Time to open up the throttle…

Mobile, once the platform of promise, is becoming more mainstream every day, particularly with the growth in evidence over the past two years. With that being said, mobile as a marketing platform is still at a stage where most companies could still consider leverage from mobile to be incremental to their results. Mobile marketing and m-commerce still may still offer the best opportunity for some marketers to gain additional revenue quickly and/or capture additional market share.

Mobile is very much today akin to the early days of e-commerce. At that time, “conventional wisdom” held that only certain products were suited to e-commerce (books for example) that were well known commodities to consumers – “I know what I’m getting”-, and presented low purchase risk. As trust increased, consumers were willing to absorb more price point risk (electronics, for example), but the well known commodity aspect of e-commerce was still there. Today, behavior of consumers pretty much leapfrog both considerations, as evidenced by results seen by luxury marketers, high fashion labels and real estate sales, which shoot this thinking to pieces. These are some of the most successful online sellers today.

Building platform trust was a key component in this evolution, as was the acquired familiarity by consumers with online purchasing and improvements in platform technology (both site characteristics and commerce). While mobile in some ways is still in the early stages of some technology and commerce platforms, the pioneer work done by merchants on the traditional web should allow for a more accelerated, explosive growth cycle.

Because near term growth in m-commerce and brand building is likely to be explosive, costs related to becoming mobile savvy natives must be considered as incremental ones by marketers. Mobile optimized web sites, apps, mobile specific promotions and mobile advertising (both standalone and tied to other marketing tools) are needed investments.

Mobile sites (at least for phones) have a need to be distinctly different from a company’s main site. The paths need to be more straightforward, easier to maneuver and load quickly. These are all facets of execution that have been well documented as necessary elsewhere, so here, this is just a reminder.

The “why do this?” is important. Google data shows that almost of a third of all web searches are tied to local intent. 95% of all smart phone users in the US have used their device to perform searches for local geographic information. Of these, almost 60 % visited the business, and 90% of those took action within 24 hours.

The immediacy of mobile lends itself well to social media and sharing. Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook are all platforms that can facilitate the spreading of a company’s mobile messaging, and are where you will find consumers who are not texting, downloading or conducting searches.

In talking mobile, it is important to keep in mind the differences within mobile between phones and tablets. There is more to consider here than the size of the screen, although to some extent that does drive many of the usage differences.

Screen size does impact why there is heavier usage of tablets with WiFi, in a home setting, and as part of a “second screen” experience. Complications can also ensue, however on apps (definitely) and sites (at times) that have been optimized for phones. These are all important for marketers using mobile to keep in mind.

However, perhaps the most important practical aspect to keep in mind when thinking on these two mobile devices is that tablets are not phones and are not used by consumers to research and respond in the same way as a phone. For example, when integrating with other company communication channels, don’t ask people to call as the next a call to action from a tablet; click-through requests are more appropriate on a tablet than on a phone.

Perhaps the best piece of advice in closing is that whatever steps you take; once they are in place test them yourself as a consumer would, on the device(s) that you expect they will be using. There are still a lot of loose end out there in mobile land. Tread carefully and thoughtfully, but also keep in mind that the time to give your best efforts to mobile has finally arrived.

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