Mobile Marketing Channel Hurdles

Mobile Moxie on the Road, Part 5
Presented in Sydney, Australia; April 2011

While mobile marketing is definitely awesome, it isn’t always easy. Here we will discuss the most common hurdles in mobile marketing, and how to overcome them. For additional information on this topic, take a look at the Mobile Marketing Channel Hurdles slide show, presented in Sydney in April, 2011.

When embarking into the realm of mobile marketing you must make sure to be flexible. Make sure you plan from the beginning to measure and test your results. Don’t start a campaign only to realize later that you have no idea if it was money well spent. Always pay attention to trends in technology and mobile platforms to suit your campaign accordingly. Think out of the box! This is an exciting and diverse marketplace, so don’t be afraid to do your own thing.

You may be asking, “What makes mobile marketing so hard?” There are several variables that contribute to the complexity and difficulty of mobile marketing. These variables make it hard to predict how the campaign/app/website/etc. will work. Some of the variables that may be at play include: infrastructure, web rendering, screen sizes, browsers, changing screen orientation, input mechanisms, operating systems, load speed, data charges, regional expectations, user expectations, and the ability to track success.

Here are some of the biggest hurdles you may encounter in your mobile marketing campaigns. Make sure to research these aspects and your target market before launching a campaign:

• Determine the infrastructure where you are targeting your campaign. Different geographic locations have different infrastructure and norms. For example:

ο The usage of pre-pay phones versus post-pay phones
ο Phone ownership versus subsidized leasing op mobile phones
ο Single SIM versus multi-SIM card phones
ο Habits of data consumption, roaming and SMS charges
ο 3G or W-CDMA (Japan) networks versus GSM/Edge networks

• There are many different operating systems, which makes doing thorough and complete testing extremely difficult, if not impossible. Try researching the most common operating systems for your demographic, and test only the most prevalent. You can do greater testing and analysis as you determine a need for it. That is, if users of your app or site frequently complain, determine if their complaints are common to a particular operating system, and address it appropriately.

• Make sure you consider the different screen sizes where your web page, app, or campaign will be rendered. There are many different screen and rendering sizes, so research your demographic to hone in on what type of phone they will be using and the sizes that will work best on those phones.

• Consider the possibility of changing orientations. Some phones will display in portrait or landscape mode, depending on how the user holds the phone. Test that your page functions and looks good in both modes.

• Think of the different input mechanisms for various mobile phones. Input mechanisms are the way the user interacts with a web page, application or primary phone functionality. Input mechanisms include: number selection, scroll wheels, thumb scrolling, roller-mouses, use of a stylus and full touch screens. Try your app or web page with various input mechanisms to test usability.

• Not only are there many different operating systems, there are also many different web browsers to contend with. On top of that, different phones load data at varying speeds. Make sure your app isn’t too code heavy and test it on several browsers and phones at different signal strengths.

• Bear in mind that there is always an opportunity for bad connections and wimpy signals. While mobile phones go everywhere with their users, they may not always have perfect access to your applications.

• Don’t forget that data charges are different in different markets and for different populations. Consider whether your target demographic will have unlimited data, and let that help drive your mobile marketing choices.

• User expectations vary from region to region. Ensure that you know what your audience will be comfortable with. Here are some handy hints on expectations of mobile users around the globe:

ο In Japan, users view mobile phones as separate and different from home computers. It is rude to talk on the phone in public, so they prefer text.
ο In the USA, many people are charged for incoming text messages.
ο In Brazil, India, Russia and China ‘feature phones’ are still prominent. These are not smart phones, as they have limited access to the web and may include specific features or apps, like cameras or games.
ο In developing countries mobile phones are often a user’s only access to computer functionality, the phone, the Internet, videos and TV.
ο In developed countries mobile phones are supplemental access to computer features, the phone, the Internet, videos and TV.

Now that you have learned the many hurdles of mobile marketing you should have realistic expectations for entering this burgeoning field. Don’t be daunted! Mobile marketing can be an exciting, engaging, and effective part of your marketing strategy.