mobile channel falling behind
It’s no surprise that most companies aren't nailing mobile marketing strategies and execution --technology moves faster than marketers can adapt.

It seems like every time I turn around, a new mobile platform or “big idea” is emerging -- and the providers are scrambling for hyper-rapid adoption. But as they say "old habits die hard” and almost nobody wants be the first to put their budget -- or job -- at risk for a mobile technology that can’t guarantee more engagement, more revenue and better ROI.

But for those who actually comprehend the power of mobile -- whether it's location based marketing, social, SMS, QR codes, vanity phone numbers or applications, embracing a “mobile-first” mentality and devoting the time and attention to it will help many more organizations realize the value and rewards of this incredible marketing opportunity. But if you aren't yet there, it’s time to take a look at four reasons why you might be lagging -- and lacking -- in this department.

1. You’re not evolving

By the end of 2013, there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people. There are nearly 1 million smartphone apps available. Mobile search has grown by 400% in the past year.

You get it -- mobile is growing and growing fast. And with it, so are consumer expectations. Yet, nearly 79% of big e-Commerce businesses do not even have a mobile optimized site, let alone a bigger integrated, in-the-moment mobile strategy. And the longer they continue to ignore it, the more they’ll fall behind.

If this sounds like you, it’s quite possible you’ll first have to reorganize your thinking around mobile; because the goal should be to build your business and brand, not just have a mobile offering. So gaining a deep understanding of the consumer and prioritizing the mobile strategy from there is crucial to your success.

From here, you can make more informed decisions about which type of mobile tech makes sense for your audience, by first grasping when (times, places, seasons, etc.) your consumer will want to (or need to!) interact with your brand.

Secondly, knowing what your mobile consumers want from your brand when on-the-go: coupons, show-rooming, education, payments, locators, information, etc. Last, understanding the most important tasks and information the customer will need during that interaction, so that you can prioritize effectively.

2. You’re not designing with the consumer in mind

The chances that you are making your mobile experiences too difficult, confusing and cumbersome are pretty high. After all, it’s easy to get wrapped up in your own world and simply think about the next “big idea,” offer or initiative and the end result you desire (leads, sales, engagement and so on) -- and inherently forget about the consumer experience.

As a start, more of us simply need to take our smartphones and/or tablets, and go spend an afternoon experiencing different campaigns, paths and experiences. You’ll easily find what makes you cringe and what makes you smile.

It’s important to remember that mobile consumers are impulse-driven, on-the-go and likely have very little patience. A fast and easy check-out, download or search experience is absolutely vital to the success of your campaign. Multiple steps, slow downloading or non-intuitive experiences are one of the biggest factors to low mobile conversion rates. One or two clicks should suffice for a consumer to discover their desired content. Don’t try to be everything to everyone, in every moment -- get smart about your mobile offers in addition to the way they are presented.

3. You’re ignoring their time and place

Location, location, location.

Need I say more? We all know that the smartphone rarely leaves our sides. We take to it work. We take it shopping. We take it on a run. We take it to bed. And some of us even take it to the bathroom (75% of us, actually, according to Digiday). Whatever the location may be, it’s important that we’re striking the right chord, with the right content, at the right time. Otherwise, you might as well flush those mobile dollars right down the proverbial toilet.

Mobile GPS has given marketers the gift to integrate timely location-based functionality in nearly every thing we do. Think carefully about your mobile offers and content before you blast them out -- are you promoting your new line of raincoats to your shoppers who dwell in Arizona? Are you taking advantage of a local natural disaster as a way to offer a relevant experience that can help users stock up on needed supplies -- rather than promoting your site-wide 50% sale, when they have better things to do besides shop? The point is, use location-based mobile technology to give consumers what they want and need, not to steer them some place they’d never go.

4. Your metrics and measurement are out of date

Not only has the speed of technology caused us to fall behind in what we offer, but has inherently caused some of us to launch misinformed, or under-informed campaigns, without any real thought around what metrics we should be achieving or could achieve. The problem lies therein -- if we don’t know what exactly we want to measure, or what is deemed a “true success,” adopting expensive mobile technology could be a huge waste of money.

If mobile marketing is really going to succeed, we have to stop defining failure as success. For example, typical mobile coupon redemption rates were in the 2% to 5% range a few years back. Today, success is more like 35% to 55 percent. We have to know what to measure and how to measure in order to move forward and build upon our success -- and failures.

If you are viewing mobile as just another channel to push messaging to consumers, you could be making it nearly impossible to develop lasting, engaging relationships with them. Don’t let the hype sweep you in the wrong direction -- or make you afraid to try anything at all. It’s really about delivering relevant value to the consumer’s most personal device, and measuring effectively. Mobile might be moving at lightening speed, but keeping up is always better than falling behind.

Title image courtesy of stockshoppe (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: To read more by Ashley, see her Four Ways to Grasp the Potential of the 'Second Screen'