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At this morning's BMA Chicago Social Media Roundtable Part 3, mobile marketing stole the show. It's no doubt that mobile marketing is becoming a valuable tool, but I realized just how valuable and how important this space is to the future of marketing and engaging with your customers.
Ray Villares, from Symmetri Marketing Group, pointed out some interesting stats about mediums and marketing. In short, the marketing channels that are most successful are the channels that can take advantage of and leverage the intimacy of engagement. The more intimate the engagement between a brand and the consumer, the more successful that outreach will be.
Ray pointed out that broken down to pure hours of the day spent utilizing various channels, mobile is leading the charge for being the most intimate space to engage (followed, of course, by the personal computer).
His data showed that people are spending as much (if not more) as 15 hours per day on their mobile devices. That is not to say they are sitting there staring at their iPhone or Blackberry for 15 straight hours. Rather that the mobile device is always with them and becoming the main hub of information. How many times has a topic come up in conversation that you immediately realized you could Google from your smartphone to find out more information? On Monday I was watching football and wanted to know the last time a team was as bad as the Cleveland Browns have been this season. By pulling out my Blackberry and Googleing it, I quickly found out it was the 1933-34 Cincinnati Reds, who played just 8 games in the 1934 season because they were so awful and folded.
So why is it that mobile devices are taking the world by storm and how can marketers, PR professionals and small business owners harness the power of the mobile device for business results?
The first part of that question is definitely the easiest to answer. Mobile devices not only allow access to all of the elements and touch-points available on a desktop computer (search engines, e-mail, social media, etc.), but they even add more places to engage and more tools for gathering information that a computer simply cannot contain. Take apps for example.
One product I was introduced to this morning - mainly because I'm not an iPhone user - is Yelp Monocle. Yelp Monocle presents augmented reality on the iPhone so that users can simply point their camera to the world around them and the Yelp app will display reviews of restaurants they are looking at in real-time.
People using smartphones and mobile devices to obtain information is nothing new, but rather how they use it is what's changing. As new technology emerges, getting yourself into that space becomes increasingly important. So important, in fact, that Ray said in the next 12 months every organization will need a mobile optimized Web site. But beyond just mobile optimized Web sites, mobile optimized landing pages so the customer gets immediate value from going to the page and the core messaging you want to achieve is visible and upfront immediately.
But wait a minute...
We've all been preaching this social space and content-creation (content is king, after all) and everyone's running to their computers to get information. Many businesses have just started to discover how to use search, how to blog well, how to engage in the social space. Now we need to understand mobile too?
Fear not! The power of mobile may be great, but the difficulty in utilizing this space is not. Core marketing principles still apply to your mobile strategy and delivering on the brand promise is still crucial to success. I anticipate one of the biggest hurdles for many folks trying to engage in mobile is understanding what mobile engagement is.
I have found myself looking at mobile as a completely separate channel and therefore in need of a completely separate strategy for marketing and engaging. In some cases, that is true. However, what is shared on mobile and the information people are seeking is not much different from what they are already looking for, already reading, and already utilizing in channels we have become comfortable with. I mentioned Googleing from my Blackberry, there is absolutely no difference in how I Google from my Blackberry versus my computer. It's the same practice, on a different machine with a smaller screen.
So get over this hump! You can be in the mobile space right now. Your business and your brand can take advantage of opportunities already available before even worrying about optimizing. Ray said it best this morning when he said you can optimize your Web site in 12 months, but you can purchase advertising and have your brand in this space in 12 hours.
Some things to consider... Start thinking about how well your site looks in the mobile space. Maybe it will do better as an app and the development of something like can add value. Even though the iPhone app is becoming a beaten-to-death buzz word, an app is not always the answer. Some minor tweaks to your Web site (i.e. getting rid of Flash because most smartphones don't decipher and display it well) can get your brand ready to be a key player and an industry leader in mobile. To get started, simply set one goal. Set a deadline for when you will get this done in the next year and start by optimizing your Web site. Even though tools like SideWiki are having some negative impact on the amount of control you have over what's going on around the Internet, you still have the most control over your own dot com. So get that up to snuff.
And if the budgets are tight and the technology is lacking to get your site optimized, start looking at opportunities already available you can leverage for your brand. People are searching on mobile devices - so take advantage of search engine optimization. People are Tweeting and Facebooking on mobile devices, build out these channels for your brand. Strength in areas that have become commonplace to the personal computer can help you stand apart in the mobile space, and frankly that's something everyone can start doing today.