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By Kristy Sturgill • March 23, 2018

The Pros and Cons of Mobile Marketing: How to Prepare for the Rise in Tech

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Where’s your phone? Odds are you’re on it right now, but if you’re not, it’s within arms reach. Have you ever left your phone at home or work and felt … anxious, like something is missing? You’re not alone. There’s even a name for it: Nomophobia.

Americans collectively check their phones 8 billion times a day, which is about an average of 46 times per day across all age groups.  It’s no wonder we feel off balance when it’s missing. Not to mention the fact we use it for basically everything from reminders to research. This is important news for marketers wanting to reach their target audience.

But, why? 

If your company isn’t leveraging the power of mobile marketing, then you’re missing a massive opportunity.

In the past, mobile marketing was synonymous with email marketing, and it was a revolutionary way to communicate with customers. Now, the platform has grown to incorporate location-based services, augmented reality, GPS messaging, mobile-friendly websites, SMS marketing, social media and apps.

Like any other marketing strategy, there are some pros and cons of mobile marketing depending on your approach to interacting with customers on their mobile devices.

Pros for Mobile Marketing:

  • You can reach your customers anywhere, as long as they have their phone.
  • There are twice as many mobile devices as there are PCs.
  • Consumers spend more time on mobile devices than all other forms of media combined.
  • You increase likelihood of customers interacting with your brand.
  • It creates new ways of communicating and distributing messages.
  • Mobile marketing could set you apart from the competition.
  • You’ll have more platforms to provide the best customer service.

Cons for Mobile Marketing

  • Privacy vs. Notification: Any business creating mobile marketing strategies must walk this tightrope or else annoy their target audience with too many messages.
  • Strict regulations, and creating opt in and opt out processes clear.
  • You’ll have to craft shorter messages.
  • Possible backlash if customers feel like you’re interrupting them or invading privacy by using specific tactics.
  • It’ll require investing in new platforms or strategies.

When it comes to weighing the pros and cons of mobile marketing, it’s less about whether or not you should invest in this platform, but more how you should reach your target market on their mobile devices.

There are a few strategies worth considering, and each of them come with their own set of pros and cons.

Mobile-optimized website

Mobile-Optimized Website

We’ve all felt the frustration of having to scroll left or right while zooming in trying to read information on a smartphone. The simplest way to begin your mobile marketing strategy is by creating a mobile optimized website. Essentially, it is a responsive design that’ll be easy to browse on any screen regardless of size.

Pros

The most significant advantage for having a mobile-optimized site is your customers can browse your products and services with ease. They won’t leave your site in frustration to find the information they’re looking for on another website. Your website will also appear more modern and updated than a static page.

Cons

If you don’t already have a mobile-optimized site, you might have to pay someone to complete a redesign, which can certainly be expensive. You might experience slower load times on smaller screens because of large images or other data-heavy attributes. Your customers might also miss some crucial information on smaller screens because it requires a lot of scrolling to reach it.

Despite some of the cons, it’s best if every website is optimized for their mobile visitors. If not, the potential customer might leave regardless of how they feel about your brand simply because it is not easy for them to digest the information from their device.

SMS Marketing

SMS Marketing

Phones were used for texting long before they became a hub of information. SMS stands for Short Messaging System or better known as “texting.” This simple platform is a brilliant way to communicate with your customers on their mobile devices because it is personal and direct.

Some industries have dominated SMS marketing, like the non-profit Do-Something.org. This organization’s target market is teenagers, and their mission is simple: They want to challenge young people to get out and “do something” like collect jeans and donate to a local youth shelter or inspire their peers to recycle. How do they do this exactly?

They primarily depend on text messages by sending out their most recent campaign or asking them questions with easy responses. They also give out scholarships for some of the campaigns, which also encourages them to participate. Many of their sweepstakes also involve sharing DoSomething.org with their peers, so it helps them gather up phone numbers and grow their following.

Other companies send out promotions, especially retail stores, and some like to create fun quizzes to engage their customers with the brand.

Pros

This platform is highly personal, and people like to read virtually every text message they get unlike email or other messaging platforms. 95 percent of people open their text messages within three minutes of receiving it. Texting can improve your customer service, especially for individuals who’d much rather send a SMS than call or email.

Cons

Permission: It’s the most critical factor of SMS Marketing. If the customers says no, you can’t send them unsolicited text messages. There are a lot of rules governing how you communicate with your customers on this platform. Like email, you have to provide them with an in and an out.

First, they have to sign up for the communication, maybe when they are making a purchase online or after they fill out a form. Next, you have to make the opt-out process clear. For example including “Text NO to stop receiving messages.”

Mobile App

Mobile Apps

Apps are a great way to provide additional services or to streamline your services for mobile devices. Banks offer apps to customers who’d like to make mobile banking more accessible so that they can jump on their account and check their balance or make transfers with little to no hassle. Restaurants use apps to let customers make online orders or reservations. Universities also use apps to communicate with students.

Apps are great because you have two avenues of marketing: push notifications and in-app messaging. Again, just like text messaging, your customer has to consent to push notifications before they are enabled.

The 10% Happier App is a meditation app that asks users to provide them with reminders to meditate. The user chooses the best time for them to get this notification, and when it shows up it says, “You asked for this.”

People do not appreciate interruptions, but the 10% Happier App combats any feelings of annoyance by giving them a playful reminder that they consented.

Pros

Mobile Apps could give you an edge over your competition by providing your customers with unique and efficient customer service. It can also give you new opportunities to communicate directly with your target market. Some apps even have free and premium versions, so some companies earn revenue from their apps.

Cons

Creating apps isn’t cheap. If you’re not familiar with coding or app creation, then you’ll have to pay someone else, and it can be an expensive endeavor. Development takes time. You could expect to wait 12 to 24 weeks to see it come to fruition. Furthermore, you’ll have to invest in maintenance down the road if it breaks down.

It’s also possible you invest time and money into the platform, and your target market has no interest in the app, or they download it and never interact with the content.

GPS Marketing

GPS Mobile Marketing

Google Maps or Apple Maps are the go-to resource for drivers traveling to a new location. This GPS technology in phones is a massive asset to marketers who want to experiment with geofencing, weather-based geolocation advertising and check-ins.

These tactics sound a little invasive, but they’re not. Instead, they are a tactic for delivering relevant messages to your target audience. Geofencing is used to create an advertising radius. For example, a customer standing in line at one store might see an ad for the store next door while they’re browsing on their mobile device.

Weather-based geolocation might mean a shoe company advertises their rain boots on a stormy day and flip flops when it’s sunny and 75 degrees, but only in the location with that specific weather.

Check-ins are pretty frequent on social media. A lot of people will check in at their favorite restaurant or a big event they’re attending.

Pros

A company might decide to use GPS mobile marketing to create hyper-targeted advertising campaigns to get the most out of the advertising dollars. It could also help improve the relevancy of your brand to nearby customers.

Cons

Nobody likes to think you’re invading their privacy, and if they feel your brand is crossing a line, you might experience backlash. For example, it was rumored Starbucks was going to experiment with geofencing by alerting customers walking by about their specialty drink of the day, which would be a nightmare for anyone in a large city with several Starbucks.

Another problem with this type of marketing is getting customers to agree to push notifications to begin with. Geofencing takes a lot of space on a phone, which could make your mobile app unappealing if they need to clear some room off their phone. People also disable their location services when they want to save battery, so at the end of the day, this type of marketing might not be as useful as you’d hope.

Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality

This type of marketing seems to be from a sci-fi novel. Pokemon released a massively popular augmented reality game in 2016. It had people hitting the streets to catch their Pokemon and win “gyms” all over their communities. People flooded into zoos, parks and walked around town looking for creatures they could only see on their phones.

Google Star Walk 2 is an excellent augmented reality platform that allows users to find constellations in the sky. IKEA had another great idea by creating a way for customers to see how furniture would look in a room in their home.

Pros

The clear advantage to using augmented reality is standing out. It’s not a technology used by very many brands or industries, and if it makes sense for your products or services, it could make you seem different then everyone else.

Cons

Augmented reality is complicated to implement. Unless you already have skills in augmented reality, paying for this type of platform can be very expensive. Furthermore, even if you have a great idea, it could be a fad. For example, people who were never Pokemon fans found themselves obsessed with the augmented reality game, but after several months the parks, zoos and other popular locations went back to normal traffic levels.

One of the biggest pros for incorporating mobile marketing is you’ll have new ways to track your marketing campaign and success. Are you struggling to track the right metrics for your marketing strategies? Our free ebook can help guide you through developing an effective plan.