Online marketing techniques change with the wind and, as a marketer, it is often a full time job keeping up with new trends. But, when Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, told the world at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (February 2010) that "Mobile is pretty much the answer to everything" it was suddenly clear which way to go. He also stated that "Anything that Google creates from here on out will be first on the mobile platform and then worked around for the desktop" which means that mobile marketing needs to be as sophisticated, if not more sophisticated than what we are used to now.
Why is Google, who has 70% of the search traffic globally, so keen on mobile? The answer is at least four fold; there are now at least four times the mobile devices in use than there are computers, people generally keep their phones/devices within three feet of them twenty four hours a day and three hundred and sixty five days a year, just as the use of social media has exploded in the last eighteen months online, so will it explode even greater when mobile, when people are out shopping they are comparing prices and even making substantial purchases from their phones- a man recently paid $75,000 for a Corvette on eBay from his mobile device. Google likes to give its customers what they want and this gives marketers a great opportunity to provide a solution to businesses wanting to reach out to their customers in a whole different way.
Traditionally, the best way for a business to keep in touch with their customers was via email but as users receive more and more junk in their in boxes everyday, it becomes harder for the business to deliver their message. Not with mobile; on average mobile messages are opened and answered within fifteen minutes of being sent- this is an extraordinary opportunity for direct response marketing and, putting it in the hands of small, local businesses could mean the difference between an average year and an extraordinary one. For example, imagine a lunchtime sandwich shop who decides to market to their customer base via their mobile phone.
The sandwich shop could run surveys as to what is the favourite filling, bread or side order thus engaging with their customers; more than this, they can run specials and let their customers know what is on the menu at 11:45am every day and offer a 10% discount with the coupon that has been delivered to the mobile device. This is the pinnacle of direct response marketing thus far and what is even better is that it is trackable. This kind of communication can work with schools ('no school today because of snow'), doctors & dentists sending appointment reminders, mortgage brokers alerting their customers of a rate rise and the emergency services alerting people of floods- the list goes on.
So, if Google says that "Mobile is the answer to everything" then as businesses, we have to exploit this platform for all that it can offer us.