By Mark Kersteen - July 17th, 2014

Recently, I was interviewed by our friends at MobileTechCreate. If you’re interested in mobile (and how could you not be?), we highly suggest you give them a look. They rule.

It’s a shake-up. Mobile technology has changed just about everything for marketers and creatives alike. As we saw in Part 1 of this article, mobile is an unprecedented resource for putting customers first. It has also revitalized some of the workhorse tools in our arsenal, like email marketing.

However, while mobile technology is as ubiquitous as it is easy to use, that doesn’t mean we’re already mobile marketing mavens just because we’ve logged over forty hours on Candy Crush.

As we all know, technology in the wrong hands–or even in well-meaning but clumsy ones–can lead to disaster. So let’s take a look at some of the people who are doing things right, how the mobile landscape is forcing us to reexamine our teams and processes, and the exciting (and sometimes scary) mobile tech horizon.

Consumer Brand Marketers: Take a Shot of Cuervo

Jose Cuervo are doing things right with their mobile presence.

Their Howl app, launched last year in Australia and built on the Foursquare API using in-app SMS functionality, allows users to create virtual packs of friends. Once they’re out for a night, they can broadcast their location to a specified pack of party animals by sending out a “Howl” direct from their phone.

The app isn’t really all that innovative from a technological standpoint, but it’s remarkable for its creativity and marketing prowess. And, who knew that lions and tigers and bears (oh my!) were so adept at swiping touch screens?

Here’s some of the low-hanging fruit that Jose Cuervo was able to grab with their app:

  • It’s “on-brand”: The app is a perfect fit with Cuervo’s global “Who’s In” campaign, which targets the “instigators” within your group. They didn’t create an app simply because they had the capability to do so, or because they felt like they had to “do mobile”; they created an app that fit seamlessly into their overall marketing strategy.
  • It’s a strong brand-awareness vehicle: The app doesn’t sell tequila directly, and it doesn’t have to. Since it’s “powered by Jose Cuervo,” even if its users don’t touch a drop of the stuff, Jose Cuervo’s brand and its purported ability to instigate a fun night out is reinforced with each download and SMS. If you don’t remember the fun you had the night before, you’ll still know Jose Cuervo helped get you there.
  • It recognizes that users are humans: In addition to its funny little animal avatars, the app includes gamification functionality that awards points for your activity. It recognizes audience preferences and motivations.

It’s hard to ask for more from mobile technology, and it’s important to remember that the marketing and creative professionals behind the campaign are what made it work—not the technology itself. Aspiring mobile marketers, take heed!

Mobile Changes the Team: The New Role of the CMO

Much has been said recently about the evolving role of the Chief Marketing Officer. As marketing has collectively shifted towards digital, the CMO’s involvement in their organization’s big decisions on technology has increased. As part of the digital mix, mobile has its own influence over the changes in the role of senior marketers, both internally and externally.

Within organizations, mobile technology and apps now give the entire team the ability to operate in an “always-on” state. While I’ll reserve comment on the downsides of carrying our office with us at all times, no one can deny that it provides new levels of agility and proactivity. Need to mobilize your team instantaneously about a PR crisis? There’s an app for that. Need to sign off on a budget while riding in a cab from a conference to your hotel room? There’s an app for that, too!

In their customer-facing roles, CMOs now need to wrestle with mountains of data on customer behavior and have a working understanding of the devices, operating systems, apps, and other mobile tools that their audiences use. Johanna Murphy, CMO of Ivanka Trump, demonstrates some of the common challenges CMOs face as she shares her thoughts with ExactTarget on mobile, the differing uses of devices in various contexts, and how usage goes far beyond mere transaction.

With so many options available to customers, my advice to CMOs is to read, then read more. Then, build a team of mobile-minded professionals who can advise you about what’s hot, what’s losing market share, and where you should be spending time and money to reach customers.

Parting Thoughts

Mobile marketing has plenty of low-hanging fruit to harvest, but we have to be careful not to chop down the tree in our enthusiasm to reach our customers. To summarize:

  • Keep your customers at the center of your strategy, regardless of the vehicle you use. And treat them like human beings, not simply as data.
  • Tried-and-true tools like email still work in mobile marketing. Don’t throw out the baby with the email marketing.
  • Mobile is an important part of your digital strategy, but don’t rush into it. Do it right so that your mobile presence moves your brand forward and engages your customers.
  • Be flexible. Mobile marketing requires a new way of thinking and significant support from the entire team.
  • Be judicious. Just because you can reach a customer through mobile doesn’t mean you have to.

We’ll be examining these issues, and many more, with many of the smartest marketing leaders at the upcoming Incite Summit: East. Join us!


Photo by Fotolia

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