Put your hands up if you have a mobile phone within arm’s reach. Did everyone raise their hands (mentally if not physically)? I’m willing to bet ‘Yes’.
Mobile, specifically Smartphones, has become an essential tool for business professionals. Sales, Marketing, IT and Finance professionals would lead the way, but just about any mid-level or above executive from the largest Fortune 500 to the scrappy start-up is likely surgically attached to their mobile.
A recent MarketingProfs article offered up Five Reasons Why Mobile Marketing is Prime for B2Bs. If you’re stretched for time, they are: Explosive Adoption Rates; Fulfilling Business Centric Needs; A Unique Personal Channel; New Ways Into Their Worlds and More Show, Less Tell. There’s some solid thought backing up those points and some questions marketers should be asking themselves. The bottom line if you’re a B2B marketers – your customers are constantly using these devices, why aren’t you using them to reach your customers?
It’s a good question.
My two cents is that mobile has been so heavily focussed on B2C marketing that the guidelines, best practices and case studies that typically help ease you into a new channel are lacking or not getting enough exposure.
To help, the author of the MarketingProfs piece also posted a presentation outlining a 10 step starter guide for B2B mobile marketing. I find myself agreeing with the bulk of the points raised but want to offer 3 specific recommendations not covered in either piece that can help you in your B2B mobile planning.
1. Dig Into Google Analytics
If your website is currently using Google Analytics (or other analytics programs) it will be able to tell you the amount of traffic your site is receiving from mobile phones. You should also be able to see visits broken down by operating system allowing you to begin developing a profile of your mobile customer. To be blunt, every one of those visits to your site was a lost customer opportunity. Even devices like the iPhone which have a better browsing experience still have limits (pinch and zoom, no flash) and a mobile visitor likely has different interests from a wired visitor. Failing to understand who those customers are, what they’re looking for and then serving it up seamlessly means disappointment.
2. Nurture Customers Towards Mobile
Talk to your customers. One on one interviews or more mass polls can help you gather genuine insights into how they use their mobile and what mobile content would be most valuable to them. Once you have a mobile program plan and are pushing towards a launch, seed mobile-friendly touch points prior to any new property or campaign launch. For example, make sure your outbound emails are mobile optimized (you should be doing this anyway). Begin to generate permissions to communicate via mobile through web form or email data capture. Simple and relatively cost-effective steps like this will help establish a mobile-primed audience.
3. Build In Circular Thinking
What I mean by ‘circular thinking’ is identifying tactical pathways that lead you from acquisition to conversation. You want to be able to create a frictionless loop from acquisition to engagement with your content or value proposition to permission to continue the dialogue to a firm opportunity to extend or expand the relationship. What makes this circular is the ability to repeat the ‘engagement-permission-expansion’ process again and again as you learn more about your customer and can offer more targeted communication and increase the value of your mobile marketing. The devil is in the details with this approach but the payoff will be worth the effort and will give you much clearer visibility into your campaign ROI.
The final recommendation I’ll make isn’t related to B2B mobile marketing as much as it’s a general comment about risk. Mobile will continue to be unproven until you test and learn and figure out how to best use the channel. Is the bigger risk a modest budget to launch a mobile program or the lost business opportunities by not being there?