Mobile website or mobile app? It's not only a common question from marketers -- it’s also the wrong question to ask. So let’s get this out of the way first, interactive marketers: You need a mobile-optimized or mobile-specific website. If you don’t want to take my word for it, check your organic web traffic. Odds are, you’ll see anywhere from 10%-25% of your web traffic coming from mobile devices, whether you’re intending to capture that mobile traffic or not. That percentage has been growing steadily and will continue to, so yes, you need to have a mobile web home. I’m glad that’s settled.
Whether or not you need a mobile app for marketing is a little less clear-cut. To decide, once and for all, if you should really build that mobile app, ask yourself these three most important questions:
1. Is my audience using apps?
Yes, about half of US adults have a smartphone, but that doesn’t automatically mean they’re using it in sophisticated ways. You can likely find users of all ages among those who have apps, but demographics affect the size of your app audience. For example, about one-third of smartphone app users are Gen Y (ages 23-31), and another third are Gen X (ages 32-45). Make sure you understand the app habits of your own audience before you decide what to build.
Those of you who know my research won’t be surprised to learn that I’m currently working on a collection of mobile marketing reports that will eventually make up our mobile marketing playbook. (For more information about Forrester’s new playbooks, check this out.) But what you probably don’t know is that the report I’m working on right now isn’t about mobile marketing — it’s about mobile marketers.
My hypothesis is that as a company decides to commit to mobile marketing, experts either emerge or are hired to shepherd programs specifically designed to engage the mobile audience. It sounds easy enough, but there are a couple of things that complicate this seemingly straightforward evolution. First, mobile isn’t really just “a” channel. There's more than a dozen mobile tactics that a mobile channel manager could be responsible for, including mobile display, mobile search, and mobile messaging, in addition to mobile sites and apps. Second, for a lot of those mobile tactics, there are already embedded non-mobile counterparts, like digital media buyers, email marketers, and search specialists with whom the mobile marketer may need to collaborate.
So, for this report, I’m hoping to speak with several of you mobile marketers out there to understand things like:
· How you got into your current role and what it entails.
· Where you sit in relation to other marketers at your company.
I listened to the Mark Zuckerberg interview from the TechCrunch Disrupt event in San Francisco this week.
There were a few choice quotes (I'll paraphrase them here - these are not literally a transcription. You can find the video/audio on the TechCrunch site):
"The biggest mistake we made (with our mobile services) was relying too much on HTML5 and for too long."
"We finally realized that a good enough mobile experience would fall short. We needed a great mobile experience. The only path to great is native on iOS and Android."
"Our mobile users are more engaged and use our services more frequently."
"All of our code is for mobile."
"We'll build native code for iOS and Android." (And it is building for iOS first)
"Ads can't be standalone on a sidebar in mobile. They need to be integrated into our product."
"We reorganized. A year ago, 90% of the code check-ins were from the core mobile team. Now 90% comes from other parts of the organization."
"We reorganized. We were in functional silos. We now have product teams (responsible for delivery)."
"A Facebook phone doesn't make any sense."
Some context. Certainly, Facebook is unique with it being a media-centric company and very global. It does need mobile Web to reach much of its audience - now nearing 950M. For many companies, mobile Web will continue to be a relatively low-cost, broad-reach play to get to most of the phones. Mobile Web doesn't go away, but it is not where the differentiation will happen - at least in the near term.
Back in March, I hinted at my discomfort with the way SoLoMo has come to mean technology-focused, reductive marketing campaigns usually solely focused on the “check-in.” But the reason people want to talk about SoLoMo is because of real trends in consumer adoption of technology and advanced technology behaviors. Those of you who were at Forrester’s Marketing Leadership Forum last month know that this thinking evolved into what we’ve been calling the Always Addressable Customer — a topic that I haven’t stopped talking about since we debuted it. For those of you who haven’t yet heard the term, the Always Addressable Customer is someone who:
· Owns and uses at least 3 data connected devices
· Accesses the Internet multiple times per day
· Goes online from multiple physical locations (for example: home, work, in the car, and at the mall)
These customers require marketers to think differently about their programs if they want to be effective. Always Addressable Customers don’t stop to think about their devices or “technology solutions.” Rather, technology is simply how they live their lives and get stuff done. It means that you can now reach this ultra-connected audience wherever they are, but more importantly, wherever and whenever they need you. That “need” is key here: I’m not talking about your ability to bombard your customer with irrelevant messages. I’m talking about how you can now provide true service and value to your customers whenever and wherever they need it.
We’ve all seen the headlines: 20102011 2012 is the year of mobile! Mobile marketing spend will outpace emailsearch display! Jump on the bandwagon now or else!
. . . And while I’m bullish about mobile marketing — I better be, since it’s my primary coverage area these days — the importance of having a sound strategy and the right partners to execute often gets lost in all that hype. That’s why I’m extremely proud to have just published The Forrester Wave™: US Digital Agencies — Mobile Marketing Strategy And Execution, to help marketers identify the right agency partners to develop and build smart mobile marketing strategies that deliver real business results.
You’ll notice from the (rather long) title that I focused specifically on US-based digital agencies. Admittedly, this is a narrow view of a very wide array of service providers that help marketers create mobile programs. However, to deliver the kind of value people expect from Forrester’s trusted Wave methodology, it was necessary to zero in on just one part of the market to ensure a level field for all players.
Even with this focus, we screened scores of agencies for this study and ultimately ended up with nine agencies to evaluate: AKQA, iCrossing, Ogilvy, Possible Worldwide, Razorfish, Rosetta, SapientNitro, TribalDDB, and VML. These top performing agencies were included in our evaluation because they all:
• Offer comprehensive mobile marketing services.
• Met – and mostly exceeded — a minimum revenue requirement from mobile marketing offerings.
It was more than 10 years ago that I listened to my first sermon about the growing importance of mobile as a marketing channel. It was late 2000 or early 2001; I was working at DoubleClick at the time, and my boss left the company to join a mobile startup, claiming we should’ve already had a mobile ad offering in place because it wouldn’t be long before smartphones replaced PCs entirely.
Suffice it to say I’m still waiting anxiously for a chance to throw away my computer -- and likewise, marketers are still waiting for mobile to become a genuinely important marketing channel. It’s not that they’re pessimistic: In fact, the marketers in our surveys rank mobile just a hair behind social media in terms of channels they think will grow in effectiveness over the coming years. But anticipation has never quite equaled reality -- and so most interactive marketers across the US and Europe continue to bide their time, waiting for a mobile marketing opportunity that’ll match the hype.
And that’s where mobile apps appear to come in. Few interactive marketing opportunities are more hyped than mobile apps, but in our search for a mobile marketing channel that really works we’ve lost sight of one crucial point: Marketers’ target audiences don’t care nearly as much about branded applications as the marketers themselves do. In fact:
Apple has been storing our location. (See article) Sounds bad, but really, is it? My colleague Joe Stanhope forwarded the article to me with the line, “kinda scary.” Is it? Our credit cards track where we are and what we spend. The carriers know where we are all the time — they aren’t storing the information as far as we know, but they could be. Our cars can be tracked. We buy plane tickets and make flight reservations online. What’s a bit different is that many different entities have our information, but not necessarily one.
Your phone will know everything about you going forward. My phone already knows where I go (ok, and Apple is recording), who I call, what sports teams I follow, what games I play, where I bank, how often I visit Starbucks, where I shop, what books I’m reading (Kindle), what music I listen to . . . and the list goes on. What else is my phone going to know about me? It’s going to know:
What I eat because I want help tracking calories
How often I run because I track my workouts
What I watch on TV because my phone is my remote control
Who I fly . . . because I use mobile boarding passes
How healthy I am b/c it will track my cholesterol
Who my friends are from phone, texting, and Facebook
Where I’m eating b/c it tracks my Yelp searches and OpenTable bookings
Whether I’m traveling on foot or by car b/c it tracks my speed
Mobile marketing spend is forecast to hit around 750 million by the end of 2011 and more than 1,250 million by 2014. However, the number of consumers exposed to mobile advertising is still low. In fact, Forrester Technographics surveys shows that two-thirds of online mobile consumers don't remember being exposed to any mobile ads. Of those who had been exposed, the majority (52%) didn't take any actions. For those who did respond, calling a local business or storing a number as a new contact were the most popular activities.
But just because many consumers haven't engaged with mobile marketing yet doesn't mean they don't want to. In fact, 13% of online mobile consumers say that they would like to receive coupons to be used while shopping and 10% would like to be able to look up product information. About one-fifth of online mobile consumers are open to receiving SMS messages from companies in return for promotions, discounts, or free downloads(and this number jumps to more than one-third of Gen Yers).
But to be successful at their mobile efforts, companies need to determine which type of engagement will work best with their target audience and what key objectives resonate most. For example, are you trying to drive awareness, foot traffic, or campaign involvement? Understanding these objectives will help determine whether your organization should engage consumers through an SMS campaign offering a reward or whether it should try to intercept consumers while they are searching.
In the last few months, we've talked a lot about how quickly the mobile marketing space is moving — and with nearly 75% of marketers telling us they're implementing or planning to implement mobile campaigns in the next year, we're not expecting the pace to slow any time soon.
Since we've just switched over to our 2011 calendars, now is the time to make some predictions about what that mobile marketing growth is really going to look like. In our new report, we take a look at:
The potential for marketer-branded application fatigue. (Warning: Those allergic to puns may want to tread lightly on this section.)
Emphasis on interactive fundamentals — like display and search — for the mobile marketer.
The carving out of mobile-specific expertise both within and independent of interactive teams.
Innovation on the marketing potential of location-based services.
Forrester clients can read the full report here. Whether you're a client or not, I invite you to share your own mobile marketing predictions in the comments below. What do you think will happen in the world of mobile marketing this year?
Here's what I'm currently planning on researching and writing about:
Mobile strategy. We'll look at what a comprehensive mobile strategy is, how to move from experimentation to true strategizing, and the essential elements that make mobile strategies successful.
Mobile measurement. We'll investigate the metrics marketers currently use to measure their mobile campaigns, emerging standards, and success benchmarks.
Vendors. There are so many vendors developing expertise in the mobile marketing space, falling into different categories, specializing in different technologies, and offering different kinds of engagement. We'll help you make sense of your options.
Operations. While every company is unique in the way it organizes and budgets for channels and programs, we'll be looking for common ground in the mobile space with a view toward helping you evlolve your IM efforts to support this growing channel.