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How to create a mobile marketing strategy map

By Gib Bassett

As marketers go about establishing plans and budgets for 2010, they cannot afford to ignore mobile as a channel for engaging customers in revenue- and profit-producing ways. 

With many companies experiencing success meeting their business objectives using mobile and clear ROI metrics emerging, the conversation has shifted from “Should I try mobile?” to “How do I go about building mobile most effectively into my plans?” 

To this end, the concept of a mobile marketing strategy map can help marketers quickly establish and communicate their plans for leveraging mobile throughout the year.

Knowledge-based marketing actions
Marketers stand to achieve the greatest value from mobile through a better understanding of their customers while “on-the-go,” and using this state-based insight to create relevant, ongoing interactions to facilitate a variety of marketing programs. Like best practices in other marketing disciplines aimed at executing:

Loyalty programs: A text message interaction can serve as the means by which customers register for a loyalty program and interface with it over time.

The program itself may be advertised on billboards, in print or promoted on the phone during support calls, and email confirmation may be used as well.

Mobile smartphone applications are increasingly used as a mechanism for engendering greater loyalty. Promoting the availability of rich applications can also be accomplished in concert with text and mobile Web communications.

Demand generation: A sales lead means different things to different marketers but the common denominator is obtaining someone’s interest as a step toward a sale or some other business outcome. 

A text message communication, to redeem high interest information in the form of an email, or be pointed to a mobile-optimized Web site or smartphone product purchase “configurator” are just some of the ways demand generation requirements can be met with mobile and feed the pipeline over the course of the year.

Brand awareness: Mobile applications are often developed with an eye on brand affinity, but text communications are also employed for direct branding, a flavor of direct marketing that connects brand marketers with their customers to drive consumption and gain on-the-ground insight into brand choice decisions. 

Marketers are also using mobile effectively to leverage the channel’s built-in social media and viral marketing qualities to transform customers into brand stewards who spread the word.

Champion/challenger testing: Mobile may be the killer application for testing the effectiveness of marketing messages and various media before a full-scale rollout.

Text message interactions are often used to this end by tracking response rates by unique keywords promoted in various media. This also serves to measure return on investment once a program is concluded, for advertising spend across media such as print, billboards, radio and television.

Customer and market research: Mobile interactions generate data which can help marketers create a mobile customer data asset to inform more relevant and effective mobile interactions.

Mobile also provides a level of reach and personalization not possible through other channels for targeting customer segments as part of product or market research projects.

Product or service launches: Timeliness is a key attribute of mobile and it is this which makes it an ideal channel for launching a new product or service. 

Information about a new offering or incentive for trialing or buying a new product can be the centerpiece of mobile marketing programs spanning text, applications and Web. 

In other cases, mobile itself is a new product, as when a business extends its service via development of a mobile application or mobile-optimized Web site. 

Mobile can also play a key role in the post-sale customer relationship, in terms of support.

Promotions, sales or coupons: Limited time offers to drive short-term demand requirements such as promotions, sales or coupons are among the most popular uses of mobile that marketers stitch into their programs throughout the year. 

Coupon distribution and redemption can be executed using many combinations of mobile methods, including text, applications and Web. These are also often core components of loyalty programs.

Special events and conferences: The real-time environment of an event is a perfect place for a medium such as mobile. Participants’ handsets can add value to their experience by enabling them to text questions to event organizers, register to receive more information from vendors at a trade show or multi-sponsor conference, or participate in interactive audience programs such as contests and auctions. 

For yearly or frequent events, marketers employ these and other approaches to ensure attendees keep coming back – and spending more money.

Note that mobile is absent in the names of each of these applications. This is because mobile is as much a key tactic as others used by marketers to perform their jobs more effectively, such as email, the Web, point of sale, direct mail, advertising and the call center. 

As such, mobile considerations must be top of mind for marketers as they establish their priorities and budgets.

Mapping objectives to the mobile experience
A simple yet effective exercise for marketers is to consider the interaction channels of their business within the context of the mobile customer experience. This means mapping marketing initiatives to the ways mobile marketing techniques can enhance or underpin programs executed through existing customer channels. 

The result is a mobile marketing strategy map illustrating how elements of the mobile customer experience support or enable marketing initiatives (see diagram). Mobile is as much a transformative marketing method as a channel unto itself.

The specific combination and scope of mobile customer experience elements used to support marketing plans will vary by business.

Therefore, the first step toward developing relationships with customers via mobile is to create a compelling call to action redeemable via a mobile interaction, such as a discount or access to timely information promoted in traditional media including billboards, radio or television, or interactive channels comprising the Web or email. 

Building this step into the first few months of the plan year is crucial to embedding mobile into the fabric of ensuing marketing initiatives and reaping the benefits.

Marketers need to take a programmatic, iterative approach to mobile to realize the greatest benefit offered by this new and exciting channel. Those who do so will achieve breakthrough results by focusing on their objectives, given the customer interaction channels offered by their business. Planning now and budgeting appropriately is the path to success.

Gib Bassett is director of marketing for Interactive Mediums, a Chicago-based provider of mobile customer engagement services. Reach him at  [email protected].