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Copyright © 2012 by Monica Paul

Monica Paul, Managing Director at Marcomtec Group & Emerging Markets Advisor at Guidepoint Global Advisors – mpaul@marcomtec.com

An executive woman is responsible to manage an area in the company where she works, of the home administration, and her children activities; a business traveling takes her away from home for a few days, but this does not mean that the daily activities would stop. She is able to control everything, sitting at the lounge room at the airport, she checks up her team’s activities at the office, pays the light, telephone, and internet bills; makes sure the supermarket deliver the groceries she indicated to her home on time. All these are performed online from her mobile device. How many mobile services did he use? How many products and services she prefers as they provide her with these features?

According to Cisco research, in 2015 the number of devices connected to the internet will duplicate the world population number and will reach a yearly total worldwide traffic consumption of 966 Exabytes, which represents an overall substantial increase in the networks and applications usage by all the mobile devices. The company’s research predicts that the Asia and Pacific regions will be generating more than 24 Exabyte, the highest percentage of internet traffic, more traffic even that the USA that will generate only 20 Exabytes. From the emerging markets, Latin America would be the leader with a 48% growing, followed by the Mid East and African countries that all together would grow a 52%. This growing is equivalent to 200 million people watching an HD movie in streaming simultaneously.

Facing this exposed panorama, and considering as well the information from the Ericsson research about the smartphones’ usage stating that mobility and mobile devices in 2010 has triggered the online scenario up to the point that a 50% of the access are performed through a mobile device. And the 45% of the mobile users use their devices to download a wide range of mobile applications from social networks up to applications to analyze the traffic status, the flights schedules, movies and other diverse services. In the USA a 35% of the mobile users access their social networks before going to or out of bed.

The amount of mobile apps is uncountable, and they go becoming a commodity. Just taking a look at the worldwide reality: A farmer in the UK performs banking transactions from his field, a teenager in Africa chats with his girlfriend in another city using Facebook in his mobile; an Island fisherman check the weather and tide status to locate the best area to throw his nets; an executive checks the flight’s status and coordinates his office activities while boarding a plane to go on vacation with his family – for his employees, he has never gone.

All these activities, even when seem to lack a relation between them, are showing the way we relate now, among us and with the world. And for the companies are a very good reason to start a real mobile strategy planned and with and accurate measurement system. The marketing professionals must now include the mobile strategies for all our products and services, becoming very creative and with a complete knowledge of the technological tools we can use in every step of the process. Mobility is becoming now a key topic in the whole marketing strategy, and it is mandatory to integrate our business into the mobile world the fastest we can.

Mobile Web Sites

The easiest way to have a Web Site for mobiles is through a mobile sub domain specification. For instance, if typing www.espn.com from a mobile device, the site will detect it and redirect it to the specific sub domain. The user experience from the mobile device is very different from the normal computer one. This allows ESPN to provide their mobile users a series of services that help then to prevail as the leader in their industry. Jeep and Chrysler mobile Web Sites allow the users to schedule driving tests from their Smartphones. Important news companies and Newspapers as CNN, BBC, La Nacion from Argentina have mobile news delivery services. Big supermarket chains and department stores allow users to buy from their mobile devices with free local shipping services; banks also allow transactions from mobile devices.

But beyond the big corporations, small and medium business are also visualizing the mobile strategies benefits, they are learning that mobility could become an important income source by providing the clients with the flexibility to get sets of products and services through their mobiles devices whenever they want. According to some medium business in North America and Europe, up to a 20% of the transactions are being performed through mobile devices.

Mobile Apps

There is a wide range of Mobile Apps giving a countless amount of services including commercial, informative, educational, or pure entertainment. The creation of a Mobile App can help to significantly increase the brand awareness if it is able to create a link and affinity feeling with the user or target consumer. From this perspective, taking to reality a strategy like this would need a deep knowledge of the audience; and of course think about a creative and attractive Mobile App that the user could find appealing and useful. For instance Nestle/Purina has a Mobile App that helps locating the pet friendly stores and restaurants; Icee Maker is a game that shows the product elaboration process; and American Heritage® provides a translator Mobile version.

MicroStrategy, the well known Business Intelligence software provider, has released a series of free Mobile apps that allow the users to analyze more than 11 million flights, covering 303 airports and 19 different airline carriers, check the performance of more than 7,000 financial institutions complying FDIC, or find the best hospitals in the USA; all this using several analysts’ sets and combining different kinds of maps, reports, and graphs.

The challenge for the companies and their marketing professionals is to get a return of investment from the Mobile Apps and strategies development and implementation whether direct or indirect.

Monetizing the Mobile Apps

From the last mentioned Mobile Apps, and excepting the American Heritage® which has to be bought by the user; most are offered for free, at least in their basic versions, so monetization would depend on the creativity of the strategy to take them beyond a free service or to make the users give the upgrading step to a paid application as the popular iPhone game ‘Angry Birds’ which starts as a free game to then become a subscription application to access the superior levels and add-ons.

Sales and Discount Coupons

An indirect and simple way to monetize the Mobile Apps are the sale and discount coupons delivery; this is normally done through a code that provides a specific discount during the online or physical buying process. Businesses as Sephora, JCPennney, and Olive Garden are offering this kind of promotions successfully. The advantage of this kind of coupons is that the client can apply them at any store physically or when buying products online which increases the selling opportunities range.

The mobile marketing represents a unique and attractive way to create real links, dialogue, and affinity feelings with the target consumers. However, it has technological and creative specific requirements to fulfill. If the creative and technology areas can work in orchestra they will deliver a highly effective campaign as result designed with the impacting short messages needed for the small mobile devices screens in visual attractive Mobile Apps very easy of use. These applications will be an effective complement in a whole marketing strategy; and are very needed in the way the world is moving nowadays. A comprehensive marketing strategy includes the interaction of creativity with technological tools to create, implement, and measure the results of the campaigns. Adding all these components together will result in a better brand awareness and positioning with the logical sales increase.

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