Mobile messaging is the ability to reach readers (and consumers at large) on a one-to-one basis via their mobile device. The process, though, presents a unique challenge for media marketers interested in developing integrated reader experiences.
In 2015, as new ways to mobile message begin to emerge, we can expect to see more integrated campaigns, more clever targeting, and more creativity, but also much confusion as to what the best way is to target mobile users from the options available.
But let’s first take a step back.
Is SMS still relevant?
SMS, for example, is still a powerful mobile channel for many wanting to reach a range of users. But newer options such as push notifications inside news apps are emerging.
So, in getting closer to our readers, we need to consider how the mobile media landscape is going to change in the foreseeable future to identify the most effective ways to reach therm.
While location technologies are very likely to change the mobile advertising market significantly, the purchasing path is a still a poor experience in many cases.
The truth is, while mobile is playing a big part, readers and consumers generally are spending chunks of their day on desktop and other digital devices as they research products before coming to a buying decision. It’s all very fragmented.
Brands are increasingly recognising this, yet we all want integrated loyalty and communications programmes that not only deliver consistent brand experiences (across devices) but also make the most of existing marketing schemes.
Some marketing technologies are more effective at enabling information sharing and allowing for “digital harmony” than others. Guess what? SMS still wins here as one of the best ways to reach mobile users at scale.
What’s more, wireless networks and operators worldwide are increasing SMS geo-fencing capabilities for location-based targeting. However, many brands are not convinced anymore of SMS’s future potential due in part to the growth on platforms such as Facebook Messenger and Whats App.
Alternatively, the challenge for push notifications is that not all readers and consumers download (and regularly use) a brand’s mobile app.
Can you see the possible confusion I mentioned at the start here?
The new kid on the block
And what about beacon technology? The linking of Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology with apps could be a powerful combination, particularly for our own outdoor marketing and our retail advertisers, by using beacons in stores and at events.
A beacon initiative that incorporates a smartphone app with immediate coupon redemption and a mobile payment could reduce much of the fragmentation and could be a powerful, bespoke campaign opportunity we could monetise as part of an advertising package to brands and agencies.
With beacons, we just need to be careful not to turn off consumers by sending too many messages. This is potentially a very powerful technology if we use it wisely.
Ultimately, it is the customer who is dictating where marketing monies are being spent with adoption rates. We as media brands need to understand the reader profiles we’re dealing with and engage with them in a consistent manner (e.g. an e-mail to our most loyal readers needs to have the same voice as a direct mail piece or an SMS or push notification).
The message needs to help tell the overall story, and each of these things should be a piece of it.
Mobile needs to be at the centre of a multi-channel strategy. It is just a case of which of the mobile offerings to use and how to use them that is still to be determined. This year will help make some sense of it, I believe, as case studies start to emerge (such as this space regarding beacons, for instance).
And which offerings media companies decide to use in their mobile marketing strategies should always synchronise to their audience’s behaviours, needs, and desires.
If you don’t have a simple and easy to use/understand, mobile-optimised method for readers to get relevant editorial and ad content, updates, and information — especially in the way they would want to receive it — they will go to a competitor that is thinking about them ... and “subscribe” to them instead, both literally and mentally.
Experiment with mobile messaging to see which is right for you. Don’t be afraid to fail but fail fast and move on. And always remember the extremely personal nature of mobile. Get the right message at the right time to the right audience. Be contextual, be relevant.
One thing is for sure, though: Mobile messaging in whatever form is here to stay. Embrace it as a powerful tool to reach your audiences.