What are the most common mistakes made when marketing to mobile users? Digital communications agency I-level has compiled data on mobile marketing, looking specifically at tactics that are both welcomed and rejected by end-users. These have been categorised into a list of ‘Seven Deadly Sins’ of mobile marketing.
Mobile platforms are no different from traditional channels. Users want to access information in a way that is clear, and intuitive. A mobile is much more than a simple voice communications device. Over 21 per cent of all mobile users in the UK access the Internet from a handset (source m:Metrics 2009). This equates to an audience of over 11 million people searching for information, accessing websites and engaging with content on a daily basis.
As a result it isn’t enough to simply operate in the space, marketers need to understand the space. What is the best way to enhance the user experience? What role do marketers want the mobile platform to play? What value does it drive from pre-click through to post-click? How does it combine with the overall strategic communications?
Below are examples of brands that have allowed their better judgement to be clouded over by the implementation of mobile campaigns, as well as those that have successfully complemented business objectives:
Envy – copycat techniques
‘Me-too’ applications or solutions that are developed based on a brief from a client wanting to better its competitor’s application. If you are looking to develop a mobile app, it needs to be for strategic as opposed to superficial reasons. A well thought out app is original, valuable and provides users with a reason to not just download but interact with it. Research shows that only 20 per cent of iPhone apps encourage repeat usage a day after download.
The Becks Gigfinder is an example of a successful campaign. Becks in partnership with Last.fm created an app that allows users to see all the gigs that are happening in their area, utilising smartphone GPS functionality and augmented reality.
Gluttony – following the fad
Brands sometimes find it difficult to resist the smorgasbord of opportunity available through mobile platforms. Just because you can try everything, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. Like any other media channel, it is important to understand why you are connecting with your audience and use the best approach.
The Zara iPhone app can be considered gluttonous. It is difficult to determine the purpose it serves, as there is no real product information available, store locator or option to add products to a wish list. Engagement with the brand and products is limited.
Greed – hidden costs
Just because you can charge for something doesn’t mean you should. Apps now allow you to offer paid-for updates but you need to deliver value to the user that can’t be attained from a free source. Transparency is key, as it is important to inform users of potential charges that will be incurred, even if it is at a later stage.
Lust – pretty, but useless
Someone accessing your site on a mobile has a different mindset from a desktop user. They have a different set of needs and users accessing the info from a mobile are probably searching for succinct information. It is important to consider the structure of your mobile site and incorporate all information that will add the most value on a small screen.
For example, a flash site laden with launch videos and photos aimed at lower capability handsets with PAYG reliance will alienate this audience as it has to spend all of its credit on the download of the page and its images.
Pride – do it my way
If you are going to do mobile or build an app, then take the time to do it right. An app should never be rushed to deliver a self imposed deadline. Creating value takes time, research and a lot of energy. The Guardian wasn’t the first paper to launch an app. It looked at the market, saw what others were doing and took the appropriate measures to ensure that when it did launch, it had the best app in the space. 70 thousand downloads suggests that the strategy was successful.
Sloth – no one likes the lazy friend
It has become commonplace for companies to request mobile numbers as a point of contact when users sign up to them. It is important to engage with customers shortly after they have signed up to your service. Alternatively you will waste the window of opportunity for communication on a sacred platform – mobiles are incredibly personal devices and the rules of engagement are a lot stricter.
Wrath – angering your audience isn’t a good idea
It is essential to respect the environment in which you are operating. The SMS inbox is still a highly protected and personal space. As the market matures and more users access their social media and email, via mobile, the barriers to the inbox will decrease.
Receiving text messages still evokes anticipation. Most people check their messages instantly because they expect it to be from a personal source with direct value to them. Mobile messages need to be relevant, include an ‘opt out’ tactic for the user, and not be designed to appear like spam.
People are happy to receive a message reminding them about personal appointments, but texting them at midnight regarding system updates isn’t an ideal form of engagement.
“Marketers should not be subjecting their audiences to the Seven Deadly Sins of mobile marketing,” said Oliver Newton, Head of Emerging Platforms, i-level. “Strategy is more important now than ever before, especially with the dynamism of the platforms that we have at our disposal. It is imperative to understand who you want to communicate with, where and how. Effective utilisation of mobile is the solution to this conundrum.”