On the flight home from the Shop.org Strategy And Innovation Forum, I could not stop thinking about the keynote presentation by Andy Nulman from Airborne Entertainment and Blogger over at Pow! Right Between The Eyes (in the interest of full disclosure, I worked at Airborne Entertainment for a short period of time and I consider Andy a friend). His keynote presentation was titled, One Hand In Their Pocket - The Constant Mobile Connection To Your Customers, and there's a pretty thorough Blog posting on it at the Shop.org Blog over here: Strategy & Innovation Forum - One Hand In Their Pocket - The Constant Mobile Connection To Your Customers - Andy Nulman, Airborne Entertainment.
Andy did an amazing job of differentiating why mobile has challenged so many Marketers. The biggest issue - from my perspective - is the intimacy and personal links Consumers have with their mobile devices. It's the last safe harbour of media that is free from advertising for them. The price individuals pay for their mobile service also intuitively insinuates that it will be an ad-free experience, so breaking that connection is still considered taboo.
What does it take to be successful in Mobile Marketing? According to Andy, Marketers must follow his N.O.W. acronym:
"Near-by - customers need to be in your radius, close, local.
Only - there has to be a limit [to the offer - only 29 left or the offer is only valid for the next two hours].
Wow - make a compelling offer [50% off everything in the store]."
In the question and answer period, one attendee asked how Retailers can build this database of Consumers in the first place. It's great to know what types of programs work best in mobile, but if you have nobody to send it to...
That's when it hit me (my own little pow! right between the eyes moment): Mobile Marketing is not Mobile Advertising. It's the lifetime value versus the immediate sale.
Building the list is not about running a traditional advertising campaign, scraping the data and using it to send Consumers messages via their mobile devices. For Mobile Marketing to truly work, each and every time you run a program, it has to be treated like it's own little viral marketing campaign (with fingers crossed that it can, indeed, go viral).
To get it right, first create a compelling program following Andy's N.O.W. steps. Next up, ask ten friends (or Brand Evangelists) if they would be willing to take part. Have those ten friends spread the idea to ten "best friends" (only people who would really appreciate the offer) via SMS, email, etc... If you've built it following the rules, got permission from the first ten, it *should* start to spread on it's own.
I know what you're thinking: how is my boss going to feel about building a Marketing campaign around ten people in hopes they can spread it?
Mobile Marketing is so new, there are already too many Brands making big mistakes. This is skunkworks. This is small. But, if it's done right - respecting the Consumer and the relationship they have with their mobile device - the long-term outcome will be that you've managed to build a new and loyal database with huge growth potential as the channel opens up more and more.
In the retail space, getting one hundred more people into a store is a big deal. In the Mobile Marketing space, getting one hundred people on to a Mobile Marketing database is a bigger deal.