Mobile burst onto the scene before anyone had a tight grasp on what it meant for marketing, let alone commerce, social interaction, travel, communication, learning—the list goes on. Mobile statistics are staggering: 91 percent of all adults on earth own a mobile phone, 56 percent own a smartphone, and users have millions of apps to choose from. Black Friday and Cyber Monday showed that smartphones and tablets are becoming a preferred method of comparing products, bargain hunting, and buying, even when inside a store.

What’s Your Method to the Mobile Madness?

“Though this be madness, yet there be method in it.” — Hamlet

It is possible to move beyond the dizzying game of merely reacting to new developments to a proactive marketing method targeted to your audience. The key word here is “method.”

Not forming a mobile method is like going on a jungle trek with nothing but your camera and a pack of gum—you won’t get far. Equip yourself with a compass, GPS system, and team of survival experts, and you’ll have what it takes to thrive. The mobile madness isn’t going away anytime soon. Make a path in the jungle by developing your own strategic mobile marketing and engagement method.

Find the Right Method for You

A successful mobile marketing method will be formed by the needs and personas of your audience. Three steps can help you design a method to suit your business. These steps encourage you to let your customers point the way to solutions that are at once innovative and actionable.

Ask Yourself Why, Not If You Need Mobile

In one form or another, you need a mobile presence. The question is where to focus your presence in order to reach and serve your audience in lasting, meaningful ways. Think beyond being searchable or gaining “likes,” to making your brand synonymous with value. This means nurturing relationships and offering life-enhancing mobile services, whether they provide convenience, entertainment, connection, advantage, or all of the above.

The solution to mobile madness is hyper-relevance. Match customers’ needs, interests, habits, and locations and you’ll be a home screen-worthy mobile brand. The following table gives a simplified overview of what a customer-centric mobile method looks like.

Microsoft Word - LoniStark-08-MobileMadness1-TABLE.doc

Who are your prospects and customers? If they are chief information officers (CIOs) looking to make sound analytics software investments, you may want to focus your efforts on informative content marketing, like an app that compiles relevant thought leadership, or mobile video presentations for busy executives to view on the go. B2B visitors likely want consumable yet authoritative content that will empower them to do better business. They’re also on the lookout for a trustworthy vendor with an accessible support team. Can your mobile site connect them to a product rep with the click of a button?

Look at Data and Behavior

Once you start targeting the right users (i.e., your audience) with mobile services, you’ll want to pay attention to how users move through your sites or apps.

  • Who is visiting?
  • What platforms and content are they accessing?
  • Where are they when they visit? At home, at work, on the train?
  • When do they engage? Mornings, dinner time, during their afternoon slump?
  • Why do they come to you? What information or experience are they after?
  • How long do they stick around? Are they consuming 3-minute videos, scrolling through images, reading and writing comments, or spending seconds on bulleted content?

The answers will affect how you package, place, and order content. Paying attention to page flow can help you give visitors what they want up front, and entice them to dig deeper.

Todd LaBeau, vice president of digital for Lindsay, Stone & Briggs, describes how data and behavior can shape the mobile method:

“Say you notice that consumers tend to open recipes primarily on their tablets and look at store locators more on phones…. Maybe the mobile phone people get coupons offered alongside store locations, while tablet users get additional recipe tips or product info, leading to up- or cross-sales. Just by taking a few minutes to look at mobile and screen size segments, you can identify and expand relevant sales opportunities for your customers.”

Moving from Customer Needs to Solution

Providing relevance and value to mobile customers is a business decision and should be an integral part of your digital strategy. Arm yourself with the appropriate data, and use it to deliver the right message to the right people at the right time and place. Stay tuned for my next post, where I’ll delve into specific examples of companies that examined their customers’ needs and arrived at meaningful mobile marketing strategies.