How often do we use mobile devices?
As a society, a large part of our daily interaction with and consumption of digital media takes place through our smartphones, especially when it comes to social media usage. In the digital space, mobile has become an enormous part of our lives. It offers enhanced capabilities to everyday life and allows us to accomplish things faster and more conveniently. We’ve grown so accustomed to using mobile for so many different things that we practically rely on it. This is what makes mobile marketing such a powerful opportunity.
Think back to your last purchase.
Did you do any research? Compare products? Where did you buy? Online? In a store? How did you find out where to go? I would bet that you turned to your mobile device to help you make one or all of those decisions.
Nowadays, you don’t see many consumers who stroll into brick-and-mortar stores to inquire, find information or even to buy something. Most use their phone to do the research, submit the quote, find the best deal and so on. This is the case for all purchases too, regardless of cost – whether it’s you buying your first car; your parents searching for a vacation spot; or your younger sister looking for the right paintbrush. Consumers are relying more on mobile for every step of the way.
The Rise of Mobile Search:
Today, significantly more searches are made on mobile devices than on desktop computers or tablets and the gap is growing. Google confirmed that mobile searches surpassed desktop searches back in May of 2015, so the switch in priority from desktop to mobile indexing is long overdue.
“After two decades of growth development, mobile devices now bring the largest chunks of traffic to online businesses, and their influence on search is only going to expand further.” – SEJ
Google is now attributing more weight to mobile as an SEO importance factor. It’s now more important than ever for content to be responsive on all mobile platforms and identical to the content on your desktop site. Even more, mobile also has a close connection to a variety of other high-impact search factors – like pagespeed, navigation difficulty, page design…etc. Since mobile usability is directly related to the experience that someone is likely to have on a website, it should be an integral part of every business’s digital strategy. Websites that are not mobile-friendly or mobile-optimized will miss out on crucial ranking points, inevitably tanking their ranking potential.
“People are 5 times more likely to leave a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly.” – Google
The Purchase Decision:
The proliferation of the mobile device has made it easier for people to quickly find information and address their needs on the fly. The evolution has transformed the way consumers make purchase decisions and spend money. The stages that people typically go through leading up to a purchase (AKA The Buyer’s Journey) has become fragmented. It’s rare today to see consumers take a steady, linear path to a transaction.
People are moving faster and converting quicker, and it’s because of mobile
Mobile is rapidly accelerating the purchase decision – the mobile marketplace has grown rapidly and will continue to do so because consumers love the luxury of instant gratification. People prefer to buy things on the go and from the couch and smartphones are their buying tool of choiceording to an Impulse Buying ReportInvesp, impulse purchases represent almost 40% of all money spent on e-commerce transactions.
The Buyer’s Journey and Micro-Moments:
The increasinginfluence that mobile has on consumer behavior is causing a major shift in the way businesses are engaging consumers. The proliferation of the mobile device as the go-to search and buying tool, has unveiled a myriad of opportunities for brand-to-consumer interaction that just didn’t exist before. These points of interaction or “Micro-moments” (a term coined by Google) happen when people turn to their device to fulfill an immediate need. They can be viewed as potential steps a customer might take in pursuit of this particular need. Brands are recognizing these moments as opportunities to engage consumers with valuable information in times of need. It’s easiest to break them down into four categories, “I-Want-To-Know”, “I-Want-To-Go”, “I-Want-To-Do” and “I-Want-To-Buy”.
The idea is to be where consumers are at in critical times, consistently. Not only for the “I-Want-To-Buy” instances but also for the ones where information, suggestions or advice is needed. Think of these situations as great ways to build trust for your brand. If you can help consumers easily find answers to questions, they will perceive you as a credible source, which increases your chances of seeing them again.
If brands choose to neglect these moments relative to their customer needs, they will get left behind. Consumers may be loyal to a particular brand to a certain extent, but never as much as they are to themselves. If there’s a better service or show of support, it won’t take much for the customer that you worked so hard to retain, to switch teams.
Tips for crafting your own mobile marketing strategy:
- Understand that your customers interact with their mobile devices much differently than they do with their laptops or desktop computers. Your mobile marketing strategy will require a unique approach; you need to re-think how you want to engage your customers on this platform.
- Think “Micro-Moments”: this has been a buzzword for a decent while now; the key here is to map out the journey that customers take when trying to fulfill a need. Breakdown each of the 4 “I-Want-To” moments and come up with specific ways where your business can provide value to the consumer. These touchpoints are important opportunities for you to show up and offer help. Whether it’s information for research, how-to tips, or providing a price quote, the more ways you can engage customers along the buyer’s journey, the better your sales pipeline will be.
- If you’re not tailoring your website, adjusting your social channels or optimizing your entire digital presence for mobile – then you need to get up to speed, literally. It’s not enough to just be mobile-friendly anymore – you need to completely alter your digital strategy so that you think “mobile first” every time you post or make an addition to your pages. Start by updating your website and assets so that your content is accessible across all formats.
“You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time” – spoken by poet, John Lydgate and later adapted by Abraham Lincoln. This quote has never been more clear, especially in a market that is increasingly driven by the internet’s widening reach. We live in a world where everybody has a voice. Your customers can talk, take pictures, interact with others, and creative positive or negative buzz about their experiences with your business and worst of all, it isn’t necessarily true. People are checking out Yelp, Angie’s List, Google reviews, and places like Yahoo Local Listings for information and reviews. And from time to time, your business will get a negative review.
But that is no reason to panic. An occasional negative review will actually make your profile look more realistic. When a customer takes the time to give you a not-so-flattering review, that is your opportunity turn the negativity around and improve customer care.Your next steps are keyto retaining not only the business of the angry customer, but the business of other fans who like your page as well.
Here are 4 Ways to Handle Bad Online Reviews
1. As tempting as it may be to delete the review and ignore it, that is not the way to go. You want to respond to a negative review online. You will need to start by restating the complaint.Your customer is annoyed and when people are upset, they first want to know that they were heard. Do not give any excuses. Your first reaction is to give a reason why. Instead, say something like, “this was uncharacteristic of us and we would like to make it right.”
2. Take action and get to the bottom of why the mistake occurred, without blaming anyone. Resolve the issue quickly, or make sure that your employees are empowered to do so. Don’t be afraid to ask the customer: “what can I do to make this right?” Regardless of who is right or wrong,resolve the issuein a way that makes the customer whole. Whatever price you have to pay, it’s a way toshow potential customers that your business values people.
3. If you can’t make it right, acknowledge it. It’s not always possible to “fix it” for the customer. Even if you can’t make it up to the customer, for whatever reason, at least try to publicly acknowledge it, apologize for his or her experience, and promise to review your policies or to do better in the future.
4. Don’t take it personal. Your business might not be a good fit for the customer and that is not a bad thing. It’s important to remember that you can’t be all things to all people and that not every client will be the perfect fit for your business.
Businesses screw up. It happens. But when it happens, an interesting opportunity opens up: if you recover from the mistake well, you can actually build a stronger relationship with the customer than you had before. If you’re prepared, you have nothing to worry about – your online reputation will be just fine.
As 2017 gets rolling, we decided to share some things we think will be a big part of this year’s marketing puzzle. Some you already know about, some will enhance how they are currently used, and some are new that will become trends by the end of the year.
Here are our predictions for things that will be gaining marketing importance during 2017 (and not necessarily in any order of priority or importance):
- Mobile is a marketing medium – not just responsive design, but video, search, etc need to be targeted to mobile and consumer based companies have to move into mobile optimization for their websites and applications to provide the best user/visitor experience.
- As content becomes more personalized, and consistent engagement is needed – things will become more niche in approach. Casting a wide net will always have its place but it is more “branding”. As you look to make an impact you will need to find the segements that produce results.
- Marketing Automation continues to increase – building campaigns and messaging to specific audiences and targets while measureing what they respond to is only going to grow as people get more sophisticated with their measurement. The more you can have your content help during the decision making process, the better.
- Social enhances customer service – we create dialog between companies and customers. You can use social to service those customers, help control reputation management, and be a primary source of interaction with customers. This is not just Facebook, but all social channels.
- Snap (known as snapchat) becomes mainstream – Already, Snap has transformed user expectations and major trends in the social marketing world. It’s helped bring back a more moment-focused view of communication, leading to more in-the-moment and live content. It has facilitated more mobile-centric app developments, and it’s introduced vertical videos into the mainstream – see Facebook LIVE now too.
- Video continues to increase in importance (see #5) – Marketers agree that videos bring the highest ROI, and we’re doing more of it. Social video platforms like Facebook are riding the tide and optimizing feeds to improve the viewing experience. Having more videos also improves SEO, as Google—which owns YouTube—favors them in search results. You can also get tools like Mention to help track better what it means to your marketing, and there are some pretty advanced analytics with Youtube directly now as well. So get your cameras/phones out and start shooting some short videos.
This is not an all-encompassing list of everything you should be doing, but some of the latest marketing pieces you should be considering if you are serious about your digital strategy. If you need help in any of these areas, we would be glad to discuss with you. You can also find our whitepaper on inbound marketing ROI to help or contact us.
BIG OPPORTUNITIES FOR ADS AND BRAND MANAGEMENT (OR BIG FAILS?):
Regardless of who is on the field, every Super Bowl viewer develops an opinion about the commercials run during the game. We’re sure you’ve heard quite a few opinions already, so we’re taking a little bit different angle. What if we looked at Super Bowl LI and posed some important questions about brand management, advertising, and marketing as it might relate to your business?
HOW DO SUPER BOWL COMMERCIALS RELATE TO YOUR BUSINESS?
When we stopped to think about and discuss the ads, our initial conversation evolved to something we could share to help you. We talked about what worked and what didn’t; we talked about what was enjoyable and what wasn’t; and we looked at overall themes, too. Those themes can be applied on a number of levels and a variety of businesses, so here are the resulting questions that may be important for your business to consider.
1. Is eCommerce Advertising a Bad Fit in Some Situations?
Advertising for eCommerce isn’t really a truly new concept, but branding still appears to be the clearest objective for most Super Bowl advertisers. This kind of brand management often falls short of demonstrating staying power with viewers, but with such a vast audience, it is hard to pass up.
This concept may be widely embraced by big brands, but we don’t recommend it for small businesses and those who would like to see evidence of performance.
When it comes to the absence of eCommerce ads during the Super Bowl, the following questions come to mind: Was it simply too expensive? Is the ROI too questionable? Do eCommerce businesses just get beat out by other types of businesses?
Unless we missed something, it seems Weathertech and Nintendo were the only companies overtly plugging their website. You might also count Mobile Strike or World of Tanks (ads here and here), but they are free downloads that monetize using ad placement.
While Amazon’s connection to eCommerce was implied, Nintendo’s ad is particularly noteworthy as they put their website in the final few seconds of the ad and have enhanced their YouTube ad with buttons to pre-order online. Watch the ad (and listen to the catchy new song by Imagine Dragons) here:
2. Where Did All the Light-Hearted Ads Go? Does Heavy Substance Work?
This year’s ads seem to be marked by so many more topics with potential for polarization. No doubt, some viewers saw the commercials as a good fit for the world they want to live in, while others felt bombarded by subjects that may not have been a good fit for a Super Bowl.
Most were quite dramatic, while one ad set in particular (T-Mobile’s) attempted to be cheeky. There were an array of topics corporations invested in with ads, but culture and immigration were common themes. By our count, there were at least six social issues included ad, including sexual mores, border fortification, cultural differences, the changing face of America, prejudice, and pay scales.
We will leave the heavier discussion to the talking heads on television, but our question is one focused on outcomes. Do these themes jive with the current economy and culture? Does it provide needed contrast? Does it all just get forgotten?
It’s hard to say, but we hope to get a look at data that gives us a solid answer. For now, however, we recommend bigger brand management techniques that demonstrate relevance, credibility, and a willingness to be light-hearted.
3. What Led to the Extinction of Prescription Drug Ads?
Remember “Gut Guy” from 2016? We don’t want to, but we do.
Overall, we are glad that the prescription drug ads were gone this year, but we were wondering what happened? After all, there are still plenty of prescription companies using television commercials with awful, anthropomorphically-depicted conditions right now.
Our best theory is that an old habit is hard to break with their technique here, but it’s not paying dividends enough to put up during the big game. If that’s the case, be sure to learn from their situation. Don’t be afraid to try something new and work with agencies that would create a fresh narrative.
4. Are Sponsored Hashtags Bringing ROI?
T-Mobile took a bit of a risqué approach in two commercials, but do you think it worked?
What if your main competitor answers back like Verizon did?
And then Verizon kept going:
It seemed like the best Verizon could do given the situation, but, aside from this spat, it is important to remember that there is a bigger theme here: hashtags have consequences.
In T-Mobile’s case, with their tamer ad, they spurred engagement and buzz. Their hashtag #UnlimitedMoves is still going, too, getting people involved with social media and video.
On the other hand, Wix totally missed the mark with their hashtag #ItsThatEasy. So, actually, it looks like it wasn’t that easy. Admittedly, we have a bias against Wix because you’re always, always better off with a real website and real SEO, but we would acknowledge if they actually chose a decent hashtag. We’ll go more in depth about that later, though.
Other companies using hashtags included Mercedes-Benz (#EasyDriver), Audi (#DriveProgress), Honda (#PowerOfDreams), Febreze (#BathroomBreak), GNC (#CourageToChange), Snickers (#SnickersLive), and Amazon Echo (#JustAsk).
There were good and bad among the bunch and we will follow up with an analysis of them all in a bit. Suffice it to say that sponsored hashtags are still not delivering much in the way of sales for most businesses. If you are going to get hashtagging though, your best bet is to go with a hashtag that does one of three things: 1) catalogs your post among other relevant posts, 2) starts an original, positive conversation, 3) ties a positive idea to your brand, and/or 4) adds SEO potential should hashtags become more of a factor.
5. Do the Meta Messages and Throwbacks Work?
Did people get the homage to the 1990s movie “Being John Malkovich”? Did it matter?
Additionally, how many viewers were alive and remembered who Spuds MacKenzie was? How many were invested enough in the commercial to care? People love to act like they didn’t miss a beat, but Google search trends tell a bit of a different story.
In contrast with the more verbose ads, we also saw a pre-game ad that involved a different Spud and was quite mystifying. Simple, but still pretty meta. Was it effective though? If so, what did it do so effectively? You be the judge:
Believe it or not, that was an ad for Cards Against Humanity. It could be the most ineffective Super Bowl ad of all time. When you put their jocular explanation and ironic intentions aside, their objective must have been to generate buzz by providing the starkest of contrasts. That is, if they didn’t just want to waste a ton of money because they can.
6. Katie! Katie! Katie! Wait, What is With the Groundhog?
Skittles had a pretty fun commercial, cute even, but no one here has quite gotten the connection to the furry friend at the end. Maybe that was the point, though.
This kind of intrigue in advertising can be a double-edged sword. It can be enough to generate interest, but (maybe unless you are Skittles) it is more likely to be completely lost on your audience. Be sure to consult an experienced marketer to make the best choice here, instead of throwing stuff against the wall to see what sticks.
7. Is Lady Gaga Okay?
Okay, maybe this one doesn’t relate so much to your business, or it would take some work to try to make it relate, but we are honestly wondering. Last we saw, she ended her performance by dropping the mic and jumping. We’re guessing she didn’t jump to her doom, but someone please confirm to us that she landed safely!
WHERE DO YOU GO WITH YOUR BRAND MANAGEMENT AND ADVERTISING?
Chances are, whether you are scaling up or planning to do so, you need an experienced marketer to ask the important questions for your brand. Then you need them to act based on the best available data. Are you currently getting that?
This is important for every aspect of your marketing. It impacts the creative, the content, the analytical, and much more. It even matters when considering big external events like Super Bowl commercials and how they may relate to your brand. Be sure to put experience, skill, and performance on your side.