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Monica Paul

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Why Establish a Mobile Strategy...

The way we relate with the world encourage companies to go through a mobile strategy.

A woman executive is responsible for managing the area in the company where she works, her home, and her children's activities. When a business trip takes her away from home for a few days, it does not mean that the daily activities stop. She is able to control everything, sitting at the lounge room at the airport - she checks up on her team's activities at the office; pays the light, telephone, and Internet bills; makes sure the supermarket delivers the groceries she ordered to her home on time. All these are performed online from her mobile device. How many mobile services did she use? How many products and services does she prefer as they provide her with these features?

According to Cisco research, in 2015 the number of devices connected to the Internet will duplicate the world population and will reach a yearly total of worldwide traffic consumption of 966 Exabytes, which represents an overall substantial increase in the network and application usage by all mobile devices. The company's research predicts that the Asia and Pacific regions will be generating more than 24 Exabyte, the highest percentage of Internet traffic, more traffic than even the USA, which will generate only 20 Exabytes. From the emerging markets, Latin America would be the leader with a growing 48%, followed by the mid-East and African countries that all together would grow 52%. This growth is equivalent to 200 million people watching an HD movie streaming simultaneously.

Facing this exposed panorama, and considering as well the information from Ericsson research about the smartphones' usage -mobility and mobile devices in 2010 have triggered an online scenario where 50% of the access is performed through a mobile device. And 45% of the mobile users will use their devices to download a wide range of mobile applications from social networks up to applications to analyze the traffic status, flight schedules, movies and other diverse services. In the US 35% of the mobile users access their social networks before going to or getting out of bed.

The number of mobile apps available is countless, onto becoming a commodity. Just take a look at the worldwide reality: a farmer in the UK performs banking transactions from his field; a teenager in Africa chats with his girlfriend in another city using Facebook on his mobile; an Island fisherman checks the weather and tide status to locate the best area to throw his nets; an executive checks a flight's status and coordinates his office activities while boarding a plane to go on vacation with his family - for his employees, he was never gone.

All these activities, even when they seem to lack a relation to each other, are showing the way we relate now, among us and with the world. For the companies it's a good reason to start planning a real mobile strategy with an accurate measurement system. The marketing professionals must now include the mobile strategies for all our products and services, becoming very creative and with a complete knowledge of the technological tools we can use in every step of the process. Mobility is now becoming a key topic in the whole marketing strategy, and it is mandatory to integrate our business into the mobile world as fast we can.

Mobile Web Sites
The easiest way to have a website for mobiles is through a mobile sub domain specification. For instance, if typing www.espn.com from a mobile device, the site will detect it and redirect it to the specific sub domain. The user experience from the mobile device is very different from the normal computer one. This allows ESPN to provide their mobile users with a series of services that help them to prevail as the leader in their industry. Jeep and Chrysler mobile websites allow the users to schedule driving tests from their Smartphones. Important news companies and newspapers as CNN, BBC, and La Nacion from Argentina have mobile news delivery services. Big supermarket chains and department stores allow users to buy from their mobile devices with free local shipping services; banks also allow transactions from mobile devices.

But beyond the big corporations, small- and medium-sized business are also visualizing the benefits of mobile strategies; they are learning that mobility could become an important income source by providing clients with the flexibility to get sets of products and services through their mobiles devices whenever they want. According to some medium business in North America and Europe, up to a 20% of the transactions being performed are through mobile devices.

Mobile Apps
There is a wide range of mobile apps that provide innumerable services including commercial, informative, educational, or pure entertainment. The creation of a mobile app can help to significantly increase the brand awareness if it is able to create a link and affinity feeling with the user or target consumer. From this perspective, bringing a strategy like this to reality would need a deep knowledge of the audience; and of course think about a creative and attractive mobile app that the user could find appealing and useful. For instance Nestle/Purina has a mobile app that helps located the pet friendly stores and restaurants; Icee Maker is a game that shows the product elaboration process; and American Heritage provides a translator Mobile version.

MicroStrategy, the well-known business intelligence software provider, has released a series of free mobile apps that allow the users to analyze more than 11 million flights, covering 303 airports and 19 different airline carriers, check the performance of more than 7,000 financial institutions complying FDIC, or find the best hospitals in the USA; all this using several analysts' sets and combining different kinds of maps, reports, and graphs.

The challenge for the companies and their marketing professionals is to get a return of investment from the mobile apps and strategies development and implementation whether direct or indirect.

Monetizing the Mobile Apps
From the previously mentioned mobile apps, and except the American Heritage, which has to be bought by the user, most are offered for free, at least in their basic versions, so monetization would depend on the creativity of the strategy to take them beyond a free service or to make the users give the upgrading step to a paid application as the popular iPhone game ‘Angry Birds,' which starts as a free game and then to access the superior levels and add-ons one has to subscribe.

Sales and Discount Coupons
An indirect and simple way to monetize the mobile apps are the sale and discount coupons delivery; this is normally done through a code that provides a specific discount during the online or physical buying process. Businesses such as Sephora, JCPennney, and Olive Garden are offering these kinds of promotions successfully. The advantage of this is that the client can apply them at any store physically or when buying products online, which increases the selling opportunities range.

Mobile marketing represents a unique and attractive way to create real links, dialogue, and affinity feelings with the target consumers. However, it has technological and creative specific requirements to fulfill. If the creative and technology areas can work in orchestration they will deliver a highly effective campaign as result, designed with the short messages needed for the small mobile devices screens in visual attractive mobile apps that are easy of use. These applications will be an effective complement to a whole marketing strategy and are necessary in the way the world is moving. A comprehensive marketing strategy includes the interaction of creativity with technological tools to create, implement, and measure the results of the campaigns. Adding all these components together will result in a better brand awareness and positioning with the logical sales increase.

More Stories By Monica Paul

Monica Paul is a marketer with 20 years experience in local, regional, and global marketing strategies. In 2001, after eight years working as an employee for several IT companies such as Micrografx and Visio; Monica founded Marcomtec, a division of Magic Masterminds LLC, a marketing firm providing strategy and content services, as well as marketing campaigns in English and Spanish. In 2013 Monica launched Magic MasterMinds (www.magicmasterminds.com), a publishing platform to help writers all over the world to publish and market their books.