Key Questions for No-Limits Mobile Strategy

Dave LawsonRecently, a colleague and I had a good meeting with a brand marketer. I refer to it as good, not because it advanced to a real business opportunity. I say good because it brought to the surface some of the core elements to how brands should be approaching mobile today. These elements are based on both personal experience and what brands will ultimately need internally to continue the growth of their programs, making them viable long term.

The marketer we met with was only focused on coming up with the best “strategy” possible to “get things off to the right start in year one.” However, in their passion to launch, they refused to consider the ceiling of their technology platform, what their lack of supporting approach would place on their learning in year one and on the success of their program overall (defined by them as their ability to correctly attribute a CPA/ROI to the investment). Frustrating as it was to have such a blinders-on conversation, it was heartening to be reminded that there are leaders and laggards in every phase of marketing, and that “winning them all” doesn’t always equate to good business. For mobile, there’s more to it.

My question to the greater community: For you, what matters most in the mobile channel today? Is it strategy? Is it technology? When does philosophy and approach come into the picture, if at all?

Assuming that having smart people and reliable technology is a given (though there are plenty out there that could use some help with both), what is your personal belief for your brand or offering?

My belief is that approach, technology, and strategic execution are inexorably intertwined. Anyone looking at solutions that are deficient in one or more of these areas is setting their programs up for inevitable self-limitation. Here are some key questions that deserve to be asked and answered by anyone looking at mobile for their brand. (I’ve also included some suggestions for why these matter.)

Approach: There are many choices in mobile today – more than ever before. An innovative approach is one of the ways you can deliver results to your unique business needs, given the relatively low bar for entry into the space for the many “me too” providers. That said, how do you define what experience you bring to your audience to address the true “mobileness” of consumers today?

You need a holistic, unified approach that considers key pillars – like SMS, mobile web, applications, advertising, email, physical world and PC. Without such an approach, you will be missing key interactions that can build a strong base for a program for both learning and proving value for everyone involved.

Technology: The mobile landscape is vast. Trying to “boil the ocean” is a daunting endeavor. With a strategic focus in mind, ask yourself:

  • Does your technology platform facilitate data capture and content delivery to make the most out of your consumer’s willingness to engage in a mobile relationship with you?
  • Does this happen in an accessible way, both financially and personally?
  • Does the technology platform support and create the aforementioned approach in every way, with room for still-to-come strategic executions and learning experiences to occur?
  • Does it functionally deliver and philosophically dominate?

The technology platform that supports early and advanced efforts should allow you ready access to data. Such data can be leveraged for proving business theories, understanding results from every interaction you have, and turning those interaction-informed insights into future marketing opportunities.

Strategy: Depending on where your program is today (stand-still, crawl, walk, run), your needs for strategy and execution will differ tremendously on a day-to-day basis. Aptly named “best practices” deliver the goods for solid program foundations and compliance with strict regulations. With that foundation, you need a strong partner — one with insight, creativity, listening ability and cohesiveness. A strong partner intimately familiar with the nuances of their toolset, one that is solution oriented, will help get you in market today. They’ll also be able to drive your program where it needs to be in the coming 12-18 months. Ideal partners in the mobile space have notable references and experience executing with reliability, creativity, and timeliness – remaining beyond reproach with compliance. They have the proper tools at their disposal to effectively execute across all mobile channel destinations and connectors.

Have an experienced partner design a strategy specific to your needs. Look for the technology to support future strategic growth. Ask them if they have the ability: to create unlimited keywords or segment from a single keyword; to easily generate dynamic landing pages based on what 2-D code was scanned or from what email was clicked; to capture SMS dialogs, mobile web browsing activity, downloads, form responses, app interactions, email opens and subsequent mobile device-driven behavior; to personalize messages and content down to a user-profile level; to track coupon requests and redemptions, and to make all of these data points marketable and useable, by whole or by segment. This is where power comes from as it pertains to mobile data and the relationships they can drive.

Other Related Posts:
Updating the Rules of Mobile Strategy
Connection at the Point of Decision
Mobile Marketing Experts Agree on Fundamentals

And other posts by yours truly…

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