It used to be that marketing teams and technology people didn’t really interact apart from uncomfortable meetings about getting a new offer onto the latest website build. But with the rise of mobile-optimized websites, custom branded apps, locality services, and integrated messaging campaigns, the lines between marketing and technology are blurring.
Marketers today must be comfortable talking about HTML5 and integrated databases. Technologists today must be comfortable talking about audience segments, targeting, and messaging strategy.
But mobile technology is changing more than how we work together. It’s literally changing how we market and where we put our marketing investment.
Poor Old E-mail
E-mail was called the ‘killer app’ for at least a decade. Its power to connect with audiences led to an entire generation of technologies to gather addresses, segment lists, target messages, test performance, and provide service.
Only, young people today don’t (or rarely) use it.
They use instant message technology and social networks, with mobile (and SMS) figuring big as their number one communication tool.
In fact, some large businesses are actively banning internal E-mail because new (young) workers are simply not used to using internal E-mail tools, and staff are overwhelmed by the E-mail workload. Don’t believe me? Read this BBC interview with the CEO of Atos.
What began with Apple has burgeoned into a massive marketing and technology bed-in. Branded apps for just about every conceivable product or service can be found across all the major mobile platforms, including iPhone / iPad, BlackBerry, and Android, among others.
For many companies, a branded app is yet another way to keep their company in the minds (and literally in the pockets) of their audiences. Starbucks’ recent “Cup Magic” app is a good example of technology and marketing working together to produce a piece of mobile marketing magic.
Not so long ago, marketing departments and their tech agencies mainly worried about browser compatibility and desktop operating systems. But today, with iOS, Android, Blackberry, and other mobile platforms (not to mention all the browsers on those platforms and number of device screen sizes), the mobile web is pushing the development world to its limits.
How do you make a website look good on a mobile phone as well as on the desktop?
Enter a new breed of HTML language, CSS stylings, and full software platforms to help make websites look great on a mobile device. Complete tech solutions such as Mobify turn your regular website into an on-the-fly optimized site for mobile. Other platforms such as Usablenet and Digby create and maintain a separate mobile version of your current website that is served to visitors arriving at your domain from a mobile device.
Mobile marketing using the ubiquitous SMS text message has been overshadowed by the fancy-looking apps and smartphone browsing experience. Yet it remains the only “app” that is accessible to – and used by – nearly all of the 4 billion mobiles on Earth.
Great for discount/coupon marketing tactics and service messages like appointment reminders, SMS marketing opens up a personal and often rewarding connection with the target customer. It’s easy to send them, too. No development needed.
Like E-mail marketing, bulk SMS text message providers have created a suite of technologies to help marketing deliver the right message to the right person, including list building, double opt-in automation, even tools that allow marketers to send SMS online via their computers; handy for typing rather than using a clunky phone keypad.
About the author: Pavel Webb is the affiliate manager at TextMagic, a bulk SMS gateway based in United Kingdom.