I recently attended the Marketing Executives Network Group (MENG)’s first-ever M3 Virtual Summit on mobile and location-based marketing, featuring top thinkers in mobile and communications. As a MENG member, I offered to help with the PR efforts, but when I walked away (or left my desk and took off my headset), I realized small businesses must stop and take action now, or they will be always be playing catch-up.
With limited budgets, it’s important to stop and think about what short term actions can be integrated into your existing marketing plan. Here are my top takeaways from the event:
1. We truly are an increasingly mobile driven society.
People are more reliant on digital communication solutions. There are now more mobile phone subscribers in the world (2.4 billion) than landline phone subscribers. The mobile phone is becoming a primary means of communication, not only for voice but also for digital services, email, and photos.
According to the Mobile Marketing Association, over 350 billion text messages, also known as SMS messages, are exchanged across the world’s mobile networks every month, with over 15 percent of these messages, according to the Yankee Group, being classified as commercial, or marketing, messages. At home, consumers spend 10 percent more time on their phones than compared to last year.
Mark Donovan, a leading expert on mobile media and the head off comScore’s mobile product and marketing efforts, spoke about the industry and customer habits. His passion about the topic energized me to really think about how all businesses need to stop and think about their customers and spending habits.
2. Mobile marketing is indispensible to your marketing mix
With 72 percent of those with mobile phones using their phones to consume other media, marketers and business owners would be foolish not to think about how they can use mobile marketing. Think about it—do you use your phone to read, watch TV, play games, listen to music, see your location, find a store, and surf the web? If so, then so are your customers.
When speaking with Patrick Meyer, partner and CMO of Thinaire and author of Steve Jobs & the World of Mobile, about his presentation, “Shift Your Game: Mobile, Social, E-tail!” he reinforced the importance for all businesses to be in the game. “Having a mobile-ready website is not expensive and but it is imperative this market,” he stressed to me. You can’t afford not to think about this. Make baby steps—evaluate your current marketing and sales materials and see how they look on a mobile device and what can be leveraged. Is your website ready? Are you on Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter, and do you have a detailed strategy?
3. Location, location, location
As Claudio Schapsis, Chief Georilla Officer at Georillas Location-Based Marketing and fellow MENG member emphasized, “Location-based marketing (LBM) takes mobile marketing and advertising a step further by enhancing the relevance of the message. It is essential for marketers to connect the ‘who and what’ with the ‘when and where’.”
As Claudio spoke of ‘geofences’ and how businesses begin to geo-target their customers, I realized this was also true of B2B businesses. I am always advising my clients to be “Target Advocates” and asking them to look at their customers and their actions and interactions. Mobile marketing reinforces how crucial it is to reach your audience at the right time and place to build brand engagement and consumer relationships. In Claudio’s presentation, he spoke of how LBM ensures that the message is delivered at the right place at the right time, increasing the message’s relevance and effectiveness. One example given showed that 49 percent of the people who saw a digital advertisement went to the store to make an unplanned purchase.
As you begin to think about your mobile marketing program and how ‘geofences’ work within your business, ask yourself what exclusive information, data or promotion can you offer?
4. Privacy is not just a link at the bottom of your website
Bryan Jones of Collider Media’s “Mobile Privacy and Advocacy: Building a Better Solution in the Mobile Ecosystem” presentation reinforced the important responsibility marketers have when companies engage their customers with mobile marketing.
In regard to privacy:
- Keep your eyes open—don’t assume privacy does not apply to you.
- Pay attention to your industry’s privacy practices and policies. The Mobile Marketing Association has great resources.
- Marketing to children just got even trickier so know the COPPA laws (Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act).
As you can see, the M3Summit gave me and my clients a lot to work on. I hope it helps with your business as well.
Beth Silver is the managing director of Doubet Consulting LLC. Doubet Consulting identifies, creates, and implements realistic and tangible solutions for small businesses. For more information, please visit doubetllc.com.