Mobile Marketing Tips

How to avoid disappointing mobile marketing

Mobile marketing failure is alive and well within many business landscapes.

Some businesses see, know, and understand that mobile marketing is not something that can be ignored, that it is something to be made the most of, a platform that can reap many rewards and, if neglected, contribute to a business’s slow demise. Alternatively, others maintain their belief that mobile marketing is just another area that needn’t necessarily be heeded to; they view it as something that might work for some businesses, you know, those new and flashy startups whose target market is younger and more mobile savvy slash dependent peepz, as something that’s ‘good for them, but not good for us.’

Well, I’ve got some news for you: if you fall into either of these categories, it’s time to accept something—and right now. Mobile marketing is powerful, mobile marketing is necessary, and mobile marketing should be taken seriously. Let’s take a look at some stats.


In the past four years, mobile (phones and tablets) has jumped from 3% to 37% of total e-commerce sales. This is largely due to that mobile phones are now much easier to browse and buy on. More than that, over half of all time that’s spent on retail sites happens on mobile. Hopefully you’re still listening.

Now when you couple this with the fact that 65% of shoppers say a poor online experience has a direct (negative) effect on the brand, and that 40% of people will abandon a page that takes over three seconds to load—what you have is some pretty good evidence to suggest that mobile marketing is, in its many forms and cloaks, extremely important.

This doesn’t mean that having a responsive site design (i.e., a mobile-friendly site) is enough. Far from it. Now, responsive sites are a given. People expect to be able to actually read the content on their phone; they expect that it will be scaled and reorganised for the smaller device, smartphone or tablet.

Mobile marketing efforts need to be well thought out, tailored to your mobile target audience, and specific to mobile. Assuming that your mobile site is up to scratch, every mobile effort layered on top of this base must have a destination in mind—whether that be spreading awareness, generating sales, or giving something to your customer to increase their loyalty to you. And I can’t emphasise this enough, it needs to be structured as if it were imagined in some mobile-only vacuum, where screen sizes are small and, more pressingly—mobile! Here’s a fitting example of mobile marketing gone awry.

Getting It... Wrong

You know that expression, Shoot for the moon because even if you miss you’ll land somewhere among the stars? Well, alas, for Ford, they aimed for the moon and landed inside a humpback whale’s blowhole.

What they did is basically this. They ran a television ad that asked people to send a text message to opt-in to learn more about their SUV and “promotions in your area”. Turns out that by opting in, all people were effectively doing was giving Ford permission to drill them into acquiescence (that is, spam you until you submit yourself to one of their sales staff). This was the message:

“Ford: Thanks for your interest in Ford! Your local area dealers still have great offers. Reply w/ur full name 2 B contact. Msg+data rate apply. Stop=Optout”—was the first message received by the curious marketer. This exact same message was then subsequently sent for two straight weeks.

Setting aside that this initial message was doomed to begin with—there was no call to action, it didn’t offer any tangible benefit, it was vague, childish sounding and capital A Annoying—it’s a mobile marketing method that is stagnant. Meaning, it doesn’t utilise the mobile platform itself, nor does it entice you to connect with any other of Ford’s online platforms. It doesn’t encourage action; it doesn’t provoke a feeling. It’s lifeless.

They could have sent a message with a link to a video demonstrating how great their new SUV is; they could have offered, within the message itself, a $3,000 cash-back return (or something to that effect), redeemable in local stores for a limited time only; they could have held some sort of contest to win a free car. They could have and should have done something to make opting-in worth the thirty seconds it took, and all those subsequent annoyances worth the while.

Avoiding Mobile Marketing Failure

See, even companies with huge budgets and all sorts of marketing wherewithal can make silly mistakes. With that said then, here are a few things to keep in mind when planning your next mobile marketing endeavor.

The first is to ensure your site is responsive (mobile friendly)! How often do we see organisations developed mesmerising mobile marketing campaigns only to be let down by their non-responsive mobile website. In an age where mobile is king, there's no excuse to not have a mobile responsive website.

The second point is to ensure you tailor your efforts. Marketing to people on the go is different to marketing to them while they’re at home. (Someone looking for a pizza shop from home probably wants delivery; someone looking for a pizza shop on his phone is probably after the nearest store.)

Thirdly, timing is key! This is something we ourselves can’t stress enough to our customers. Timing on the mobile platform is exponentially more important than it is on a desktop. A badly timed message can lose a customer.

Finally, get creative. Push notifications are great, but they’re not the be-all and end-all. Try SMS for example. Develop mobile-specific coupons, sales material; create content geared for mobile…

Maybe, just maybe, make mobile the focus of mobile marketing? What a thought.