The maturing mobile market – before you hitch a ride, know your customer

Getting onto the train last week, I noticed a sea of buried heads on mobile devices, commuters immersed in content on their smartphones and tablets. The carriage remained in this state for the rest of the journey and left me contemplating how mobile has become the ‘sticking glue’ that connects consumers to the online and offline worlds.

As consumers become more sophisticated in using mobile devices, a trend is emerging: organisations sit in two divided camps, either ‘mobile first’ or ‘mobile mainstream’.

A recent report by Econsultancy and Kontagent found that mobile mainstream organisations use mobile services but depend more on desktop or storefront sales for profits. Mobile first organisations place mobile at the heart of their business – they count mobile sales as a main revenue stream, and use it as a primary channel to connect and reach customers.

Whether you’re of the view of mobile first or mobile mainstream, marketers do need to recognise how consumers are interacting online. YouTube is one channel that is being taken up by brands to connect with consumers in engaging ways.

One brand that has nailed this brief is Pepsi Max, belonging to the mobile mainstream category, with its ‘prank’ series. They have created video content that’s fun (no pushy brand message here), quick (videos are usually no longer than four minutes), and shareable.

One of the videos to go viral was a prank it pulled by disguising Jeff Gordon (professional stock car racing driver) and getting him to test drive a vehicle at a car yard, where an unsuspecting salesman was taken for a joy ride.

Highlights from the campaign:

  • The video was viewed nearly 35 million times
  • Eight million views from a mobile device
  • Shared on Facebook 1,300 times
  • Watched directly (using embedded links) one and a half million times
  • Received nearly 6,000 re-tweets on Twitter.

Pepsi Max’s target demographic for the campaign were males aged 45 – 54 years based on video views, which aligns with Nascar’s and Jeff Gordon’s fan demographic profile.

While many brands may not be as outlandish as Pepsi, the point remains that marketers are still overwhelmed in knowing how to integrate traditional and modern channels, including mobile. There is a ‘wait and see’ ethos dominant in this market. A study conducted by Experian last year found 60 per cent of marketers are yet to take action and implement a mobile campaign.

In order to adopt this multi-channel approach, marketers and advertisers need to get more familiar in utilising technology that enables consumers to access their website or online store seamlessly between devices, whether they are on the go or on a fixed line connection.

How many times have you researched a new digital camera on your desktop, watched a YouTube tutorial on how to use the camera over your lunchbreak, and then when you went to purchase, continued to compare prices once you’re in-store?

In the same Experian study, less than half of marketers confirmed they use mobile as a way to drive sales online and offline. Clever companies are using mobile marketing as a way to drive customers in-store, where face-to-face conversations – and conversions – can take place.

Another US study by Linkable Networks found that the retail ‘bricks and mortar’ experience and customer service are still vital in the digital age. Although many price compare while in-store, consumers said any saving online that is less than 20% isn’t enough to warrant abandoning their in-store purchase for an online deal. This challenges the popular theory that consumers have a single minded view of finding the best deal – irrespective of whether it is online or offline.

Before testing the waters, understanding how consumers are interacting with brands on mobile, fixed line and offline should be the first port of call when creating a campaign and will be one of the keys to success for marketers this year.

For more information on the Mobile market in Australian download the free report The Digitised Pocket; embracing the mobile age: