Here’s something advertisers and agencies seem slow to understand: Mobile devices are not a way for brands to reach consumers; they’re a way for consumers to reach brands.
Consider that the mobile device — the smartphone especially — is a very private zone in a person’s life. They don’t necessarily want ads of any kind invading that personal space.
But the smartphone is wonderful tool for consumers to invade your space as a marketer. Via Internet searches, shopping apps, social media and conversations with friends, they do it whether you invite them or not.
So why not invite them?
Use Mobile To Invite Customers And Prospects
Customers and prospects can contact you via certain smartphone apps. The most-maligned is QR codes. I can’t think of any better example of consumer-UNfriendly QR codes than this photo from WTF QR Codes, which also sums up why I avoid them.
At the other end of the customer convenience spectrum is Messaging — SMS, MMS, P2P, and other emerging tools. Most of these are built in to a smartphone and very familiar, but there are also newer apps like Kik that would be handy reaching a younger audience.
There’s also social media, of course, but only invite people to “Follow Us On Twitter!” if there’s a darn good reason.
If you are extending an invitation to consumers at retail, it may be time to look again at NFC. Could it be coming back thanks to the iPhone 6? I’ve been bullish on NFC ever since my first project back in 2012, but it’s been traveling a stubbornly slow adoption curve.
Ask For An R.S.V.P.
Sorry to torture the “invitation” metaphor a bit, but using “R.S.V.P.” as an abbreviation, here are some principles to keep in mind:
- Response is the goal. You’re not going to rack up millions of “impressions” via Mobile (you might) but you may invite millions of customer interactions. In other words, the quality of your audience, not the quantity, is what matters. Think app dowloads, not ads served.
- Start with your consumer. When and where might they be looking for something useful, informative or entertaining? That’s your chance to engage. This Forrester video describes how American Airlines designed their mobile app around their customers’ travel experience.
- Voice must be …inviting. This past year during a radio interview, a local political candidate invited people to text him for more information — which I did, only to get an auto-reply asking for donations. Since when do you invite people over and then ask them to pay?
- Perpetuate the relationship. The old way of thinking is to stage a marketing or advertising event, but the kind of dialogue marketing both permits and requires today is a process, not an event. The beauty of Mobile is that consumers can reach brands — and brands can keep that conversation going.
Great headline, However I would disagree with the content,. QR Codes are a visible media from where a consumer can request more information. It is not pushed on a consumer silently popping up on their mobile phone like a sneek in the night. It is a clear request from the user who knows the response will be good content, images, more information, video and call to action contact and if that is not what you get scanning a QR Code you need to scan some more.
Paul, thanks for commenting. I do agree with your comment that QR codes are not “pushed” on the consumer — in fact it’s the opposite, the consumer has to go out of their way to use a QR code to respond. But that’s my issue with QR codes — they require far too much effort for the consumer to respond. One GREAT medium for QR codes: Printed media, like magazine ads or direct mail letters. In a relaxed reading environment, consumers have ample time to respond.