Identifying a Good Mobile Strategist

Josh GordonRecently I wrote about how a complete mobile strategy is not optional for marketers expecting success. At the heart of that strategy must be a complete understanding of everything that is possible through the mobile marketing channel. Understanding the landscape and the audience come first and second, then developing a strategy tailored to specific business needs is the right approach.

My complete mobile strategy piece elicited some interesting, insightful responses from readers, both in the comments and over email. A central theme to the commentary has been that striving for a complete mobile strategy is conceptually sound, but how do marketers actually develop trusted and valid partnerships to make a complete mobile strategy a reality?

Readers, as usual, bring up important points for discussion. There is one, solitary tip marketers must use as a guide for identifying the right partnership. The goal is getting some help in sorting out the mobile space and formulating – then executing – a winning and complete mobile strategy.

Great strategy is possible only when the partner understands how to execute, not simply strategize, successful mobile marketing.

This comment is not meant as an affront to mobile agencies or some respected folks in the industry. The simple truth is that no partner can legitimately provide informed, tactically agnostic input if there is a lack of understanding about one or more of the key, primary mobile tactics.

For example, consider the still burgeoning world of mobile apps. Decisions that are informed by knowing how to build and distribute an app are very different than simply asserting that an app is a good idea. Developing a strategy for executing app distribution around the right demographic breakdown of smartphone users does not happen by accident. Knowing when a mobile Web microsite makes more sense than an app is important. Knowing when a more easily produced and developmentally sound hybrid app is the best approach to achieve marketing objectives requires an understanding of how the process works, not just that the process is important.

Here are the essential tactics that the right mobile strategy partner can help guide marketers through:

  • Basic marketing and advertising programs like sweepstakes, coupons, etc.
  • An understanding of segmentation and message targeting – and knowing the software that is best at it across mobile tactics .
  • SMS – bi-directional, not just a Web app sending the dreaded “blast” texts out. Targeting and personalization principles from the Web and email must be applied here in full force.
  • The importance of the mobile Web, its accessibility, and its universality. Also, tricks like software that recognizes the device accessing the mobile Web page, then renders to the device.
  • Development of apps, hybrid apps, and when apps are – and when they are not – the right approach.
  • The role of mobile video.

Tactically broad companies are agnostic, and therefore the best strategists because a capability limitation is not driving recommendations. Of course there are many other important tactical and strategic bits of understanding a good partner must have in place. What are some other tactics you think are important for the right mobile strategy partner to understand?


  1. Posted July 14, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Basically, if you are a brand and you recently uttered the phrase “My digital agency built me an iPhone app” you do not have a mobile strategy!

    Couldn’t agree more – smart QR codes, Location APIs, mobile community management, social media integration for mobile…

    • Posted July 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Excellent point, Paul. It’s true that agencies generally have a somewhat limited perspective on every capability that falls under the “mobile” banner.

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