When I was in school, we were taught to begin any serious analysis, debate, or discussion by first defining terms. Here’s the official definition of mobile marketing, taken from the MMA’s (Mobile Marketing Association) website: Mobile Marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.
Here’s my definition: Mobile Marketing is all about Convenience, Simplicity, and Proximity.
Let me break down these three words by first providing the dictionary definition followed by my take on how each relates to mobile marketing.
Convenience - The state of being able to proceed with something with little effort or difficulty.
We like mobile devices because they make our lives more convenient. Anyone who disputes this (and who is old enough to recall) should think about what life was like 20 or 25 years ago. We got on just fine, mainly because we didn’t know any better. If I had a time machine and could transport you back to a typical day in 1987, I wonder how many times you’d search your pockets for a mobile device that just isn’t there.
Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, or (gasp) feature phone, mobile devices allow humans to access information, entertain themselves, and communicate with each other more efficiently and effectively than ever before. In this way, mobile is not merely convenient- mobile is empowering. Moreover, because all mobile users are on some level consumers, it could be said that mobile empowers the consumer.
Simplicity - The quality or condition of being easy to understand or do.
Convenience implies simplicity. Thanks to the daily increase in mobile optimized websites and mobile apps, the path to discovery on mobile is continuously simplified. Mobile consumers are able to digest information and entertainment with ease; they can navigate their way through numerous complex actions with a few taps of their fingers. This simplicity creates a virtuous cycle, as the time saved allows mobile users to complete ever-more actions with their device.
Proximity - Nearness in Space, Time, or Relationship.
For mobile users, simplicity often implies proximity, which in turn gives rise to the idea of contextual relevance. Mobile device in hand, I want what I want when I want it, period. Whether I am looking for a place to eat, a hot (and affordable) new shirt, or a timely piece of advice, whoever provides the most simple and proximate solution will likely win my business (and possibly my allegiance).
Proximity does not always mean geo-spatial; my solution may come from across the globe. To be proximate, though, my solution must be where I am looking when I need or want it, or be provided by a brand or person that I value in some way.
How Convenience, Simplicity, and Proximity Relate to Mobile Marketing
If you are a small business owner or marketer considering a foray into mobile marketing, think about the three factors that drive the mobile user experience, and try to integrate convenience, simplicity, and proximity into each mobile initiative as seamlessly as possible. Remember that today’s empowered mobile users are growing in sophistication each day, so keep a tight focus on your core message and deliver it with creativity and honesty. Keep the path to the sale as short and easy as possible, and make interacting with your brand on mobile convenient and proximate (relevant).
Finally, when crafting your next mobile initiative, remember the semi-conscious thought going through the mind of the increasingly demanding and impatient mobile consumer: “I want what I want when I want it.”