Mobile Advertising, The Lynchpin Of Multi-Channel Campaigns

iPad 2 is just the latest wave of digital devices to punctuate the mobile age. By 2012, shipments of smartphones will overtake those of PCs for the first time, according to Mary Meeker and Forrester calls out 2011 as the year of the tablet. There’s been no other time in history with a faster adoption of a new technology than we are now witnessing with the mobile Internet. Smartphone and tablet uptake is dramatically eclipsing Internet adoption, mobile phone use, cable TV adoption, and every other technology ever introduced.

How can advertisers embrace the mobile Internet for maximum brand reach and sales? This is an unprecedented opportunity to reach individual consumers on their connected personal mobile devices at anytime and anywhere. No wonder mobile advertising is the fastest-growing advertising medium, with U.S. spending increasing  79% this year to  $743M, and promising to  top $1B in 2011, according to IDC Research.

The Great Unifier

Consumers spend more time with their mobile devices than any other technology.  The smartphone is the ‘great unifier’, delivering connectivity to consumers when they are away from their PCs, TVs, tablets, and other screens. For advertisers, the mobile platform serves as a continuous conduit between disparate marketing platforms, enabling brands to deliver their messages to consumers even when they are not sitting in front of a PC, watching TV, or driving past a billboard.

To engage consumers via the personal mobile channel, advertisers have experimented with dozens of mobile advertising formats – from display and paid search, to rich media, location-based services and local search, video, and in-app advertising. As the mobile advertising industry increasingly becomes more sophisticated, brands have found effective, non-intrusive ways to connect with consumers via targeted, personalised formats that deliver high conversion rates.

Mobile ‘Lynchpin’ Marketing

However, the future of mobile advertising isn’t just about finding the right ad format to engage consumers on the go, but rather delivering the right message to the right person as they jump from one screen to their mobile device and back again. Advertisers are starting to leverage the personal mobile device as the lynchpin in their aim to attain brand ubiquity – crafting innovative mobile campaigns that extend unique messages that are distributed across multiple screens. Always  active, people are constantly starting an action (viewing a video, reading an article, playing a game, etc.) on one device, then completing it on another. A great mobile marketing campaign ‘connects the dots’ between multi-channel campaigns – delivering a central message on the mobile device that allows consumers to interact with a brand, get more information and transact in one unified place.

When brands adopt a mobile lynchpin marketing strategy, their brand messages follow consumers as they jump from one screen to another – because that central message is always in hand. Most marketers today are mindful they need to tailor messages and offers to the medium and desired action. For example on a tablet, a user is likely consuming content or doing research; on TV, a consumer is in a passive state; while on a PC, users are often working and multi-tasking. Each of these digital platforms requires a different approach and message. However, while doing all of these things most consumers are also connected to their smartphone. So, by embracing a mobile lynchpin marketing strategy, your mobile ads should unify all of your other campaigns – offering consumers a chance to learn more about your products, transact, or interact with your brand directly from their phone.

Three Tips

Creating a mobile lynchpin marketing strategy takes planning and a focused creative vision. Here are three tips to get you started.

Build a brand identity. Make sure your campaign message is primarily the same across all digital platforms, but tailor the ad experience for each context. Mobile app ads should be transactional; TV ads are about brand-building; SMS ads are best for promotional/discount offers; and online banners are best for driving traffic to a Web site.

The ultimate goal is message ubiquity across all screens and platforms, but make sure that the ad format is different for each platform.  For instance if I was planning a program for Toyota, broadcast spots would be focused on building brand equity and drive home the safety message. Then, once you’ve nailed down unified messaging and tailored ads to specific platforms, you can begin thinking about how to tie all of these offers together via the mobile device.

In the Toyota example, perhaps the iPad offerings would be an app that provided interactive guides to on product features, gas efficiency, safety, etc and the iPhone campaign will be far more offer oriented. In a mobile lynchpin strategy, your mobile campaigns should “look and feel” like all of your campaigns across different screens, but offer a unified experience that ties everything together, such as opt-in alerts about hourly or daily deals, and the ability to “buy now” when these deals appear.

Make mobile ads actionable. When thinking about how to leverage the mobile device to tie all your campaign offers together, remember that giving consumers the ability to “take action” on a offer is a great way to put the mobile device at the centre of your multi-channel marketing strategy. You can use mobile marketing methods such as click-to-call, touch-to-engage, click-to-text, etc. While consumers may hear about your brand or offer on another channel – Web, TV, billboard, email, etc – their mobile phone is the central device that allows them to “take the next step” to purchase, sign up, or otherwise convert.

Back to Toyota, perhaps they would serve up a discount on a current lease plan from a dealer 10 miles from my location.  Or a click to confirm feature that sets up a an appointment with a dealer who knows I’m ready to make a deal. By making your mobile campaigns transactional and actionable, you allow consumers to start an action on one device (hearing about your offer on TV or seeing it on a billboard), and complete it on another (sign up for your service via text message).

Make mobile ads measurable. There is no sense putting mobile at the centre of your multi-channel marketing program if you don’t measure the effectiveness of this approach. Every marketer needs to determine the right KPIs to measure whether they’re reaching their unique, pre-defined business goals. One primary goal may be to increase online sales, while another may want to increase customer loyalty, or boost in-store visits. Use campaign measurement technologies that clearly show the direct causal link between your mobile campaigns and the desired end-results. And while many marketers will use mobile as the core transactional component of a multi-channel marketing program, others may want to use mobile to stimulate actions on other channels.

When brands approach mobile marketing as the lynchpin of their entire marketing strategy, they leverage the most influential qualities of the mobile device: personal, always-on and action-driven. Smart marketers know the mobile device is the central place to connect with consumers – providing people with offers and content that make their lives easier. With mobile marketing, brands “make an impression” instead of “buying impressions” like they do on the Web, TV and other advertising mediums. Marketers who make mobile their marketing lynchpin can engage consumers in a highly personal way on their mobile devices. Eventually, a mobile lynchpin strategy can lead to an increased lifetime value of individual customers – allowing each person to interact and transact with your brand no matter where they are.

With mobile devices at the centre of consumers’ lives, the time is now to make it the centre of your brand marketing strategy.

Paran Johar is JumpTap’s Chief Marketing Officer. Before joining JumpTap, Mr. Johar was EVP of Digital Marketing for North America and Managing Director of MRM’s Los Angeles office. Mr. Johar’s responsibilities included overseeing all operations of the LA office and all digital marketing in North America including online media, search marketing, and mobile marketing. Prior to MRM, Mr. Johar was GM of the Los Angeles office for Tribal DDB where he was responsible for all online media, SEM, and SEO activities.