Creating the Modern Mobile Marketer – #OMS12

Is this type of mobile marketing the best we can do?

No one would dispute the increasing importance of mobile as a critical element of business these days. As smartphone and tablet ownership explodes, it’s become ever harder to consider these platforms as supplemental traffic drivers or low-value revenue opportunities.

Josh Sternberg of Digiday sums up the mobile challenge nicely, articulating the lack of urgency and creativity being used to address the oncoming sea of monetizable mobile eyeballs. Simply using old-school rectangles and metaphorically low-tech display advertising models that worked (only moderately) well on 17-in monitors are not going to cut it in the mobile world. And simply transferring TV commercials to the mobile screen because video consumption is so high probably won’t do, either.

The mobile marketing dilemma spans across more than online publishers of news and content – threatening to catch nearly all of us digital marketers by surprise if we defer considering its opportunity until a bigger share of our audience is found there.

In order to begin thinking strategically about making the mobile marketing experience work effectively, there are three elements to consider in fundamentally changing the way we manage and market our products to the mobile user:

Think About the Context

Context is the most critical aspect for creating new mobile marketing strategies.  It’s important to recognize that someone using their smartphone or tablet is doing so from a wide variety of environments. Unlike the computer user sitting in their home or on office machine, mobile users can be walking down the street, eating at a restaurant, sitting on a flight, or watching TV.

Think About the Footprint

The screen of even the largest smartphone or tablet is tight on space, leaving little room for core content, layout and design. So far page layouts, advertising and promotional units have attempted to bolt-on distractions that make everything on the screen nearly unreadable and in-actionable! And for the most part, editors and developers have viewed the deployment of content as a stripped-down version of what would appear on the computer monitor, forcing the end-user to adapt to small font sizes, and endless scrolling.

Think Outside “the Box”

If we consider limitless user context and limits in screen real estate – we can then shift the way we view the challenge o

 f monetizing and marketing in the mobile space in favor of new, more useful and more innovative solutions. Understanding that the end-user is there to get and share information – for example to check the we

 ather, or share real-time pictures of their camping trip – we can then begin to brainstorm new ways to get our marketing messages delivered in a more contextual way and define performance metrics that talk to about audience quality, and reaching exactly the right customer at the right time with the right message.

Technology is naturally an important aspect of this paradigm but technological innovation for the most part has been focused on applying the traditional models to the mobile sphere. Ironically, the traditional ways marketers have done their job on the web was developed to mimic traditional print models (i.e. a square ad in the newspaper). Technological innovation for mobile at this point, is focused almost solely on driving classic ad monetization, and therefore lacks the end-user innovation that would actually make it effective!

 Many of today’s multi-channel and integrated marketers have quickly learned that trying to apply traditional advertising and marketing metrics to social, mobile and video leads to abysmal results. Compared to mass-media marketing and traditional sales sponsorships, clicks and impressions fall short of delivering the easy performance metrics that standard rate cards promise. But companies who believe this is what matters are clinging to a marketing model that is quickly falling to the side.

The modern mobile marketer will be one that understands this conundrum, and knows how to combine the mobile mass with the social and contextual message. As the way we consume digital information continues to accelerate and old-school marketing techniques evolve into integrated and engagement-based marketing methods, we marketing practitioners can wait until we are forced to change, or get a head start in driving the types of marketing channels we want to help us drive the future of our businesses.

 The future of mobile marketing will have to find a better way to do its job. Learn more about mobile marketing at Online Marketing Summit in October.