Thoughts on Mobile Marketing Trends

Things change so quickly in this age of mobile, that your public relations and marketing strategies have to be “a moving target” as well. Technology developments impact our profession in often unexpected ways. Remember QR codes? They’re pretty much gone. The evolution of the smartphone left them behind. Consumers just didn’t warm to them.

Hashtags may be next. @LonesomeGhosts recently tweeted “Hashtags no longer serve their initial prupose, they are now pre-post feelings, afterthoughts, cheap marketing and terrible trend babble.” While I’m not sure that is entirely true, a recent hashtag campaign I directed measured by Radian6 actually showed more traditional forms of social engagement, old fashioned Facebook posts for instance, had a much more effective response rate with our key demographic. Did we have the wrong hashtag, or are hashtags over-used and potentially much less effective? I suspect shorter hashtags are the way to go, but don’t put all your digital eggs in that mobile basket.

In less than a decade, mobile marketing has shattered a lot of the best laid communications plans. Now, nearly 50% of all digital marketing dollars are spent reaching consumers on a mobile device. For years now, the majority of all e-mails have been opened on smart phones and mobile devices. That means if your e-mails are not designed with mobile platforms in mind, it may be a wasted effort.

The shift to mobile is so dramatic it has not only transformed the digital landscape—it’s changed the way we all live.

Now, you have to consider all platforms, and how media is consumed through multiple devices in multiple places. It’s also a 24/7 cycle because consumers are taking their mobile devices everywhere. They aren’t just setting at their Desktop 9 to 5.

Just a few short years ago, a viable solution was a mobile app—build a special app that works on iPhone (then Android) that puts a wrapper for a mobile browser experience behind your branded icon. As it turns out, in my experience, this is a strategy that only seems to work for hardcore fans, doesn’t win new customers and since the average person has 26 apps, the app strategy often gets lost in the cluttered environment on most smartphones. As the core applications on smartphones become more powerful and reliable, the also-ran brand apps typically don’t compete well. The majority of companies don’t need an app. Examples of ones that do, airlines (with all the gate and flight changes) and shopping apps that provide discounts and updates on delivery. Most companies are better advised to spend their money on fresh content and updating all digital properties design to better work with new browsers with mobile in mind, and also taking advantage of all available geolocator features (helping your customers find the brick and mortar locations we still need in the real world).

One of the interesting things about the mobile revolution is that consumers have figured out they are more anonymous on their devices. Desktops and laptops have cookies which allow marketers to track consumer preferences and even figure out identities—that’s not so on mobile device browsers for the most part. That’s why so many of these mobile sites want to verify who you are through Facebook.

It’s important to remember the constantly emerging new mobile strategies aren’t just a channel to deliver the same old content. Now you have to deal with true real-time interactivity as marketing moves faster than ever before. Fasten your seatbelts, the mobile ride is going to get even bumpier. Thoughts, questions, comments—contact me through your mobile devices.