Luncheon Recap: Effective Utilization of Mobile Marketing

The topic of our July Power Luncheon posed the question, “Why mobile?” And luckily for those who attended the event, Marcus Turner, Chief Technology Officer at Atomic Axis, and his guest Lauren Davis, founder and Principal at Alkali Marketing, were both ready and capable to inform the masses. Equipped with hard facts, knowledge of current trends and industry practices, as well as a concise list of to-dos, Mr. Turner spoke with an engaging enthusiasm about the potential that lay ahead for mobile marketers.

The presentation began with a proposed image of the typical American family, living under one roof, yet each person in their own world, clutching tightly their mobile device out of fear they might miss an email or a Facebook update. Our speaker was not necessarily making a comment on contemporary society but rather pointing out certain facts that every marketer should be well aware of. Facts like, “Today there are approximately 7 billion people on earth, 5.1 billion mobile devices and 4.2 billion toothbrushes.” This fact is quite interesting when you compare the last two numbers. He also quoted from research that “91% of smart phone users have their device within arm’s reach 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” That being said, there seems to be little reason to doubt the emerging potential of mobile marketing.

So (as a refresher) what is mobile marketing? Well, our speaker defined the term as “the use of mobile technology for promotional purposes.” Very general, I agree, but that was the purpose of the definition. Mobile marketing covers a broad spectrum of promotional activities that take place through mobile devices. For example: voicemails, emails, SMS, MMS, URLs, mobile apps, and most recently location-based services such as QR codes and Apple’s new Passbook app coming this fall. Without going too far into the advantages and disadvantages of each, our speaker did feel that there is significant potential for return on investment with location-based promotion. There will most assuredly be a pushback on the invasion-of-privacy issue, and as if already opposing the hypothetical argument, he stated:

“I walked into a McDonalds the other day and my phone gave me a coupon code for a hamburger. I got excited!”

That is to say most cutting-edge promotional practices can become controversial, depending on their level on intrusiveness, but then as time passes people simply grow accustomed to them; for example, re-targeting banner ads.

Also, it is very important to not only know your market, but to also know what you market’s mobile technology is capable of. Our speaker gave the example of BMW’s recent MMS campaign that yielded an impressive “30% conversion rate.” Knowing that the majority of their target market owned smart phones and were not the penny-pinching type worried about data usage, BMW sent out videos to their potential client’s phones hoping to showcase their product in a way that text just could not capture. BMW said it was “the most successful promotional campaign of their past five years.” The takeaway it seems is that with every advance in technology, you must be able to tailor-fit its application to meet your specific market’s behavior/needs.

And what would a luncheon recap be without the to-do list? Well, according to Mr. Turner there are six things that you, the marketer, should consider doing if you plan to take advantage of the opportunities within the mobile marketing landscape:

  1. Develop a Mobile Marketing Strategy
  2. Align Yourself with a Mobile Partner
  3. Embrace the Power of Social Media
  4. Use Mobile Analytics to Your Advantage
  5. Research Emerging Technologies & Trends
  6. And finally, Become a Mobile Marketing Guru

I would like to personally thank Marcus Turner and Lauren Davis for their time, as well as everyone who made it out to the Austin AMA July Luncheon. See you next month!