Marketers who want to stay competitive should retune their mobile marketing strategies, according to a study by Forrester Research. The report, titled The State of Mobile Marketer Tactics 2016, has revealed that marketers are misusing mobile marketing techniques and should focus on optimizing customers' mobile experiences instead.
"Marketers can leverage many different tactics from native apps to responsive web design (RWD), augmented reality, or beacons to engage consumers," the report's authors wrote. The problem, however, is that marketers often lack an understanding of which tactics to use and when to use them, the report reveals.
For instance, marketers embrace RWD, which allows content to be displayed beautifully across devices and screen sizes, but they don't consider the type of content that's actually being displayed. The study found that customers don't necessarily want to see the same content on their computers as they do on their mobile phones, yet 47 percent of the marketers surveyed said that their mobile services are essentially "scaled-down versions" of their desktop services.
Similarly, marketers are not taking optimum advantage of mobile email usage. The majority of U.S. smartphone owners check emails on their phones every day, but less than half — 46 percent — of the marketers surveyed are personalizing them based on customers' locations and preferences, the report revealed. [See Related Story: Best Email Marketing Software for Small Businesses]
Another problem area is underinvestment in mobile search. More than half of Google search requests are made using mobile devices, yet only 37 percent of marketers are using paid searches on mobile devices and only 34 percent are using mobile search optimization, the study found.
As a result, there is a disconnect between how much marketers invest in mobile marketing and expected customer behaviors. To help marketers improve their mobile marketing, the authors of the report offered the following recommendations:
1. Prioritize customers' needs and expectations
Like any other aspect of running a business, customer satisfaction always comes first when it comes to mobile marketing.
"Consumers now expect to receive visible value in their mobile moments wherever they are and feel increasingly frustrated when a brand does not deliver what they are looking for in context," the study revealed.
This means that marketers shouldn't look at mobile devices as just another digital marketing channel, but as an opportunity to transform users' experience on- and offline.
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2. Combine context with personalized targeting
Mobile marketing optimization isn't just about making content look good on mobile devices. It's also about delivering the right content to the right customers.
"Go beyond mobile formats and combine context with personalized targeting," the authors recommended. "Optimizing content to render on a mobile screen is not enough. Instead, shift your approach to actually optimize for mobile by combining contextually relevant content, personalized targeting, and integrated mobile ad creative formats."
3. Embrace "mobile moments"
There are a bevy of device-specific tools that marketers can take advantage of — particularly native features that work along with how customers are accustomed to using their mobile phones. These include SMS, interactive push notifications, in-app messaging and other forms of engagement.
For instance, marketers can use geolocation and other data that's collected by apps to serve customers during mobile moments, such as when customers are nearby or when they perform a specific activity on their phones.
"On Android you can now detect when a consumer is unlocking his phone and send a push notification right after this to maximize app engagement and the likelihood of interactions," the report explained.
4. Avoid jumping on the bandwagon as early adopters
One of the larger issues is that marketers are quick to employ new, trendy strategies at the expense of forgoing proven tactics. These include everything from QR codes and Wi-Fi integrations to beacons and even virtual reality. The authors advise marketers to keep it simple, unless the right foundations are already in place to support new or more advanced technologies.
"Only mature mobile marketers [who have] already fixed the basics and [are] willing to differentiate should leverage these tactics to engage with the most mobile-savvy consumers," the authors wrote. "For example, Starbucks and Domino's Pizza are the poster children for this tactic and tend to integrate every single new mobile technology available. However, they have advanced mobile marketing and CRM strategies and have organized to deliver real-time contextual services."