When potholes become pitfalls in mobile marketing

Creative and on-trend mobile campaigns are essential in securing brand awareness and consumer loyalty.

November 21, 2012

Creative and on-trend mobile campaigns are essential in securing brand awareness and consumer loyalty. However, too often the fundamental principles of mobile marketing are overlooked resulting in campaigns, regardless of their innovation or creativity, falling short.

Since taking on the role of MD for MobiMedia, Desere Orrill has seen significant growth in the SA mobile environment, “Mobile marketing provides an ideal opportunity to reach a diverse group of people across various race and income groups. However, too often marketers fail to ensure the basic needs of a mobile campaign are met. It is vital to know your ‘rules of engagement’ and to empower your campaign by avoiding some of the pitfalls.

Brands need to stay on the pulse of what their target market wants and what the current trends are. With users becoming more vocal in the online space, brands should take the time to ensure they are continually meeting the needs of their audience. A common misconception amongst mobile marketers is that mobile users are the same as PC users. The two are in fact a completely different entity with download speeds, screen size and mobility all playing a factor in how brands should communicate to the user.

To start with it may sound obvious but don’t forget to keep ease of use top of mind. Mobile screens are smaller and can vary considerably in size, across the market. Too often, mobile marketers either sacrifice legibility and usability in favour of branding, or vice versa. Either approach is a mistake – effective mobile marketing carefully balances brand with message, and the user should not be left squinting at the ad to decipher it.

Another important element is the difference when it comes to creative development of a mobile ad. A basic distinction is that most mobile devices don’t support Flash. This doesn’t mean you can’t be creative, it just means that rich ads for mobile need to be produced in HTML5 and JavaScript, and this must be factored into the plan. Don’t be enticed by ‘clever technology’: mobile consumers like things to be quick and simple. Overcomplicated processes and steps will result in very rapid loss of interest and drop off in engagement.

Because mobile communication takes place in the consumer’s personal space, it is important to remember the old adage ‘less is more’. By overloading customers with a barrage of messages, they will lose interest in your campaign. The mobile consumer is also accustomed to enjoying a benefit: don’t forget to add value to your product offering.

Given that it is a highly targeted means of communication, mobile marketing offers brands the opportunity to address specific market segments individually, with relatively low cost and time implications. So, take advantage of the opportunity to create targeted campaigns.

By visualising what the mobile users’ main priorities are and being aware of limitations, such as airtime costs, marketers should be able to speak effectively to this group. With particular consideration to the South African market, cost-effectiveness needs to remain top of mind. Brands which see users spending long periods of time downloading large amounts of data will not be successful in this country. Campaigns need to be user-friendly and quick to get your message across.

Mobile marketing, when done correctly, is one of the most effective forms of advertising available. As such, brands should familiarise themselves with the potential pitfalls to ensure they have a secure foundation upon which they can build a successful campaign. In an era where things are instantaneous and easy to find online – if your offering is not, then your users will simply move on. By avoiding these fundamental pitfalls, your mobile campaigns have a much greater chance of success. By not doing so your campaign is likely to fall short, regardless of creativity or innovation,” concludes Orrill.