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Tactics for driving sales via mobile this Mother’s Day

May 6, 2011's mobile site

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and with consumers accessing their mobile device now more than ever, incorporating a mobile component – whether it is a banner ad, SMS campaign or application – in a retailer’s marketing strategy is a necessity.

Mobile presents an opportunity for companies to reach consumers when and wherever they are. It is important to include a mobile component into a retailer’s marketing initiatives to not only further engage with consumers, but also let them do last-minute shopping while they are on the go.

“It’s wise to think long-term,” said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, Seattle. “Engagement during the Mother’s Day period opens the door to remarketing opportunities.

“If you treat the customer right and provide value, the mobile subscriber might be interested in ongoing information and offers,” he said.

Retailers looking to incorporate a call to action should make their materials interactive by including an SMS component.

The calls to action can be included in traditional media, at the point of sale, online and in social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

“It makes great sense – in 2011, mobile device owners have their phone within four feet at all times and are ready and willing to engage if you give them an offer or something else of value,” Mr. Hasen said.

“SMS makes dollars already being spent work harder and brings a level of measurability not previously seen,” he said. “As an example, a retailer can measure a television spot not only by how many were viewing the station at the time but also by how many interacted with the commercial.

“Further, they can view the results in real time and make changes – maybe swap out one commercial for another – to maximize their buy.”

Many retailers today are incorporating SMS into their marketing initiatives to not only boost consumer engagement, but to also get them in-store.

For example, Macy’s recently rolled out its Backstage Pass SMS and QR code program that lets shoppers use their mobile devices to learn more about fashion and designers’ lines.

Consumers can text the keyword found beside each Backstage Pass to the short code 62297 to view exclusive video content.

Macy’s uses SMS for mobile campaign

Retailers can use the same strategy and incorporate a call to action in their in-store signage to feature must-have products that consumers can shop for Mother’s Day.

“Given the near-ubiquity of text messaging, SMS is a highly inclusive tactic,” Mr. Hasen said.

Mother’s app
Mobile applications and optimized-sites also present a great opportunity for selling to consumers this Mother’s Day.

Many retailers have been aggressively marketing their products for Mother’s Day.

As retailers promote their companies and products via TV, radio, print and online media, consumers can immediately view the special promotions and offers via their smartphone and buy on the spot. 

“By sending out text messages for those who have signed up for updates or by communicating through push notifications via the retailer’s branded app, companies are now engaging with customers by offering relevant and valuable promotions directly through their devices,” said Dan Lowden, vice president of marketing at Digby, Austin, TX.

Companies such as Godiva Chocolatier and see a huge increase in sales during the Mother’s Day period, per Mr. Lowden.

“Mobile has become a strategic new channel for them,” Mr. Lowden said. “ consistently does a great job around mobile and Mother’s Day.

“Their mobile-optimized Web site and apps let customers quickly see the featured offers and helps take the guesswork out of what to buy,” he said.

A mobile site and application are an ideal canvas for retailers looking to sell their products.

Consumers are always on the go and have their mobile device on them at all times.

A mobile site lets retailers present their goods and services to the masses and be on every device.

Applications are great for a company’s most loyal customers and must offer unique content, offers and access to past purchase and billing information to make it easier to order and checkout.

“The mobile channel is a great new way for retailers to reach customers for Mother’s Day,” Mr. Lowden said.

“To leverage this trend, retailers should look at mobile strategically and offer a mobile-optimized Web site – not a cut and paste or transcoded version of their ecommerce site – as well as a rich app based on who their customer demographic is,” he said.

“Mobile should be considered in every part of the retailer’s marketing efforts to help make consumers aware that they can have a great buying experience from their smartphone anytime and anywhere.”

Mobile advertising
Mobile advertising is another great way to incorporate mobile into the marketing mix.

Retailers can use banner ads or full-page ads to promote products.

Companies should take advantage of advertising on a mobile device, especially on holidays such as Mother’s Day.

“We’ve been planning for Mother’s Day and retailers, entertainment, travel and auto advertisers have been developing and purchasing their campaigns for Mother’s Day 2011 since January this year, if not before,” said Mack McKelvey, senior vice president of marketing at Millennial Media, Baltimore, MD.

“Mother’s Day campaigns also kick off the Mom’s, Dad’s and Grad’s overall season, so we expect the heavy retail focus to continue for several more weeks,” she said. “This is true both here and in the UK.

 “We’ve seen a continuous increase in retailers utilizing mobile.” 

Companies looking to incorporate mobile advertising into the marketing scheme should plan early.

Then, it is important to start with reach and make sure that the ad runs cross-platform. This lets retailers start with massive reach and target at scale.

It is important to integrate mobile in a creative way, such as including video.

Additionally, retailers should use mobile local market targeting – particularly if one of their campaign goals is to increase foot traffic into a retail store.

“Your mobile destination is critical,” Ms. McKelvey said. “Even if you have the most visually stunning creative, a poor, unoptimized mobile experience could prevent a positive consumer experience.

“Ensure your post-click actions like mcommerce, place call, and/or promotion are tailored to your campaign objective,” she said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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