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Reaching the edgy mobile influencer of color

April 12, 2011

Lauren DeLisa Coleman

Lauren DeLisa Coleman

How can you wrestle this mobile animal better?

The platform is certainly not going away, but instead, growing more expansive right before our eyes. Thus, it important to focus on the very foundation of the mobile arena to either take that first mobile step or build even further upon initial moves.

Behavior and segmentation are two vitally important words when it comes to executing a highly effective mobile marketing campaign. A one-size-fits-all approach is actually wasting precious resources and marketing dollars simply because of the cultural shifts and usage patterns nationwide.

Smart tones
Many brands could actually see a large exponential increase in their mobile marketing and branding efforts and make their lives easier simply by including a two-prong approach in driving consumers to, for example, one major mobile destination and gain greater market share in the process.

Given that the African-American and Latino market segments in our country are actually far more likely to own a smartphone than the mainstream (source: Nielsen) and actually spend more in mobile costs each and every month as well as use more mobile features (source: Pew Research and my inaugural column entry), a gold mine in numbers awaits the savvy chief marketing officer or CEO who taps into this market simultaneously.

And it is easily done simply by execution of a test.

Everything and everyone deserves a test, and the results can be astounding.

I have discussed this with several colleagues and consumers and the results are definitely in.

Due to the personal nature of a device that is always on and always located on one’s person, greater sensitivity to culture and behavior is simply required more so than that of a regular outdoor billboard or digital banner ad.

So if you are going to get in the game, let us get in it to win.

Now, knowing that the playing field demonstrates a daily cultural shift that is taking place within our country revealing growing numbers of the black and Latino markets while the mainstream is shrinking, a successful mobile marketer is required to actually broaden his or her view, maybe even as a career first.

But the beauty of taking this wider view is also greater facilitation of the task at hand.


Stepping up
First, if you are targeting the typical sweet spot of consumers ages 18-34, statistics show that the diverse portion of this demographic is actually more receptive to advertising than its mainstream counterpart (source: Simmons Research).

Influenced by both brand stature as well as peer leadership aspirations, they see advertising as a way to be informed on what is hot next, what is cool and what is coming.

Miss this demo, and you miss a valuable portion of word-of-mouth. So one has a growing population that is actually the leader in mobile who actually gravitates toward advertising.

Capitalize on it in a three-step test.

For those brands that have, for example, a strong mobile application and want to increase awareness and usage of it, consider:

1) Creating a mobile bar code/QR tag complete with specific imaging and language which is organic, and implement distribution of it to areas where this demo frequents in both the physical and digital worlds.

The bar code, via its rich media experience, is positioned to drive the consumer ultimately to download the application but it has been done in a manner relevant to the target.

And given the growing number of apps daily, we are all going to need to become much more creative in encouraging app download and consistent usage.

The bar code also provides a way in which to build a mobile database with this specific audience via a call to SMS opt-in within content delivered.

The immediacy of it and access via camera phone makes this approach ideal.

Caution: The bar code/QR tag has to have right content, or it will simply be dismissed by these edgy market leaders.

2) Coordinating with the right ambassadors to carry the message for the brand across the digital and physical realm.

Keep in mind that this is a crowd of influencers which thrives on discovery and has a certain trust circle and hierarchy within it.

“Seeding” apps and information to the right people within the young black and Latino audiences means a much faster uptake and expanded word-of-mouth. It is an approach that has been used in the record industry, and it works.

Caution: The right ambassadors have to be used alone with proper incentives to them – not necessarily always monetary – or it will be perceived as contrived and dismissed.

3) Maximize television spots by coordinating mobile just in certain markets with large diverse populations, at first.

If your brand is already advertising on television, it should be relatively simple to integrate some call to mobile within the spot.

This is key particularly since statistics were just released which show that consumers under 25 consistently text a variety of friends regarding what they are watching on television while watching it.

If African-Americans and Latinos out-index in texting, the calculation is simple for the benefit this can bring.

Caution: Take care that the right mobile call-to-action is used and that it actually makes sense to the viewer.

Afterwards, review metrics, analyze, stir and strategize for next winning moves.

IF MOBILE MARKETERS think in a hip manner and link with the right partners, tests can not only provide invaluable business feedback and insight but also offer an ability to observe elements that work best so that the volume can then be turned up on them completely in following campaigns.

The value of considering mobile by demographic breakdown can be huge. Here’s to winning.

Lauren DeLisa Coleman is a New York-based socio-political digitalist and president of Punch Media Group. Reach her at

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