The last session I attended at the Adobe Summit today was all about mobile marketing. Here's a look at the trends, the best practices and technologies driving mobile marketing in 2012 from those in the field living it.

Connect Your Channels With Mobile

As an organization you have many different channels to deal with: web, social, mobile web, your store, call centers and search. Mobile has the ability to greatly affect all these channels because it is everywhere and will continue to be so for a long, long time.

This session involved a panel of people who work on mobile marketing strategies daily. They include:

  • Michelle Felice-Steele from Experian Consumer Direct
  • Eric Schmidt from American Eagle Outfitters
  • Warren Raisch from Digitaria
  • Julie Ask from Forrester

The panel was chaired by Ray Pun, Adobe Senior Manager, Product Marketing for Mobile Solutions and a lot of great experiences were shared.

Mobile Trends Reviewed

Smartphones are huge and will continue to be popular:


2011 Penetration Percentages by Country

But it's very important not to forget there's a huge market of feature phones out there and there aren't going away. And then there's the research that talks about how tablets are converting 3x faster than the smartphone and even do better than the traditional desktop.

Julie Ask, Vice President and Principal Analyst with Forrester pointed out though that we shouldn't really be comparing tablets and smartphones as much as we should be comparing desktops and tablets.

The subject then turned to mobile app vs mobile web and the resounding response pointed to the primary use of the mobile web in most situations. Michelle Felice-Steele of Experian Consumer Brands said that they use mobile site for acquisition and mobile apps for retention. But also interesting was that she pointed to the growth of the hybrid approach as gaining ground in this debate.

Eric Schmidt of American Eagle Outfitters said that his company was under a lot of pressure to come up with a mobile app close to the holiday season, but they chose to go with a mobile site first, managing to hold off on an app for two more years. When they finally did create an app it catered to their loyalty base.

Julie Ask told us that the mobile app gives an organization a lot more reach. What's important though is that you do what's right for the target audience and what you are trying to achieve. All agreed that the two will co-exist for a while yet.

She also said that the challenge with the mobile web is that if an organization is simply trying to shrink the desktop then they are missing some new opportunities. 

Mobile Ad Spend

Here's a look at some eMarketer research on mobile ad spending:


Mobile Ad Spend by Format

Julie Ask said that there were some great opportunities to using messaging. But most of the panel pointed to search as the primary format for mobile ad spending right now.

Emerging Technologies and Tactics

The question asked was "are mainstream customers ready for":

  • QR Codes
  • Location Services
  • Augmented Reality
  • Mobile Wallets

The answer was yes, especially for QR Codes and Location services. But Julie Ask suggested that marketers keep in mind that people don't ask for these things. They are tactics not strategies. She also said that location should be invisible and that QR Codes and Augmented Reality should be used to simplify discovery and access to rich content.

Some Best Practices for Mobile Marketing

According to Michelle Felice-Steele, it was important that Experian had dedicated resources and made mobile marketing an integrated part of the business. She also said that mobile is not identical to the desktop, that it enhances what they do with the online channel.

Eric Schmidt agreed with Felice-Steele adding that mobile strategies are constantly involving and it was important to be focused on the consumer when defining strategy and selecting tools and tactics.

Julie Ask pointed out Forrester's approach: POST - people, objectives, strategy, technology. She also said it should be mobile first and that it's really important marketers don't get caught up in the smartphone, but to look at behaviors.

Areas of Mobile Investment

What's the order of importance for building/updating mobile channels, advertising, people and anaytics?

All agreed that people come first, and then analytics. They also identified advertising as the lowest on their list of priorities. 

Final Thoughts on Mobile Marketing

Michelle Felice-Steele strongly suggested that you know the difference between desktop and mobile access and evaluate what makes sense to mobile.

Eric Schmidt said to understand your customers perspective and balance it with your business goals.

Warren Raisch said that mobile is a long-term ongoing initiative and that it's about content readiness and context and then about the apps.

Julie Ask believes the future of mobile is context and that you need to build the strategy first, then look at technologies.

Your Mobile Calls to Action

Ray Pun left us with several calls to action, including:

  • Get the analytics in place
  • Review your strategy and look for cross-channel experience opportunities
  • Seek guidance - don't assume you have to do it all on your own

So there you have it, your winning approach to mobile marketing.