behind the scenes) in order to maximize the unique opportunities this shift has for us.
By Megan Ritter
Today, it seems like everywhere you look people have at least one mobile device in hand. In fact, the number of mobile phones in the world will soon outnumber the world’s population. Last year, according to comScore, an American Internet analytics company that provides marketing data to many of the world’s largest enterprises, smartphone sales overtook PC sales and mobile devices surpassed desktop computers for the very first time, in terms of total digital media engagement.
Based on those facts, it’s no surprise that more and more consumers are turning to the convenience of their mobile devices for their daily tasks such as shopping, banking, and to check traffic. With the majority of Americans today now accessing the web via their mobile phone, it’s important for marketers to implement certain principles when it comes to maintaining their online presence. Davis Murphy and Doug Stovall are two marketing professionals. Together they have provided the three principles for online marketers to follow in 2015.
Principle #1: Make it Agile
Davis Murphy advises that brand communications are no longer one-directional, and given the ever-growing number of customer touch points, even the multichannel concept is now an old hat. According to Forrester’s 2012 trend forecast, customers want to be able to start a dialogue in one communications channel, and complete it in another.
‘Agile communications’ seems a more appropriate concept for this. And while mobile will become increasingly important within the communications mix, it is important not to forget the other channels, and to ensure consistency across all of them.
Mr. Murphy writes that developers of native mobile Apps are confronted by a plethora of operating systems (Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android, Microsoft’s Phone 7, RIM’s Blackberry, Nokia’s Symbian, etc.). The challenge remains of making customer communications work across all types of devices, including smartphones, feature phones and Tablets.
A solution for the multi-platform problem that is attracting a lot of interest and on which a lot of hopes are riding is HTML5 as the successor to HTML4, the current standard for websites. HTML5 offers versatile functionalities in respect of improved display options, such as the playback and recording of video and audio, local storage and geolocation. A lot of this has not been supported directly by HTML4 up to now, so additional plugins such as Adobe Flash had to be used.
Principle #2: Strip the Fat
Doug Stovall says to present only the information customers need on your mobile optimized site. That might include product information, store locator, FAQs, useful content, or a simple customer service form. Simplicity should also rule your text message marketing and mobile advertising. Studies show that 75% of mobile users are more likely to take action after seeing a location-specific advertising message, so make your offers or information easy to digest at a glance. Due to mobile’s limited character and screen space, there is no room for fluff or filler. Get to the point—then get out of the way.
Principle #3 Personalize the Message
Mr. Murphy adds that personalized messages in both format and content make the message more effective. It is not just about personalizing messages by using the recipient’s name and a greeting such as “Hello Earl”. The goal would to individualize the entire interaction – based on where the person is, what they are doing, and a range of other factors – in order to create a warm sales opportunity. Mr. Murphy cautions that by engaging with your brand via their mobile phone, customers are allowing you into their private sphere. Once this door is open, it is easy to be tempted into communicating more frequently than a customer is comfortable with. The danger is that overuse of the mobile channel could easily be perceived as an invasion of privacy. Like any other overused channel, the risk is always that customers might opt-out, or even choose to cut their ties with the brand.
When it comes to marketing through the various channels we have available today, it’s difficult to get much more personal than the mobile phone. For the mobile marketer, not only is it important to respect this medium, it’s also vital to make sure that the consumer always has control. Follow the three principles above and set the golden standard for best practice in your industry!