Rise Of The (Mobile) Machines
According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of adults in the U.S. now have mobile phones, and 77% of those are smartphones. The number of smartphone owners is even higher under the age of 50 (89% of those 30-49, and 94% of those 18-29). Unsurprisingly, browsing time per month on smartphones has also risen dramatically in the last few years. Mobile devices now claim more than 53% of the total internet usage, while desktops hold on at 46%.
Add into the mix the fact that Google, the undisputed heavyweight champion of information dissemination, is going all-in on the Android operating system (which it developed and owns). One big component of this investment is the Nearby Notifications capabilities on all new Androids.
Basically, the Nearby Notification function allows apps to transmit a Bluetooth notification beacon signal when a potential or known customer is nearby, using a form of proximity marketing that does not require a prior app installation. The ramifications are huge, allowing companies to direct people to company websites, launch webchats and otherwise direct potential buyers to nearby products where they can explore inventory options.
Flexing The Power Of Social Media
In the middle of changing technology and demographic shifts, social media is becoming more and more critical to marketing. Social media is a way for people to connect. It is a common understanding that people naturally want to align and interact with those they feel connected to in some way, be that shared values, interests, viewpoints or demographics. Social media users not only consume content online, they tell the world about it via likes, shares and comments. Other users see the buzz and make buying decisions based on those interactions.
From my perspective, one of the big reasons for this is that people like to do business with other people, not just companies. Like conversational marketing, which uses one-on-one conversations such as intelligent chatbots to capture leads by answering user questions, social media provides an interactive experience that can easily convert to increased sales. And social media usage on mobile devices is only increasing.
Organic Audience Segmentation
Even though businesses understand the implications of relationship marketing, many seem to be looking for the light switch in a dark room, unable to harness the power of social media to drive real-world sales. In most cases, I believe this is because they fail to create a useable ongoing strategy that applies to all available platforms.
Effective marketing to your mobile customers starts with consistent, high-quality content that lures in potential customers with compelling, high-quality graphics that do not hijack the user’s online experience. I’ve seen many companies — sizable ones — make the mistake of treating their mobile experience as an afterthought and suffer the consequences of their neglect. Mobile marketing is its own thing. It requires planning and a great deal of thought in order to be effective. Here are a few points to consider when devising a mobile marketing strategy:
• Make sure the hierarchy of content is in place so that you don’t miss out on relaying your message within the confines of a small screen.
• Be sure to utilize the tools available to you to drill down into your demographics so that you can provide relevant messages that genuinely connect to the community that is most likely to be interested in your products or services.
• Marketing must not only provide a consistent message, it must be consistently applied and scheduled. No different than traditional advertising, mobile users will need to see your brand more than once to form an opinion of it. Make sure your ads are available when your target audience is most likely to be online. It’s a basic principle of not throwing good money toward bad traffic.
• Marketing campaigns also need to be responsive, adapting to the feedback from customers to foster and support ongoing relationships. Gone are the days when you placed a double-truck ad on the yellow pages and hoped for the best. Today, with interactive feedback and performance reports, you are able to adjust, test and reiterate your ads on the fly. Take advantage of it and continually optimize your message to resonate with your consumers.
The takeaway from all of this is a simple fact that to connect, you must adapt. You must create an engaging conversation with the user, gather their feedback and respond with the appropriate changes to better serve them.