By Babak Zafarnia
A recent study predicts that by 2015, more than half of all mobile phones will integrate some form of browser. Whether we want it or not, mobile marketing is beaming our way.
Still, getting web-capable phones into people’s hands isn’t enough to engage future customers and loyalists. A smart marketing strategy always requires intriguing and informative content. Even if mobile phones might read our minds one day, marketing content must be fresh and witty. For a business to beat the competition, its mobile marketing efforts must be part of a comprehensive publicity strategy.
Smart social media tactics always feed into a greater public relations campaign, but an increase in raw numbers – e.g., fans, followers, mayors, etc. – does not equal publicity success. Right now, location-based activity is all the rage in mobile marketing, but having scores of people “check in” at your business means little if this engagement isn’t harnessed effectively.
That’s why the most effective social media strategies cultivate customer engagement. Ask yourself, are your mobile ad viewers having an experience through the brand interaction, or merely being hammered over the head with a random 5% off coupon? Do your company’s communications platforms deliver consistent messaging so your mobile ads aren’t saying one thing, while your banner ads say something different? If you see the wisdom in treating mobile marketing as part of a publicity campaign and not just a one-off stunt, are you taking the extra step to publicize your business as an industry trend-setter in marketing practices? Are you reaching out beyond your customers and engaging trade and tech press about your exciting promotional efforts, giving your business another bite at the apple?
In such a strategic marketing approach, content trumps everything. Effective mobile marketing must integrate easily accessible information about your business, the product, your CSR efforts, and anything else that will persuade the consumer. Again, think past the “scan-here-for-free-cupcake” QR code – for example, have your mobile ad communicate how your restaurant ingredients are harvested from the local eco-friendly vegetable co-op.
Let’s not forget relevant privacy issues, as this area remains the big unknown. Everyone loves information and feeling connected, but also covets privacy – so what will your business do if there’s a sudden backlash against your marketing efforts?
Innovation in mobile marketing technology is great, but the real leaps will come from social media strategies that allow flexibility in messaging as consumer interests evolve. To have such capability, consider whether your mobile marketing tactic will continue to be the “next big thing” in 5 years? What about 6 months? The cyber-graveyard is littered with closed-system ideas and other “must-haves” that even a casual mobile enthusiast would laugh at today.
These are just some mobile marketing considerations to weigh. Remember, no matter the new mobile or social media technology, content will always be king.
Babak Zafarnia is the founder and President of Praecere Public Relations, headquartered in Washington, DC. He has counseled foreign governments, Fortune 100 companies, Members of Congress, global NGOs, and widely known brand products/services on cutting-edge publicity tactics and strategies. Praecere specializes in branding, digital strategies, public affairs, CSR, crisis management, and media training.
Curated by Deepak Gupta.