Mobile Marketing: 5 Reasons to Care and 7 Steps to Integrate

Last week I had the opportunity to speak about mobile marketing at the Tucson American Marketing Association’s April networking event. I thought it best to focus on two key components, the why and the how. More specifically, why these marketers should care about mobile and how they can integrate it into their current marketing plan. The presentation and some thoughts on it are below.

5 Reasons Why You Should Care About Mobile

1. Massive opportunity now, as in this very second.

If you’re an agency (or brand alike), take note. Forrester Research estimated 2010 mobile spending to be $534 million back in 2009. Not a bad estimate considering there was no way they could have expected the meteoric growth of tablets (even Apple didn’t). However, it turns out brands actually invested just north of a billion dollars in mobile initiatives last year. Surprised?

If you’re an agency, you should be looking at those numbers like a kid in a candy store. They represent multiple additional revenue opportunities (given the right talent) including acting as a strategic adviser amid the highly fragmented mobile environment (more on that later) or helping your clients develop mobile apps, sites or campaigns.

If you’re a brand and you haven’t thought about or invested in mobile initiatives, you might want to think about kicking yourself first, then reading the rest of this post. 😉

2. Consumption patterns are changing, dramatically.

Digital consumption patterns are dramatically shifting given the rise of smartphone platforms and tablet devices.  Some food for thought:

  • By 2013, 50% of web traffic will come through mobile  devices.
  • Year over year, daily email consumption via a mobile browser increased a full 40%. You think consumers will continue to read your lame email campaigns. Wrong. Timely, targeted and relevant becomes even more important within a mobile environment.
  • 91% of mobile users report they consume social media on their device; 71% use their desktop.
  • Almost the same amount of US households access the internet via a smartphone as do those via their home internet connection.

3. Smartphone domination

Bye, bye feature phones. The most recent published stats on mobile phone sales tell the whole story. 45% of phones purchased in December 2010 were smartphones and by that time 63.2 million Americans owned a smartphone; a 60% increase when compared to the previous December.

What do these numbers mean? More and more US consumers are ditching the flip phones for an iPhone, Android or Blackberry device. The more smartphone users, the more likely they will leverage the fancy smartphone features to interact with their favorite brands.

4. Mobile now affects all channels

Pre iPhone, mobile barely affected other digital channels such as search, web and email. Sure, we had a miniscule amount of early adopters ferociously using their Blackberry’s, but marketers didn’t have a reason to care. There simply wasn’t enough consumer usage in the marketplace.

That has changed.

Mobile now affects every digital channel. From paid to organic search, to mobile banners and email consumption on mobile phones, the effects of mobile are far reaching.

5. Mobile is changing in-store behavior

If you think that just because your business operates within four walls that you are safe, think again. Smartphones give consumers easy ways to research products (including your competitor’s) and find better prices elsewhere.

On the bright side of things, mobile gives retail an opportunity to be sexy again. QR codes, apps with in-store integrations and augmented reality could all give consumers a reason to open the door.

7 Steps to Integrate Mobile into Your Current Marketing Plan

1. Determine your goals.

Mobile marketing can help brands do a lot of things. Taking the time to set your goals and objectives for your mobile initiative(s) and integrate those into your current marketing, or better yet your organization’s goals. It will not only help you sell your mobile plan to internal stakeholders, but it will provide a method to gauge the performance of that plan.

2. Understand where your customers (not your CEO) are & what they want.

Just because your CEO wants an app doesn’t mean your customers do. Chances are you already know who your customers are. Your job as a mobile marketer is to determine where you can start conversations with those customers within a mobile environment. Figure out where they are and then integrate appropriate mobile tactics.

3. Audit your content

Yeah, I know we all hate the word “audit”, but it may help you do less work in this case. You’ll want to audit your current digital content and figure out if it’s mobile friendly, what needs changing and how it can be optimized for mobile.

4. Perform a competitive analysis

This is marketing 101, but it’s worth a mention. Take a look at the competitive landscape and answer three important questions:

  1. What are my competitors doing?
  2. What aren’t my competitors doing?
  3. What opportunities exist to differentiate ourselves?

You may just find an insight or competitive advantage that could drive your mobile decision-making process.

5. Determine budget

Mobile can be expensive. You not only have to develop your mobile initiatives, but you must also support them over the long-haul. So, think about what you have, not what it will cost to build or do something, and work within those constraints.

Also, front load your budget. Costs associated with mobile tend to decrease once you’ve made the initial effort.

6. Decide on engagement channels

The mobile environment is highly fragmented. Unless you have deep pockets, you will not be able leverage every mobile opportunity. Figure out what you can afford and where you can play that will impact your consumers most.

7. Determine success metrics

Determine the metrics or KPIs that you are trying to move. Ensure by moving the needle within those metrics your efforts will help achieve the organization’s marketing or business goals.

8. Promote, promote, promote

The isn’t a Field of Dreams scenario. The single largest downfall of any mobile initiative is lack of awareness. Make sure you build a promotional plan as a part of your mobile initiatives.

What other reasons should give marketers pause & make them think again about integrating mobile? What other steps would you recommended for integrating mobile into the mix?


  1. Dee Anne Thomas

    Great Presentation. I learned alot and have shared a bit of your expertise/ideas with several of my clients. Thanks Again, Dee Anne

  2. This presentation was really useful to me – a great deal of content in a very manageable format. I will be able to use it to move my organization forward. Thanks!