Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Transforming Mobile Browsers to Buyers is the Key to Mobile Success


By Susan Butler

Facebook and Twitter altered the way brands and retailers interact with the consumer. Now mobile is the new frontier. According to a Google study conducted in the spring of 2013, “90% of respondents use their phone for pre-shopping activities.”  The million-dollar question: How can companies activate these mobile browsers to buyers? As a graduate student in the Integrated Marketing Communications program at Northwestern University - Medill, I’ve specialized in digital marketing strategy, and have identified two articles that all digital strategists trying to conquer mobile should read.  

Having a deep understanding of the consumers’ motives, tensions and shopping journey is imperative for any successful marketing strategy, especially a strategy in the mobile environment. Dan Ochwat, former editor of Shopper Marketing magazine identifies who the mobile shopper is in a two part series on Strategies for Reaching Mobile Shoppers from the Path to Purchase Institute. The first installment underlines mobile shopping barriers, mobile user demographics, as well as how to develop a solid content strategy.

Image courtesy of thorntech.com

B. Bonin Bough V.P. of Global Media and Consumer Engagement at Mondel─ôz International emphasizes the boundless opportunities mobile technology presents to marketers, but also stresses the major challenges and failures in a Harvard Business Review blog.  He identifies the barriers of mobile marketing implementation eloquently; “For most organizations, successfully engaging consumers via mobile – or even giving the effort a serious try – is still a mirage.”  Bough shares four unique ideas on how companies can embrace and build their own unique mobile strategy. The major theme is integrating mobile strategy into traditional marketing tactics and leveraging those mobile touch points at key moments in the consumers path-to-purchase.

From my research and analysis of these two insightful articles, here are three action items you should consider implementing when developing a framework for mobile marketing:

Target the appropriate mobile consumer
Consider these two questions: Who are your core customers? Of those customers, who engage on their mobile during the pre-shopping phase? Leverage those current mobile pre-shopper customer base, and high-frequent mobile users (i.e. digital natives, such as Milennials and GenY). Chances are you have some data on their mobile shopping behavior, or you can easily access piles of data on ComScore or Nielson. Shape your strategy to target the consumers who are most likely to use their smartphone as part of their path-to-purchase.

Integrate the shopping journey (on and off-line) 
Integrate the in-store and online experience with a mobile app to improve the shopping experience.  Consumers are using their phones for grocery lists, to-do lists, entertainment, deal searching, and sharing. Figure out how your brand can play into your target consumer’s activities. Whether it is engaging during the pre-shop, in-store or post-shop activity (or all 3), figure out how your mobile strategy can integrate into the off-line shopping journey.

Simplify the mobile shopping experience
Don’t skim on the mobile user experience design budget or talent. In order to capitalize on a shopper’s impulse to buy a product quickly, the mobile interface must be extremely intuitive.  A thoughtful UX design is integral to the success of a mobile strategy. Time is of essence - make the mobile shopping experience the fastest and most effortless place for a consumer to shop. You will see first time mobile buyers become repeat buyers.

Just to add fuel to the fire: In 2012, mobile commerce sales increased by 81%. Your mobile buyer is already shopping online and regularly utilizes their smartphone to search for products. Consumer insights and creativity must play a large role in shaping the mobile shopping experience. Recognize the changing shopping landscape and adapt, or become obsolete. 


Susan Butler is pursuing a M.S. in Integrated MarketingCommunications (IMC) at Northwestern University, Medill. Previous to Medill, she has five years of experience supporting marketing communications and digital marketing strategy. At IMC she has specialized in digital marketing, brand strategy, and public relations. Expected graduation is December 2013 and she hopes to be a thought leader and influencer in digital strategy for a global brand.

















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