While we're obviously bullish on mobile, one of the tips offered in my Mobilized Marketing book is to not place all your chips on the channel.
That piece of advice is included in a column I wrote for Mobile Marketer that I'm reposting on this site.
The word pioneer is overused, but it is accurate to describe those who were the earliest into mobile marketing. Many of their efforts worked and others fell flat.
I interviewed more than three dozen of these mavericks for my book, “Mobilized Marketing: Driving Sales, Engagement, and Loyalty Through Mobile Devices.” Their experiences – good and bad – provide lessons that potentially could move your business.
Here is advice from some of those who were the first to include mobile in their integrated marketing plans:
You will be hard-pressed to find a smarter businessperson than Hank Wasiak, an ad man for more than four decades who has led small firms and global agencies, while always seeking to reach his target audience on a personal level.
“Technology opened the door to what consumers always felt anyway – back in my day when we were doing IR [infrared] scores to gauge television commercials and saying how hard it was to break through, the average recall for a 30-second spot was maybe 25 percent of the people who were forced to look at a commercial would remember it,” Mr. Wasiak said.
“They were telling us then, ‘I want it the way I want it when I want it.’ We just didn’t have the capability to do it. Now we do. Mobile, it gets you connected but it’s part of your life in a functional way, in an emotional way, an entertaining way, in a lifesaving way,” he said.
And Mr. Wasiak, former vice chairman of McCann Erickson WorldGroup who is now a partner at The Concept Farm, says fire sooner rather than later.
“To me, the key thing when looking at something is to be early and fast,” he said. “I’ve been the poster child for this.
“You want to overthink things sometimes. You want to get it perfect but things move so fast. To me in this world, especially in mobile, iteration is more important than innovation. You can find out quickly because you’re in real time in the hip pocket, the breast pocket and in the heart of your consumers.
“You have to put on a flak jacket and get a little more risk averse.”
Use mobile measurement tools even if they are not perfect
Nirvana would include a dashboard that showed marketers all of their initiatives in real time. That would allow for assessment and optimization long before the post mortem when, of course, it is too late to affect a program. Some have refused to spend on mobile until measurement is more advanced.
ESPN’s John Kosner says that a bigger flow of brand dollars to mobile will solve the mobile metrics woes.
“It’s weak now, but in my experience the measurement follows the money,” said ESPN’s general manager of digital and print media. “Everybody complains where it is now. I think we’ll see significant expansion in the measurement in the next 5 to 10 years.
“In the meantime, I think companies like ours – that have great products, demonstrate scale and represent a safe buy – we may benefit disproportionately in a world less measured,” he said.
“I think the lack of strong metrics is a frustration for marketers today, but I think it’s a mistake not to get started and learn this thing. Television has been an inefficient science forever and it is by far the most popular medium. This is going to be a booming business.”
Do not bet it all on mobile
Mikes Orkin eyed wireless interaction as soon as he joined the American Cancer Society in 2002 as National Director of Web and mobile.
His first move was measured, aligning his organization with the Mobile Giving Foundation, a nonprofit group that gave mobile subscribers the ability to donate to nonprofits through a text pledge that would appear on their mobile phone bill.
“Text-to-give seemed to be a relevant tool for us,” he recalls. “I wouldn’t say that it was a smashing success, but it put mobile in people’s consciousness. Haiti got exposure for text to give [$32 million was raised for the American Red Cross in 2010 after a devastating earthquake with 95 percent of the consumers who texted in to the Haiti campaign being first-time donors to the organization, according to ARC]. We’re never going to be that. Cancer isn’t an earthquake, a fire or a flood. But we thought maybe the phone can help us.
“We ran small pilots only within (ACS) divisions that were interested. We kept the overhead as ridiculously low as possible so we didn’t have to be a massive success. You have to be prepared to set yourself up to fail but do it in a measured way.
“Don’t bet that you will be the next [Facebook founder/CEO] Mark Zuckerberg. If you fail, you will be selling coffee. So we didn’t bet the whole nest egg.”