Mobile marketing is the act of targeting customers through their mobile devices. This is an important channel for marketers to pursue because mobile usage has recently surpassed desktop usage. Consumers currently use their smartphones to do research: they’re “show-rooming” at department stores to compare prices and they’re looking up local businesses while they’re on the go. Everything is being done in real time to yield the best money and time saving opportunities. Considering the importance consumers place on their mobile devices, marketers should see the value in utilizing this channel to enhance brand awareness and grow their market share.
Mobile is becoming one of the most direct and easiest ways to reach out to consumers. The majority of smartphone users are within reach of their devices 24/7. With the surge of mobile usage, marketers have the opportunity to appeal to broader audiences in a more cost effective manner. Mobile marketing can also help companies gain new customers, get existing buyers to return more often, and improve profit margins. It is a good channel that has the power to differentiate brands and improve ROI (return on investment). Overall, mobile offers marketers a way to simplify mass communication to a broader audience than traditional marketing channels.
There are some downsides to using mobile marketing. The biggest issue facing marketers is privacy issues. Marketers need to make sure that they obtain consent to advertise (email, SMS, etc.) to consumers as well as logging their stats. How often and when should marketers contact consumers? These questions should be carefully evaluated on the mobile platform because “spamming” people can develop negative sentiments towards a brand. Also, mobile can be a hard channel to make user friendly. Navigating on smaller screens can be a headache for some consumers. Marketers need to make sure to go the extra mile to make their mobile sites friendly for all devices. Even though there are some hoops to jump through, the pros of mobile marketing far outweigh the cons.
An example of a business doing a successful job with their mobile marketing is Redbox. Their red kiosk boxes provide movie rentals to consumers at various locations (generally local supermarkets and fast-food restaurants). Redbox runs a couple campaigns but they do a good job with mobile SMS. The company asks consumers to opt-in to receive text messages from them. After accepting, Redbox sends personalized SMS messages to users. The information shared varies from new releases to promotional offers. Redbox also attempts to gain an idea about their customer base by requesting demographic information (asking for time zone, zip code, etc.). The company can track customer interaction by logging the usage of promotional codes. Redbox also has an email club, however, the SMS campaign gives customers an immediate call to action, which encourages customers to spend more money and rent more often. SMS messaging is a great way to target all mobile consumers, not just those with smartphones. Because of this, I think that any company looking to improve their marketing ROI should experiment with an SMS mobile campaign.