2012 is the year that mobile marketing goes mainstream. More than 3 million iPad 3’s were sold over its first weekend. Smartphones are becoming ubiquitous throughout society and the business world. And now, mobile marketing, which has long had a foothold in the consumer realm, will really come to the forefront of most B2B marketers with a sense of urgency that might catch even the most seasoned of pros off-guard.
Below are seven tactics that will help B2B marketing directors and executives make smart choices when embarking on their first mobile marketing campaign or project; whether it's a responsive + mobile website, a mobile web app, or a full-on app that's to be distributed through an app store, or a print campaign that helps bridge the gap between traditional ads, social media and mobile marketing.
1) For your first mobile project, go for easy wins. If you work for a Fortune 500 company and the first mobile project you are proposing is migrating your company's 50,000+ page corporate website over to a mobile optimized platform developed in HTML5, you're probably setting yourself up for failure, not to mention kicking up a hornets' nest of inter-divisional rivalries and corporate politics.
To make your life easier and to soften the ground for future projects, go for smaller mobile projects and initiatives that will help give you some real-world experience and feedback that will allow you to calibrate your broader long-term strategy. Instead of making the entire corporate website with its decade's worth of flash content optimized for mobile, create a mobile version that pares it down to 10 pages of content that will be most relevant to mobile users. There is a natural tendency to reinvent the wheel when marketing teams try to bring their materials to the mobile web. This can cause a lot of headaches in regards to older content formats and development platforms that were optimized for desktop/laptop viewing.
2) Avoid competing initiatives within your organization. This one might go without saying, but the No. 1 threat to your mobile marketing project or campaign would be a pre-existing one currently in development; either in another department or division or taking place at the corporate level. If you find this to be the case, figure out a way to team up and pool resources or re-evaluate the scope and goals of your project to make sure it doesn't overlap with someone else's. For better or worse mobile marketing has the undivided attention of the C-Suite, so it never hurts to have buy-in and support from the very top on your project.
3) No Adobe Flash. For those who specialized in rich media content and flash interactives, many held out for a long while for Adobe to develop a viable mobile version of Flash. That day never came. In November of 2011, Adobe formally abandoned their development and support of a Flash Player plug-in for mobile browsers and backed what had then been a rival methodology — HTML5.
4) Keep it simple. This might be related to #1 but I think it should apply always to all aspects of the mobile experience, from the information architecture, the look and feel, down to the messaging and content. Everything should be clear, concise and to the point when it comes to mobile user experience and content. Complex and non-intuitive design and longwinded messaging will kill your chances of success not to mention the battery-life of your audience's device.
|iPad Sketch Elements from Teehan+Lax|
5) Finger Friendly User Interface: Design for big-man-thumbs. The old paradigm of precise mouse cursor clicks and rollovers is not translating well to the mobile web. Older websites with tiny graphic buttons and links are a trickier for mobile users to navigating, forcing many to pinch and zoom into the webpage in order to touch a link and navigate. At minimum, you should refer to the various mobile interface guidelines provided by all of the main mobile OS platforms. Apple's iOS Human Interface Guidelines recommends a minimum touchable target size of 44 x 44 pixels, as does Google's Android Developers Guide.
One thing to consider is whether you want your users to be touching the buttons and links with their fingertips or pads. The average width of a index finger is roughly 57 pixels wide and the average width for thumbs is 72 pixels. Considering your content design and architecture so that it can accommodate these larger sizes will allow people to efficiently navigate through your content and get to where they want to go. The downside to this is that with mobile devices you are working within a very limited space, allocating space to these larger buttons, menus and navigational items means you have less real-estate to work with for your content.
6) Decide whether you want a mobile optimized website, a mobile web app, or a custom programmed app. All three involve different approaches to how they are created and developed as well as different technologies to program. As a rule of thumb; core aspects of your website should be accessible from mobile devices, brochureware, product demos and branded entertainment would be best suited to web apps and custom apps are usually best reserved for either branded games or in the aspect of B2B companies, some sort of dedicated industry reference or application tool for your customers.
The key is to take an honest look at your customer base, your audience and the people you aspire to reach. Find out what it is that they need that would be in line with your business goals and build a bridge to that. Pitfalls to avoid would be many of the Flash-based bells and whistles we've grown accustomed to with the old interactive kiosks and projectors of yore. Many of the great mobile apps and marketing initiatives owe a great deal to their simplicity and elegance. Strip away all non-essential features and content, and see what mobile platform is right for you.
7) Use QR Codes to help bridge the gap. A couple of months back I posted a primer on QR Codes. The biggest missed opportunity I see in regards to how people implement QR Codes is that many do them as an afterthought. Many use them as giant urls and in the majority of cases the landing page is simply not optimized for mobile, forcing many people to squint and zoom to see what the content is, in many cases the QR Code directs people to a flash site. Marketing FAIL.
Also, be sure that your creative team are on board with utilizing these, in many cases if the team is not fully on board, the QR code will likely be made as unobtrusive as possible on print ads, in many cases too small to register on older smartphones. For some creative inspiration on how to incorporate QR codes into your next campaign, take a look at these examples.
Have additional questions about your brand's mobile marketing strategy? Contact John Luu at (713) 523-5711 or email@example.com for more information.