In Mobile, Delivery Device Matters to the Message

It's a Mash-up of Hardware, Technology, Real-Time Interaction and Community

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Judy Shapiro
Judy Shapiro
Mobile marketing has been an interesting space ever since my time working at Bell Labs in the days of the 802.11A platform. Its promise was glittery then and now it's taken on a new level of interest, as measured by the near frantic rate of acquisitions and VC investments in this space.

All this new energy can't be explained by the technology alone; the notion of proximity marketing has been kicking around for four years or more. What's different this time around is that mobile marketing breaks previous marketing models because the message is inextricably linked to the device it's delivered on. That's new. In the past, the device via which the marketing message was delivered, a TV for example, was irrelevant to the message itself. Welcome to Mobile Marketing 3.0.

In the mobile marketing 3.0 world, hardware, technology, real-time interaction, community are all mashed up to deliver a marketing experience I'll call Extreme Marketing UX. The device is not irrelevant here but is what helps propel the action since the phone is part of the experience itself.

Phones are not utilitarian pieces of electronics but are an extension of how people share, connect, entertain, inform and experience the digital world. The apps they share with their friends are not just things to make their lives easier but ways to convey something about their very personality. TV never did define the user (aside from the bling factor). Today's phones do.

Some examples of the potential when you converge next-gen phones, platforms and services? Companies like Foursquare, which have innovated to create part game, part guidebook and deliver a highly valuable marketing platform. Mobile communities like Zedge, which deliver a highly personalized mobile experience. Or companies like Placecast, Sense Networks and Forkfly, which provide ultra-local targeting in innovative ways. These examples represent just a smattering of the new ideas created in this space.

This type of extreme marketing is still in its infancy and we marketers need to think hard about how we help drive it:

  • Create an experience that incorporates the hardware, digital wallets, and service delivery platforms (SDPs) that allow you to integrate user data and behaviors for optimum effect. This way you can deliver the right offer to the right target at a time when they are able to take advantage of it.
  • Use existing apps for in-app advertising where you can slice and dice your target by demographic, behavior, geography and device type. So, for instance, sports stores can advertise in fantasy football apps and restaurants can advertise in UrbanSpoon to drive traffic to their restaurant.
  • Adapt community-based thinking into your mobile campaigns to extend the viral impact of your program. For example, mobile offers will be far more effective if they are distributed first via social networks and then delivered to the phone (Forkfly is a new company using this approach). Just pushing a coupon offer to the phone runs the risk of it getting lost in the "coupon clutter" trap reducing its effectiveness.
  • Design programs for different mobile platforms and device types and don't ignore SEO in the digital world as you create a mobile versions of your site.

That's what Extreme Marketing UX has to offer marketers: the ability to use the passion people have around their phones and the real time interactivity of the new social world.

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