The last few years have made it clear that the future of marketing will center around mobile. Data and consumer interactions we’ve recorded with these handy devices have revolutionized business as we have known it.
Ever since 2010, use of Smartphones in everyday consumer activities has shown potential and promise in both casual and commercial settings. Now, about 77 percent of Americans own a Smartphone, and the average time spent browsing on such devices has reached an average 87 hours per month.
Mobile marketing has also experienced an incredible boost, thanks to the growth of remote workers. Now that technology makes it possible to work on a phone and other mobile devices from virtually anywhere, attention to mobile has become paramount.
Marketers must recognize changes in consumer behavior to market their products and services more effectively, and the remote arena puts a whole new spin on retail strategies.
So where will mobile marketing go in the future? Which trends will stick around? Here are some predictions about what mobile marketing will do in the coming years.
Because Smartphone use has become so widespread, marketers can target customers much more effectively, through location-based marketing (LBM). Based on data transmitted through Smartphone sensors and GPS, marketers have access to real-time data about shopping habits and consumer interest in certain products and advertising.
LBM is well underway in 2017.
About 50 percent of companies use it already, but LBM is expected to grow and become more effective over the next few years. About 66 percent of marketers say location-based advertising is one of the most exciting trends for today and the future.
It offers more personalized, timely, and targeted opportunities for mobile marketing.
The future is bright as we see an overall increase in LBM usage globally,” says Asif Khan, founder and president of the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA).
“We’re projecting that the market for technology investment surrounding location marketing services is $43.3 billion by 2019. Within that, we see almost half of that now is just going to come from the indoor location space alone.”
Khan also talks about how location-based marketing is a driving factor in augmented and virtual reality applications. He is confident that the use of LBM will help companies get ahead in a competitive marketplace, and it will only become more powerful in the future.
Higher Spending in Mobile Advertising
Projections also indicate there will be a dramatic increase in mobile advertising compared to desktop advertising. In 2015, reports showed that marketers spent about one billion dollars more in desktop advertising than in mobile markets.
But the dynamic is rapidly shifting. Some reports suggest that by the end of 2017, the world will have spent $99.3 billion on mobile digital advertising, which is about two percent more than what is projected for desktop spending, according to a ZenithOptimedia report.
The report also shows that desktop advertising would decrease by 0.9 percent in 2016, 0.4 percent in 2017 and six percent in 2018. “Mobile advertising is growing even faster than we’ve predicted,” said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith. “It’s leading to one of the most rapid changes and shifts in advertising spend allocation we’ve seen.”
Ad spending drives marketing trends, and firms who are still pouring more money and time into desktop advertising versus mobile could soon be washed away by the wave of competition.
Chat has become on mobile what e-mail has been to the desktop Web – the primary way we communicate,” says an article from Forbes. “But now, major messaging apps are becoming something even greater: they are becoming platforms, portals, and in some ways, even operating systems.”
Though mobile messaging through the phone provider is the No. 1 method of consumer-text communication, chat apps are growing in popularity. They have adopted some of the popular functions of traditional messaging apps that make them just as appealing.
For example, Facebook Messenger now allows the ready use of GIFs, emojis, and notifications. Some even prefer Messenger to their phone’s pre-installed texting app.
This will pressure SMS strategies to target more than just phone numbers if they hope to reach the right audience. Marketers should also focus on advertising within these apps because such ads could be just as effective as sending mobile alerts.
Chatbots are basically simple voice or text programs that create easy, automated interaction among consumers. They create effortless engagement among customer service representatives, which cuts down wait times and increases customer satisfaction.
More Business Apps
In the past, companies often chose between creating an app or a mobile site. In the future, businesses may have no choice but to incorporate both, however.
There’s been a rapid shift toward the creation of business apps that both improve the user experience and advertise more effectively. One huge reason for more apps is the rise of ad blockers.
In 2014, the use of ad blocking rose about 70 percent on both desktop and mobile. As a result, firms needed a better way to get their ads in front of their target markets. Apps provide opportunities for in-house ads as well as push alerts. There’s also excellent potential for advertising on other app platforms.
Research has shown that consumer use of mobile apps constitutes about 86 percent of the time spent on mobile devices. This underscores the need for mobile apps for just about any business situation.
“This rise in mobile-phone usage means that Smartphone apps have become a key marketing tool for companies of all sizes, including small businesses,” according to an article from Entrepreneur. “Mobile apps increase engagement with customers. They boost repeat visits, and permit a wide variety of online transactions, including the deployment of loyalty cards, push promotions, and ecommerce transactions.”
The creation of an app is just one of many small steps companies must take if they wish to remain competitive. The trends in mobile marketing will continue to expand, and firms who get ahead of the curve now will benefit most in the end.
You’ve signed the contract with your new agency and now you’re itching to see your money put to good use. In other words, you want to see the agency turn your marketing into a well-oiled cash machine, right?
Of course you do! That’s why you hired the agency in the first place. And, if you hired a good agency, this is exactly what it will do. But it can’t do it without your help. In fact, taking your hands completely off your digital marketing as soon as you hire an agency is a mistake.
There is a saying in the agency world: “the work can only be as good as the client.” This isn’t supposed to assign blame, but to illustrate that cooperation is of the utmost importance for the success of any agency-client project. Having been on both sides of the table (the agency’s and the client’s), I think the saying is correct. What it fails to mention, though, is that there is room for improvement on both sides.
A recent study shows that relationships are not actually improving. In 2016, only 53 percent of surveyed agencies reported an improvement in their relationship with the customer. In 2015, 73 percent of agencies were happy with their relationship improvements.
So, what should you do to play your part in attaining your revenue goals through your agency’s work?
1. Always be honest Think of your agency as a doctor – the more you tell them, the more they can help you. There’s no point in hiding your past failures; this is not a contest.
Reveal what you tried in the past, what worked for you and what didn’t. Why let your agency hit the same bumps in the road? This only consumes your time and your money, so it literally helps no one.
2. Be sure you know what you expect from them I had a lot of discussions with clients who wanted “a few blog posts” or “social media likes.” Invariably, I asked “why”? A good agency won’t get to work until it knows where its work fits into the grand scheme of things aka your marketing strategy.
For instance: are those blog posts designed to drive traffic or to generate leads through e-mail subscription? This is important to settle from the beginning, because it will definitely influence the copy.
When it comes to social media, things get even more blurry. People want hundreds of thousands of followers and fans, but fail to see the big picture. What are you using social media for? Nurturing your loyal customers? Customer acquisition? Or is it simply for brand awareness? Again, the answer dictates not only what your agency posts on social media, but also what networks it focuses on the most.
3. Have realistic expectations When I was working as a CMO, I always gave my agencies deadlines that were a bit tighter than what I really needed. I did the same with KPIs. Of course, we always ended up negotiating both, but I found it was good to take these precautions. However, all my requests were doable. I never asked for a press release to be delivered within half an hour or for a website to be fully functional in less than two days.
I now run my own agency and, when clients don’t set the deadlines themselves, I always add one day extra when possible. It’s important to me that my agency never misses a deadline (I know how important punctuality was when I was on the other side of the table), so I take these precautions in case one of our writers falls ill or is unable to complete the work for any other reason.
The same goes for the results you expect. You should never trust an agency that promises to double your revenue in two weeks. It may look good on paper and in your projection charts, but unrealistic goals won’t bring you anything but frustration.
4. Try not to micromanage your agency Remember that you’ve hired a digital agency because it has experts on staff and they know what they are doing. I know it may be tempting to check in on their progress at least twice a day, but that will keep them from doing actual work. If you pay them by the hour, then it’s even worse for your budget.
Try to discuss weekly or bi-weekly reporting meetings from the very beginning. Stick to the plan unless something urgent comes along in between your meetings.
Ask questions when you’re unsure why the agency chose a certain strategy or approach, but don’t make a habit out of doubting the people you hired. Think about them as if they were a team within your company. You want to be a leader who inspires, not one who micromanages everything and shuts their creativity down.
5. Keep your agency in the loop Since the agency doesn’t share an office space with you, the people handling your account can’t find out about significant changes and developments on their own. Whether there was a change in management, a merger, an important contract signed or a simple new hire that looks good on social media, let them know.
Reacting in a timely manner and posting about hot topics related to your company before anyone else does is very important today. We live in an era where every minute counts. This is why, ideally, you should have a delegate that takes care of your relationship with the agency and that keeps them in the loop about any new development.
6. Be punctual You expect the same from your agency, don’t you? But, at times, it’s even more important that you deliver everything on time.
Photos, quotes from managers, graphic work – your agency will most likely ask for these from you on a regular basis. Delaying the delivery of a quote from a C-level executive will delay the publication of your press release. If the artwork depends on you and it’s not done in time, neither will your article/brochure/social media post. If someone posts a photo of your CEO at an important conference before you do, you will have lost your moment to shine.
One thing that usually delays everything is approval. If you want to approve most of what your agency does for you before it sees the light of the Internet or the printer, make sure you can do so in a timely manner – typically in the same day if not within an hour.
Having a great relationship with your agency does wonders for your ROI Working on this relationship is not just about happy employees. It’s also about KPIs, met goals and, in the end, your ROI.
Roland G. Cardoza