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Mobile Marketing Madness: What We Learned this Week

We’ve been beavering away over the past few weeks on an important new campaign for one of our shiny new clients in the mobile internet space.

It’s a fascinating area – full of over-hype and under-delivery a few years ago; now ripe and ready for prime time.

Looking at the guts of the technical environment, it’s clear that much has happened since the heady days of BT advertising ‘surf the mobile web’ with a dodgy GSM connection and a two-tone, LED-like WAP browser. Now we have 3G, in-home Femtocells for maximum coverage, and a mini super-duper iPhone in our hands. As a result, the mobile web is now ready to be used as a killer marketing platform.

But where to start?

This is one of the most interesting questions in ‘new media’ marketing right now. Nobody’s really developed the killer app or the definitive campaign yet. And it looks like in many ways we’re also recreating many marketing mistakes of the past.

Just like the desktop web took a bunch of successfully established marketing activities and deliverables and ‘transcoded’ them online into brochureware web sites, Flash microsites and the like, the mobile web seems to chock full of broken e-commerce sites for ringtones, poorly formatted mapping services and mind-numbingly frustrating directory listings.

The view from here is that we really need to stop and start again when it comes to building successful marketing experiences on the mobile web.

Here’s some obvious – but often forgotten – points to take into account:

  • Phones screens are small (less content is more)
  • Usage patterns have different restraints: time, location, etc (think running from tube to bus into town for a meeting and trying to check up on some facts)
  • Speed is important. Not in terms of speed of connection (although this obviously helps), but in getting to the point as quickly as possible. Fewer clicks to action, easier to search and find, that sort of thing.
  • Development standards and processes are different. See ready.Mobi for an example of how different by running your url through their free page and site checker. It’ll show you how your site looks on a Nokia (or a Motorola, or a Samsung…)

That’s a lot of difference – but, if you can build this kind of thinking into your creative plans at source they ought to present a bunch of great marketing and communications opportunies.

For example, how about a mobile version of your site that serves mobile-centric content only….? Like creating a stripped down ‘About’ and ‘Products’ section, but a top line presentation of those important white paper pdfs in an iPhone browser-friendly format so that – instead of playing Sudoku – executive types can read them on their long train ride home?

Mobile-thinking seems to be the future of the mobile web. What do you think?

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One Response to “Mobile Marketing Madness: What We Learned this Week”

  1. David Lewis

    Mobile marketing is definitely on the rise, but as we’ve seen the B2B industry has been sceptical to say the least.

    Because everyone seems to be so busy I think mobile is ideal for business communications as long as it’s solicited and fits the medium. Seeing as how everyone has their phone on all the time, it makes a powerful channel for dialogue.

    If mobile marketing is used in a complimentary way to on- or off-line media then you will start to have an integrated campaign with a variety of touch points for the target. Apparently the next generation of interactive messaging is on the way with personalisation and MMS/SMS, e-mail or voice interaction. And that’s before we even arrive at Bluetooth marketing. It will be interesting to see how these channels are best made use of.

    Solutions are rapidly evolving so it’s definitely important that we all sit up and take notice.

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