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5 arguments on why mobile is indispensable to marketing plans

August 9, 2010

Vanessa Horwell is chief visibility officer of ThinkInk

Vanessa Horwell is chief visibility officer of ThinkInk

By Vanessa Horwell

As the readers of this column will certainly agree, mobile marketing is no fad.

Rather, I believe that mobile marketing will – and must – become a central part of every successful marketing and visibility strategy, and I think it is well on its way to becoming just that.

However, the integration of mobile marketing into existing marketing strategies on a large scale will not happen spontaneously.

Instead, it will come about through a concerted effort to educate companies and other organizations about the benefits and unique qualities of mobile outreach.

This is not to say that the mobile marketing industry will somehow foist preferred tactics on unsuspecting businesses. The integration of mobile marketing will occur – and is occurring – naturally, organically.

Teach reach
Enterprises across the nation and the world are already realizing the tremendous reach and penetrating power of leveraging the mobile device for marketing purposes, and they are coming to this realization by discerning the trends and facts on the ground.

Hundreds of millions of Americans – nearly 90 percent of the country – use their mobile devices every day, and a solid majority of them express a desire to receive marketing messages of some sort through their mobile.

Redemption rates for mobile initiatives dwarf those of traditional marketing programs. Indeed, the cost per impression of a mobile campaign is often far lower than that of a mainstream media advertising campaign.

But you know this already.

The role we must play as marketers and mobile industry professionals is that of educators for the rest of the business community that has not yet fully embraced mobile marketing, or that portion which subscribes to the notion that mobile is somehow just a flash in the pan.

It is our job, in other words, to convince organizations that sitting on the sidelines of mobile is not an option, and that doing so carries an opportunity cost too high to sustain.

More constructively, it is also our job to continue touting the best practice and most effective strategies to get the most out of mobile communications.

Since standing on the street corner wearing a sandwich board is out, this proselytizing starts at the level of existing and potential clients.

In that vein, here are five effective arguments to present to clients on why mobile marketing ought to be an indispensible aspect of their marketing plans.

It is where your customers are
As I mentioned, mobile phone saturation is nearly complete in the developed world, and the use of mobile devices is on the rise just about everywhere.

This makes the mobile landscape the place of residence for most – not many, most – of the world’s consumers. Engaging in a mobile strategy opens up this vast market to any business that wants to participate in it.

By nature, it is targeted, relevant and actionable
Much as email and Internet marketing redefined direct marketing, the mobile space is further expanding businesses ability to engage customers in ways that they find appropriate and attractive.

Importantly, the mobile medium reaches purchase-ready consumers directly at the point of sale.

When we said this in the past, it used to mean that customers could have a marketing message on their device when they physically approached a retail outlet.

Now, with the maturity of mobile commerce and the flourishing of the mobile Internet, it means that customers can conduct the entire transaction cycle on their mobile device, from marketing to purchasing to consumption.

It is cost-effective
Mobile marketing features some of the lowest cost per touch and cost per impression of any marketing medium.

Without naming names, one retailer executed a mobile campaign with triple-digit ROI for less than 2 cents per impression.

Marketers that provide tactics with these kinds of returns for clients are also reaping financial rewards.

Agency holding company giant WPP, which owns JWT, Ogilvy and Y&R, posted 2 percent revenue gains in one of the softest marketing spend environments in years arguably on the strength of its mobile marketing performance.

It is brand-friendly
Since mobile marketing is still relatively new in the eyes of most consumers, it transmits a sense of innovation and forward-thinking for the brand that uses it.

Combine that with the ability of mobile marketing messages to be well-branded – a goal for every mobile marketing initiative – along with the high levels of brand interaction associated with mobile applications, and mobile marketing becomes a panacea for companies trying to define or strengthen their brand.

It is versatile
Speaking of applications, it is easy to forget that these ingenious, useful and ubiquitous marketing tools are barely four years old.

The Apple App Store, which has almost 250,000 applications for the iPhone and iPad, was not even open for business until 2008, a good year after the first iPhone was introduced.

Now, applications are the darlings of the marketing and advertising world, and an indispensible aspect of the smartphone experience.

This demonstrates that marketing opportunities on the mobile medium grow and change almost daily, and mobile continues to provide new and better ways to get a message out.

It is, in other words, one of the most versatile marketing mediums currently available.

MOBILE MARKETING IS not the next big thing, waiting for the next next big thing to come along and unseat it. It is the big thing, the game-changer.

In technological terms, mobile is the next evolution in communications, one that is redefining how, where and why people connect with one another.

It stands to reason, then, that it should have a similar effect on marketing and advertising.

Trends everywhere are pointing to this evolution, and businesses are on the path to widespread adoption. There will never be a year of mobile, or even a half-decade of mobile.

Mobile marketing will be a consistent reality for all businesses, everywhere. So it is time to let them know.

Vanessa Horwell is chief visibility officer of ThinkInk, Miami Beach, FL. Reach her at

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