Here's a bold suggestion for the mobile marketing industry: let's re-define the primary tool of our trade to better reflect its true utility and value to the marketing mission.

I'm talking about the smartphone.

Sure, we occasionally hold our smartphone to our ear and talk into it, like the “phones” of old. But today's devices are so much more than “phones.” And today's marketers should focus more on the “smart” capabilities of smartphones to truly optimize their marketing plans in the mobile environment.

Why? By re-framing our thinking about the device that invented our profession, mobile marketers can focus on what's really important: creating smart, relevant, utilitarian customer experiences and services across all marketing channels via the SMARTphone – the No. 1 point of entry into the marketing realm and the device that rarely leaves the consumer's side.

A 2016 Deloitte survey, in fact, found that 40% of consumers check their phones within 5 minutes of waking up, and 30% check again before going to sleep. The average consumers checks his/her smartphone 47 times a day, a number that nearly doubles for 18-24-year-olds, who check 82 times a day.

For marketers, the smartphone is also gateway that leads to everything else in the marketing tool box – the app, the website, email, chat capabilities, customer service, text messages and more.

Challenge: Find the best turkey recipe
Here's an example to reinforce the thinking: Let's say you're roasting a turkey for the first time, and you need a recipe.

  • You can use the phone function of your smartphone to call your Mom, and get her helpful advice and her single recipe in return.
  • You can turn loose the “smart” functionality of your smartphone to search online, send out a Tweet or post a question on Facebook, and in about the same amount of time it took you to chat with Mom, you can receive dozens of responses, suggestions and ideas from friends, strangers and online experts.

Which approach will help you cook the best turkey? Obviously, it's the approach that takes full advantage of the smartphone's role as an always-there, multi-connected mini-computer, capable of linking you to the best resources and most abundant information needed at a particular moment in time.

Mobile marketing should work like that, too – leverage the most appropriate channel at a particular moment in time to achieve the best results for the customer.   

Mobile: Today's primary marketing channel
By its very existence, the smartphone shifts all marketing to the mobile channel. Customer engagement must start with the smartphone, because it is the device consumers turn to first to search, compare, review, decide and engage. If customers prefer to interact immediately from the smartphone, such as via an app or text, the mobile channel has served its purpose by satisfying a customer.

But if the customer is busy, distracted or otherwise engaged, the mobile channel then becomes the connector gateway, funneling customers to other, more appropriate opportunities for follow-up later via email, a link to the website, an app function or an actual phone call to customer service.

This isn't rocket science, by any means, but sometimes it helps to stand back and think with fresh eyes what we do as mobile marketers – and how we do it – to make sure we achieve the best results for our customers and use all of the tools are our disposal optimally.

Sure, it's a phone, but the smartphone is also the smartest tool in the marketing tool box, and it's most readily available connector between you, your customer and the rest of the marketing plan. Use it wisely, and find more advice in “The Omni-Channel is dead. Or is it?”, our on-demand webinar.

P.S. And don't forget to call your mother. She still likes hearing your voice and sharing her favorite recipes.