Breaking mobile out of the box

There are many things marketers should consider when putting together mobile programs–designing apps for the right platforms and optimizing websites among them. But the key question marketers need to ask is, “How do I change my value proposition for mobile?”

That was the advice Google’s Head of Mobile and Social Solutions Tim Reis gave an Advertising Week audience in New York on Monday. App stores are rife with startups that have succeeded by fashioning their propositions to take advantage of the immediacy of mobile, said Reis, who named GrubHub and Hotel Tonight as examples. But what about legacy brands with established brand IDs?

“What is unique about your brand that you can transfer to mobile?” Reis challenged. “Chase Bank enabled people to deposit checks by taking pictures of them with their phones and the next day every bank in the country was on the phone to their agencies. Chase used mobile to set the new table stakes for banks.”

Beyond creating the killer app, Reis counseled brands to make sure they were minding the basics of adapting their programs to mobile, such as designing them for the popular Android and iOS platforms. Though most marketers recognize mobile as vehicle of growing importance, Reis noted that the majority of mobile marketing programs are not fit for the highway.

“Ninety percent of brands have apps, but 50% haven’t optimized their websites [for mobile],” Reis said, quoting a Google study. “That’s one of the reasons that 26% of people abandon new apps after one use.”

Once your app is road-ready, it’s important to promote it, Reis said. “Few do, but you’re only going to make an app store’s ‘most downloaded’ list by promoting your app to someone.”

Distinguishing your mobile consumer communications from your online marketing is also crucial, Reis advised. “For an e-commerce site online, it’s ‘Click here to buy.’ For the same company on mobile, it’s “Click here to find a store.”

As for content, the path is clear, said Google’s mobile maven. “Make a decision: We’re entertainment, or utility, or both.”

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