Mobile marketing all over the world

The world is not ‘going mobile, and it has already gone! There are more than 4.6 billion mobile phones in the world today, one each for 67% of the world’s population. This is about four times the number of desktop and laptop computers. More than 50% of internet search worldwide was conducted on mobile phones in 2010 (T.Ahonen Consulting). SMS Text messaging is the most widely used data application today – by far! Most people will not go anywhere without their mobile phones. A lost credit card is reported within one day, but a lost mobile phone is reported within 30 minutes (VISA 2009).

Mobile Marketing

What does this mean for Australian businesses? Firstly, it means understanding the implications and opportunities of mobile phones and mobile marketing is critical now. For example, any company that has a website needs to ensure it is compatible with mobile search. Approximately 10 – 15% of all internet searches in Australia today are done via mobile phones. Beyond that, it means that a mobile phone communications strategy needs to be embraced and implemented. Many Australian customers and clients are already using their mobile phones to find services, search for products, make purchases, and as a way stay informed about their favorite places and brands.

The speed at which these changes have taken place, particularly the adoption of smartphones and mobile internet browsing in the last two years, has left many Australian businesses in its wake. There is a general understanding that the mobile phone is strategically essential and presents new opportunities. Still, the question is: “What does it mean for me, and how can I start using it to benefit my business?”

Mobile Marketing: Where to start?

The first thing to know about mobile marketing is to not think about it as marketing. A much better description is mobile engagement. This is not just semantics, and it is essential to think differently when considering how to incorporate the mobile phone into today’s communication strategy. The word ‘communication’ suggests having a direct conversation with your customer. Marketing has traditionally followed the broadcast model: tell your message to as many people as possible and hope it will be relevant to a few. That model is rapidly becoming less acceptable to many customers and less effective in today’s crowded and diffused media environment.

The opportunity exists today via mobile systems to have a direct one-to-one relationship with every customer in a way that has never been possible before and at a cost that has never been possible before. We all know that there are now more mobile phones in Australia than there are people, and we know that no one leaves home without taking their mobile phone and that it is seen as a personal and private’ space.’

It is not necessary to ‘market’ to customers via phones by ‘engaging’ with them; instead, the results and rewards can be well beyond what can be achieved through any other media. It is important to remember that the customer has permission to engage directly with them in their personal space, which must be respected.

Your customers have permitted you to contact them via mobile because they want to hear from you. They want to know what is happening with your brand and products. They don’t want to be ‘sold to’ because they are already ‘sold.’ They are loyal, engaged customers who wish to be kept informed.

This goes to the heart of what is different about engaging with customers and clients via the mobile phone: you know that they already have a relationship with your business and that by giving you their mobile number, they have said, “I am interested and want to hear from you. I am trusting you.” If this is the case, and given that it is seven times easier to sell to an existing customer than a new one… it is time to start talking!

Most Australian business owners and marketing managers, when asked, say they want to start using mobile marketing, but many don’t know how or where to start. The easiest way to ‘put a toe in the water’ is by using SMS. It is fast, easy, inexpensive, practical, and widely accepted. It is possible to stay in touch with a customer every month for less than $2 per year using SMS. That means putting your brand in their hand and head every month for just a few cents! If just one of those messages influences their behavior once during the year, then your payback will be very significant. The ROI from SMS engagement is well above any other form of marketing.