The Inevitable Curve of Mobile Marketing - Forget Branding, Start Bonding

By Brandon Carter | Updated on Aug 20, 2010 8:10:50 AM

If you've paid any attention at all to the marketing space lately, you know that mobile efforts are starting to mature. Companies are now seriously investing in ways to get in front of their customers on their smartphones.

The Palm Beach Post reported on a study that said 29% of parents planned to use their mobiles to help with back to school shopping, part of over $2 billion expected to be spent via mobile devices.

The Consumerist, an Access employee fave, reports on a new service that sends coupons/ads/game instructions to customers when they're physically present in a retail location. Foursquare, Gowalla and other location-based social networks incentivize people to "check in" to earn coupons and freebies.

In other words, there's a lot of noise coming through the signal. Some good, some bad. Some unnecessarily innovative.

But the signal is about to get hammered by noise.

We're entering the bliss period for mobile marketing. At the moment, early rabid adopters - the 29% of back to school shoppers, for instance - are eager to interface with brands through their phones, much like they are with Twitter and Foursquare. That's a significant population because they hold influence, and people will follow trends these "lead bulls" deem important. This is where a lot of the growth will come from. This is how Facebook fell in love with the location sharing concept.

In the early days of Twitter the big excitement was finding new people doing interesting things, following at random and following your own followers back. It was easy to keep up with; much less burdensome than reading a blog.

Over time the service has grown and become overwhelmed with spammers and simply uninteresting content. Critical mass hit. And a lot of people didn't like it. The free love party was over.They've closed ther networks off, instead choosing to follow only people they know and those within narrow areas of interest.

The truth is, our standards increase as markets become more saturated. It's not a bad thing because it brings about refinement.

Pretty soon, when three out of every five businesses are trying to market to consumers via mobile efforts, people will tune out.

I can only have so many brand-specific mobile apps. I can only take so many corporate text messages, or coupons pushed toward me for products I have no interest in. If I have to walk the floor of a Best Buy three times just to get $10 off $100, then I'll disengage.

So what's the point? Like with any marketing effort, forget branding. Start bonding.

The most successful efforts will be those who earn permission from their audiences. I select who I'm willing to allow to market to me, and I can select how they do it.

In other words, it comes down to the same principles as any other type of marketing - attention to the customer, speaking their language and making yourself convenient to them.

Remember, this is the Golden Age of the Consumer. Live and thrive in it.

We hope to accomplish this with our Access mobile app, which will put the consumer in total control of what kind of deals they're looking for, and where they want to go. No hoops to jump through, no pesky texts or spam notifications - just thousands of deals throughout the nation, waiting to be called upon.

Topics: Loyalty Discount Cards, Discount Programs, What is Loyalty?, Access Development, consumer behavior, Retail, mobile, branding, discount network, customer loyalty, marketing, twitter, social media, bonding

Written by: Brandon Carter

Brandon is a writer and marketer for Access Development. He's a frequent blogger on customer and employee engagement & loyalty, consumer trends, and branding.

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