Web, Social, or Mobile? All of the Above
Andy Lombard, SocialWhirled
As new technologies emerge, marketing departments spawn new teams to manage them.
In the 1990s the rise of the corporate website created its own team. Social media required its own dedicated staff in the 2000s. Now, teams are forming to meet the mobile opportunity.
Having these multiple teams brings up the issue of how much they're talking to one another. In many organizations teams mostly stay in their own silos. They set their own goals and build their own campaigns, without thinking that today's target buyer is increasingly engaging—or attempting to engage—on multiple technologies.
It's time for marketers to break out of their silos and integrate their campaigns across their corporate website, social media pages, and mobile assets.
Synchronization in multiplatform campaigns equals huge value
Social media is not limited to social networking sites any more. Social plug-ins and connect functionality have propagated features from Facebook, LinkedIn, and more across other Web assets. Meanwhile, more users access Facebook on their mobile devices than on their desktops. Just this month Facebook announced that it has 751 million active mobile users versus 665 million active Web users.
No matter how meticulously structured your org chart is, your buyer doesn't care what silo she “belongs” in. She just wants to engage, whether she's on your corporate website, your Facebook page or on her mobile device. And that means marketers must present consistent branding and messaging, and synchronize user data across campaigns.
Synchronization is a fairly new concept, so here's an example of what I mean. Let's say you're running a photo contest. On the first day of the campaign, a user working on her home desktop clicks on a Facebook ad driving to the photo upload interface. Three days later that same user decides to check up on the contest while riding the subway. Although she's now accessing the campaign from her iPhone rather than her desktop, she expects to easily find her photo. In a synchronized campaign, she will.
Removing barriers to mobile engagement
The number of Web browsers has posed challenge enough for marketers. Adding mobile to the equation has only heightened the challenge, as marketers have to consider multiple operating systems and a growing number of device manufacturers and types.
However, the mobile opportunity cannot be ignored. More than 800 million smartphones were sold in 2012 alone. If a customer uses one to link to your campaign, that campaign needs to load fast. Moreover, those mobile devices are in consumers' hands at key moments in the purchase cycle: when the consumer is in a retail store, selecting a restaurant or movie, booking a trip, etc.
A great deal of mobile marketing efforts thus far has focused on native apps requiring an app store download. This approach dramatically limits a brand's reach. Marketers can maximize their reach by publishing campaigns to a mobile-optimized microsite. This allows users to access campaigns via their device's browser (for example, Safari on an iPhone or Chrome on an Android device).
This mobile-enabled approach removes a barrier to entry for your prospects because they already have their browser installed on their device. It also gives you the flexibility to update messaging, swap design elements, repurpose content, and test calls-to-action without pushing an update through the app store.
Interest and attribute data drives true engagement
When we build relationships in real life, it's helpful to know something about our new friend. We ask questions. We observe actions. And, most important, we remember and apply what we learn.
The same dynamics are at play in social media relationships, whether it's a B2C or B2B engagement. Marketers ask questions and observe actions within their social campaigns, and take away rich information about their customers or prospects' interests and attributes. This data includes things like demographics, personal preferences, or even information about a prospect's career and helps the marketer provide relevant offers, drive deeper engagement, and eventually close a sale. The more marketers know about their buyers, the better content they can provide and the more they can foster engagement.
It's important, too, not to overlook sentiment when evaluating this data. If a prospect has a favorable opinion of your product/company/service, you can encourage them to endorse and share your brand. If they have a negative opinion, you can apply customer service techniques to turn them around and perhaps make them lifelong fans.
Integrated social-mobile campaigns increase ROI
We've already established that effective social campaigns require a mobile access point. Conversely, mobile-only campaigns leave opportunities on the table with desktop prospects. The cost of developing individual campaigns for each platform is hefty. However, marketers can dramatically reduce their costs by using social business tools that leverage the same creative assets and content across their social properties, Web, and mobile platforms.
Additionally, by integrating campaigns into mobile, social, and Web assets, marketers amplify their reach across every input device and platform that matters to their audience. No one is left out. More leads enter your funnel. And, ultimately, more convert into paying customers.Social, mobile, and digital campaigns all have fantastic value. But they become unstoppable when they are seamlessly integrated, letting marketers break out of their silos to increase reach, drive down cost, and bring in more sales.
It's time to step away from the one-channel campaign approach and watch your revenue break through the roof.
Andy Lombard is cofounder and CEO of SocialWhirled.