Mobile Marketing Summit 2010 in NYC September 2nd

Posted on September 7, 2010

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Preparing for the holidays. This was a content rich set of speakers and panels. I have been to so many events this year that I should know the difference between a good and a bad set of speakers! If you do go to several mobile summits or conferences, you see subtle shifts in current thinking of the ‘Mobile Group’ (participants, attendees, vendors, retailers, marketers).

One of the early shifts this year was the recognition that mobile strategies must have a foundation in texting and the mobile web, not just an APP approach. That APP’s have a specific use case and that should be understood before running  to build an APP and maybe missing a significant percentage of mobile customers.

At this first Mobile Marketing Summit there are two underlying themes that I took away from this day. First, that mobile marketing is slowly integrating into traditional marketing plans. when a company initiates a plan to go to market with a product, mobile is now a bona fide touch-point that has to be considered.

Where as many companies have, in the past, considered marketing through mobile as a ‘test’-  Lets get the ROI; lets see if this is really a channel to market to and through; many not realizing that they have been mobile marketing for some time through email campaigns (think of how many people read their emails on their phone. WOW- Mobile eMails are here?!).

This integration of mobile into marketing as part of the TV, Radio, in store signing, etc, will take some time, but will pay big dividends to those that keep steady at it. One thing is clear, and we heard this from Tom Davis at Kenneth Cole, that people are using mobile right now to shop stores and research products and ask each other questions, whether a company has a mobile presence or not- mobile phones give customers that ability right now. That means marketing efforts must recognize the need to reach out in the mobile space or risk losing sales.

The second takeaway is that the year of Mobile is now and not starting in mobile this very day is just a flawed strategy. Customers are ahead of companies with adoption of mobile into everyday lives and there is an expectation of customers that companies have a mobile presence, as about 20% of the people in the US are currently accessing the mobile web, not to mention text activity.

We all remember the 2009 Retail Holiday Season Shopper Study which found in December 2009 that  51 percent of shoppers overall  shoppers utilized their mobile phones for in-store shopping-related activities during the holiday season. How can anyone doing business in December 2010 not have mobile firmly embedded in their marketing and commerce strategy?

mCommerce is now just another channel of Commerce. the year of mobile is really here and now. I realize that some may disagree, but if your definition of a recognizable demographic is a third of the population, then you would have to conclude that the year of mobile is now.

This is not to say that the market has matured or that transactions have peaked, far from that- its simply a fact that mobile is big, very big and its getting bigger by the day.

This doesn’t mean that it is easy to canvas mobile as a integrated strategy, no it is quite difficult to really capitalize mobile customers, what with all the form factors, OS and carriers out there. But don’t confuse tactics with strategy. As John Vail from Pepsi Cola said- don’t just ‘check the box’ (meaning that you did something in mobile so that box is checked, what next, hmm something with social media- then I can check that as ‘done’).

Some of the simpler things to start with right now and for the holidays, would be text campaigns to acquire a larger opt in data base of customers for future use, maybe even coupled with a simple mobile web landing page that has a coupon attached with a unique code to help track. Low cost efforts that at least begin the engagement process- not just with the customer, but internally within the organization as well. Heck, even that same landing page with the opt in request built in and a simple offer tied to your current email campaign can be done cheaply.

There were many other nuggets of good solid practical things a company can do right now to move into the mobile space, there were many great ways for a company that has had some experience in mobile to expand.

In the end, I think that the most profound thing I heard was from ESPN’s John Zehr who indicated that ESPN’s mobile site eclipsed the internet site in uniques some months ago. Similar information came from the Weather Channels’ Cameron Clayton. What do these sites have in common? They have been working in the mobile space longer than about anyone. They are showing the rest of us where the trends for mobile usage are heading, and it looks like it could be a great holiday for mobile in 2010.

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Posted in: Mobile Marketing