I always have my phone with me. It happened slowly, but I have come to rely on my phone for almost every aspect of my day. I use my phone as an alarm clock. I use it to navigate through Boston traffic to find the best way to daycare and then on to work. At work, I use it to track my meeting schedule and to send quick replies to colleagues. At night, I watch Pittsburgh Penguin hockey games, watch the Daily Show, or read the news before I go to sleep. In 2018, I had my phone 363 days out 365 days. On one of those days, I forgot my phone at home. On the other day, I was waiting for a new phone to be shipped from Google after my phone crashed.
If you want to target me, you have to target my phone. It is what I have with me all day and the most reliable way to have your marketing message reach me. I am rarely browsing the web on a desktop or watching regular TV. 95% of Americans now have a cellphone of some sort and 77% have a smartphone (Pew Research Center, 2018). Any marketing strategy and plan has to account for mobile phones and the new advantages that they present to marketers as traditional marketing channels are becoming fragmented.
1. Follow Your Customers
Customers are going mobile. They are using smartphones for everyday tasks to communicate, navigate, buy things, and pass time. Your marketing strategy needs to have a mobile focus to target apps and websites that get served up on mobile phones and tablets. Even as painful as sitting around at an airport is, the airline industry is deliberately leveraging the mobile phone to improve passenger experience and provide a marketing channel to their partners using real-time notifications and apps (Florido-Benítez, 2018). If you follow your customers, you will incorporate mobile phone marketing into your marketing mix. The customer can be anywhere, but they will have their mobile devices with them.
2. Build a Useful App
If you have a product or service, you can target mobile users using a native app with push notifications or using SMS. People tend to read 95% of their text messages versus 22 percent of their email (Wachs, 2013). My incorporating notifications, you can get the word out about your products and services and consistently be able to reach your audience.
The challenge for marketers is to give the customer a reason to install your app or opt-in to SMS notifications. One compelling way to do this is to incorporate loyalty programs into your app (Fulgoni & Lipsivian, 2016). Customers are more likely to download and install your app to earn points to get exclusive offers. For things that I consume almost every day like Dunkin, I use their app to pay for coffee and earn points. They regularly send me notices about free drinks that I have earned or specials they have when I am near one of their stores.
Being silenced is another constraint that mobile marketing faces. Users control their notifications settings and your well-intentioned app could be silenced. The customer may never see your messaging or have a reason to open your app. In situations like these, it’s important to have other ways to communicate your updates. In 2018, Dunkin redesigned its mobile app, push notification strategy, and pay by app options after complaints that the app is slow and noisy (Wohl, 2015). Dunkin was able to get the word out about their new app using social media, billboards, and tech blogs.
If you follow your customers and incorporate mobile marketing strategies into your marketing mix, you will be successful at keeping your customers engaged and coming back for more products and services. If you give your customers a reason to install your app and opt-in to notifications with meaningful interactions, you will be able to seamlessly target them and build a strong, recurring engagement.
Florido-Benítez, L. (2016). The impact of mobile marketing in airports. Journal of Airline & Airport Management, 6(1), 1–18. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.3926/jairm.39
Fulgoni, G. M., & Lipsivian, A. (2016). The Future of Retail Is Mobile. Journal of Advertising Research, 56(4), 346–351. https://doi-org.ezproxy.snhu.edu/10.2501/JAR-2016-041
Pew Research Center. (2018, February 05). Demographics of Mobile Device Ownership and Adoption in the United States. Retrieved March 17, 2019, from http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/
Wachs, D. (2013, May 09). Five reasons you should be using SMS based marketing. Retrieved March 8, 2019, from https://venturebeat.com/2013/05/08/five-reasons-you-should-be-using-sms-based-marketing/
Wohl, J. (2015, October 19). Dunkin’ Donuts Tells Customers Its App Needs a Jolt. Retrieved March 17, 2019, from https://adage.com/article/cmo-strategy/dunkin-donuts-tells-customers-app-a-jolt/300978/