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Black Friday and the Importance of Mobile

The news this week is dominated by headlines about the outcome of the all-important Black Friday and the kick-off of the holiday shopping season.  The Wall Street Journal reports that overall spending, which includes both in-store and on-line numbers, was down for the first time in at least the last seven years.  This year total Thanksgiving weekend sales totaled $57.4 billion down from $59.1 billion last year.

The big news from a technology perspective is that even though overall sales were down,  mobile sales went up significantly.

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The 5 Pillars of Mobile Marketing

Mobile marketing is exploding, but it is very difficult for most businesses to take advantage of it in a way that promotes their brand and their unique style.  This article will outline the major components that every mobile marketing strategy should address.  Subsequent articles will delve into each of the pillars in more detail. 

The overarching idea though is that these five pillars need to be integrated into a common platform that is available on a mobile device.  It is important to note that none of these pillars stand on their own or are sufficient in and of themselves to be considered a complete mobile marketing strategy.  In other words, it is not effective to use one company’s loyalty program, and another company’s mobile deals. 

In order to get maximum benefit from the mobile wave, it is very important that all five of the mobile marketing pillars work together.

The five pillars of mobile marketing are:

  1. A unique, branded mobile app
  2. Redeemable Deals
  3. Event Notification
  4. Loyalty
  5. Customer Referrals


Pillar One: A Unique, Branded Mobile App

The first pillar of mobile marketing is to have a mobile app.  Mobile apps provide the constant branding and native features of the phone that make mobile marketing compelling.   Although mobile enabled web sites provide at least an entry point into mobile marketing, they are not sufficient as a true mobile marketing platform.

One of the most important reasons for this is because they are completely passive.  This means that a customer has to remember to go out and visit the site.  The very nature of mobile though is proactive, vibrant, and personal, which can only be achieved through an actual mobile app.  In addition, a good marketing app always builds a personal relationship with the customer.

In summary, a mobile-enabled web site provides both an entry point  into mobile marketing and a good support system to an overall strategy, but you need to have your own app.


Pillar Two: Redeemable Deals

Customers love a good deal.  They love them more when they are personalized, relevant and delivered to them on their mobile phone, ready to use at any time.  One of the most important features of a mobile marketing strategy is the ability to identify targeted customers and to deliver unique, personalized mobile deals to them. 

It is also important that each deal contains both graphical elements as well as text.  This allows the deals to be more compelling and pleasing to the eye.

In addition, deals should be able to be redeemed, which makes them the equivalent of an electronic, single use coupon.  A redeemable deal delivers the holy grail of marketing, which is the ability to track exactly how effective each deal is, because it can be tracked from being sent out to its actual redemption.


Pillar Three: Event Notification

Events are a marketing mainstay of many businesses.  This includes events such as grand openings, re-openings, product demonstrations, manufacturer days, birthdays, special sale days, and others.  The mobile marketing should support the targeting of the right audience for the event as well as the ability to “sell” the event using both graphics and text.

In addition to proactively notifying the right set of customers for the event, the mobile marketing platform should make use of the interactivity of the smart phone and allow a customer to signify of they are going to attend or not.  This aids tremendously in the planning for the event.

All in all, events are an important marketing tool and the mobile marketing strategy should take them into account.


Pillar Four: Loyalty

A strong loyalty program is very important in building a strong repeat customer base.  Because most people have their phone with them most of the time, mobile is a perfect platform for a loyalty program.  Not only does it prevent them from losing their loyalty card (which is kind of like anti-loyalty because now they don’t get any additional benefit from returning to your store) it also prevents theft through counterfeiting.

The key to a much more modern, useful, and repeat business building loyalty program is to have it on a mobile platform.  This may be one of the most important pillars in a mobile marketing strategy.


Pillar Five: Customer Referrals

One of the most important reasons to have marketing at all is to attract more customers to a business so that it can grow.  As such it is also a key piece of a mobile marketing strategy, and what better place to have it than on a mobile device?  Like its close cousin Loyalty, a customer referral program is a natural on a mobile platform. 

The strength of a mobile customer referral program is that it builds on the strengths of the mobile platform.  It is personal and takes advantage of information that is already known, such as friend’s contact info.

All mobile marketing strategies should include a customer referral program to dramatically increase their new customer traffic.

In summary, a strong mobile marketing strategy sets out a roadmap that allows a business to take advantage of the latest marketing megatrend, which is all about mobile.


Stayed tuned for more information as we explore these topics and more in this blog.