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Archive for April, 2011

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michael.buffa
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Marketing for Mobile: We’ve Got the Whole World in Our Hands

Monday, April 11th, 2011

I think advertising professionals have been proclaiming every year for the past five years as the year of mobile. I guess it was just safe to assume that at some point, technology would catch up with itself, and there would finally be a platform to reach consumers on the go. It’s probably not much different than the traditional television and radio days when advertisers looked onward towards the Internet as the newest way to connect and communicate with consumers.

I think it might be safe to assume that we’ve finally reached a point when marketing through a mobile platform could really make a difference. I still don’t think this is the year of mobile, but I think it’s kind of like the advent of mobile, an assurance that there’s major activity to come. My main reason for this assumption is Apple. With the iPod, the iPhone, and now the iPad 1 and 2, I think it’s safe to say the industry is becoming less and less early adopter and more and more casual consumer. Everyone has or wants one of these products, and those that don’t will want one in the next one or two years.

It’s been reported that brands spent 80% more on mobile ads in 2010 than in 2009. I’d imagine that this stat was similar in previous years. Most likely this change is due to new ad networks that offer more interactive ad buys like Apple’s iAd and Google’s AdMob. I’d imagine another reason might be the growth of smartphone usage over the past few years and the forecasts from Morgan Stanley stating that in 2012, smartphones will outsell personal computers.*

I think one barrier to entry in the mobile space is what type of content a brand should create. Should they create a replica of their Web site optimized for mobile, a geo-location platform to identify the nearest branch, or create a custom app that makes the product or service fun to play with? Then, there’s always the option of traditional banner ads that appear on mobile-friendly sites. The important thing to note is that anything and everything can now be optimized for mobile. Not only that, it can be optimized per platform, per user, per device to create an experience that will extend the reach of any integrated campaign into the hands of core consumers on the go.

I think Whole Foods provides a perfect example of a brand exploring the mobile space. Take their Market Missions iPhone app for instance. It’s an app that challenges shoppers to expand their palates by exploring a range of nutrient-dense foods. It allows users to earn badges through interactive, in-store missions and get simple, practical advice on shopping and cooking. Also, they’ve got the Market Recipes app, which allows users to build grocery lists, filter foods by category, or even create a dinner menu with the one or two ingredients you have at your disposal. They could’ve opted for a mobile couponing system, mobile banner ads, or a Foursquare-based promotion (they have in the past), but they went with specific apps for specific platforms for specific people and have seen success in both.

As the world gets more and more mobile, it’s important to start asking the question- could consumers do more with my brand in their hands? Chances are, the answers yes. The tough part is deciding what to provide and when to provide it. If I were you, I’d get in at the ground level. It may not be the year of mobile, but I don’t think we’ve ever been closer than we are now.

* Data taken from the 2011 Engauge Digital Report.

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