What makes mobile unique? The answer isn’t as obvious as you might think. And because we haven’t yet truly come to terms with mobile, we’re only taking the first baby steps when it comes to delivering on its potential. Which considering how utterly mobile has already changed the business landscape, is a scary / exciting prospect. Let’s take a look at where we’re headed.

The True Mobile Revolution

Mobile is sometimes dismissed as nothing more than a smaller screen, or at best ‘a computer you can carry around with you’. I suppose that description is reasonably accurate, but it misses the key points that makes mobile different: namely ubiquity and location.

In the case of the former, we can reasonably assume that wherever a person is, we can talk to them in one way or another. Hell, we can even call them up! And in the case of the latter, it is of course possible to know where they are, and customise the experience accordingly.

So far so good. But there’s more. In today’s omni-channel, always connected world, we also know a lot about the user. And not just their behavior on mobile either. Thanks to them carrying that phone around with them, we know where they’ve been, what they’ve looked at (in any environment), what they buy - a whole range of willingly shared information is out there.

Why Mobile Marketing Needs To Be Targeted

To date, we’ve seen a wide range of mobile campaigns. Some good, some bad. Some commercial, some more about creating brand ‘experiences’. But in almost every case what they haven’t done is truly integrated the inputs we listed above to deliver genuinely unique experiences.

That’s a problem for two reasons. The first is a lack of efficiency, but that’s actually not a huge deal. Let’s be honest, whilst we have to be conscious of cost it wouldn’t break most budgets to send push notifications to huge audiences or in-app messages and campaigns to all and sundry.

The second issue matters more. Precisely because of mobile’s ubiquity, we need to be careful not abuse the permissions we receive from mobile users, because the consequence of poorly targeted marketing isn’t a drop in click-through rate: it is mobile death. Consumers simply don’t tolerate mobile businesses that spam them with irrelevant messages. At best they turn off notifications. At worst your app is deleted.

So it’s wise to remember that mobile users extend to us a great privilege - and that we need to exercise that wisely.

So What’s Coming?

As I hinted above, the next wave of mobile marketing campaigns will integrate all our knowledge of the user and deliver campaigns that leverage both an understanding of location and all the other details we know about the user.

Consider the idea of offering last minute tickets for an entertainment event. To date we’ve seen some smart ways of, for example, finding everyone near Wembley stadium and sending a notification suggesting they buy a discount ticket for a football match via our app. But there’s plenty of people living near Wembley. Many of them will just be relaxing at home. Or perhaps they are arriving at Wembley Arena for a different event?


By adding intelligence to location we can ONLY target those users in the area that we ALSO know are interested in football, perhaps because they have purchased tickets for past events, or based on their browsing or mobile history. And we can exclude anyone who has a ticket for another event tonight (such as whatever is on in the Wembley Arena!). That’s a whole new level of powerful marketing.

Or take the in-store experience. It’s possible to deliver help (or let a user know they can call for help) right there and then to a customer standing in front of a display of televisions. That’s good. But perhaps intervening so early is a mistake. Wouldn’t it be better again, and less irritating, to deliver an offer of help only if the user remains in that spot for a certain length of time - or returns to it at least three times in the space of 20 minutes?

These are just two examples. But both demonstrate how combining location with intelligence is set to take mobile marketing to the next level - and really deliver on the promise of mobile. One's thing for sure: we're only just getting started!