Lesson 6: Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is the newest discipline of the OMCA test. It covers the terminology, regulations, and types of campaigns. Most likely, as a mobile user, you will recognize much of the content, but now, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes tour of how marketers view this technology. Mobile marketing covers any multichannel technique to reach audiences, specifically on a hand-held mobile or connected device. Devices include full feature phones which have limited capabilities and only basic multimedia and internet; smartphones; tablets; wearables such as fitness bands, smart watches, and eyeglasses; and game consoles. To understand the primary terminology in mobile marketing, you first need to know about the primary operating systems of mobile devices. Most smartphones run the Android operating system, which was developed by Google. Apple devices run iOS. The goal of companies is to have users download their apps. App is short for application. It is software designed to run on a mobile device. Apps allow a company to interact directly with users through their personal device instead of a website. To create apps, software developers use an SDK, or Software Development Kit. This is the building block to create simple apps within minutes and even has the options for more complex and customized apps. The benefits of mobile marketing are extensive. First is the immediacy of mobile. Mobile messages and notifications are sent right away. There is no waiting for a user to see a message in a feed or open an email. Next, sending marketing messages on mobile is highly affordable. The costs are significantly low because most messages are text based or simple notifications. And then the deliverability of mobile is nearly guaranteed all over the world. Unlike other marketing, mobile is direct and doesn’t go through gateways or third-party filters. This allows messages to reach users wherever they are, and they do not need to be on a computer or near a TV. Also, the response rate of mobile marketing is higher than other types of campaigns, most likely because of its benefits of personalization and immediacy. And since the messages are usually based on specific factors such as location or recent actions, they’re more relevant. Another distinct benefit of mobile marketing is the interactivity of campaigns. They can integrate with other features of customers’ devices like cameras, maps, and browsers. They can also provide two-way communications. Finally, there’s integration. Mobile marketing not only integrates with other features of mobile devices, it also integrates with other marketing channels. Email, video, websites, social can all be integrated with a mobile-specific delivery or campaign. In fact, mobile users spend more time on social media than desktop users so it’s a natural fit. So you see, mobile marketing is highly personal and interactive. Perhaps no other device is so close to people as their smartphone.

Mobile is most powerful when it provides intuitive and usable engagements that makes our lives easier. A friend recently invited me to a basketball game. In the past he would have given me a paper ticket, which I’d have to remember on game day. This time I got a text message with a link for me to download the ticket app, create an account, and opt in for messages. Of course, my ticket was a QR code. A QR code is a machine-readable barcode that contains encoded information. In this case it contained my name, the game, the date, and seat assignment, which would be added to a database confirming my attendance and time of check-in. During the game, I received app notifications about scores, updates, and food discounts. Then I got an offer to purchase tickets to upcoming games. You see, with paper tickets no one knows who used the ticket. Companies know who buys but not who resells. With digital tickets, they can track who buys and who uses the ticket, and if it was resold or given away. This lets teams find new customers. In this way, mobile enables a better fan experience. Also, there’s more data for businesses to market better and more effeciently. In another instance my daughter was shopping at one of her favorite stores. She saw a promotional offer to install the retailer’s app and receive a discount. She downloaded it, created her account, and received the discount. Later, while driving through the area, she received a promotion from the app. This was generated from a beacon. Beacons are programmed to send a message to nearby users who have the app installed. The retailer was engaging her by using location-based services based on the GPS location of her phone in order to send relevant messages. The goal was to drive her back to the nearest store to act on the promotions. From the retailer’s perspective they not only got the sale but a new mobile user, data from the transaction, and a more loyal customer. It’s a fact that mobile account holders spend more than the average customer. Finally, on a recent trip to China I experienced amazing mobile payment technology. I was already familiar with mobile payments such as Apple Pay. The generic term is called the mobile wallet. It stores your credit card in order to pay with your phone. Paying with this method uses near-field communication, NFC, and requires thumbprint authorization. In China, people use WeChat, the world’s most popular app. It does everything: text, find cabs, use bikes, get library books, pay for takeout, and pay anyone anywhere. After eating lunch, the server brought of a tablet with a QR code. It encoded the restaurant’s information, bank account, and total charges for our lunch. My friend opened WeChat, scanned the code, and approved payment from her bank. With lightning-fast transactions, which made everything more efficient, this mobile app provides real-time transaction data and easy business services to small retailers. Everyday scenarios like these show the integral ways that mobile marketing is engaging us. By getting new users to install apps or create accounts, retailers, restaurants, and businesses can create engaging events that make life easier and faster.

Getting text updates for shipping is a game changer. Recently, I bought a gift for my wife. And since it was kind of expensive, I opted for tracking and updates. A few days later, I received a text message informing me of the estimated day and time of delivery. Then, the next text notified me moments after the package was delivered. I didn’t have to worry about anything. Of course, because the opt-in is such a critical feature, opting out is just as critical, and it must be easy for users to opt-out of messaging. Usually, the opt-in confirmation will contain instructions for the opt-out. This is done by texting words such as stop, unsubscribe, cancel, or end. Regardless, I can’t imagine life without these SMS messages. SMS stands for Short Message Service. We just know them as texts, but they are the most effective method of sending messages. Text messages are read by everyone, immediately. No other channel has that kind of speedy response. SMS messaging campaigns can be offers, shipping updates, notifications, or links to other content, like videos or articles. The keys to an SMS campaign revolve around permission based opt-ins. One way is to provide your number on a website or in-store, and agree to have updates. Another way is to use a mobile shortcode. A shortcode is a four to six digit number that is used as a receiving address, or a number to subscribe to messages. These shortcodes can be used on TV ads, magazine ads, in-store displays, anywhere that people can simply text a message to that number and opt-in to messaging. You could also segment offers to people that are within a specific geographic area. This is called geofencing, and it allows you to target messages based on location. An extension of SMS is MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service. SMS messaging is limited to 160 bytes. MMS is made possible by higher speed mobile networks, and allows for multimedia to be sent. This ranges from photos and video to formatted messages, like webpages, maps, and contact cards. Basically, if you can send pictures, you’re using MMS. Now the alternative to messaging is using an app to push notifications. You can push a message to people who have your app installed. The app doesn’t have to be open, and users are immediately alerted. This is called in-app messaging. That little notification alert gets people’s attention, and they respond. As you can imagine, messaging people is highly personal. There are laws and regulations to protect the consumer, and misuse can result in heavy fines. A great resource for policies and guidelines is the Mobile Marketing Association. The rules of mobile marketing are simple. The first rule is to send to opt-in customers only. Never send to unsubscribed users. Second, let users opt-out easily. Third, disclose who you are, and what you are selling. Of course, with any of these messaging options, what you send has to be important and valuable. Otherwise people will unsubscribe or delete your app, as users have very little patience.

Did you know that 1/3 of all mobile searches are related to location? Also, nearly 2/3 of smartphone users are more likely to purchase from companies whose mobile sites or apps customize information to their location. These stats from Google provide compelling reasons for companies to design for their mobile users. Recently, Google announced that websites that are not mobile-friendly would not show up in mobile search results, which is about 60% of searchers and climbing. So to get new customers, you need to step up your mobile game. The first thing is to evaluate your website and ensure that it is mobile friendly. If it requires users to pinch or zoom in order to read the content, then it’s not mobile friendly. The words must be readable and the buttons clickable, all without manually changing the size of the page. If not, people will find it difficult to use and then leave. There are two primary options for delivering a mobile experience. The first is creating a responsive design website. A responsive design will automatically adapt to the size of the screen, regardless if it is a phone, tablet, or desktop. No pinching or zooming. This is a popular option, but it may require that older websites be redesigned. The second option is to create a mobile-specific website. While this option will create a specific mobile experience for your smartphone users, it will require you to manage and maintain two websites and it may take time to get your separate mobile site rankings in the search engines. Now, for advertising, any links you publish in your mobile campaigns can include custom tagging. This is a form of tracking links so that campaign data is reported in your analytics. It lets you classify your messages according to the type of message or campaign that was run, how many people clicked the link, and what they did on your website or landing page. Your website is an important component of the mobile marketing ecosystem. Ensuring that your website can be found, viewed, and used is an essential link for your visibility online and your mobile marketing campaigns.

Your phone creates and broadcasts a huge amount of data, and advertisers love it. They can pinpoint you and serve up incredibly detailed, personalized ads that are highly effective. Advertisers target mobile device users by combining data from a variety of sources to create campaigns that are highly relevant to you. The first key to developing a relevant campaign is the location. Mobile devices constantly send out location data as it goes among networks, towers, and wi-fi connections. Advertisers can use geofencing to target their ads to anyone within a predefined location. For example, if you’re at a sporting event, you’ll probably see ads for beverages. If you are near a tourist destination, you may get ads for tours or other activities. Also, your activity can provide data for advertisers. Searching for a recipe may prompt an ad for a restaurant or for a local grocery store. Ads can be set to run at specific times during the day or night to coincide with the campaign. Ads can also be set to target local weather conditions. A local garden center near me does this and advertises their plants and flowers before heading into a sunny weekend. Ads can be delivered on a mobile device through websites and apps. What’s more, ads displayed in apps can’t be stopped by an ad blocker, as they only run on web browsers. Top gaming and media apps like Candy Crush, Angry Birds, Pandora, and Spotify and more let you reach targeted users with ads through their apps. Before developing your campaigns, make sure that you’re familiar with the MMA, the Mobile Marketing Association. The MMA provides policy and guidelines for campaigns, and this will help you target users and use their data according to best practices, also to keep your campaigns legal by ensuring proper consent. Your smartphone has been called the perfect tracking device. As much as it provides convenience, it also provides advertisers with many ways to target us with highly relevant ads.

Your mobile device has become the most valuable thing you own. Everything is on it. Which is why it is so effective for loyalty marketing. Do you have any apps that make your life easier? I sure do. I do a lot of travel, so I have a few hotel apps on my phone. They are amazing. As a rewards member of these hotels, I can book a room on my phone. A day or two before I get there, I can check in on the app and I can choose my room location. The last time I went to one of my preferred hotels, I didn’t even have to check in, my phone was the room key. When it’s time to leave, I can even check out on the app. The receipt is automatically emailed to me and I’m out the door. The becomes even more amazing when I can do the entire transaction using my points. Mobile marketing includes apps that are developed for providing immediate services and feedback for loyalty programs. These apps can also integrate with the mobile wallet function of your device, storing tickets, promotions, loyalty cards and coupons. The wallet is replacing many of the loyalty cards that consumers have had to carry around. Now digital, people don’t have to carry around the 20 or so loyalty cards in case they stop off for coffee or swing by the grocery store. Retailers like Kohl’s use the wallet to allow customers to store their promotions, points, and rewards. This eliminates the paper-based coupons and having to bring them to the store. In addition, Kohl’s can notify customers before their reward points expire with a push notification. Then, when the customer is in the store, they can use the app to scan barcodes to see prices. At the checkout, you can pay with your phone or through the app using a QR code. Finally, apps can also provide in-app purchases. If you’ve downloaded a game to play in your spare moments, you’ll know exactly what this is all about. Spend a few moments with Candy Crush and you might use the in-app purchase to get the full, ad-free version of the game. If you can handle the ads, but get stuck on a level, you can make an in-app purchase of additional lives or helps to get by. Mobile games monetize by allowing people to buy hints, extra characters, bonus levels and more. Besides games, in-app purchases can also be used for subscription-based content. This can be passes for events, published content from news and magazines, or streaming services like Netflix or Hulu. Take a look at the apps on your phone and see how many are integrated with your life. From travel to games, productivity, entertainment and loyalty programs, we rely on our devices to give us convenience and keep us connected.

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