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The Future of Customer Acquisition is Mobile Lead Generation

In the online advertising ecosystem, mobile has become the star. Developed nations are becoming mobile-first societies. Some people consider their smartphones as vital as the air they breathe. And brands are tripping over themselves to prove they have the coolest mobile-optimized site.

But one thing is conspicuously missing from this scenario: a mobile customer acquisition strategy.

For many companies, mobile marketing often stops at branding. They build a slick mobile site, position their brand in front of a wide swathe of consumers, and call it a day.

Mobile marketing campaigns that don’t produce a consumer action—leads, sales, downloads, etc.—are a pointless endeavor. In an era of fleeting consumer attention, companies need to focus on what really matters in online advertising: customer acquisition.

All marketing roads point to mobile

Mobile is leading a revolution in how direct marketers engage, acquire, and retain customers. Consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices first to take an action that may lead to a sale.

Recent reports highlight the rising influence of mobile on direct and digital marketing.

By 2015, consumers in the U.S. will spend approximately $119 billion on goods and services bought via their mobile phones, according to ABI research, and Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker reports that there are now 1.1 billion global smartphone users. The more important statistic, though, is this: five billion. That’s the number of people worldwide who own a mobile phone.

A majority of those five billion mobile phone users are using basic feature, or “flip,” phones. These phones may have only rudimentary Internet capabilities. Instead of scrolling, they click. Instead of virtual keyboards, they have truncated numerical keypads.

Those limitations require marketers to design mobile pages not with branding in mind (although that is certainly important). To reach the four billion mobile phone users who don’t (yet) have a smartphone, marketers need to design mobile sites with a simple purpose: acquiring customers.

Advertisers need to reposition their mobile strategies around lead generation to fully take advantage of this growing mobile-commerce demand.

Understanding How and Why Consumers Use Mobile

Where does mobile lead generation work best? From our experience, many of the traditional direct response verticals—financial services, online education, automotive, and insurance—are ripe for lead-generation-specific mobile campaigns. But even non-traditional direct marketing verticals, such as online grocery shopping, can provide marketers with excellent opportunities to generate leads that convert to sales—if their mobile pages are designed with customer acquisition in mind.

Engaging and acquiring mobile customers in these and other verticals requires a back-to-basics approach to creative. Consumers don’t want to stare at a display ad flashing on a screen the size of their palm. They are often looking for very specific information or are making quick-decision purchases.

Brands must begin utilizing simple, dynamic creative and direct response functionality—such as click-to-call features—on their mobile sites and landing pages. They should provide only the most relevant information and features and, most importantly, the ability for consumers to provide information to receive benefits.

But how often do you actually see this simplicity on a mobile site? When was the last time you found it easy to use a mobile page to contact a sales rep? And we’re marketers. Think of how frustrated the general public must get trying to use a standard mobile website.

Ultimately, the point of mobile marketing should be to reinforce a brand’s value to the consumer while encouraging some type of action—buying a product, downloading a report, providing information in exchange for a benefit, etc.

Branding will always have its place in mobile marketing campaigns. But it should be augmented by an equally robust consumer action element built around lead generation. Together, these two approaches to mobile marketing will ensure a company’s mobile presence not only positions it well in the marketplace but helps deliver the true metrics of success: leads and sales.

In a mobile-first world, the brands that adopt mobile lead generation into their online marketing strategies will win the consumer marketing battle.

Hakan Lindskog is CEO of performance marketing agency MediaWhiz, a Matomy Media Group company.

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