Mobile marketingThere seems to be a fear, not just in major brands but also in SMEs, about mobile marketing. We all relate to the subject based on how we feel about our mobile phones. Just ask around the office right now, or your family, how they feel about marketing messages on their mobiles, and you will see where this fear could stem from. For the vast majority of people, receiving a marketing message on your mobile is a no-no.

However, mobile marketing is not just about sending a text/SMS to a willing (or unwilling) recipient. Mobile marketing needs to be thought of as a far broader church. Once you understand what a mobile phone is capable of, and how your potential audience are most likely to use theirs, then you can target your actions appropriately.

For instance, SMEs, retail outlets and rural businesses should all be at the least listed on Foursquare. This is one of those discrete and gentle touches with mobile marketing and geolocation. A simple sticker in your window, register your venue/outlet/premises on the Foursquare site, and offer a Mayoral prize each week to attract customers to check in.

You can take this further by organising flash mobs at your venue or shop and offering a special FourSquare badge or similar to those who attend. Tie this in with a Tweet-up and people will hang around that much longer. And spend, remember, talk, tweet about the event etc. Don’t forget a good hashtag for Twitter….

Apps are of course the big thing and generally these fall into three main courts – iPhone, Blackberry and Android. Whatever you do with mobile marketing should try to reach all the bodies of smartphone users, or risk alienating those who are left out.

Starting with the simplest type of engagement, you can encourage people to take photos either of your venue, products or for a themed competition. Add a little creativity, such as encouraging instant uploads with Instagram, or composing them into Photograms, and almost anyone with a camera phone and an app can enter.

Perhaps this is where many people fall down in the definition of ‘marketing’. It is no longer simply push marketing that is required, but now, especially with social networks, pull marketing with heavy consumer engagement is equally as important.

So, it is no longer about billboards and TV adverts that force feed the information about a product to the consumer, but very much more about dialogue, engagement and consumer interaction.

What else can you do with mobile marketing? What are you doing with mobile marketing that you feel others couldn/should be doing too?

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology