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Mobile: The closest you can get to your consumers

There is no other platform that is as personal – (one or more phones per person, it’s a personal device); pervasive – (it’s with you all day, from first thing in the AM till last thing at night and at every opportunity for content, information, utility and transaction all day); and proximity (it’s always with you and marketers can use location as a predictor of human behavior).

Never before have marketers had a tool as powerful as mobile to ascertain their customers’ behavior. The best we could do was influence consumer behavior to match our needs. But with mobile – with the thousands upon thousands of collected bits that come with every swipe and search – we now can align our needs to match consumer behavior.

This shift is nothing short of transformational.

It’s critical for your brand to understand how mobile works in the everyday lives of consumers, as well as how mobile has created deeper forms of brand loyalty and paths to purchase. It is a direct conduit into the lives and habits of consumers. Consumers need answers, and a properly mobilized brand can immediately provide solutions that react and respond to consumers in real time and eventually predict their needs.

This playbook isn’t about selling you on mobile. If you’re here, you already get it. This resource is meant to explain when, where, and how you can use mobile to spearhead or augment your marketing efforts. It takes marketers through the process of mobile strategy development from start to finish. It provides best practices around mobile executions, ways to leverage the myriad mobile vehicles and how companies can effectively measure and optimize mobile. Aiming to demonstrate to marketers the versatility of mobile as a marketing channel, the document provides a consistent resource to educate marketing organizations locally, nationally and globally.

This document is a living framework that will evolve as consumer behavior shifts, mobile trends are introduced, and your brand goals progress. As we receive your input about the successes and challenges with mobile, we will revise the playbook accordingly.


Mobile Changes What’s Possible

The consumer experience is central to becoming “brand ready” for mobile. Whatever your mobile strategy, it must create a seamless consumer experience that not only reinforces your brand, but also engages the consumer across every component. No matter where or how the consumer accesses your brand, the experience needs to feel consistent.

Every Moment is Mobile

Consumers are rarely without their mobile device. When you also consider that consumers check their mobile device 150 to 200 times per day, you begin to appreciate the opportunity mobile offers. In fact, 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience.1

90% of people move between multiple screens and devices to accomplish a goal.2

Through mobile, brands have the ability to be present at the exact moment a consumer is seeking a solution. Need to deposit a check? Nearly every bank has an app with deposit capabilities. Looking for a good car mechanic in Sticksville, USA? Yelp can help. Wondering where you can find a clean bathroom? Location services by SitorSquat, courtesy of Charmin.

Of course a mobile strategy is more than just apps – there is an entire toolbox of mobile platforms, applications and tactics. Although they are vital elements to a broader mobile strategy, apps and optimized websites only scratch the surface. Mobile provides brands with opportunities at every touchpoint across the path to purchase.

Setting aside apps, there are numerous “mobile-only” tools for you to consider: push notifications, location based services, SMS coupons, etc. Want to encourage a consumer to shop from their mobile device, then drive to the store and pick up their products? Or do you want to develop a deeply integrated lifestyle product that tracks and rewards daily activities? All of these scenarios are fueled by mobile technology.

For those marketers who have a brick-and-mortar presence, mobile offers opportunities for integrated in-store experiences as well as increased sales conversions. For instance, Macy’s “Magic Fitting Room,” which allowed mobile customers in-store to virtually try on outfits, attracted more than 16,000 customers, leading to a far greater in-store presence. In fact, Forrester is projecting mCommerce to far exceed eCommerce and total retail growth year-over-year at least through 2016.

Moreover, according to Deloitte Digital, the biggest impact of smartphones is the influence they exert over traditional in-store sales to drive in-store conversion and in-store average order size. This is why you should look at mobile as an enabler of opportunity: There is almost no traditional business model which mobile cannot improve in some way.

1 Latitude Next Gen Retail Study, 2013
2 Google Insights, May 2013

The Four Keys

Any successful mobile marketing effort accomplishes specific tasks. Some of these are consumer-related, others business-related. Like any medium, mobile has key tenets which guide effective marketing. Keep these in mind when crafting your mobile efforts:


It is important that you invite consumers to engage with your brand rather than intrude on them. Making consumers feel secure that you respect their privacy and safety is the critical first step.

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Does the content truly relate to the needs of the consumer, when and where they need it? Mobile enables brands to deliver relevant content that responds to consumer needs/wants at the precise moment of desire. If your content doesn’t address that desire in a moment’s glance, you’ve lost your consumer.

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Mobile offers unprecedented ability to serve location-relevant content to your consumer. In practice, this means you should create enough modular content that is tailored to multiple locations. Location-enabled ads thread content with context to produce unprecedented outreach.

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Mobile removes the friction between desire and attainment, problem and solution. When desires or problems arise, your brand must be there ready to serve. By being accessible, keeping things simple and direct, and providing immediate solutions, your brand will able to meet the consumer at whatever stage of the purchase cycle he is in.

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Best Practices: Research and Resources

To help inform and inspire your endeavors, we’ve provided some relevant examples:

Mobile Mindset: Understanding the Consumer

There are several important questions to ask before creating your mobile campaign:

  1. How is your target already using mobile to interact with your brand?
  2. What is the consumer looking for in the space you are in?

If you cannot answer these basic questions then your mobile efforts will most likely fail. When you have the data to answer them, you will be able to provide the most relevant experience possible. In addition, it would also greatly improve your success rate if you knew the answer to other questions, such as:

  • What device are they on (Android or iOS, Phone or Tablet)?
  • Their current mindset (do they need to buy now or later)?
  • The activity they’re involved in (buying, comparing, browsing, experiencing the brand)?
  • Their environment (home, work, on-the-go)?

The answer to these questions all impact how you should be interacting with your customers.

What kind of content are they searching for? What needs are they looking to fulfill? What do you know of their past behavior/interaction with the brand? Know what they’re looking for and you’ll know what to deliver.

What are they expecting? What does the consumer need or want from your brand? Can your brand provide the expected in an unexpected way?

How are other brands enabling consumer action within your segment? What do consumers need to motivate them to purchase? Is it a coupon, a rating, a review, or some other form of incentive? Employ tactics and strategies to bring your consumer from playlist to purchase.

How Does a Brand Become Mobile Ready?

Your job as marketers is to go where the consumers are and get there first, so you can be ready to tackle the mobile future.

Agency Credit: Stopp

Start with the consumers. How are they interacting with your brand? How is your target interacting with their mobile device(s)? What devices do they prefer? What apps are popular with your target? Who are your early adopters and who are your loyal followers? Find ways to align the brand’s marketing objectives with meeting the consumers’ needs.

Connect mobile strategy to marketing objectives. Look at what you want to achieve and ask how mobile can help you get there.

Make mobile a priority by ensuring it has a strong voice that is heard at every level in your organization: high-level initial strategy discussions, tactical planning, execution and measurement. When you understand the target’s relationship with their mobile device—it is with them always from the first thing they check in the morning and the last thing they see before they go to sleep—you understand the need to make mobile an equal priority in your strategy. If mobile has such a high priority in consumers’ lives, it should in your organization as well.

Fully resource mobile with both funds and staff so there is no problem maintaining the longer lifecycle of mobile marketing programs. In the long run, early investment in mobile (time, budget, personnel) will save money. ROI data can help serve as a budgetary guideline and justify spend. MMA has research available to assist in guiding mobile budgets.3

Foster cross-channel collaboration by finding and supporting internal evangelists across the company who can provide inspiration and education to ensure consistent brand messaging across platforms.

Don’t be afraid of taking calculated risks. Even though mobile is an evolving medium, there is enough proof to show its power and impact. New endeavors have a way of energizing teams and giving shared purpose. Sharing success stories (or failed attempts) and cutting-edge learnings can breed excitement and galvanize groups to action.

Define your mission on what you want the consumer experience to feel like. Specifically if you are a retailer, explore how you want the in-store experience to be interrelated with the mobile experience to offer seamless opportunities to convert shoppers to buyers.

3 MMA MXS White Paper

Addressing Consumer Privacy

Since mobile is such a personal channel for consumers, marketers should tread lightly when it comes to privacy. Mobile offers an unprecedented amount of data, insights and behavioral cues about consumers but like any relationship, brands must respect boundaries as instructed by their audience. If privacy boundaries are violated, you risk damaging your relationship with consumers and harm the development of the mobile industry.

The fundamental tenets of privacy in mobile are transparency and consumer choice. Transparency means that you must provide clear and meaningful notice to consumers about what you are doing with their data you have acquired via in-store tracking, mobile web site or mobile app. You must also provide consumers with control by offering a choice, to opt-in or to opt-out, so they are able to decide whether they are comfortable with the use of their data in marketing efforts. It is important to note that transparency and choice are essential requirements if you use location or personal directory data (e.g., contacts, calendar, message logs, etc.) in any marketing efforts.

All of this guidance is a product of the mobile industry’s self-regulatory efforts in the United States, forged by the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). The DAA is a coalition of industry trade groups, including the DMA, 4A’s, ANA, IAB and others, that developed a regulatory framework for Online Behavioral Advertising (OBA), which allows consumers to opt-out of receiving targeted ads. This guidance, with the active participation of the MMA, has been extended to include mobile marketing and advertising efforts, and will be enforced by the DAA accountability partners – the Council of Better Business Bureaus and the Direct Marketing Association. U.S. privacy policies are also being emulated in the EU with the EDAA efforts and thus the global mobile industry will share the same principles worldwide.

Apart from DAA guidance, all mobile marketers must recognize that reaching consumers via mobile may require obtaining express written consent from consumers before any direct messaging, including SMS and MMS, are sent. Detailed opt-in requirements can be found at this CTIA site4. Consent can be requested on a web site or through an app; however, new FCC and FTC requirements call for strict records and database management. Please check with your mobile marketing vendors & internal legal teams to ensure that your programs are privacy friendly on all levels.

As soon as you feel ready to map out your mobile strategy, keep in mind that it is easier to incorporate “privacy by design” principles from the get-go. Remember transparency, notice and choice are the key pillars to respecting the consumer relationship via mobile. It is also important to understand the privacy principles for the specific region of the world your mobile strategy will be executed. The principles created in the United States are a good barometer, but do not take into consideration all the local regulations on the global scale.

Beyond the consents, you will also need to confirm you have the appropriate (localized) legal coverage for your mobile experience (web or app) – i.e. Privacy Policy, Terms & Conditions, Patents and Imprints.



How to Build a Mobile Strategy

Creating a Mobile Framework for Your Brand

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