Mobile Marketing Still Missing Analytics Components

The buzz all over the mobile news world this new year is that this is “the” year for mobile. The press is buzzing about mobile commerce, retailer rewards programs leveraged off mobile platforms and mobile payments and checkouts. And let’s be honest, this is all really exciting news and it’s catchy from a PR standpoint. I love it. Don’t get me wrong. But, how about focusing on perfecting mobile marketing and really capitalizing on the unique opportunities that mobile offers? It seems that everyone is so caught up with keeping up with where the puck is going, that no one is taking the time to really perfect the nuts and bolts of what really matters: reaching mobile consumers in a relevant and highly personalized way, capitalizing on the way they use and when they use their phones to understand individual preferences and needs.

What mobile marketers are lacking these days is a focus on data and analytics.  Focusing on location data alone doesn’t do much for individual brands trying to achieve relevancy within this space. This is where the opportunity lies! This is la crème de la crème in the mobile space right now – and no one is doing it yet!

Why? Well, in order to achieve this type of personalization and relevancy, all of the different mobile players would have to work together. A data exchange and transparency between content owners, mobile marketing agencies, retailers, ad agencies and mobile app providers needs to occur, and I could be wrong, but I’m not convinced that this is the year when this will happen.

There do exist context-aware software analytics tools in the market today, but these aren’t widely used yet. Mobile marketers need to learn how to better leverage and build behavioral and context-relevant customer profiles utilizing these tools. This will allow them to create more personally dynamic user experiences for current and potential customers.

Picture it with me: You’re a busy working mom and you need to buy a gift for a kids birthday party this weekend. You have the birthday party scheduled into your mobile calendar. Wouldn’t it be great if four days before the party you got a coupon sent to your phone, while you’re on your lunch break, by the children’s toy store down the street, offering you 15% off of kids’ toys? The retailer would be leveraging data analytics from your mobile phone user profile. They would know you’re a mom (basic user demographics), what time you go on your lunch break (time and location based pattern recognition), that you have an upcoming kids party scheduled into your mobile calendar (via Google calendar) and providing the coupon at the exact time you need it would prompt you to visit their store, thereby capitalizing on the opportunity and completely setting themselves apart from other retailers in a crowded category.

By focusing on analytics, mobile marketers have the opportunity to monetize customer data and deliver a better, more relevant and interesting mobile experience. This is what consumers are waiting for.

Choosing Between Mobile Web Optimization vs. Mobile App Creation

Most companies today understand the potential in mobile marketing and want to embrace it by pursuing a mobile strategy. The biggest hurdle they face in doing so is a lack of resources or background to create the right strategy.  It seems the biggest question they are grappling with is whether to focus their budget on optimizing their website for mobile use or whether they should create an app instead.

3Seventy’s Andy Kennedy says, focus on both! In an ideal world, building a strong long-term mobile strategy would entail both optimizing your website AND creating an app. Why? Well, on the one hand, optimizing a company website allows access to 90% of mobile devices domestically and gives the user a friendly interface that adapts to the device. On the other hand, creating a mobile app creates a rich user experience for loyal customers, which will continue driving the company’s brand.

My personal take is that if the marketing budget is too small to do both and you have to choose one over the other, then,  the decision depends entirely on the overarching brand strategy that your company is undertaking, which stage of growth your company finds itself in and how important customer lifetime value is to your brand.

If your company is small or medium size and you need new customers to keep growing, then focus on optimizing your website.  New customers will first interact with a brand by getting to know and understand the brand through the easiest touch-point for them to reach– their website. Optimizing the site makes it easier for the user to read your latest posts and the load time is faster when the user is not connected to wi-fi.

On the other hand, if one of your main goals is to increase the lifetime value of your current customers, then budgeting to create an app makes more sense. Creating an app will allow you to keep driving the brand through a rich user experience, better brand engagement and deeper brand immersion.

Hispanics Overindex on Smartphone Use

The 2010 census has marketers reeling. Why? Because of the explosive growth in the Hispanic population and the purchasing power that comes along with it. Retailers and marketers alike can no longer ignore this segment as unimportant. Here are a few staggering statistics from Ad Age’s Hispanic Fact Pack:

• The Hispanic population grew 43% over the past ten years (2000-2010)
• Hispanics now account for 16.3% of this country’s population
• 23% of American children today are Hispanic

At this rate of growth, marketers of all shapes and sizes are looking for tangible data to mine and react to, understanding the extent of the opportunity.

Let’s start with the newest marketing frontier: mobile. How does this explosive market segment overlap with mobile use? Again, the results are staggering.

Last May (2010), the Pew Research Center conducted a study on mobile use by Hispanics and found that English speaking Hispanic mobile phone users were more actively involved with their mobile phone than Caucasian or African American mobile phone users. What this means is that English speaking (or acculturated) Hispanics were more likely to take pictures, send text messages, access the internet, e-mail, play games and music, use social networking and post videos online than non-Hispanics, including whites. Further, according to Nielsen’s “State of the Media” study conducted in June 2011, 53% of Hispanics use Smartphones (vs. 30% for Whites, 39% for Blacks and 48% for Asians).

What kinds of Smartphones are Hispanics using? According to an April 2011 BIGresearch report titled “Special Report: Digital Hispanic Market,” the breakdown is as follows:

Blackberry: 18.6% (vs. 13.6% for total adults)
iPhone: 17.8% (vs. 11.2% for total adults)
Android: 17.4% (vs. 10.6% for total adults)

Smartphones are an excellent way of targeting the Hispanic population this decade, and should be a primary target for mobile marketers.