It is also within this space, between fixed (invisible) connections, that businesses are made or broken.
By targeting both mobile connections and mobile phones as primary or second screens, brands can now penetrate the private lives of consumers on an even more intimate level, pushing their way into the world of wilful involvement. Unlike when the consumer is at work, or engaging in administrative Internet usage at home, they choose to access specific sites in their downtime. Those sites, primarily, involve social networking.
The German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once stated, “Invisible threads are the strongest ties”. Thanks to unprecedented technological developments, businesses and consumers alike have access to a fully connected lifestyle, tied to their colleagues, friends and families, and jobs through electronic devices.
The challenge facing businesses is how best to guarantee that they make an impact in the social space, particularly on mobile devices.
Understanding the mobile customer
“The cell phone has become the adult’s transitional object, replacing the toddler’s teddy bear for comfort and a sense of belonging.” - Margaret Heffernan
The first step into piercing the inner sanctum that is selective mobile browsing is that it is not driven by need, but rather, by a desire to stay connected. Modern consumers live fast-paced lives, and as a result, are highly selective and critical when it comes to what they approve of in the social space. They must be made to feel that social posts and updates are relevant to their own lives in order for their need for connection to be sated.
From a business perspective, consumer behaviour has a direct impact on the way you structure your creative and marketing material. The goal of all of your social communications should be to use the fraction of a second that the consumer gives you to grab their attention, spark a conversation, and generate interest.
You have significantly less time to achieve these goals than you would have with print or television advertising, which means that you need to deliver your message succinctly. The dominant approach is to include a strong visual element, which stands out from the rest. This engages the potential customer, and draws them in to explore your concept and brand.
However, the process of grabbing a customer’s attention is not reliant on simply creating a beautiful image.
The future of mobile devices
Mobile phones are being developed and improved at a staggering rate, with the future promising even more impressive technology. Modern devices range from feature phones to tablets, and even though the South African market does not have the saturation rate of smartphones that other parts of the world have, local consumers are connecting and taking up new devices at an unprecedented rate.
Due to the sheer diversity of mobile devices on offer, your approach to impressing mobile users needs to be adjusted, so that you can effectively reach the broadest number of people. Much like creating different size advertisements, you need to develop a full range of mobile options. Thankfully, you can leverage the technology to use animated GIFs and similar graphic formats to help you stand out.
Apart from shaping your posts and advertisements to fit the various devices on the market, you also need to try and leverage the power of mobile connections to connect your market to their world. The mobile phone is becoming the dominant technological platform for users, as functionality improves, which means that it is now more important than ever before.
Living your user experience
For many consumers, their mobile phone is a portal to a world of information, entertainment, friends, and interactions with their favourite brands through social networks. Any business that wants to make an impact in this space needs to put the experience of their users first in order to become successful.
This is more than an extension of target marketing. There are a number of variables that should cross your mind when creating material for the mobile device. Will the format you use be readable across all devices? If there is a button to click through, is it conveniently located, or will users have to break their thumbs to explore your brand? Is your second screen approach viable to your mobile audience? The statistics around mobile phone usage speak for themselves, and highlight the fact that if you are not a player in the mobile space, you need to be.
These are questions that must be answered from a user perspective. Collateral that wows your board members in a PowerPoint display will not necessarily be effective when viewed by a user who is quickly checking on their social network of choice on their way to a meeting. It is essential to understand the platforms on offer, as well as how the devices are used. Depending on your target, a simple mass text campaign could be far more effective than a complex, campaign-based app that drains the user’s mobile data. It is only through creative application that you can make the mobile space work for your business.
Put Your Business in The Customer’s Hands
Effective mobile marketing, particularly across social networks, empowers your business by allowing you access into your customers’ lives. Unlike other marketing avenues, you are literally placing your business into the hands of those who make it possible. And when you consider that evolution of mobile technology shows no signs of relenting, the only question left to ask of your business is whether or not you are going to maximise this opportunity to give customers what they want.