Immediacy, Simplicity, Context Keys to Mobile Marketing
Mobile has never been as important to marketers as it is today. This is the Mobile Mind Shift -- the expectation that any desired information or service is available, on any appropriate device, in context, at the moment of need.

And it’s why marketers must work harder than ever to connect with consumers on their mobile devices -- to not only boost brand engagement, but to meet these expectations.

Firms’ mobile strategies will vary depending on their level of mobile marketing maturity, but no matter whether you are just getting started by trialing tactics to see what’s possible, or you are crafting sophisticated multichannel campaigns, there are three principles that all marketers must weave into the mobile experience: immediacy, simplicity and context. 

Why these three principles? To meet consumers’ mobile expectations, it’s essential to consider who your mobile audience is, what the use case for the mobile device is, and how to leverage the wealth of personalized information available to customize messaging. To do this effectively, consumers must be offered:

Immediacy: Provide Content that is Timely and Actionable in the Moment

Immediacy is a measure of content timeliness -- whether users can act on it right now -- such as a search result highlighting directions or the timeliness of a service like a pushed notification of a deal nearby. Marketers should be sure to take advantage of mobile phones' unique always-on capabilities and portability to provide this timely content to drive desired behaviors and engage more deeply with consumers in the moment.

Depending on the level of maturity, immediacy should be applied in a variety of manners. For instance, marketers who are just getting started with mobile should think about surfacing their existing actionable content by reviewing campaign assets to identify which are the most actionable, and then funneling mobile users to them.

For example, 1-800-Flowers.com wanted to test what it could do to promote its expedited same-day delivery service to mobile consumers pressed for time. It tweaked the text and keywords from its existing PC-based campaigns and created Google mobile ads to direct users to its mobile website. The result: click-through rates that were two to three times higher per campaign than in its PC-based AdWords campaigns.

Simplicity: Provide Content that is Easy to See and Navigate on a Mobile Phone

Simplicity means reducing both the number of steps and the wait time required to execute a task. Due to the smaller screen and typing surface of the mobile phone, and the fact that consumers are often on the go while using the device, it’s crucial that marketers make it easy for their audiences to get the information they need. This requires accounting for the mobile phone's size and usually lower bandwidth when designing layouts and interactions, and taking advantage of unique mobile features like the GPS and built-in camera to help reduce the number of steps required to connect users with the content they want.

Marketers who are in the early stages of their mobile strategy should think about adjusting creative and navigation to fit mobile screens and on-the-go content needs. This can be achieved by simplifying display ad creative to load quickly and by using fewer words within the messaging. Relevant content can also be made easier to access, for example by adding action links to search results like click-to-call and click-for-directions links. More sophisticated marketers can use mobile capabilities to eliminate obstacles, by connecting users with content through 2D barcodes instead of URL typing, or letting people enter a sweepstakes by simply texting a short code.

Context: Send Relevant Messages Based On Location and Mobile Behaviors

A more personal device than a PC, the mobile phone has features that lets marketers access a wealth of information from browsing behavior, past search terms, and mobile-specific data like check-ins and physical location. This allows marketers to customize messages and reach ideal targets as never has been feasible before -- connecting users with real-time, location-relevant and customized content to meet customer’s high expectations.

Marketers who are still learning about their mobile customer should start by using mobile-enabled data to make existing messages and content more relevant to the mobile use case. For example, optimize basic display ads by adding location-specific results along with your creative, as Dunkin' Donuts did when it included the address and distance to nearest location in its mobile banner ad.

Mature mobile marketers can use the enhanced situational context information available through mobile phones to tailor content and messaging, and also craft multi-channel experiences. For example, entice people to capture images of what is around them through the portable camera feature in exchange for more information and then use augmented reality to overlay it with marketing materials such as customer reviews or promotions.

Unsure how to get started? To successfully weave the three principles into your mobile marketing at every maturity level, Forrester recommends that you rope in mobile specialists to fully take advantage of mobile’s unique features, and seek the help of digital agencies that excel at mobile to move beyond one-off experimentation into crafting consistent, cross-channel user experiences.

Title image courtesy of My Life Graphic (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Want more tips for Mobile? See Ashley Eckel's 4 Reasons Your Mobile Channel is Falling Behind + How to Get Back on Track