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Social Media Strategy

Is There a Secret to Mobile Engagement?

October 15, 2009

CellphoneThis morning I was reading an AdAge article that highlighted an agency’s findings on female engagement with mobile web advertising on iPhone compared to other devices.  The overall finding was that women with iPhones were much less engaged after clicking through from a mobile ad.  The question that popped into my head was – why?  Why was the engagement so much lower?  Are these consumers really that disinterested, or is there something else going on? Conspicuously absent was any mention of conversions, sales, or other form of ROI.  In other words, what were the non-iPhone users doing while they were so much more engaged?  Did that engagement translate into measurable ROI for the brands?

The article went on to describe the rationale for how some big brands opt for a one-size-fits-all mobile site for their mobile initiatives in an effort to maximize reach (and presumably minimize cost).  I can’t help but wonder if this approach is always the most effective in the long run.  Of course, to get to the bottom of what is really going on with this group, you’d have to dig a lot deeper, but let’s consider a couple of topics that should be addressed before brands jump into a mobile initiative:

Knowing the audience first
Who are you targeting?  If the answer is ‘everyone’ or ‘women 19-49’, that’s the first problem.  In traditional media, brands probably wouldn’t run the same ad when targeting a 20 year urban college student as they would a 45 year old mom from rural Indiana.  Why should mobile be any different?  And I’m not just talking about the ad creative – I’m talking about the way mobile campaign is designed.  More on that below.  Slice and dice your audience into manageable segments and determine what platforms/devices are common in each segment so that your mobile campaigns can be more effectively targeted.

What tactics should you employ?
Keeping the above in mind, does it make sense to focus your resources on building out a single mobile site that can be accessed from most mobile devices, or is it potentially more effective to develop custom applications for multiple mobile platforms?  Should you run an SMS campaign or purchase mobile banner ads?  What about sponsoring existing mobile apps?

These are not black and white questions, and in my opinion cannot be answered easily.  These questions brings up many others: What do your targets need and how can you help them? How many of them are there on a given platform (iPhone, Blackberry, traditional web-enabled mobile phone, etc.). Can you provide a solution to them on-the-go that benefits them and increases sales, conversions, viral spread, etc.?  Perhaps a targeted app that provides a mix of utility and entertainment will have a higher conversion rate than a banner ad that clicks through to a mobile site for a portion of your audience. Maybe an SMS campaign that allows you to send product info or discounts to consumers at the point of purchase will be most effective with a specific segment. The point is that one size does not fit all, and a thorough understanding of the audiences and opportunities to engage each segment is necessary before embarking on a mobile initiative.

Reach vs. Value
Historically, advertising has been measured by how many people saw the ad, or the Reach.  Now, there are other metrics to consider and the Value of the resulting engagement is much more important to measure.  Does it really matter how many people click on your ads or visit your mobile site if they don’t make a purchase or otherwise move the needle that your company is trying to move?  Isn’t is just as effective to reach less people but have a higher rate of conversion?  The Value of the interactions is vital.  The rest is just window dressing for corporate reports.  Value can be measured in a myriad of ways – requests for additional info, forwarding, tweeting, posting to Facebook, click through to purchase, up-selling, etc.  Depending on the goals, the way Value is measured will vary.

If you are planning a mobile initiative, the topics above are a starting point.  What are some others that come to mind for you?  Do you think there is a secret to mobile engagement?  I look forward to the comments.

Social Media Strategy

Target? Are you sure?

April 12, 2007

How many Marketers out there do you think really understand the power of truly targeted messaging in their Marketing Communications?  We’ve heard it all before – ‘I understand my target – Gen X (or whatever broad segment it might be).  I’m running ads on _______ (you fill in the blank).’  Yeah, they really have it down – just spend, spend, spend – spend on ads on all the popular TV shows or websites.  But running ‘targeted’ ads on the latest TV show, magazine, web portal, etc. is only the beginning.  How many Marketers have an active dialogue with their customers and actually know what they are passionate about and furthermore communicate that understanding in their messaging?

I think there is a more effective way of targeting that gets more results in the long run.  Consider this idea – once you understand the segment that you are wanting to speak to, find ways to align your brand naturally into the lifestyle of that segment.  Or how about create something of value for them that is uniquely yours to give.  Find ways to give them something that only you provide and turn them into customers that actually respect you for it.  One of the best targeted promotions I’ve seen recently is Chili’s MySpace Secret Shows promotion.  Instead of just running banner ads on MySpace, they have an entire promotional concept running in the community that is all about supporting music and emerging bands.  If you join the community on MySpace, you get invited to ‘Secret Shows’ in major cities that are not promoted any other way.  How cool is that???  I’ll tell you how cool it is – the Secret Shows profile has over 431,000 members on it as of April 12, 2007!  People camp out the night before the shows to make sure they are able to get in.  And it’s all provided by Chili’s.  Now, I admit, I’m a music fanatic and it has always been a big part of my life, so this really got me excited.  But I’m clearly not the only one.  I’ve always been a big believer in events as a way to align a brand with consumers, but the way this has been packaged is brilliant!  They didn’t just sponsor a handful of concerts and get some branding.  They created an entire targeted community that is passionate about what they are doing, and by the way, they still get all the branding at the event just like they would have with traditional sponsorships.

Bottom line – Chili’s got inside the heads of a targeted segment of customers.  You can to, and you should.  Get to know the segments that make up your customer base.  Really get to know them.  Bring value.  Encourage dialogue.  Become a part of the conversation.  And most of all – do it in a way that is totally transparent and genuine.  Your customers will notice and respect you for it.

Social Media Strategy


November 27, 2006

Besides being a really cool store, Target is a word that should be posted on a sticky note on top of every marketers computer screen so that it’s always top of mind.  It surprises me how often I run across promotions that are so broad, or worse yet, totally misdirected that it’s almost unfathomable how they could be very effective.

Thanks to technology and the seemingly endless resources to slice and dice demographic and psychograpic data, there is really no excuse for untargeted Marketing (particularly in the online world).  The catch is that in order to properly target your message, you have to understand who you are talking to in the first place.  This sounds obvious enough, but you don’t have to look very far to find examples of untargeted messaging gone awry.  This usually happens when a decision maker ‘thinks he or she knows.’  It’s one thing to know that you don’t know and ask for help, but when you think you know but don’t, you are in jeopardy!

Of course, this is more pronounced in the Youth segment.  Since most marketers are well outside of this demographic, it is even more important to do some serious homework on what is going on in the minds of these consumers.  Pardon my frankness, but Youth can smell bullshit a mile away.  Over the years, I’ve seen some pretty weak attempts to be ‘cool’ and often it turns out looking like a joke to the people it was intended to win over.  Bad execution can be worse than doing nothing at all, so pay attention and don’t be afraid to ‘not know.’

Use the resources that are available to you!  If your product or service offering crosses over multiple demographic groups and lifestyles, take a more focused approach to each segment.  Check out Pepsi’s approach on their home page.  Notice they don’t ask you a million questions or make you dig through a bunch of pages to get into a zone that you feel comfortable.  They have a few people representing different lifestyles that rotate through the screen.  Depending on which character resonates with you, you can click on the pictures and the site takes you to different promotions that the brand is actively engaged in.  Nice!  One click, and you are escorted into an area that makes sense to you.

Consider creating microsites that speak to the different segments that your product or service is aimed at using language and tone that the each segment will understand and respect.  Use targeted advertising to drive your consumers to the right place.  Don’t rely on your home page, especially if your offering is so general that you have a home page that doesn’t really speak to any specific vertical very well.

Slice and dice!  Get engaged and see how much better your results can be.  It’s addictive once you get started.