Customer Experience Social, Local, MobileWith mobile as a clear medium to push any marketing message, campaign or connection, the opportunities for marketers are endless. The ability to micro-target prospects and consumers wherever, whenever, with hyper-relevant content, information or promotions -- that are meant to be shared on social media -- is very much a reality. But are marketers blowing this golden opportunity?

Quite frankly, we've only begun to scratch the surface of SoLoMo’s potential. Most brands are slow to adopt mobile marketing in general, let alone successfully integrating it into the entire marketing mix. Yes, mobile challenges us to look at how we talk to and interact with customers. But most importantly, mobile has put consumers in the driver’s seat -- demanding we give them what they need, when they need it: in the moment, at the right time and the exact right offer.

So now that we've got the device, it’s time to focus on how we can use it to continuously propagate our social and local efforts -- both of which are highly crucial to not only attracting new customers, but holding on to them, as well as getting them to buy from us, over and over.

Social Amplification

We've all heard that social media has unlimited potential for consumer engagement, while allowing for the least amount of strain on marketing budgets. However, because businesses often confuse its role with that of traditional advertising, its potential often falls short. To oversimplify: there’s a fine line between social and promotional media, and audiences can smell the difference a mile away. Plus, anytime you've implemented seven steps of editorial approval to publish a Facebook post, you can assume that the resulting message is going to fall on deaf ears.

If this sounds familiar, it may be time to re-route your thinking about social media in terms of social amplification.

  1. Remember that social media is not an island. Consumers are touching your brand at several points, and social is only one stop along the journey. So, don’t expect it to pull the weight of the entire campaign, but rather use it to, well, amplify, it.
  2. Think outside the daily status update. Use social to call attention to specific activities -- or even a bigger picture campaign. When finely integrated with your other “fun” posts, consumers will be more apt to pay attention. When it comes to social, have a little fun and don’t take yourself (or marketing) too seriously.
  3. Think of mobile as a way of activating social media in support of other campaign initiatives. On-the-go consumers are definitely not just tweeting and Facebooking from their desks. Any mobile campaign, whether its SMS, video, coupons, etc., is a fine opportunity to integrate with social media and get even more people joining in the fun.

Dove ran an advertisement where people could call a number on an interactive billboard in Times Square, share a picture of themselves via social media, and see their pictures appear on the advertisement in real time. By combining the forces of mobile and social, Dove provided real-time opportunities for its audience to appear in their campaign, while introducing a branded engagement platform and enabling people to notify their friends and spread buzz in real time.

Treat social as a means, not an end. You’ll go places.

Location-Based Offers

As consumers get more and more savvy, the marketing that abets buying behavior needs to get on the same page -- and fast. Mobile is and will continue to be the catalyst to achieving this dream. Imagine a world where you can beam exclusive content, offers or discounts directly to potential customers right as they’re passing through your neighborhood. Or reaching them in real-time with relevant offers no matter where they are.

Good news, this isn't a pipe dream anymore. A primary way of doing this is using local advertising to activate local promotional efforts. If you have physical locations -- or have a product available with a nearby retailer -- drive traffic into those locations by pairing advertising or promotional efforts with the opportunity for the user to request your special offer be delivered to his/her mobile device immediately.

Making this offer location-specific, however, is crucial.

  1. Start thinking in geographical silos. If you’re product’s value proposition differs by audience geography, use users’ locations to segment your offers so they appeal specifically to the audience at hand. A user in New York City, for instance, may have very different needs and circumstances than a user in New Orleans. (Duh.)
  2. Use mobile calls-to-action to bridge the gap between awareness and engagement. Your billboard, for example, may make a consumer aware of your offer, but if you wait too long to deliver it to them, they may never act on it.

    Instead, include a call to action that prompts users to request your special offer be sent directly to their phones, right now, so they can act instantaneously. Piggy backing off of a regional auto show, New York Ford dealerships ran a promotional campaign to drive potential buyers to their nearest Ford dealers. By running advertisements at the auto show, on billboards across the state, and using local radio and TV channels to promote a mobile-friendly microsite that helps people search for and locate their nearest Ford dealer, they drove foot traffic into the stores and saw a marked bump in sales due to the location-activated campaign.

The widespread consumer adoption of smartphones and tablets has changed marketing forever, providing consumers with numerous options and capabilities and empowering them to call the shots. SoLoMo has shifted power to the consumers, and they know it. Want to stay relevant? Continue to innovate and experiment with social, keep spending on mobile, and think local.

Title image courtesy of Rob Byron (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: To read more of Ashley's mobile advice, see her 4 Reasons Your Mobile Channel is Falling Behind + How to Get Back on Track