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Mobile-First Marketing: What You Need to Know

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Mobile-First Marketing: What You Need to Know

Learn everything about mobile-first marketing, its impact on operations and why it should be a priority.

Effective mobile App Marketing

There is no limit to the ways consumers utilize their smartphones today. From streaming movies, to one-click shopping and connecting with friends and family on social media, the vast capabilities of mobile devices have transformed daily life. For better or worse, mobile devices have revolutionized modern society by impacting the lifestyles of businesses and consumers alike.

Although Consumers are deep into the mobile-adoption curve, many marketers are still playing catch-up. The term, “mobile first,” has generated a ton of buzz within the marketing community in recent years, becoming so overused that it has given “fake news” some stiff competition.

Although some interpret the term to mean mobile apps and website user interfaces (UI) should be made responsive to mobile format, mobile-first marketing, at its core, means that as a company strategizes its website or other means of digital communications, it should be thinking critically about the mobile experience and how customers will interact with it from their many devices.   

As marketers continuously evaluate and update their digital communications, mobile-first should be a top consideration. Keep reading to learn more about mobile-first marketing, its impact on operations and why it should be a priority.

Why
is mobile-first so important?

Within the past few years, the population has encountered a significant generational shift, in which millennials, ages 22-37, have taken over Baby Boomers, ages 54-72, as the largest demographic in the United States. They are now the foundation of the workforce and consumers, making them the most economically valuable generation nationwide.

Given that the millennial generation is so distinctly different from its predecessors (Gen X and Baby Boomers), marketers will need to continue to make important adjustments to tailor to their unique needs.

According to Gallup polls, more than half of millennials “cannot imagine living without” their phones; there is even a sliver of the population willing to go to prison for a month to keep from losing their devices for a year.

The majority of millennials have been digitally wired since childhood, so they have become greatly dependent upon their devices to service a variety of needs. Ride-sharing apps, mobile banking, and social media platforms are just a few of the mobile advancements made in a millennial’s lifetime that they have grown accustomed to using every day.

The relationship millennials have with their mobile devices has drastically altered their buying habits, the way they gather information and their methodology in making a purchase. Because mobile devices grant millennials instantaneous gratification to their queries, the same is expected when interacting with brands online.

As tech leader Mark Hurd states, today’s consumers “make buying decisions based on the ability to access the availability of services or products on a nanosecond sort of basis.” From mobile strategy design to execution, it is necessary that brands consider a millennial’s way of thinking. Brands with websites that are effortless to access and navigate using mobile devices are likely to be rewarded with the millennial customer base.

How consumers use mobile devices

Before constructing a mobile-first strategy, it is important to note how consumers utilize their mobile devices. Consumers today average more than 100 minutes of active mobile screen time per day, but how are they splitting their time and where are they directing their attention?

Just ten years ago, most consumers owned just a few devices, and used each for specific and differentiated purposes. Mobile phones were used to make calls and listen to music, and PC computers were used for working. Today, adult consumers own an average of five devices, which now include smartphones, tablets and wearables — none of which even existed ten years ago.

What’s the common thread between these modern devices? All can be used on-the-go for instantaneous information, entertainment and commerce. Consumers spend more time than ever on mobile devices, whether it be for business or personal use. In fact, by the end of 2016, most of the world’s total internet traffic was generated from smartphones rather than computers.

These devices are also changing the way consumers want their information presented. Content sought after by mobile device users greatly varies from that for the desktop. Consumers frequently using devices like smartphones and tablets seek short-form, easy-to-digest content that is simple to consume when they only have a short moment to surf the web.

For this reason, social media apps like Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat have become some of the most widely used platforms on mobile devices. They quickly satisfy consumers’ need for online entertainment, even if they have just a few short minutes in between meetings, commuting from place to place or waiting in line to grab a coffee.

From a sales perspective, mobile has become an integral component of the sales funnel, particularly in the research phase. More than half of consumers in this study stated they had researched products they wanted to buy via mobile device. In turn, fewer than half used their mobile device to make a purchase.

Today’s consumers, especially millennials, use their mobile devices throughout the customer journey to research product information and to check or compare prices. Providing a seamless mobile experience is no longer a luxury for brands; it’s a priority. Consumers expect this from every brand they choose to do business with, and if a brand doesn’t deliver, they will simply find one who can.

Mobile sites that don’t load fast enough or have a navigation that is too complex will pay the price, sacrificing sales to their loss of focus on the customer experience.

Factors to consider in a mobile-first strategy

It is evident that mobile-first marketing is important in designing a customer-centric experience, but for those who are newcomers to mobile marketing or those who are looking to revamp a current strategy, mobile-first marketing is much easier said than done.

Some of today’s largest and most well-known brands can boast about their consumer metrics and ability to understand the needs of their target demographic, but when it comes to servicing their customers through a mobile platform, they flop.

When it comes to skills required for marketing, understanding how to effectively market to mobile-based customers is key. Starting from a consumer perspective and building strategy from there is an airtight solution for developing a mobile-first strategy that succeeds. The content that customers are shown is what will develop their brand awareness, and ideally pull them into the sales funnel.

Here are some of the critical factors to consider in a mobile-first strategy:

Optimize sites for mobile

The first step in creating a best-in-class mobile marketing strategy for a brand is making sure that any content or information marketed to a target audience can be seen accurately on a mobile device. This includes creating a unique design for mobile devices that can scale to fit the smaller screen size.

A site that doesn’t convert to mobile forces consumers to zoom in and out of a product image or struggle to locate a navigation bar, which can be extremely frustrating and will likely lead to the consumer exiting a site to find a simpler alternative.

A key to a mobile-first website is using a responsive web design. Responsive web designs that use HTML frameworks allow designers to organize content in grids, so that they can choose how large each grid section displays on differently sized devices or even hide some sections for certain devices. This ensures content translates effectively from device to device, no matter its size.

Design unique content for mobile users

Just because a digital strategy works for desktop users, it doesn’t mean it will hold true for mobile users. Creating a strategy that is unique to the capabilities of mobile devices is more engaging for consumers and also puts a creative spin on traditional marketing tactics.

For example, during the release of new Taurus and Escape vehicle models, Ford created a future-forward mobile marketing strategy that connected mobile viewing and texting capabilities. If individuals were curious about either vehicle and wanted more information, they simply needed to send a one-word text message.

Once the consumer sent the text, they’d be provided with the relevant information on the vehicle and asked for their name and zip code. This information was then sent to their closest dealership, from where a sales professional reached out. Not only did Ford’s strategy utilize mobile to their benefit, but it also streamlined the sales process for consumers.

Integrate with social media

Because the majority of mobile users’ time online is spent on social media apps, it’s crucial that brands have a presence on these platforms. Not only does this mean creating and maintaining profiles for a business, it also means keeping up with current social media trends, which are constantly evolving.

Marketers can try dabbling in influencer marketing, livestream video or enabling ecommerce features on their profiles. Each avenue can highlight the benefits of a brand and should motivate consumers to move to the next phase of the sales funnel.

The mobile-first priority

To make it in the digital market, a brand must have a mobile-first marketing strategy. With millennials taking ownership over the market and relying on their mobile devices more than ever,  now is the time to make sure marketing attempts are reaching the mobile devices of the target audience.

By staying on top of the latest mobile marketing strategy innovations, brands can begin to generate new leads, increase conversion rates and support thriving businesses.

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