The 4 C’s of Mobile Marketing

1126743_41600248Story: A local grocery store chain recently introduced a neat ‘scan-as-you-go’ service into their stores. You walk in, scan your customer card, grab a handheld scanner and a bunch of grocery bags, and off you go. You simply scan items and bag them while you shop. When you’re ready to check out, you ‘scan out’ at any register which promptly tallies your order, you pay, and done. Also while you shop, specials, coupons, and ads are constantly pushed to the scanner, which announces the arrival of each with a merry little ‘ding’.


Unfortunately, when I was trying out the service, the mobile coupons and offers being pushed had absolutely no relationship to where I was in the store at any given time and, as best as I could tell, no relation to my purchasing history (which I’d assume would be tracked via my customer card number). The end result was that I spent my time exploring the limited control functions on the scanner to see if I could ‘opt out’ and shop in peace, instead of spending my money on relevant deals that might have successfully driven demand.



The Take Away: The mobile marketing campaign idea was a fantastic one, and is similar enough to push-messaging campaigns targeting mobile phones through technologies like SMS and geo-awareness. But the actual execution fell far short of its potential on account of the mobile campaign not respecting my mobile space by not providing enough value to justify the (constant!) intrusion. This influenced me to not only ignore the offers, but it drove me to try to abandon the channel. Not good!


The Fix: Find balance through “the 4 C’s of Mobile Marketing”:

  1. Context
  2. Customize
  3. Content
  4. Control


Context (Who, Where, When): Have a window into who your customers are, where they are, and when they’re most likely to be thinking about you and so will find your messaging valuable and relevant. Mobile analytics is a fantastic tool for understanding mobile consumer context. But understanding buyer behavior through windows like best practices is also important.


For example, running an SMS campaign? SMS best practices dictate that messages should be sent between 11:30 AM and 4:00 PM. Why?

  • 11:30 to 12:00: lets you reach people as they start to think about their upcoming lunch plans. Important if your offer is something they could or would take advantage of during their lunch break. 
  • 12:00 to 1:00: a great timeframe to catch people when they’re not trying to focus on work or the usual chaos of their day.
  • 1:00 to 4:00: Afternoon SMS blasts are great if you’re promoting something that will occur on the following day. But after 4:00, you’re competing with rush hour and your audience’s evenings. Both are best avoided.


Customize the Message: Respect a mobile consumer’s mobile space by customizing the mobile messaging or offer to them and their communicated needs. You have immediate and direct access to them through their mobile devices, which means you’re walking a tightrope over a minefield. Customized, well targeted messaging gives you a safety net.


Content – Your Message Must Be Valuable: Your customers are not altruistic enough to want to give you their attention just because. They’re listening only for as long as it’s worth their while to do so. Plus, remember. You’re intruding. You’ve been invited to do so through their opting in to your SMS text marketing program or visiting your custom mobile website, but you’re still intruding. Assure that the interaction is a positive one by always (always!) building value into your messages. Include mobile coupons in your SMS blasts, offer exclusive deals on your custom mobile website. Make your audience feel good about having let you into their mobile lives, and they’ll be more willing to keep letting you in.


Control – Do Not Compete for It!: Do not try to take control of a consumer’s mobile space. Push messaging works, and it can work well. But mobile campaigns that rely on push messaging need to leave the mobile target in control of their mobile space by keeping the frequency down and the relevancy high. You can also help consumers maintain control by giving them a range of mobile options so they can choose how they want to interact with you on their terms. Custom mobile websites and QR code campaigns are two great examples of mobile marketing channels that can have incredible impact, while leaving mobile consumers in complete control of their mobile space. Instead of competing for control, focus on providing the best mobile experience that you can.


Also, be quick to reward mobile consumers when they take the actions that you want them to take.  Positive re-enforcement can go a long way in influencing how they exercise  control of their relationship with you. 


And, Done!: If you’re trying to drive more business through mobile, you’re a mobile marketer. Even if it’s just one more hat for an already crowded business owner’s head. The next step is to focus on being a successful mobile marketer. Follow the Path of Mobile Marketing’s Four C’s, and you’ll be off to a great start.


But if you need some expert help? Talk to us! MoFuse can help! (and we’re really friendly, too)

37 thoughts on “The 4 C’s of Mobile Marketing

  1. Hi Ted
    This is great! in this way we can easily make the business marketing grow, very informative and really help me in my Business Outsourcing Marketing.

  2. Awesome 4C’s , Mobile marketing is become more popular now a days and for promotion these 4 C’s will help a lot. Thanks for sharing with us.

  3. You remind me of 7 C’s of technical writing. But these 4 C’s are more knowledgeable that that. Really a good post to determine the importance of mobile marketing.

  4. I haven’t seen any customer – regardless where – looking onto phone ads, while walking, then heading into a shop and buying what he just saw on a mobile advertisement. This is what i call the mobile-advertising-gap-paradoxon.

    • The biggest advantage of mobile marketing is the potential to customize messaging and promotional offers tailored to each individual recepient (I say potential because we’re certainly not there yet!). But there’s no getting around the fact that if you push a message that isn’t relevant to a consumer, doesn’t meet an immediate need, or is viewed as an interruption, then there’s no way that you’re going to successfully influence that consumer – which I believe is what’s responsible for the ‘mobile advertising gap paradox’ that you define.

  5. I think that mobile marketing is still new enough that many don’t know how to properly utilize it. Don’t do it just for the sake of doing it! Gimmicks never work, or at least for very long. Look at QR codes. Useless, but everybody seems to want to include one even though many don’t know what it is or how to scan it. Not mention the time consuming proces of getting out your phone, downloading an App and then trying to get the shot just right enough so that it reads it. All this just to provide marginally better metric data.

    I like your 4 C’s and hope that more people take them into consideration next time they are planning campaigns or otherwise.


    • Thanks for weighing in, Peter! I completely agree that mobile marketing is still a very new frontier and one that’s quite different from any previously available marketing channel, including the ‘desktop internet’. On ‘gimmicks’, again I agree with you. QR codes are an interesting topic though, and one that opens a window into the topic of the U.S. being fairly late to the mobile game compared to Asia and Europe. QR codes can be remarkably effective and there’s incredibly strong adoption of them in Asia. But not so much in Europe or the U.S. (see:

      I again agree with you that due to an app being required, that’s a pretty significant barrier to adoption (it would be great if iOS and Android had QR code recognition built into their respective platforms so you really could just ‘point and shoot’). But it will be interesting to see the effect that emerging technologies like Google Glass (price point aside for the moment…) have on things like QR code adoption.

  6. I’m agree with u..
    Thanx for sharing the information with us..
    Ur article makes me understand more about mobile marketing..

    • By ‘SO’, you mean search engine optimization and/or management (aka ‘SEO’ or ‘SEM’)? Short answer: analytics.

      Long answer: With a mobile website for example, you would want to integrate SEO best practices and mobile marketing best practices to both help drive traffic to the mobile site and help the site rank (with local search rankings perhaps taking priority as far as a focus). Then you would look at at how many unique visitors the site has seen within a particular time period (one way to track how well SEO efforts are working), while looking at the total number of pageviews coupled with pageview rankings (one way to measure engagement). Also many mobile web platforms (including MoFuse’s) include additional analytics that allow marketers to track actions and behavior on the site (e.g. How many calls has the mobile site driven?).

      If other mobile marketing channels are being used such as SMS text marketing, mobile social campaigns, or QR code campaigns, each of those will have their own performance metrics that can then be compared to the performance information being generated by a mobile site. SMS text marketing performance, for example, would be measured by opt-ins, churn rate, and (if applicable) mobile coupon/offer redemption. You could then compare mobile website traffic and generated leads (via phone, contact form, etc) vs. an SMS distributed mobile coupon redemption. Opt-in rates would communicate reach and engagement, opt-outs would let one measure context and relevancy. Compare the SMS analytics to the mobile site analytics, in this case, and you can get a picture of which one ultimately is driving more customers.

  7. Thanks for your 4′C theory, very interesting, I will definitively use that.

  8. Mobile marketing is not only the future but the present. I am always marketing mobile even at work, haha. Ted your doing an awesome job bud keep up the good work. Now I just need to use your theory and take it to the next level.

  9. Tremendous 4C theory for mobile marketing. Behind every success there are some planing and theory. Its really good.

  10. Hello Ted you done good job. Awesome 4C’s mobile marketing post really the post is help to me and one thing i am confused what is different 4P’s and 4C’s ?

    • Product, Price, Place and Promotion. The ’4P’s are a cornerstone for any marketer. In a nutshell, it’s a mnemonic that translates into answering what and how are you prioritizing the development of which competitive advantages, which then drives alignment of your strategies and tactics.

  11. thanks for sharing the “4 C’s” theory..It will be useful when building a mobile marketing campaign

  12. Hit it right on the nose, we wear all kinds of hits when marketing. Mobile is becoming more and more of the tool used in my area, adopt to change is necessary.

  13. Hey Ted!

    Thanks for sharing your 4C’s in mo marketing! been seriously considering this and looks like… Im in! Well testing is in… lol Thanks for the informative resource!

Comments are closed.