The Mobile Marketing Association says there are now more mobile phone subscribers globally than landline subscribers. And JPMorgan predicts the market for tablets will be worth $35 billion by the end of 2012.
While mobile marketing, in some basic forms, has been around for more than a decade, the breakneck speed at which the notable move to mobile is occurring has left many a B2B communicator wondering how to tap this channel to reach customers and prospects.
Overall, business-to-business companies have been hesitant to jump into mobile marketing. Many B2B companies have struggled with how much effort and budget to allocate to mobile campaigns and, moreover, how to devise and execute such campaigns in a way that generates results.
SHOW US THE MONEY
Successful public relations and marketing professionals have long understood the need to reach customers and prospects where they live and on their terms. And B2B executives are starting to use mobile devices as their primary communications tool, according to a joint Google and Forbes survey. What’s more telling for B2B communicators is that 65% of executives are comfortable making a business purchase on a mobile device and more than 50% of executives prefer making business purchases on the mobile Web versus a landline phone.
The changing landscape is creating an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” atmosphere where B2B communications pros must overcome their procrastination and either create mobile outreach programs or look to expand existing ones.
MAKE THE MOBILE MOVES
For newbies, there are a number of factors to consider when jumping into the mobile waters. Here are the most important factors:
â–¶ Mobile is a long-term strategy. In sum, the newness and buzz around mobile doesn’t mean PR and marketing professionals should throw caution to the wind and launch mobile campaigns without clear objectives. While specific revenue goals are great, they may be harder to determine in the B2B arena—especially for businesses with long sales cycles. So decide which attainable, measurable goals make sense for your business—such as expanding your prospect database by a certain percentage, scheduling appointments with a specific number of key prospects or upselling services to existing customers.
â–¶ Less really is more… sometimes. Most B2B communicators are trying to reach senior-level executives or certainly people within organizations who influence buying decisions. When executing mobile marketing campaigns, keep in mind that your audience is already receiving a lot of information via mobile devices.
While you want the campaign to drive results and be actionable, more communication is not necessarily going to make the campaign memorable. There’s no golden rule regarding the amount and frequency for reaching out via mobile. The best guideline is to determine if your communication has value and set up a schedule that’s not going to irritate your audience.
â–¶ Keep it simple. Yes, mobile phones and tablets are the best inventions since sliced bread, but they are not PCs and have limitations. With that, mobile campaigns need to be user-friendly, allowing targets to easily access and review the information without a lot of hassle. The call to action should be easy to execute via the mobile device, too.
â–¶ See more, buy more. At the same time that tablets and smartphones are gaining in popularity, there is a shift to a non-text Web. Online video is becoming increasingly widespread with more than 50% of executives (under 40) making a business-related purchase after watching a video. Because video takes executives down the purchase path, B2B communicators need to develop compelling videos that work well on mobile and include strong, immediate calls to action.
â–¶ It’s just one part of the mix. While the time is right to enhance mobile strategies, B2B communicators should ensure that mobile is one component of a broader, holistic outreach strategy. Don’t compromise other PR and marketing approaches for mobile’s sake. Rather, develop complementary campaigns that reach your customers and prospects through various channels.
Finally, leverage mobile campaigns as a way to get customer feedback, not solely as a tool to push information. Following best practices and opening the mobile channel as a way to listen to your customers, instead of just selling them, will undoubtedly generate the long-term results and revenue to demonstrate their value to the organization.
Jackie Parker is a VP at Arketi Group, a high-tech B2B PR and digital marketing firm. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.