What happened to the “Year of Mobile”?
I get a near uncontrollable urge to punch someone when I hear this question. Certainly, mobile has “made it” and yet curiously, even now, despite all the justifying signs, brands still underinvest dramatically.
Before I go any further and elicit grumbles from those who have nothing better to do, “Mobile” to my mind is any device which is not tied down to a fixed location and as well as smartphones also includes wearables, tablets, phablets and any other w*nky terminology coined by someone on the West Coast.
My chums at Ipsos MORI have come up with two compelling and light-hearted facts which demonstrate the significance of mobile:
- One in three adults would rather give up sex than their smartphone
- Two in three adults would rather give up alcohol (I suspect that their sample group did not include many people in the agency space).
Despite this, the painful truth is that most brands are out of their comfort zone and don’t devote the attention or necessary budgets to maximise their opportunities in this burgeoning space. A final stat which the industry rolls out on a depressingly frequent basis is the Mary Meeker Media Consumption versus Advertising spend graph. The annual launch of her research is greeted with the same level of anticipation by hardcore mobile fans as the new football season, the glorious 12th for grouse lovers or the next launch date of any “i” product for Apple fans. Mary’s chart shows the disconnect between time spent consuming different media-types and budgets devoted to them.The two biggest anomalies are print media which consumes 19% of budgets invested against only 5% of time spent consuming it, and mobile media where budgets barely reach 4% despite 20% of media consumption now being on a mobile device.
What to do?
At the risk of stating the bleeding obvious, how about following tried and tested traditional business disciplines? By this, I mean go back to basics by working out what the customer wants and what you are trying to achieve. Then work out the channels and tools which are most appropriate for your audience.
Depending on your industry, you probably need to consider this non-exhaustive list:
- How does your audience engage with you at present?
- What percentage of visits to your website are from a mobile device?
- Is your mobile offering location-aware? (if I am out and about and want to know my nearest store for a specific product, then mobile can be a great help. If I am standing in the store, then I want my device to recognise this and turn into a store guide.)
- What are the key answers that a customer is looking for or problems they are trying to solve when they come to your site?
Without a doubt this will help you realise that mobile should be sitting at the heart of your marcomms strategy. You might even be one of the enlightened few (step forward and take a bow, Facebook, Google and House of Fraser amongst others) by adopting a “Mobile First” strategy.
Right, you’re getting there. However, do not, under any circumstances, fall for the evil seductress that is “sexy technology” or the “shiny new toy” unless there is both a compelling reason to do so (maybe winning awards is your only KPI?) and you have got your basic strategies and offerings in place. In the good old days (no more than two years ago!) mobile users were forgiving if they had a bad experience on their device. Not so anymore. Research shows consumers are more likely to go to a competitor brand if they are subjected to a rubbish time on their mobile.
Whilst an app, Bluetooth, QR code or Augmented Reality or iBeacons might be the right way for you to go – sort out the basics first and ensure that your core customers have a delightful experience, and remember that research shows that every pound spent on mobile, delivers a disproportionately higher bang for your buck than other channels.
Alex is co-founder and Chairman of Sponge and WiForia (the in-store engagement company) – and is former Chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association. Alex also tutors at The Mobile Academy. You can catch his and other expert tutor sessions on our next academy starting 30th September.