Digital marketers are busy developing strategies that leverage geotargeting, search and text histories, opt-in choices, and Big Data to deliver perfectly timed marketing messages at precisely the right moment. But how far will these strategies go—and what challenges will mobile marketing face on the road to premier personalization?

Current Trends in Mobile Marketing

A majority of US consumers are mobile users, with millions accessing the Internet on smartphones and tablets. At first, the smaller screens and various formats wreaked havoc with websites that didn’t display properly. Some organizations addressed this problem by creating separate mobile-specific sites, but before long the best practice shifted toward responsive design, allowing sites to dynamically adapt to the devices used to access them.

In addition to responsive sites, mobile apps have emerged as a major marketing strategy. App development has seen steady growth, and may even be more crucial than responsive design. Recent data from Nielsen finds that 89 percent of mobile users’ media time is spent on apps, leaving just 11 percent for websites.

Other current mobile marketing trends include:

  • Mobile email marketing: A 2014 Litmus study found that more than half (51 percent) of emails are opened on mobile devices—meaning that marketers need to account for the mobile experience when preparing email marketing campaigns.
  • Push messaging: This proactive strategy sends marketing messages directly to consumer devices, as opposed to “pull” messaging, which directs recipients to a website and analyzes the resulting consumer actions.

Mobile Marketing Challenges

Studies show that today’s shoppers want personalized content, but there’s a fine line between personal and intrusive. Context is key. For best results, tailor your targeted mobile campaign to match the customer’s needs, wants, lifestyle, income, and previous shopping behaviors.

It’s a given that businesses can benefit from personalized mobile messaging and location-based campaigns, but the key is highlighting the value for shoppers. Some people won’t think twice about disclosing their location to receive timely offers, but studies show that most are uncomfortable sharing that information.

To set their minds at ease, provide a way for them to select which types of personal data can be accessed via mobile. When sending personalized mobile messaging, give customers control over what they receive. In addition to basic opt-out functionality, consider letting them pick and choose the type and frequency of offers they’ll receive.

Who’s in Charge of Mobile?

Most organizations incorporate mobile marketing as part of an overall digital strategy. However, as consumers shift away from traditional desktops and rely more on advanced tablets and smartphones that offer nearly equal capabilities, businesses must shift their perceptions of this vital segment.

Everyone knows how important mobile is, but are they handling it well—or just tossing it into the mix? To succeed with mobile marketing and capitalize on the personalization trend, companies must answer some essential questions: Who owns mobile? Who is responsible for the mobile strategy? How is it coordinated across organizational channels?

Getting the Most out of Mobile

Today’s organizations need a designated mobile strategist who fully owns the channel. This person should not only test and develop effective campaigns and pipelines, but also guide the integration of mobile into other channels in a way that accurately—and personally—reflects the brand message.

Having the right tools is also essential. As part of the integrated Adobe Marketing Cloud, Adobe Mobile Services lets marketers create, analyze, and optimize targeted mobile content from a single interface. Using the new mobile attribution feature, you can even assign tracking links to monitor and report on mobile app downloads. This makes it easy to determine not only the number of downloads, but also where those downloads are coming from, such as an e-newsletter or a landing page. Once you’ve gathered the data surrounding the acquisition, you can target your personalized marketing efforts accordingly.

Today’s businesses can no longer afford to view mobile as yet another channel that may or may not deliver results. It isn’t so much a platform as a cultural staple, and organizations must recognize the need to invest in it. Unlike the ever-shifting dynamic of social media, mobile is here to stay—and its full impact on personalization remains to be seen.