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How important is mobile marketing?

Marketing is no longer just about getting things ‘out there’ – now you have to carefully chose your channel, says business consultant Graham Jones

It’s been a busy time for me in the past week, and so I have used my mobile phone a great deal for catching up on emails. I know there’s a good chance too that you are reading this newsletter on some kind of mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet. There is no doubt that mobiles have become part of our everyday life.

So, it is no surprise that I was asked this week by a consultancy client whether they should focus on mobile marketing for 2016, instead of “old-fashioned” web-based activity. The answer I gave surprised them, however.

Mobile devices are being used for specific things, it seems. New data from Ofcom has looked at the traffic on mobiles, and it shows that our use of smartphones and tablets is rather biased towards particular activities. Even though most people check email on mobile devices a great deal, it actually only accounts for about 10% of our activity. Nowadays, almost all of our mobile usage is to watch video. Just walk down the aisle on a train and look at what people are doing with their mobiles? Almost everyone is watching catch-up TV of some kind. If they are not doing that, they are checking their emails.

Browsing the web is something we don’t do very much on mobile devices. Even though mobiles are now the number-one way we access online material, it is the type of information we are looking at that is rather focused. People are using mobiles mainly for watching video, email, and buying something – often using a dedicated app.

So, if your marketing involves video or email, then targeting mobile users is clearly important. But if you write a blog, or have a website as part of your marketing strategy it appears that mobile devices are not that valuable to you.

In other words, the way that we now use various technologies means that marketers need to target different kinds of content to particular ways of access. For example, if you use video marketing it clearly needs to be aimed at mobile users – considering bandwidth and delivery speed, for instance. If you write a blog as part of your online marketing that can be constructed mainly for desktop computer users. Similarly, if you produce an email newsletter, that’s best focused on mobile users.

Marketing your business is no longer about producing material and getting it ‘out there’. You now need to consider the technology through which people will receive your marketing messages.

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