By Alexander Gregori
Not so long ago marketers were excited at the prospects of a new tool: online marketing.
They could send out personalized emails directly to leads via email at almost no cost, create a store front of their business with websites, place banner ads on other websites , create newsletters and blogs.
Then the whole thing became more sophisticated with tools like Google AdWords, social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter and e-commerce.
Suddenly the whole world was connected and marketers had unleashed an animal. Not only did online marketing become actual work for which companies had to employ staff or a specialized agency, but now clients, customers and consumers could also praise or bash their brands, products and services.
This posed, and still poses, considerable challenges for marketers.
Enter from stage left: mobile marketing!
Oh my gosh. What is THAT? Another tool that seems to confuse more than be helpful.
Yet MORE work and yet another specialized discipline that has to be learned and mastered. Well, mobile has come a long way and clever marketers quickly understood that INTEGRATION is the keyword.
They supplemented their existing marketing tools with simple, yet effective mobile marketing tools to maximize the ROI of their marketing strategy and objectives.
Others were not so “lucky”. One of the mistakes made was the lumping together of online- and mobile marketing, based on the true but misleading fact that both are making use of the Internet.
Granted, a simple SMS campaign does not involve the Internet but if you want to run an integrated campaign, instead of wasting your bucks on creating databases with worthless cell phone numbers, the Internet comes into play, e.g. with mobisites and apps.
Well, the truth is: online- and mobile marketing are two different disciplines. They have different rules and objectives, and they both work best when they are integrated into an overall marketing strategy.
Imagine this scenario: a company has built a website and used newsletters to build an opt-in database with whom they communicate regularly. They are cutting edge, so they also have a LinkedIn group, Facebook page and Twitter account. Now they heard that SMS, or texting, is much more personal, that only 10% of SMS’s are spam (versus 90% of emails) and that 98% of SMS’s are opened and responded to within 60 minutes (versus 5% of emails).
So they decide to send SMS’s to use their opt-in database, for example to alert their leads of a new special. SMS’s only allow 160 characters, so they include a hyperlink to their website for more information.
First problem: clicking on a hyperlink to a website from a mobile phone will, for most phones, not display the website correctly. In fact, it will be so bad that it can be regarded as useless. Lead and potential sale lost!
So the company decides to build a mobisite, which would render properly on the mobile phones of users but a mobisite has different objectives to a website, so they get entangled in the intricacies of its function and design.
The result is a mobisite that works great technically (in some cases) but does not produce an acceptable ROI because it is not geared towards user expectations and preferences. In short: users are not using it!
The result is that this company takes the “informed” decision that mobile does not work for them.
Sadly, they are thus losing out on what is arguably the most exciting, cost effective and valuable communication tool since the invention of marketing. And it could all have been different if that company just understood that online and mobile are two different tools.
If I argue that mobile goes online then I point to the integration of these two marketing tools. Think of the millions of consumers who are using traditionally “online only” social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter from their mobile phones.
If you want to stay ahead of the pack you have to embrace this reality and offer your potential and existing customers the opportunity to remain in the mobile environment when they continue their dialogue with you by e.g. clicking through to your website.
To do this right requires professionals with the knowledge of both the online AND mobile environment (and a principle understanding of traditional media would’t hurt either). So don’t remain stuck with your traditional-, online-, or even digital agencies. Make sure you have someone on your team who understands mobile as well!
About the author
Alexander Gregori (BA) is a visionary, entrepreneur and mobile marketing specialist. As Mobile Marketing Winner$ team leader he is an internationally published author on mobile marketing and m-commerce and co-founder of the Thinking Mobile Conference Series.
His company is http://myMOBworld.com. Contact him on tel +27 (0)11 704 0937, fax +27 (0)86 503 6868, email firstname.lastname@example.org, skype alex.gregori, read his blog and connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.
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