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  • June 28, 2012

How Mobile Is Redefining Marketing and Community Engagement

mobile-image.jpg"Mobile is a behavior not a tactic and should be aligned with goals
and users interactions," pronounced GE's Andy Markowitz on Day 1 of the
Mobile Marketing Association's Conference in New York this past week,
and I couldn't agree more.

For me this was the defining moment and core theme of this year's
Mobile Marketing Association's Conference and a critical point for any
brand serious about building and nurturing community. As speaker after
speaker pronounced the emergence of the "mobile era" by detailing the
latest stats and case studies - success in nearly every case was tied
directly to the brand's ability to align its program and goals to user
behaviors and interactions.

So what impact does the rise and usage of mobile have on a brand's
social and community building efforts and what should every brand be
doing now to remain relevant in the mobile era?

1. Understand consumers' behaviors, media, and mobile usage.
Changing media behavior and usage will dramatically impact your
marketing and community efforts. One of the more powerful sessions came
from Nielsen's CEO, Digital Jonathan Carson who shared what we do know
about consumers' mobile behavior and the dramatic change in that
behavior over the past year. Jonathan detailed the continued rise in
smartphone penetration (50.4 percent - up from 38 percent last year),
rise in time spent on mobile apps, and the huge swings in media/device
usage throughout the day. He compared smartphones'
always-on/always-with-you usage to spikes in TV and iPad usage at night.

Additional research detailed how mobile is commonly used for price
comparison, payments, refined product information searches,
self-scanning, and social - where close to 40 percent of social media
users now access social media content from their mobile phones. All
further evidence that it's now time to get serious about how mobile and
apps fit into and extend your marketing and community efforts. Invest in
understanding the community's interests and needs, analyze behaviors,
and develop and optimize the right experiences and apps that add
additional value and increase community engagement and sharing.

2. Align consumer behaviors with business goals and community building efforts.
Solving a consumer need is critical, but as marketers our job is to
also make sure we're solving a business need and supporting the
organization's goals and objectives. To assure budget and support from
upper management, align your understanding of the consumer's behaviors
and needs and use that knowledge to build communities and advocacy that
can help the organization reach its goals. For Coca-Cola, an investment
in more accurate bar codes/QR codes that could be used by mobile devices
to access detailed product information for its 50 unique brands in the
U.S. and 10,000 global trade item numbers in-store helped consumers make
more informed buying decisions, which built trust, loyalty, and
advocacy/word-of-mouth among its community of fans.

3. Test and learn - fund tactical programs. Many
brands are interested in building/driving game-changing marketing and
capabilities - at my company we call them the "New School Marketers."
While they experiment with new programs, they also often have a
strategic approach to these programs by not only looking at how
consumers are using media and their behaviors, but where and how to best
reach them. Approaches include building tactical programs across mobile
advertising, TXT/SMS, apps and integrated mobile/web/social programs,
and allocating budgets to different key initiatives including focus on
consumer marketing programs, dedicated to apps and test-and-learn

At GE, initial tests with mobile search and advertising designed to
reach consumers where they are spending more of their time resulted in
some powerful results, as mobile search now accounts for 10 percent of
total search traffic to GE and mobile ads continue to perform better
than traditional display. As a result of this test and the subsequent
learnings, mobile is now a cornerstone of what GE does.

4. Infuse operational change to support priorities.
With consumer behavior dramatically changing, brands must evolve. To do
so seek support from an executive sponsor and develop a road map for
your key initiatives. Focus intensely on adapting those initiatives to
how the consumer is and will continue to behave in the mobile era.
Consider building a mobile center of excellence to educate, share,
inspire, and provide the tools and resources necessary to adapt and help
your brand/organization build a mobile community and expand your social
communities. Best Buy quickly realized its perfectionist culture
prevented the general release and promotion of important shopping apps
across its various touch points including stores, website, social
networks, and more, which dramatically limited adoption. Today, Best Buy
is changing the corporate culture to further speed the release and
adoption of these apps across all touch points and communities to
further fuel sales.

5. Build an experience, take an integrated approach, and track results.
As stated earlier, mobile is behavior that must increasingly be taken
into account as brands look to build marketing success. Touch points and
content must be optimized for the mobile consumer and brands must
increasingly develop content around what people are doing and when they
are doing it in order to succeed. The most successful brands are
building optimized mobile experiences and taking an owned, earned, paid,
and shared approach to program development. They not only leverage key
company assets including media and communities to drive success but are
aligning those efforts to media usage and app development. And finally -
remember to integrate social communities and sharing capabilities into
all app efforts. One great example of this was presented at the MMA
conference last week by Coca-Cola. The campaign was Coca-Cola's Super
Bowl spot that encouraged viewers to tune in to watch its polar bears
reacting to the Super Bowl in real time. The campaign previewed prior to
the Super Bowl by leveraging a Coca-Cola spot on "American Idol" (high
viewership) and encouraged views to check out the microsite or other
online places they could check in with the bears including social
communities (Facebook, Twitter), rich media ads running on ESPN, and
other sites and mobile apps. The results were astonishing with over 9
million people watching for an average of 28 minutes and generating more
than 5,000 comments per minute across social networks, further
demonstrating how leveraging consumer behavior and media usage with
social and community can transform marketing success.

While many brands have been caught off guard by the rapid adoption of
smartphones and mobile marketing, now is the time to get started. While
there is no easy button the tips above will help get you started.
Consider partnering with an agency that's going to help you
un-complicate mobile and don't be afraid to start with doing a basic
campaign - it's the best way to learn and grow. Finally, remember
success is based on leveraging your existing assets including your
social communities and combining your knowledge of the consumer's
behavior to create a great and unique experience. The Coca-Cola effort
is a great example of how each of these important considerations can
come together to build something truly unique and engaging. Welcome to
the next era in marketing.

Please note: This article originally published on ClickZ

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