This blog post is a 4 minute read.

At MESH we frequently get asked to help clients prioritize their marketing efforts. When it comes time to discuss their mobile strategy, we encounter a range of reactions – from “I don’t need one” to “how fast can I start.”

I often think of this seemingly incongruous graphic that we feature on one of our “About” pages–a graphic that may look out of date that we keep here for a reason.

To our team, this is the way many marketers think about their role–using tools of mass communications and a quirky antenna to monitor their market’s needs and blare their response–usually while propped up on a budget like a beat-up chair.

Yet today, a better picture for our overall task would be:

Your prospects are bombarded with a billion messages, images and sounds all day long. Marketing is no longer a one-channel broadcast–it’s a swirling mix of many kinds of media, on many devices, and many points of dialogue.

Prospects interact with the world using a variety of devices from which they move back and forth all day–their phone, the TV, their phone again, maybe the newspaper, scrolling digital signs on their way to work, their laptop at the office, maybe a quick Facebook check-in on their phone again. Regardless of whether their phone is a smartphone with apps, that mobile device is the interface to which they return again and again. (Think about your day when you forget your cell phone, or its battery dies.)

Further, that dialogue is no longer just from you, to them–it’s a two-way street, where you are part of a seamless community. And out of that mix, YOU and your message have to be the one that pops out and grabs your prospects–and drives them to act.

So if marketer’s #1 job is to be present where their customers are, marketing engagement strategies, then, implicitly must support all points of contact that can reach the customer–offline, like the brochure, or online. With statistics showing that users are spending more time on mobile apps vs. browsers, the answer is clear.

All business needs a mobile strategy in 2012–and marketers must carefully evaluate their best first steps on the road to a marketing plan that meets the new standard for access and two-way dialogues:

Fast access to information on the go. Users are smarter and have more options for information. If your page doesn’t load fast enough they will exit the site and go find a competitor. Marketers must constantly ask themselves “Does my business optimize content for its mobile audience?”

A Web infrastructure to support mobile access and speed. New technology is allowing websites to be developed for the mobile web that don’t require download or installation of code-they just run. Newer Web technologies are also cross platform, meaning you build once (spend once), and it runs on any mobile device.

Creating shareable content, and allowing users to tailor their experience. Facebook isn’t an fad, users are visiting Facebook and other social networks during non-working hours. Users will share content with their networks–LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, YouTube–and also submit their own content i.e. photos, product reviews, etc., integrated their own information–if you let them.

Creating personalized brand experience that provide value to customers and prospective customers.

Providing location-based information that’s personal and relevant to users-including check-ins, rewards, promotions. Like the saying all politics is local – all marketing today is local.

Integrating mobile with social and commerce and create gamification, rewards and other new experiences for consumers / clients to interact with your brand. Games aren’t just for kids, or for off-hours–they’re a powerful tool for deeper engagement and reaching the most committed, likely prospects–and they’re appearing in a wider range of vertical markets than ever.

Integrating mobile with traditional marketing, leverage QR codes, or SMS texting to maximize synchronicity across the total marketing effort.

All business is mobile in 2012, because our lives are mobile–no matter what kind of business. That’s why all marketing plans need a mobile component, with a thoughtful eye toward technologies and approaches that make it easy and fast to implement.

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