The CMO Council recently reported that nearly 30 percent of marketers already shifted their 2015 budget dollars away from traditional advertising to invest in digital marketing efforts. Research by Gartner echoes that sentiment, indicating that digital marketing budgets of companies across various industries will see an increase of about 20 percent this year. But is a move to mobile marketing appropriate for your small business? Here’s a look at some of the pros and cons mobile marketing may present.
Customers are connected to mobile devices nearly every hour of the day. Low-cost marketing tactics like direct mail and email may offer some degree of targeting capability based on a customer’s demographic profile, but there’s no guarantee your letter or email will be opened before it gets tossed in the trash — physical or electronic. On the contrary, AdWeek reports nearly 80 percent of customers ages 18 to 44 have their mobile device with them 22 hours a day.
You can target prospects in the moment. Thanks to digital signage, social media, text messages, email and mobile apps, customers are almost constantly bombarded with marketing messages. Effective campaigns are no longer the right message for the right recipient; you now need to reach the right person with the right idea — at the exact right time. Mobile marketing equips your business to message targeted prospects in a contextually appropriate way based on their search history, mobile use, and physical location. You can even monitor your target markets’ social media conversations to respond with relevant mobile marketing messages in real-time, as appropriate to the discussion.
It’s still in test and learn mode. The “newness” of mobile marketing technology can level the proverbial playing field with larger competitors who may possess far more marketing muscle than your small business. When the size of your potential audience is manageable, you can experiment with various mobile marketing strategies that allow you to continually test marketing offers and messages to learn more about your unique customer segments, and how to craft a highly strategic campaign that keeps your acquisition costs efficient.
The barrier to entry is low. Traditional forms of marketing and advertising require that you invest in the design and print resources that ensure a professional, branded experience for the customer. Because mobile marketing is digital, you can easily experiment with tactics like video, photos, texts, promotions and sweepstakes in a nearly commitment-free environment. Unlike a print ad that will linger for months, a mobile message can be created almost as quickly as it can be cancelled, should it deliver on your objectives.
But fantastic as mobile marketing can be for small business, there are some negative aspects to consider, too. Here are some drawbacks to keep in mind as you evaluate a possible mobile marketing effort:
Consumers may not want your message on their mobile device. A study called “Seven Shades of Mobile” conducted by InsightsNow revealed that 68 percent of mobile use happens at home, and that consumers consider mobile engagement to be leisurely, and entertainment-based. Though mobile marketing can deliver your message at the very moment a consumer has their device in hand, they may not want to be marketed to at that time. At best, they tune your message out; at worst, they form a negative perception of your brand.
You must be mindful of privacy concerns. While geolocation is a primary benefit of mobile marketing, be sensitive of consumer privacy and their rights surrounding mobile messages. Depending on the details of your specific mobile campaign, you may be required to obtain customer consent in your messages.
Different devices have different user orientations. There are many kinds of smartphones and tablets on the market today, and many mobile owners use more than one kind of device. As a result, you’ll need to craft mobile marketing campaigns with a host of devices in mind. Further, it can be tough to decipher what kind of device a consumer will be using when they receive your message.
Kristen Gramigna is Chief Marketing Officer for BluePay, a credit card processing firm, and also serves on its Board of Directors. She has more than 20 years experience in the bankcard industry in sales management, marketing, and direct sales.