Dispatch from the Mobile Marketing Association Conference

Since smartphones took over flip phones a decade ago, I have been amazed at how much our phones are extensions of ourselves, for better or for worse. Recent research reveals that Millennials check our phones up to 69 times a day ! Sometimes it feels like a lot more – like when I’m using Google Maps to navigate around a city or on-the-fly checking where the best wine bar in the neighborhood is. I just got back from the Mobile Marketing Association conference in NYC– and heard some new mobile marketing perspectives that I wanted to share.

Location- based mobile strategies are the jam

According to Marisa Tarleton, CMO at RetailMeNot, 9 out of 10 retail purchases are still made with an in-store component. That means that brick-and-mortar is still a major stronghold in an increasingly digital journey. What has changed, however, is user behavior in-store. It is now commonplace for a potential buyer to come in to a store to understand what an item looks like or feels like in real life, look it up on Amazon for cheaper, buy it via the Amazon app, and leave. This is a great fear of retailers and it’s hard to quantify exactly how often this is happening. However, there were a few clever solutions to help engage the user throughout the digital + in-store journey:

  • Digitize the shopping experience. Marisa brought up Old Navy – walking into Old Navy and having to sort through all of their items is nothing like the searchable, personalized experience you can get on web and mobile. Not to mention the salesperson has no idea what you’re interested in One idea is connecting your online account when you get in store so your personal shopper in-store knows how to tailor items for you.
  • Location-based offers. Companies like PlaceIQ are melding the world of mobile and brick-and-mortar by offering event and location based offers based on where you are. They have an insane amount of data about their users (for example, they could tell that I was at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and also at the MMA conference) to tailor offer-based ads.
  • Drive more people in-store. Companies like RetailMeNot understand that there is still a lot of value in bringing people in person, so they help companies with offers that get them in the door to meet with a sales person.

Dinosaurs are learning from unicorns : Mobile is fueling Fortune 1000 success

Props to Tune for coming up with the cutest hashtag at the event  with their presentation on the #dinosaurunicorn. The basic idea is that the most successful “dinosaur” Fortune 1000 companies (e.g. Exxon) are learning from hot “unicorns” (e.g. Amazon) and doubling down in mobile. The stock market agrees with the approach – there is a strong mobile correlation between mobile success and stock market success (Hey Warren, want to add this to your investment criteria?)

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From the report: “For example, Fortune 1000 firms that led in mobile customers (with a minimum floor of 5,000) beat competitors by 15.1% in terms of stock market value. Brands with at least 50 ratings per app — not a huge task, one would think — beat brands who didn’t engage well with customers on mobile by 14.1%. And companies that simply had more than five apps outperformed others by 8.5%.” (Source: Tune blog)

The takeaway: even companies that don’t traditionally have an application for mobile (i.e. they aren’t selling something you can buy on mobile, such as gas) see great results when they engage with their consumers on mobile.

Virtual Reality: The next mobile frontier

Last but not least, the VR connection to mobile was a hot topic at the conference (as well as every other conference I’ve been to for the last 18 months). The difference is that I’m finally starting to see how VR can play a role in the average consumer’s lives. Samsung gave a great demo of the Samsung Gear VR, which with a $129 price point (plus a Samsung phone of course), is incredibly approachable. They were hosting demos of the popular TV show 24, which put you in the middle of the action. They also let you demo a travel-based narrative, which took you to far-flung places right from your chair with amazing quality. The implications for this from a marketing perspective are truly amazing – it brings things like product placement and awareness of new places to a whole new level. I just hope the emphasis remains on the narrative of these experience, not just the new land-grab for the latest ads (I really hope we don’t see the day when all-too-realistic “belly fat” ads are the norm in a VR experience).

Other mobile marketing trends you’re noticing lately? Leave a comment!






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