On what can feel like a whim of the digital fates, mobile marketing can drive great brand loyalty and equally great brand disloyalty. As chairman of mobile ad agency Sponge Alex Meisl comments, the mobile can be a very schizophrenic device.
The message being stated at M&M Global’s Back to the Future event, covering digital and mobile matters, is clear and the implications are worrying. Mobile has massive potential and is not being understood. However, not understanding it isn’t just a case of a missed opportunity, it looks like it could be actively damaging the slow adopters.
As Mobile Marketing Association chief marketing officer Paul Berney pointed out, Mobile has come along and irrecoverably changed consumer behaviour. As consumers, our expectations are constantly being raised by innovative companies introducing clever features. On the one hand, this is great for the innovative feature-introducing company as it produces strong brand loyalty, but for those that aren’t keeping up it is an instant mark against them.
It’s not even to say that mobile can generate brand disloyalty in brands that are negligent (although with 80% of all advertisers on Google not having a mobile presence, there are plenty of those too). If one brand in a sector is offering a new feature, any brand that doesn’t then instantly offer the same feature will lose points in the eyes of the consumer. Berney used the example of banks offering mobile banking services to highlight just how entitled we consumers have become. Because we are used to some banks offering mobile services, we expect all banks to do the same.
Mobile marketing is described by Berney as a technology driven industry with a thin veneer of marketing on the top. That mobile marketers do not necessarily speak the same language as traditional advertising institutions is backed up by the fact that a staggering 80% of branded mobile apps have accrue less than 1000 downloads. Meisl from Sponge pointed out that many of their clients approach them and instantly declare that they want an app, but he argues that instead of an app, you need something a bit more intelligent than that, using an example of work they’d done with Liverpool Victoria to offer users a more useful functionality than just an insurance sales interface.
The behaviour encouraged by mobile has meant the end of lying, the dilution of spin, the dissolving of sales copy and a complete inability to bend the truth as an advertiser. As consumers go to their fellow consumer for advice and disregard the pitch of the retailers and manufacturers, brick and mortar stores are increasingly losing control of shoppers. They’re even losing control of consumers in their own stores as mobile devices are used to not only check up on product reviews, but to find more competitive prices online, bizarrely sometimes from the shop’s own online counterpart.
Mobile is a rapidly developing fast moving quickly changing relatively new channel for marketers, but the marketing aspect of it has still not changed. It may be fickle and volatile, but the challenges presented are little different from the ones marketers have always been battling with.