A Relationship-first Approach to Mobile Marketing – #omsummit

I recently had the opportunity to speak to Shawn Myers, Director of Product Marketing at Responsys. Shawn is speaking at our San Diego event next month. He took some time out his busy schedule to talk about the mobile marketing. Below is a recap of our conversation

Online Marketing Summit: What is your name, title and the company you work for?

Shawn: My name is Shawn Myers, Director of Product Marketing at Responsys.

Online Marketing Summit:  New data from Prosper Mobile Insights reveals that “34.7% of smartphone and tablet owners surveyed said they would spend more time this year with their devices, compared to just 5.7% who said they would tone it down a little.” How can marketers take advantage of this trend?

Shawn: One of the reasons I’m excited about mobile, is that very point. Mobile as a communication channel for brands and businesses is undergoing explosive growth. What is fantastic is that, consumers are asking for it. So that stat, is one of the many signs that consumers really want this as one of their primary means of engaging with the brands and businesses. I think that is one of the biggest overall trends. There are many other stats as well. For example, there are roughly five times as many mobile devices as there are PCs today. Those stats all add up to a beautiful picture, built upon a long history of mobile as a communication channel. The trends of the smartphones and ease of access and the higher speed data feeds and all of the various pieces and parts that are coming together, really say that the time is now for mobile to be a primary and key marketing channel. I’m excited to talk about this topic and bring all of the pieces and parts together on why people really need to look at mobile with a relationship-first lens. Relationship first marketing is about thinking about the customer relationship and customer experience first. Shifting the mindset away from just acquiring the next sale, to focusing on increasing the customer life time value.

Online Marketing Summit: Everyone uses their mobile devices in different ways. Does that create additional challenges for marketers? What do they need to think about when creating a mobile experience for their audience?

Shawn: There are a couple of different angles to that question. First are the basics. If you haven’t already, and there still are people out there that haven’t, you must design and build a mobile optimized experience.  What do I mean by that? Every touch point for any consumer should be optimal for those devices in which they choose to engage with you. Your web experience should be friendly for both a phone, as well as a tablet. Emails you send should render correctly and be usable across multiple devices as well. Emails should be adaptive and adjust to the size of the screen, and to a finger as the input device rather than a keyboard. Those are some of the basics of being friendly and usable for your customers in these new channels and new devices.  More advanced approaches, are to really look at these channels from a cross-channel view. It’s not just that every consumer will choose to communicate to you via their iPhone, but that you have people that say, “I’m most engaged with you as a business, as a brand, through my tablet or through my phone or maybe through my traditional desktop PC.” You need to coordinate across all those devices and channels. You can’t have a siloed view and have a really great iPhone experience and ignore the tablet. It just doesn’t work anymore.  Today you really need to have a true orchestrated approach with engaging consumers across all of the channels and these emerging opportunities.

Online Marketing Summit: What should a marketer look at when analyzing mobile site/app usage?

Shawn:  Make sure you are gathering the data. I think that there are a lot of folks that are still early in the life cycle of building out their mobile sites and apps.  The first and foremost thing as part of those processes of implementing is to make sure you’re measuring. Make sure you have the ability to test and really optimize those experiences over time because inevitably you’re going to bring something to market which is not perfect the first time. It rarely is. So you must have the ability to know where those imperfections lie and how to make them better; you can only do that with data. At Responsys, we’re big believers in testing and optimization. This applies to everything, from email to sites, apps and even SMS. With all of those things, make sure you’re measuring.     

Online Marketing Summit: You’ll be speaking at Online Marketing Summit in a few weeks about mobile marketing. Without giving away too much, why should marketers create A Relationship-First Approach to Mobile Marketing?

Shawn: The time is now because there are two main trends that are converging and really driving to the fact that you must act now. The first trend we talked about is the rise of mobile as a key communication channel. The number of mobile device that are now in the hands of consumers is outstanding. I read a great stat the other day that said that there are literally more mobile devices in the world than there are toothbrushes.  That really speaks to the fact that mobile is ubiquitous, that everyone has one and it’s with you 24/7. The first thing I see I in the morning and the last thing I see at night is my phone. It’s with me all the time during the day. It’s with me throughout the night sitting next to me on my bed stand. It’s something that’s always there and always on.

Online Marketing Summit: I actually sleep with my phone.

Shawn: Many people do.  That 24/7 nature is something new and different.  It’s a different type of channel and a new opportunity for marketers. This opportunity doesn’t come without a challenge.  Because it’s on 24/7, as a marketer I must be very conscientious about how I choose to communicate to my consumer through that channel. More than once I have received a SMS marketing message at 3 AM and my phone will buzz; that’s a really negative experience.  So it’s all about understanding the consumer and really serving them good quality targeted marketing.  It’s not that just the content is appealing and really speaks to me, but the timing speaks to me, and other variables and factors are delivering value to me rather than taking value away and being annoying. I mentioned relationship-first marketing and I think that is the other giant trend in the industry. What do we mean by that? We see the world as two different types of marketing: there is acquisition-first and there is relationship-first. Acquisition first marketing has been the initiative over the last ten years, where you solely focus on attracting and closing that initial sale. That’s the sole purpose, which is a really narrow view of how to engage with consumers. There is real shift in the market away from this acquisition-first view into what we term as relationship-first marketing. Focusing beyond the first sale, because the lifetime value of a customer that transacts that third, fourth time is so much greater than one that just transacts one time and is gone. With the ubiquity of consumer choice online, the risk of just being that one hit wonder, is too great. You have to shift into being about relationships first. That’s about being relevant for that person and really giving them value in your communication. That applies to every channel online and offline as well. Mobile is one of the fantastic opportunities for a relationship-first approach because of the ubiquitous and always-on nature. If I look at my world around me, it’s one of the only things that’s uniquely mine. I don’t share my phone with anybody. I might share my laptop on occasion, but my mobile device is one of the only devices that is uniquely me.

Online Marketing Summit: If you had one piece of advice to give marketers about mobile marketing, what would it be?

Shawn:  It’s hard to narrow it down to just one. When people are thinking about mobile, the real advice I give is proper planning makes for better results. It really is about planning everything from building a good mobile experience to making sure you are asking for permission to communicate. You need consumers to say “Yes, I do want to open this door for you to reach out to me and engage me in a conversation.” From there, planning how you grow these channels, how do you build upon those permissions and over time, increase those conversions.  Paying attention to detail in your strategy is important as well. The mobile channel and technologies can be a great tool for a marketer to really create awareness, consideration and intent to purchase. Take the time to create a strategy and execute using powerful tools to reach and engage with your audience.        

Online Marketing Summit: Shawn thanks so much for your time and we’ll see you at Online Marketing Summit next week.

For more information on mobile marketing, make sure you attend Shawn Myers’ conference session: A Relationship-First Approach to Mobile Marketing. Register for Online Marketing Summit today with Priority Code JQBLOG to save $600 on conference passes.



Feel free to follow me on Twitter for more marketing info and fun.