Countdown to 2015: Mobile marketing and multi-screen behaviour become the norm in digital marketing

  • by helga
  • 29/12/2014

Mobile marketing becomes the normThis is my second post (out of 5) with key trends for digital marketing in 2015, drawn from various sources*.

Today’s is about ‘mobile’ marketing and proves how good marketers can be at spotting an utterly generic word and turning it into a ‘thing’…

Mobile marketing and multi-screen behaviour become the norm in digital marketing 

It had been predicted for a few years that mobile devices would take over the marketing mainstream at some point. That’s exactly what’s going to happen in 2015, at least in mature markets, according to many key marketing sources. In 2014 mobile ad spend already overtook magazines in the US; mobile ad spend will continue to grow in double digits in most mature markets in 2015 (eMarketer).

Data on the go, geo-targeting, mobile payments, mobile automation

Smart phones are ubiquitous in the UK, with small growth rates because of a saturated market. 4G coverage is improving and 5G is already on the table, with mobile data usage expected to continue rising. Most people access social media networks on the go, and Google has been giving lower organic scores for a while to websites that are not fast enough or optimised for mobile.

M-commerce and mobile payments were big in the past year, with more developments and wider adoption expected in the coming year. Tracking location and geo-targeting will also become more sophisticated and mainstream in 2015. The progressive shift to a mobile marketing ethos will be reflected in marketing tech too – ‘mobile automation’ seems to be the new buzzword in campaign management and automation tools (Marketing Land), perhaps amplifying existing automation platforms and tools focused on launching and marketing apps.

Wearables, IoT, multi-everything

This seemingly no-return shift to mobile data usage is powering many innovations – it’s where the more exciting gadgets and applications are set to appear. ‘Wearables’ and the Internet of Things have been trending for a while now, but no one is quite sure about the real utility of some of them bearing in mind that most people already ‘wear’ their smartphones. Wearable technology and iBeacons/NFC /location-based experiments will continue in 2015, perhaps with storytelling and unified plots developing across several marketing channels and adapting to a multi-screen behaviour.

This variety of channels and marketing touch points will also continue to inspire alternative ad formats – rich media, video, multimedia, augmented reality, and various types of multi-touch engagement.

It’s more than a channel – the mobile nature of digital marketing  

If mobile is driving a multi-channel, multi-screen behaviour, it’s also true that smartphones can bridge the gap between the ‘old’ online behaviour (traditionally sitting at a desk or table and focusing solely on the screen) and new mobile contexts. The implications go beyond considering mobile as a mere marketing channel: it requires sharp re-thinking in terms of product development and how brands build relationships with customers.

Here’s a quick and rough example – if a brand made shoes, a few years ago they may have had a high street shop and an online store, two discrete and fairly static locations where prospects and customers would be driven to from various marketing channels (email, PPC, magazine ads and so on). With a smartphone – and adding cheap tags, image recognition software and other tech developments to the mix – the same brand has a touch point and a potential engagement channel open every single time a customer is wearing the shoes; or every single time a prospect sees someone else wearing the shoes; or when they enter a particular place that is known to drive demand for the shoes. The implications are endless and they affect the very nature of the beast.

So what – what does this mean for your organisation?

Do you need more evidence that you should be looking into what the mobile shift means for your own business? There is definitely still time to adapt, particularly if you are B2B and/or a laggard in your sector, but I wouldn’t delay the first assessment for much longer. I would put it as a brief/challenge to your marketing team in early 2015, or consult a marketing specialist. Up-skilling is an option as well. Mobile marketing departments and leaders will continue to emerge but it makes more sense to see mobile as an integral part of your marketing strategy, very much like when ‘digital’ became part of marketing, rather than a separate team – unless your organisation has room for various marketing and communication specialisms. (I guess you have a team still working with vintage typewriters as well? Printing press with moveable type, anyone?)

If you’re somehow behind, just get the basics right first – start by looking at your web analytics and understanding how people currently engage with you online. Optimise your website for mobile, using a responsive design that adapts to various screen sizes or a separate mobile site. And before you do further changes to your marketing strategy or campaign plans, analyse the tradeoffs between innovating or waiting for competitors to take the lead. Despite being the most exciting area for marketing developments, there are still barriers to user adoption, issues with standards and implementation costs to have in mind when assessing the possibilities enabled by mobile.

Good luck and keep walking!

Tomorrow I’ll be back to talk about Big Data (another marketing ‘thing’).

I need help with marketing in 2015!

* to name some of my sources: e-consultancy, emarketer, kissmetrics, mashable, clickz, smart insights, search engine land, moz, marketing land, marketing week etc

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