Mobile Tutorial Series – What are the Basics of Mobile-First Marketing Strategy?

By John Koetsier January 1, 2017

Starting with the Consumer

Marketers have always sought to reflect consumer needs and preferences in their marketing strategy and in the ways that they connect with people. Our focus isn’t on forcing behavior but rather reflecting it and leveraging rich consumer insights to better meet human needs. With regard to planning and executing consumer touches, it’s all about finding the consumer when they are most receptive. These days, that often means on mobile devices, because the majority of connected consumer time now takes place on mobile devices.

Mobile-First Marketing Facts: Share of US Digital Media Time by Platform

To truly reflect this, brands need to take a so-called “mobile-first marketing approach” to customer engagement. “Mobile-first marketing” is a term thrown around alot these days, but it should be more than a buzz term for you – mobile experience needs to guide the way you plan and execute a customer engagement plan. The following seven principles are core to taking a mobile-first approach:

1. Begin Engagement Planning With Mobile-First Marketing Thinking

Don’t do mobile second. Do it first. Evaluate websites, brand experiences, and other elements of marketing on the small screen first. Mobile isn’t a box you check. It’s core to driving engagement and satisfaction.

2. Understanding How Your Consumers Use Mobile

Understand their basic mobile usage, and also how mobile and smartphones play into the consumer purchase journey for your brand and category. While there is no substitute for primary research, a variety of data sources are available online. A few focused Google searches should identify some basic sources of data for different demographic and buyer groups.

3. Recognize that Mobile Devices Aren’t Just Another Set of Screens

People have a different relationship with mobile devices than with PCs. Mobile users keep phones with them all the time, view them as more personal, and rely on them for information and shopping at home, while traveling, even in stores.

4. Ensure a Value Exchange With Mobile Marketing Experiences

A real value exchange is even more important for mobile-device-marketing brand experiences. Using mobile to deliver small screen TV, for example, may have a place in your mobile marketing, but leaves a great deal of mobile’s capabilities untapped. Think about how a brand experience can be enriching rather than (just) intrusive.

5. Think Global and Local as You Build Mobile-First Marketing

Mobile has become an amazing way for brands to create global experiences for literally dozens of countries. Mobile is something we share with billions of people worldwide. It is also a great way to activate consumers by making people aware of nearby ways to interact and buy. Explore technologies and vendors that can deliver your message in highly focused regions, or in situations like local searches where customers are likely to be on the verge of a purchase.

6. Define an Integrated Role for Mobile Web and Apps

Different screens and touch points are good for different tasks. Think about the best ways to use mobile to facilitate the consumer journey. Don’t expect mobile to carry all the water, but rather use it for the sorts of personal, informational and immersive experiences it can deliver uniquely well.

7. Test and Optimize Your Mobile-First Marketing Concepts

The sorts of programs you build shouldn’t be thought about as static – unchanging. Use mobile data to help you understand what is working well, and what can be improved as regards your mobile app and mobile-first website experiences. Understanding the relative effectiveness of vendors, and the actions consumers take as a result of your brand experiences, will help you evaluate your effectiveness, measure ROI, and identify ways to do things better in the future.

Final Thoughts

Taking a mobile-first marketing approach ultimately means that you recognize the primacy that mobile devices now play in consumer experience. Mobile ads will likely play a part in your plans, but there’s no set “mobile-first” tactics list – rather it is about understanding your brand, your consumers, and how mobile can help you meet consumer needs and communicate your value proposition more effectively. The keys are insights into what consumers do with phones, along with creativity to create experiences for users that are especially appropriate for your brand.

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