Remember Facebook? Wow that was so 2010!
Okay, so that was a gross exaggeration, but perhaps not a great one. A decade ago if you launched a website, you were marketing online. Just a few years later, you created a presence on MySpace. Then YouTube. Last year you jumped on Facebook and Twitter. You were on the leading edge. Not so fast!
Mobile marketing, 2-D barcodes and location based apps are where it’s at today. You might not hear this too often, but phone companies are smart. For years pricing plans have subsidized development of new technology. Changes in pricing plans have enabled consumers to upgrade to the latest and greatest mobile devices, about every 12 months on average, thus accelerating the widespread adoption of smartphones. Even the term phone is no longer accurate. The smart phone is the Swiss Army Knife of communications.
Consumers not only make calls with these devices, they post comments to social networks, play games, do their banking, watch movies and listen to music, not to mention surf the web (surf the web has our vote as a phrase overdo for retirement).
Geolocation is all the rage right now. Using GPS technology, WiFi triangulation or custom technology, companies like Foursquare, Gowalla, Peekaboo Mobile, Shopkick and others are able to connect you to customers based on where they are at any given time. Using their mobile devices, customers “check in” to businesses and leave comments about them, along with leaving a virtual breadcrumb trail so their friends know they were there. Businesses are running promotions for those checking.
“It’s social media meets gaming and the playing field is the smartphone. The marketing opportunities are endless.”
Imagine this scenario. You own a local restaurant. You draw significant business from fans of your local sports teams. The weather is particularly uncooperative and you find you’re overstaffed for the small number of customers coming in that day. The big game just ended. You log in to a web-based application and post a special offer for those willing to brave the weather that is delivered to those within a 5 mile radius of the stadium and your restaurant. The offer is received within 15 seconds. The whole promotion took a whopping 10 minutes to implement.
Sounds exciting, right? Potential always is.
Should you embrace these technologies now? Yes. Should you invest marketing dollars in them? Maybe. New technology doesn’t mean you abandon sound business and marketing principles or ignore your brand strategy. However, you do need to look ahead, and you might want to pick up the pace a bit. It’s a matter of when, not if, you will need to include mobile in your marketing mix.
A few questions we hear almost every day . . .
- Do we reallocate our marketing budget, or increase it to include these new mobile trends?
- If we do, is there a reasonable return on investment?
- If we do this will our customers care?
- How will we know? Can we measure this activity?
- Do we manage this in-house or outsource?
Now is the time to answer these and other questions.
In some cases, the answer is yes-let’s go big and go now. With other clients, the time to pull the trigger is six months or a year down the road, but planning, budgeting and training starts now. In other cases the answer is “Very cool stuff but you’re better off with direct sales. You don’t need our help.”
Think about your past experience with new technologies. Did you profit or are you one of the millions of casualties who jumped in without an integrated marketing plan, some clear objectives and a way to measure results? Or did you get involved because everyone seemed to be jumping on board?
If you are ready to have this conversation, call us to schedule a consultation or submit a request online.