Not Mobile-first, People-first

Much has happened since ex-Google CEO Eric Schmidt coined the phrase “mobile-first” in early 2010.  It’s an understatement to say that significant advances have been made in mobile communications technology. Today, billions of people worldwide have access to a mobile device that at any given time serves as an atlas, a shopping mall or an arcade, just to name a few.  As a result, many marketers are turning to mobile first to attract and retain customers.

But to run effective, resonant campaigns, they should be thinking, and putting, “people-first”.

To accomplish this, marketers must understand that the mobile channel is only that – a channel, a means to an end. The beauty of mobile is that it’s very personal; our phones and tablets are with us everywhere we go. Rather than focusing on the means of engagement, marketers need to focus on the message relevancy, timing and value. 

Done well, mobile communications can support a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy that integrates all business-to-person communications, including marketing, customer service and business and technology support. Such an experience will increase people’s warmth towards, and loyalty with, a brand, while offering businesses a distinct competitive advantage.

This is easier said than done, since captivating mobile marketing is an art as well as a science; however, it’s not impossible. Here are five essential ways to ensure you’re engaging people, not devices…


It Starts with CRM: Give People What They Want

Companies rely on mobile CRM to build relationships with and engage people. For example, many companies, such as telecom providers and banks, have launched mobile apps with CRM capabilities, which allow customers to connect with the businesses, access their accounts, ask questions and report service or account issues – all from their mobile device. 

SMS also enables CRM in the form of a two-way dialogue between businesses and people. As a result, mobile device owners are embracing communications with companies via mobile devices, while businesses are incorporating them into everyday operations and practices.

What’s more, people want to communicate with companies via mobile. According to data from a recent Millward Brown Digital study, 58 per cent of global respondents say they would send a text message to a company to request more information, and 56 per cent of global respondents say they would send a text message to a company to enter a competition. For marketers not already using mobile for CRM, it’s not too late to get started.


Execute Mobile Marketing Via SMS and Push

According to the Millward Brown Digital survey, 59 per cent of global respondents prefer SMS and push campaigns over other forms of mobile marketing, including advertising commercials or video advertising, banner or standard display advertising and email marketing messages. This confirms that mobile messaging enables brands to engage people in a way they prefer, delivering information they want via a trusted medium.


Use Intelligent Data

Marketers should analyze key data points, such as profile, behaviour, geolocation, and time zone to send targeted, relevant, and timely messages. But to do so effectively, they must ensure they’re not disrupting people with these communications, especially if they’re sent overnight. When blasting messages in the evenings or early mornings, they must ask one pertinent question: if this message is delivered when a person is asleep, will it reflect positively on the brand? If the answer is no, they shouldn’t send it. I call this the “Bedside Table Test.”


Deploy Geo-targeting Campaigns

Over three-quarters of global respondents are willing to share their location with marketers, according to Millward Brown Digital, to receive valued SMS and push messages through their mobile devices. While many marketers believe people are overly sensitive about privacy when it comes to location, this game-changing data proves the contrary. For this reason, marketers should embrace geo-targeting for mobile, which allows them to send a hyper-targeted SMS or push campaign to anyone, anywhere in the world, based on location triggers.


Embrace Global Rules and Regulations

The Millward Brown Digital study also revealed that 88 per cent of global respondents believe they should be able to opt-in before a company sends them SMS messages. To that end, marketers must only send mobile messages to people who have opted-in to receive them. They should also practice transparency, giving people a chance to opt-in AND opt-out of receiving messages. Last but not least, they should ensure people know exactly how and where their data will be used.


Marketers who follow the above steps to ensure they have a “people-first” mobile marketing strategy will have the most success in developing ongoing, mutually beneficial relationships with their customers. Facilitating a real conversation with real people while providing the best user experience, adding value, and building trust makes their brand unforgettable.


Tom Cotney is CEO of mBlox