3-Mobile-Marketing-Best-PracticesThis year I’ve had the pleasure of attending several Institute for Social Search and Mobile Marketing (ISSMM) events around the country. ISSMM is a non-profit organization that provides educational programs for executives and marketers looking to hone their skills in the social media and mobile marketing arena.

Earlier in the year, I presented on the topic of delivering right-time experiences in mobile marketing. At the same event, Mr. Jeffrey Tucholski from AT&T’s Industry Solutions Practice presented on best practices in mobile marketing. Tucholski shared the following statistics on the consumer of the future:

  • In 2011, tablets outsold desktops and laptops combined
  • By 2015, 50 percent of U.S. mobile users will conduct mobile transactions from their mobile devices
  • Alternate (mobile) payment methods increased 10x over the last 12 months
  • Consumers between the ages of 8 to 18 years old spend an average of 1.5 hours a month sending text messages (over 3700 messages a user)

Tucholski said businesses should think of mobile as part of the overall marketing mix that can compliment other channels, such as print and television advertising. He offered the audience three best practice examples, which include:

1. “Target the masses and then personalize.”

A business needs to start by targeting the masses to learn what works and what doesn’t. With answers to these basic questions, a business can create more compelling campaigns that include personalization. For example, HyVee launched an SMS campaign targeted at all of their shoppers. The original campaign’s success factors were based on increasing awareness, driving weekday store traffic, and attracting a younger demographic.

HyVee later launched an iPhone and Android application allowing personalization for the consumer, including store maps and targeted promotions based on their shopping list. The applications also included gift card balances, pharmacy promotions, recipes, and other items. In the future, HyVee plans to use predictive analytics to continue to evolve and launch targeted offers.

2. “Be creative, but keep it short and simple.”

Hibbett launched an SMS campaign targeted at local sports camps. Their message was simple: Opt in and we will provide 20 percent off your next purchase. The simplicity of the campaign resulted in a total number of opt-ins that was ten times greater than the company had forecasted. The size of the purchase for coupon users was also 80 percent higher than those who shopped at the same time without a coupon. Hibbett recently acquired QR codes and plans to leverage existing partnerships with vendors and suppliers to promote marketing campaigns with the support of their suppliers.

3. Think across channels.

Tucholski described how a national retailer uses numerous channels to engage consumers, including interactive signage, QR Codes, RFID, and NFC. The retailer’s main goal is to drive consumers to the store for a better experience promoting more spend and viral marketing. The company achieved a 6 percent increase in sales year over year as a result of using mobile with other channels.

In closing, he reminded the audience that the online experience isn’t the mobile experience. A mobile application isn’t a mobile website. The tablet experience isn’t the mobile phone experience. From my perspective, this is the most important advice a business could receive.

Today, many mobile experiences are still being modeled after PC-based Web and application experiences. PC-based Web and application experiences were designed to offer deep menu navigation, while mobility-optimized systems should start as task oriented. Users typically want to access relevant information in one to two clicks on a mobile device, which means a company can’t simply port an existing website or application to a device. The content and the processes must be optimized for the screen size and new navigation features, such as touch and voice.

For example, people use tablets when they are stationary but use mobile phones while moving or stationary. This means many consumers use tablets as a shopping device, while smartphones are used to access pricing and inventory availability at the point of need.

As for my advice, I believe SMS and mobile websites are underutilized. Not every consumer wants to download an app, but all consumers with data plans can access a mobile website. There is no one-size-fits-all mobile marketing solution. Successful solutions will create simplicity for customers. Delivering simplicity will vary by the type of customer and what the customer is trying to do. In some cases, simplicity is an application with a store locator. In other cases, simplicity could be created by sending a coupon to a consumer’s phone via SMS. A company should designs its applications and marketing campaigns with an understanding of how mobile differs from the PC and how creating simplicity differs by customer type and action. If a business follows this path, it should have successful campaigns.

What is your biggest mobile marketing challenge? I’d love to hear about your successes and challenges.