The mobile revolution has been in full drive for the past decade with transformational impact in almost every sphere of life especially in Asia; but just not yet in conventional marketing.
After a decade of pushing mobile marketing towards the mainstream in markets like India and China, I finally understand that there will be no “ah ha” moment for mobile marketing and no tipping point in media investment.
The fact is that the mobile device has already transformed our lives and society. It has changed the way we interact with our people; the way we do business, organize our lives and the way that core functions in society like health, education and commerce are now evolving.
Mobile has simply made the reach of our lives “bigger”: more social, more connected, more informed.
Marketers lag far behind. The level of active investment is irrational: mobile has overtaken every other media in terms of time spent using the device; it is increasingly dominates eCommerce – in China 30% of TaoBao sales are via mobile; and Weixin, the largest social channel in China, is 100% mobile. So, everybody’s marketing is consumed via mobile, it’s just that only some marketers are “optimizing that experience”.
Mobile is the antithesis of marketing and advertising: firstly, it is personal, intimate and private – something worthy only for close and bonded relationships, a far cry from mass media communications; secondly, it is about the consumers needs – about single minded, needs based and functional actions – so it’s about pull communications, not push.
The biggest mobile opportunity for brands is not in marketing, but in providing access to services, to commerce, transactions and customer service; and of course through these services and platforms to build their reputation and brand. The opportunity therefore is to put some substance into the brand, and delighting customers through good service.
Even mobile search is about the courtesy of placing the right information at the right time in the right format. That requires, forethought, diligence, attention to detail and anticipation of your customer’s needs: and these are the qualities of good service [and good media planning].
Digital is about transaction and data. Social about interaction and conversation. Mobility is about behaviour and context – and about being the backbone that binds all communications across multiple channels.
So, how do marketers integrate mobile into the mix? Marketers need to get better at understanding consumer behavior, not across vague phases of the marketing funnel but across very specific moments of interaction along the customer journey. There are 3 levels of design that need to become the focus for good mobile planning.
The first catalyst is Dramaturgy – creating imaginary interplay between the brand and consumer that are “theatrical” in nature. To do this, we need to imagine ourselves “as directors observing what goes on in the theatre of everyday life” – and through this pre-empt the needs of our customers.
The second catalyst is to better understand the behavioral economics underlying our customers’ decisions and actions. People’s decision criteria changes over time: often the moment approaching the purchase point, or just after purchase are critical moments when decision making shifts from the rational to the emotional. Marketers need to ensure that they are proactive at these critical moments to service these mood shifts of their consumers.
The final catalyst is Service Design – this is how the brand should operationalise its multiple existing service and communication channels to service consumers better. As mobile helps create a seamless interaction from acquisition to purchase and CRM, brands need to think about how to integrate call centres, customer services, concierge and knowledge experts so the full impact of a brands resources are aligned to where and when consumers want to interact.
It’s time that marketers became better dramatists. Mobility gives brands an opportunity to play out a performance/service in a totally new environment – to be omnipresent, to invest in communications that are relevant, timely and wanted. Not the other sort.