Mobile First Marketing

Over the past couple of years you may have heard the term ‘mobile first marketing’ batted around at various seminars, networking events and the like. Whilst the phrase in itself explains much there are many small business owners who are becoming increasingly confused about how to implement a successful mobile first strategy.

It comes as no surprise to me that this is the case. If I look around the ever expanding library of marketing and business books in the eapb office I see a huge number of titles referencing the latest trend, buzzword or marketing thinking that business owners and entrepreneurs are supposed to keep up to speed with. Here’s a (very) small example:

• ‘The Customer Driven Company’
• ‘Market-Led Strategic Change’
• ‘Customer Led Marketing Strategy’
• ‘Guerilla Marketing’

The pace of change in business now is so fast that more and more companies are finding themselves stranded as competitors and new market entrants move forward onto different and innovative ways to reach and find potential customers.

It seems from speaking to many business owners that they feel they have only just caught up with the latest round of thinking before seeing that the goalposts have moved again and more investment is required, this time for example in a new ‘mobile responsive website’.

So firstly, what is a good definition of mobile marketing? How about “connecting and engaging with customers through and with mobile”. This is not my definition, but it seems to succinctly communicate and cut through the complexity that may lie behind this form of marketing.

Thus, pursuing a strategy of mobile first marketing is about utilising and putting the growing power and relevance of the mobile device at the centre of your marketing strategy and thinking. As a business owner or marketing manager, why should you consider this NOW? Well, consider these facts (July, 2014):

• Over 50% of Internet consumers across the world are now using mobile devices as their primary mechanism for surfing the Web.
• Mobile reaches 86% of the global population.
• SMS (short message service) traffic is generating $812,000 every minute (or $14,000 every second).
• 7 in 10 people in the UK now own a smartphone.
• The average UK household currently owns 3.1 (mobile) devices and more often than not we are using 2 at the same time.
• 1,008 million people use Facebook mobile every month.
• 75 percent of Twitter users accessed its service through a mobile device.

People typically change mobile phone every 18 months and of that figure approximately 80-90% of those buying a new phone will choose a smartphone. It’s easy to conclude then that becoming mobile-first in 2014 is both important and urgent. What’s next? Well if you consider that a growing portion of the population is mobile-only (not just first) it could be too late to wait until post 2014.

As far back as 2010 ERIC Schmidt, chief executive of Google, said the Internet giant will (now) build software for mobile phones before computers as he predicted that sales of smartphones will soon overtake PCs. He said the fundamental shift to focus on mobile first was driven by the expected shift in advertising from traditional media to the internet and then to mobile phones.

It’s a sobering thought to think that we are already over 4 years out from the above statement.

In addition it would be fair to also say that “It has never been more important to have a mobile optimised website“. By this I mean a site that actually works effectively on a mobile device, not just a site that has been tweaked to fit a mobile screen. The concept of ‘mobile first’ really is becoming a MUST consideration.

If you are reading this and feel that your business needs to step up immediately and pursue a mobile first marketing strategy then a few words of caution. You must always ensure and remember that the presentation and experiences your customer(s) have with your business is consistent across all locations.

So many companies fell into this trap when ‘Web 2.0’ was all the rage (circa year 2000), delivering massively inconsistent experiences for customers across different platforms. If you are going mobile-first then do not fall into that same trap again.

Your mobile brand strategy, presentation and experience must ALWAYS be reflected in your overall web, call centre, and physical retail branding and presentation.

Paul Brewster, August 2014