Mobile Marketing Emerges as the Ultimate Vehicle for Crossing Advertising's 'Last Mile'
Countless brands have long puzzled how to nudge customers into buying. Mobile technologies are the answer everyone has sought.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
The "last mile'' in marketing connects a customer to the seller through communication that occurs close to the point of purchase. It is local in nature, the final leg of a marketing campaign, and the most challenging. Last mile advertising has always relied on local ads in the print and electronic media, as well as word of mouth. Now businesses can add mobile marketing to the mix. Mobile marketing and its synergies with local searches, lends itself as an ideal vehicle for the final push customers need to make a purchase decision.
Mobile devices offer marketers a solution to the problems typically associated with the final stretch in marketing communication. Since mobile marketing targets prospects on the move, it encourages them to take action close to the point of sale. Push messages through Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and NFC inform customers of deals, purchase opportunities, chances to rack up loyalty points, and much more.
Consumer data gathered via apps, social media, past purchases and forms enable marketers to send out targeted messages. Correct identification of user requirements and knowledge of the right time to communicate are critical to the success of last mile marketing, and crucial to incorporate into mobile marketing. The element of personalized communications via mobile marketing, based on consumer behavior and other data, enable businesses to defend against competing messages across other media.
Mobile messaging serves to alert customers about what to expect. Product images, videos and reviews create an impression that the buyer carries into the store or the e-commerce site. The business has to ensure that the buyer does not feel let down by a difference between what was advertised and the actual product.
When it comes to major purchases such as a vehicle, household appliances, electronic gadgets, etc, mobile marketing, in conjunction with other marketing channels, provides the customer with valuable information. When a purchasing need coincides with an important promotion opportunity, for example a holiday season or an annual discount sale, mobile marketing enables businesses to navigate the last mile, encouraging the customer to head to the computer, or to the nearest store. Essentially, mobile marketing messages can influence a prospect's decision making at the point where his need is most acute.
Consumer behavior has shown a decided shift in how multiple devices can be used to influence a purchase. A search initiated on a mobile device can also lead to a successful purchase. Mobile devices can be used to both initiate and convert transactions, and capture useful data. The availability of Google searches, yellow pages, magazines, and coupons sites on mobile devices facilitates local search and helps fulfill consumer queries that result in a purchase decision, the proverbial last mile where local advertising is most effective.
A last mile online marketing campaign can be tedious, as this involves local targeting, diverse channels, managing each channel and deriving actionable information. Mobile marketing offers the benefit of a single platform that can be used to reach out to different consumers across businesses such as restaurants, automobile, banks, dentists, etc.