In his book "Mobilized Marketing," author Jeff Hasen details the strategies and tactics that move products and build loyalty through mobile devices, arguably your most personal means of communicating directly with customers. In the following edited excerpt, Hasen offers insights from seasoned marketing professionals on how to gauge, use and succeed with mobile.
Interested in mobile marketing but not sure how or where to get started?
Here are tips from three leaders in mobile marketing and their thoughts for those new to the field.
1. Do some people watching. -- Barbara Williams, a senior-level marketer at Microsoft.
"This is something really simple. . . . If you're not sure if you should be doing mobile, take a page out of classic consumer research mode. . . . Go to the store, go to the mall, go out to dinner, and sit back and watch people. Just watch. Old school. And you see everyone is on their devices and they are spending quite a bit of time on their devices and they're not making phone calls necessarily and they are not just doing SMS [short message service] -- they are doing a lot of things.
"When you see that happening around you everywhere you go, think about how can I insert my product or my brand or my message into these experiences. Just look at the world around you. And listen to young people who grew up in the digital age. Their behaviors are completely different. You'll see this is definitely the route to go in. Invest the time to learn it and understand it. Explore it yourself."
2. Keep an eye on what "the little guy" is doing, as well as the titans. -- Mario Schulzke, founder of IdeaMensch and director of digital strategy at marketing firm WDCW.
"You know, I am not smart enough to tell you about major game-changers. . . . But I can tell you there will be a revolution of incremental innovations that are about to take place. It's so easy nowadays to build your own website, your own piece of software or your own app. So what's happening is that a bunch of people are starting to solve the problems that they've been having in their own lives and industries. We'll see some major productivity gains in just about every vertical, driven by people solving problems close to their vest.
"Do what feels right. . . . Build a marketing program around tactics that make sense for you. I have many clients who are overwhelmed by Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and the like. But when we talk about creating content that provides value to existing and potential customers, they get that. Having a roundtable discussion on Twitter is no different than going to a networking meeting. Crafting a webinar and capturing leads via email is no different than speaking at your local Lion's Club.
"Do what makes sense to you, and always think about the value you provide to your audience. Focus on the fundamentals. Respectfully communicate with your customers via all channels. Don't pretend to be something you're not, and do the right thing."
3. Create interactive "rich media" designed specifically for your mobile site. -- Microsoft's Williams.
"When you think rich media and digital, you tend to think of the standbys like a whole-page takeover or part of an ad will be in the leaderboard at the top of the page and move into one of the units on the side. . . . On mobile, it's a completely different type of experience. You don't have the flexibility but you have the entire device. You can incorporate rich functionality where you can shake the device or where it is actually using the camera function in augmented reality or the location function. There are so many other vectors or parameters that are unique to mobile that I think make rich even richer on mobile. But you have to think about it in a different way on mobile.
"If you don't have a mobile landing page attached to that rich media unit, you have kinda left [your customers] hanging. . . . While rich media is an incredible opportunity to pull people in and to really drive engagement and surface up and push the content out, that back end is still needed when they want to continue their journey. . . ."
4. Find out how your customers want to communicate with you. -- Eileen Woodbury, director of marketing at Clear Channel Los Angeles.
"People will communicate with you the way they want to communicate. . . . So texting isn't replacing the Web. The Web didn't replace the phone call. People who want to call will want to call. People who never called us before hopefully will engage with us through text. Some people prefer Twitter or are on Facebook all day.
"This is the age of choice. People communicate the way they want to. With every new thing that comes along, we're adding to our arsenal."
Jeff Hasen is chief marketing officer at Hipcricket, a mobile marketing and advertising firm based in Seattle. This excerpt is adapted from his book, "Mobilized Marketing: How to Drive Sales, Engagement and Loyalty Through Mobile Devices," (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2012).