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In case you missed it, recently published mobile marketing statistics raised some eyebrows around our industry. Here they are: 

  • The majority (66%) of consumers have received a text message or mobile alert from a company or brand within the last six months, but fewer than half (45%) found that message to be useful.
  • Of that 55% “not useful” group, 52% found messages to be intrusive or spammy, 46% said the message was not relevant to their interests and 33% said the message didn’t offer any value.

I always get a kick out of the headlines when these types of perspectives come out. Attention grabbers like “mobile alerts aren’t useful,” or “mobile delivers the wrong message” are useful to for just that: grabbing attention.

For those marketers, however, that want to understand the key takeaways behind these findings, here’s what I would say:

1) Find Strong Mobile Providers

I can’t stress enough this enough: companies looking to do mobile have to work with providers (here’s a free PDF guide to vetting mobile vendors) that do the following:

  • Focus on mobile messaging. There are some mobile marketing companies that get caught up in the hype. They lose themselves trying to do too much, whether running mobile advertising campaigns, building mobile apps, acting as design shops – whatever. Mobile messaging technology is not a cake walk. You need a provider that grasps the nuances of industry necessities like compliance, throughput, session management and CRM. To use an analogy, think back to your college student days. How many classes could you have realistically taken while still cranking out a high GPA? Those that try to do mobile messaging with a ton of other stuff on top just cannot sustain the required (at least in the enterprise space) 4.0.
  • Build a foundation from data. To reiterate, providers that solely push flashy campaign features miss the mark. In mobile marketing and messaging, you cannot be a jack of all trades, master of none. Data, as it relates to segmentation, targeting and personalization, has to be a core competence for a vendor and company to execute successful mobile campaigns.

The benefit of working with effective mobile messaging providers is significant. Strong providers create value by executing metrics like redemption, unsubscribe and open rates far beyond other channels. Weaker ones introduce the risk of alienating consumers and forfeiting profits. Simple as that.

2) Understand That Mobile Is a Consumer’s Most Personal Device

The degree to which mobile infiltrates the consumer experience cannot be overstated. Perhaps because we all have a similarly intimate connection to our mobile, we forget the ramifications this relationship has on marketers’ responsibility to consumers. Remember these two points:

  • With great power comes great responsibility. See our recent “Data Show” analysis to review the hard data (and appropriate citation to Uncle Ben), but marketers have to understand that a mobile device’s personal nature makes it extremely sensitive to (let’s call it) “bad” content. Mobile, though similar, cannot be treated exactly like its email or direct mail predecessors. A certain degree of care has to be a part of marketers’ outreach strategy, with personalization and targeting holding beyond prominent importance.
  • Customer Lifetime Value. These three words should be the main focus of every mobile marketer’s OKR. By acquiring mobile customers, marketers have direct access to loyal brand advocates with 3-10X the lifetime value. Capturing this value, however, comes down to executing outreach with a long term view. Marketers that adopt mobile for short term wins will lose out exactly as you might expect for an ultra-personal device.

By working with strong providers and grasping mobile’s personal nature, marketers’ customers will immediately see utility in mobile messaging. This demand is the reason that the messaging industry as a whole has demonstrated consistent list growth and ongoing investment with minuscule YOY churn. When you consider everything in messaging right now, whether rapid SMS/MMS growth, investment in mobile by all ESP/CRMs, explosion of Push in last three years or the introduction of beacon-based messaging programs, I have to imagine that marketers will figure this all out sooner rather than later.

Any other takeaways you noticed? Please post them to the comments.

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