Brand marketer: “We definitely need a mobile strategy for our brand”

CMO: “Of course we want a mobile strategy! But what does that mean? And what would it look like?”

Swrve: “Great! So tell us…what are your goals? What are your challenges? Which components of mobile marketing are most important to you?”

Brand marketer: “We definitely want to send push notifications to our customers. What else is there?”

That scenario is fairly common, especially during conversations with companies and brands that are new to mobile marketing. They envision a very compelling mobile strategy for their brand, but they struggle to describe or define it.

Their struggle is understandable. They haven’t engaged in mobile marketing before, so they’re not sure what’s possible or most effective. But they’re definitely aware that every moment they wait, they’re falling further behind on the mobile engagement stage.

Part 1: Build a Marketing Strategy That’s Powered by Mobile
At Swrve, we educate clients about the mobile environment first, and then build a strategy step-by-step to find the approach that works best for their brand, their customers, their budgets and their industry.

We also point out that crafting a mobile strategy involves a lot more than plugging together a few pieces of mobile functionality and calling it a “strategy.” Today, mobile marketing is and must be a critical component of a broader marketing vision that is increasingly reliant on the smartphone for engagement.

New data from comScore’s 2016 Mobile App Report documents a “surge in mobile activity.” Time spent with digital media in the U.S. has grown 50% since 2013, with smartphone apps now accounting for almost half of all digital media time. App usage, in fact, is responsible for 90% of the rise in digital media consumption.

The good news is that most brands entering mobile marketing for the first time –regardless of sector, product or brand – face universal challenges. As a result, they can benefit from common tactics that help them experience fairly quick results in the mobile environment. From then on, they can build and devise a more robust mobile strategy – more capabilities, and more targeted tactics to address specific challenges or goals.

Getting Started In Mobile Marketing

Even though they might have different solutions, common mobile marketing tasks include:

  • Onboarding: encouraging customers to download and become familiar with an app or engage with a mobile message
  • Activity: encouraging new users to stay active within an app once they’ve downloaded it
  • Engagement: encouraging continued, deeper and more frequent activity in the mobile environment
  • Transactions and revenues: getting users to transact and purchase with the app
  • Higher ratings: boosting satisfaction levels and app scores on Google Play and the iTunes store, as a way of seeding more downloads and activities
  • Improved customer service focused on continuous improvement and satisfaction
  • A robust feedback loop among users, the brand, marketers and app developers

Let’s take the example of a bank’s mobile app. After a customer downloads it, the initial challenge is activity – getting the customer to do something within the app. Early-stage mobile campaigns might focus on encouraging a customer to fill out a mortgage application or apply for a car loan within the app. A newly downloaded retail app might encourage new customers to redeem a mobile coupon during an upcoming in-store visit. A grocery app might offer a special buy-one-get-one-free promotion to a first-time user.

Part 2: Learning from the “Aha!” Moments of Mobile Marketing Expertise
Over time, as new-to-mobile marketers deploy more campaigns and experience results, they not only begin to understand mobile marketing at a higher level, they get better at it, too.

And with that experience often comes the “aha!” of mobile marketing – the realization that mobile is just one piece, one critical component, of the entire customer-to-brand marketing experience across all channels. Marketers begin to understand that the smartphone acts as a first, critical entry point for customers to experience a new brand – and it can connect them more deeply to the brand across email, in-store, online, social, mobile web and more.

Part 3: Capitalizing on the Newfound Ability to Measure & Track ROI

And what follows the “aha!” moment? The ever-elusive but always requested “ka-ching” of mobile marketing – actual metrics about mobile’s return on investment (ROI).

Mobile marketing really takes off when marketers have access to mobile data that ties specific activities to a specific monetary result – either a boost in revenues or a recognized saving. Infusing mobile behavioral data into other channels means that marketers are no longer blind to the customer journey. They can use mobile data to make email campaigns more relevant, social campaigns more personal, events more compelling, and so on down the marketing channel.

ROI is a capability all marketers crave, regardless of channel (and it’s a topic we’ll explore further in upcoming newsletters).

Start Seeding the Conversation Now
In time, the world will be mobile app-centric, and perhaps mobile-only, but it’s not there yet.

Until then, marketers should focus on “mobile-first” strategies that establish a connection and then continue conversations and interactions on other marketing channels in pursuit of even more robust ROI.

Today, every brand needs a mobile strategy. But more importantly, every brand needs a marketing strategy that places the right priority on mobile’s critical role in supporting all of the other channels and goals.

And that’s a conversation worth having.