Mobile technology is a great “release valve” for what Vibes CEO and Mobile Marketing Association Chairman Jack Philbin described as the “balloon” of Big Data during the session “The New Mobile Playbook – Turning Big Data into Big Dollars,” at the Adobe Summit.

However, he cautioned attendees mobile marketing efforts need to drive action and be “very targeted and interesting” to be effective.

“If you’re not driving action you shouldn’t use mobile for the experience,” said Philbin. “You should be delivering the perfect message -- it may be aspirational but that should be what you’re thinking about as a marketer.”

As mobile is the “most personal and intimate” channel, Philbin said marketers need to use personalized data and content at the right time to drive the right action. This requires connecting mobile marketing systems to CRM systems to make the connections necessary to create a targeted, personalized experience.

Crawl, Walk and Run to Mobile Marketing Success

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Philbin said there are three basic developmental stages of mobile marketing -- crawl (send messages to the masses), walk (light segmentation) and run (advanced segmentation and one-to-one marketing). While he said most mobile marketers are currently between the crawl and walk stages, Philbin advised attendees to focus on connecting the top of the marketing funnel (mobile advertising and CRM data integration) with the bottom (messaging, post-click engagement, mobile wallet/passbook).

As a result, Philbin said marketers can put mobile Big Data into action -- “The realization of context and content with personalization.”

The Consumer Speaks

To illustrate the gaps between what most mobile marketers offer and what consumers want, Philbin played several short videos of actual mobile consumers discussing what they’d like to see from marketers. Common complaints were “mass mailing” type mobile messages and offers instead of personalized communication, a lack of location awareness on the part of marketers, and having to log into an app instead of simply opting in for automatic targeted and personalized mobile promotions.

Philbin said consumer commentary demonstrated the need for mobile marketers to combine time (why the consumer needs a promotion at a precise moment), location (promotions relevant to a consumer being close to a particular business or other geographic spot) and interaction (using mobile-specific interaction methods). “You’re better off with email if you don’t have all three,” said Philbin.

Put the Customer First - It Pays

Marketers need to place the needs of the individual mobile customer over broader short-term profit goals, said Philbin. “With mobile wallets, customers can store coupons in their app and receive subtle reminders that pop up when they’re near a business in their mobile wallet and disappear when they move away.”

The payoff of carefully tending to the needs of mobile customers can be significant, Philbin explained. “Mobile customers have three to eight times the spending of email customers,” he stated. Philbin said one company’s data showed that it took 19,000 mobile customers but 167,000 email customers to generate US$ 50,000 in revenue and 200,000 mobile customers but 110 million social customers to generate US$ 500,000 in revenue.

Ultimately, Philbin said mobile marketers can perform one-to-one marketing, which marketing experts Martha Rogers and Don Peppers defined as developing a customer and finding products for them, rather than developing a product and finding customers for it, back in 1997. “Mobile Big Data is a switchboard between the offer management system and the customer,” he said. “It must be automated to provide the last millisecond of contact.”

Mobile promotions should be brief (three seconds or less), avoid a “shotgun” approach that targets numerous consumers with the same promotion, and if time-sensitive delivered via text. Philbin cited Starbucks as a company currently exceling in this kind of advanced one-to-one mobile marketing, allowing mobile opt-in for features such as social media interaction, purchases via mobile app and Passbook, personalized alerts and tie-ins to physical advertising such as signage and print ads.