Story: 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”:
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)