The following is a guest contributed post by Jeff Zwelling, CEO and co-founder of Convertro.
I wrote this article on my laptop, with my smartphone sitting on the desk in front of me, where my tablet is also charging. You could be reading this article on any of those devices, and you likely have at least one of them, if not all three, on you at all times.
If you’re reading this article on your phone while sitting on a train during your afternoon commute, and, heaven forbid, your battery dies (every commuter’s nightmare), you can easily jump onto that tablet in your bag instead. This is the reality we live in, and it’s one that is starting to throw marketers for a serious loop.
Given the fact that we all rely so heavily on mobile devices, it stands to reason that marketers are hoping to use that reliance to their advantage. This often translates into blindly blasting campaigns across any and all devices, figuring that customers are using their tablets throughout the day and will see the brand messaging all day, too. This may sound like acceptable logic on the surface, but it doesn’t work so well in practice. To assume that marketing on any and all mobile devices is a valuable use of ad spend, simply by virtue of the fact that these devices are often in the hands of the target markets, is almost always inefficient, and ultimately downright wasteful.
In reality, mobile marketing is no less complex than any other campaign strategy. In the same way you wouldn’t just arbitrarily choose which television channels to air your commercials, why would you spread your brand across all mobile channels without conducting the proper due diligence first? All marketing methods are not created equal, particularly going from brand to brand. This is just as true between phones and tablets as it is between television and radio; the interaction of these various touch points both on and offline is not an exact science. The assorted mobile options may fall under the same overarching umbrella, but that umbrella still requires the same research and monitoring that would be a given for any other type of strategy.
Let’s consider the following scenario: Sally sees a television commercial for a particular pair of jeans, and she later researches the jeans on her smartphone before ultimately ordering them from her laptop. She has a tablet on hand, but it is for work purposes only, so she chooses not to actually use it for any personal activity. However, the marketer for those jeans only takes into account the fact that Sally owns the tablet, and he does not adjust his strategy for how the customer is using that device. To properly take this kind of behavior into account requires complex technology; marketers need to go past traditional probabilistic cross-device matching solutions, which can’t offer sufficient accuracy, and instead dig deeper into the real consumer interactions. This means investing in multi-touch attribution and optimization technology that is specifically designed to track and measure engagements and report back on exactly how the ad spend should be best allocated to ensure these sorts of wasteful decisions don’t happen. The marketer would only be putting his mobile budget toward the devices that actually have a positive return on investment.
Now, this is certainly not to say mobile channels don’t have value – quite the opposite. I have no idea how much value mobile channels could have for your brand, and unless you’ve done the necessary research on the channel-specific impact, neither do you. Each brand is unique and requires an equally unique campaign, one that incorporates the optimal blend of mobile devices, digital channels, traditional commercials and everything in between. This means going beyond the simplistic logic of reaching your consumers on their mobile devices, and instead putting in the time and money to accurately determine which devices your consumers really spend time with. After all, if you aren’t taking the steps to effectively reach your customers, how can you expect your customers to respond?