AKHIA’s mobile marketing experts, Content Architect Lukas Treu and UX Lead Matt Rumer, have been exploring, thinking and analysing mobile marketing strategies. Following their latest presentation at a University of Akron workshop, they sat down with Brew Co-Editor Bill Delaney to talk trends and insights on mobile marketing.
So why is mobile marketing so important right now?
Matt: Mobile is out there, and it’s something that has become increasingly important and is continuing to do so every day. Think about how often you pull out your phone and retrieve some form of information—email, browsing, Twitter.
Up until recently, we’ve been so focused on creating Web-based experiences, and now, we need to make sure those same experiences are available on mobile. Or, we’re designing a new mobile-exclusive experience altogether.
The big takeaway is that you have so many new opportunities with mobile. Native apps are a good example, with new ways to reach people with different messaging. Push notifications, seeing the icon on your phone.
Lukas: Part of it is also prevalence. We’re seeing more and more people turn to mobile as their primary means of getting information. There are parts of the world, other markets where people are going mobile first, where they’ve never owned a laptop, and a smartphone is their first and primary means of accessing the Internet. I think that sometimes we get stuck thinking about how we live our own lives, but it’s important to think about mobile on a global scale.
What makes for a good mobile experience? How do we as marketers create valuable experiences for users?
Matt: The important thing to remember here is that, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to mobile experiences. You need to know your audience, who you’re trying to reach, who they are and what they want to do. When you’re building that experience, you need to have specific goals.
It’s also important to think about the cross-channel experience. Are you taking the mobile experience and carrying it through to the desktop experience? Other devices? If so, you need to make sure you’re giving the information to the user that they’re expecting.
Lukas: Agreed, and this is becoming a priority for some of our clients. If a user starts some kind of task on their smartphone through an app, they’re beginning to expect that this experience extends throughout all of their channels, and it needs to be consistent.
Matt: Yep. Have you used Google Maps recently? If you have a Google account and use Chrome as your Web browser, the experience is seamless. You can look up an address on your desktop, and your Google account will automatically load that address when you pull up Google Maps on your phone. You can apply this logic to all kinds of things. Recipes, finances, you name it.
It sounds like consistency is a big consideration.
Lukas: Absolutely. Brand consistency is very important. When you think about the content of your different user experiences, it’s going to be jarring if the brand voice is really fun and quirky on social platforms, but your website sounds formal and stuffy. People don’t usually respond well to that. There’s a whole psychological component to this—think about if a human acted that way.
Matt: Exactly—there’s a whole content strategy underpinning the user experience you’re trying to create. When you think mobile marketing, mobile design, user experience, you need to be thinking beyond the visual component.
Any major trends that you’re keeping your eyes on?
Matt: One thing I’ve been trying to keep my eyes on is the idea of the Internet of Things—the idea that the world we live in is becoming more and more connected. It’s not just your smartphone. You might have a wristband that monitors your physical activity. You might have a smart TV. You might have Nest.
As a marketer, I think about how you can start to plan for these things. How can you build an infrastructure that might be able to translate across many, many Internet-enabled devices?
Lukas: Right. Another component of the idea of the Internet of Things is the fact that you need apps to run and drive all of these devices. For example, a fitness tracker is a simple device in its own right—but it’s the app that has a wealth of functionality within it. It can be easy to get hung up on the hardware side of things, not thinking about the software. It’s important to start thinking about all of these things together as an ecosystem, how they all work together, and how you can manage it.
How do you see the Internet of Things playing out? Any big shifts?
Lukas: It will be interesting to see if there will be more collaboration between major brands. If you think of the Nest example, and how devices and appliances in your house can begin to work together symbiotically—how does that come to life? You wonder if there will be more portal creation—one spot where you can control every device in your home.
Matt: On the flipside of user functionality, it will be important to keep in mind the business cases for all of these new devices. You can recognize the user case for something, but the business case is just as important. And sometimes those things don’t necessarily develop in tandem—Google is still trying to figure out what exactly to do with Google Glass, for instance.
What would you say is the one most important thing to remember about mobile right now?
Lukas: One big thing is that we’re starting to look at a saturated app marketplace. There’s an app for nearly everything. You need to work harder to come up with ideas that people are going to latch onto and remember and share. Saturation doesn’t mean it’s quitting time—but it does mean that you need to work harder to stand out from the noise.
Matt: Again, I’ll restate that the most important thing to remember is that user experience, across all channels, is not going to be one-size-fits-all. But whatever you build, the user needs to be at the forefront. You need to build it for them, first and foremost—and remember to balance that with a strong business case.