5 Reasons Your Brand Needs To Go Mobile

Let’s face it, the mobile device has become an integral part of a person’s life. From the time a person hits their teen years, it’s a pretty safe bet that they have a mobile device of some sort on their person. More than any other medium, the mobile device is in a person’s possession at virtually all times of the day. With the lowered costs of mobile data plans and with more of these mobile devices connecting to the internet, people are able to access information on-demand whenever they want. More than ever, it is important to have a strong mobile brand presence for your business and product. I present to you five reasons why you need to consider a mobile brand for your product.

1. Statistics, not hype, are showing that consumers are using the mobile internet more than ever before.

Statistics are showing a clear increase in usage of the internet, particularly over the last two years. What changed to turn the mobile internet into a reality, I would argue that it was Apple’s release of the iPhone. Whatever has caused it, the following statistics show an impressive trend over the last 2-3 years:

  • Overall mobile internet usage has doubled from 2006-2008
  • 21 million users in the US used some type of mobile search in 2008, a 68% year-over-year increase
  • 1/2 of all new connections to the internet are coming from a mobile device
  • There are 54.5 million mobile internet users in the US – that represents over 25% of all online users

Even if the statistics are off by 10-20%, these are still impressive numbers and demonstrate a trend that is showing no signs of letting up. In fact, estimates are that over half the devices browsing the web will be mobile by 2012.

2. An internet website that is not optimized for mobile gives your brand a poor first impression

The first rule of any interaction is first impressions. You only get one chance to make a positive impression with your brand or company. When a mobile user clicks on your website, is your current web presence satisfying what they are looking for? In the vast majority of sites that I review, the answer is a resounding “NO”. It leaves for a frustrating and disappointing experience when I can’t get simple information like a business’ phone number, address, or directions by quickly accessing their site on my mobile device. Is this the first experience you want users to have with your brand?

3. A strong mobile presence is a competitive advantage and differentiator

With the emergence of this new medium, as with the web itself, early adopters will get a jump on their competitors and capture market share. Mobile device usage is not a passing fad. Those companies who stake out a strong mobile presence will have an advantage over their lagging counterparts. As with any consumer, if they can’t find what they want from you, they will go somewhere else, most likely a competitor’s site. The result – lost business!

4. Mobile branding can augment and enhance the effectiveness of traditional media

A well designed mobile campaign can help increase and measure the effectiveness of traditional media. Using text messaging, mobile coupons, and the mobile internet, a business can measure real-time response to newspaper ads, radio ads, television ads, or other traditional media. Here is one example of how a mexican food maker used a mobile campaign with traditional media to improve its sales. The best part, the results were highly measurable thanks to the mobile piece of the campaign!

5. Going mobile allows your brand to be accessed by consumers anytime, anywhere

This one really needs no further clarification. Today’s consumer wants information immediately. What better way to give the consumer that information but through a mobile version of your brand. On-demand, when the consumer wants it. 

 

Are all of these items measurable ROI reasons, not necessarily. However, magazine ads, yellow page ads, newspaper ads, and other traditional media are not measurable either, yet people do them because they work. In fact, a well organized mobile campaign can be easily measured by tying in codes, coupons, and website analytics. 

In this extremely competitive sales environment, your brand and your business need every advantage it can get. There are plenty of ways out there to develop a mobile presence, whether it is through the mobile internet, smartphone applications or SMS text messaging campaigns. You need to choose a campaign that fits your style and brand, and get out there. There are plenty of mobile consumers just waiting to interact with you.

If you have made the leap to mobile marketing your brand, I’d love to hear your experiences – both good and bad. And if you haven’t made the leap to mobile with your brand, I’d also be curious as to what is holding you back. By all means, feel free to comment!

The Mobile World According to Google

A great post was written earlier this week at TechcrunchIT by Google executive Vic Gundotra regarding mobile statistics and trends entitled “Follow the Mobile User”. Vic Gundotra is Google’s VP of Engineering for Mobile and Developer Products.

The article shows a recent snapshot of the growth in mobile internet usage and discusses some of the key issues that have slowed its growth. Some of the reasons for slow growth are self-inflicted by the carriers themselves with oppressive rate plans and handset software control, but some are related to the fundamental usability of internet sites on mobile devices. The post reinforces other statistics we have seen on mobile internet growth and usage as well as many of our beliefs on today’s limitations of the mobile internet.

While the data and the post paint a great picture for our mobile business, it is possible that Google could be presenting an optimistic picture of the mobile landscape with their post. Google has a strong underlying reason to see the mobile internet grow and to create hype about it – it’s another place for them to create ad revenues, and very profitable ad revenues at that. Mobile ad revenues have the potential to be highly profitable because they can be location-aware. In other words, based on where you access the mobile internet, you will be targeted with ads that are specific to businesses in the immediate area. For example, imagine you are looking at the internet on your phone and seeing ads for businesses that located right across the street from you.

I am certain that Google will tap into the location-based capabilities of mobile devices to provide location-aware ads on mobile internet sites, especially as revenue from traditional (desktop) internet advertising tops out. Google will look to find additional sources of ad revenue to fund growth. For the local businesses, mobile advertising will be an extremely valuable medium and will be a lot more relevant to small businesses than advertising on the traditional internet where you have no idea where the customer is located. I see location-based advertising as one of the primary reasons why Google entered the handset operating system market with its Android operating system. I would not be at all surprised if the Android operating system does not already have, or will have, the capability to locate your mobile device to serve up targeted, local advertisements.

Regardless of Google’s intentions, statistics and information from many other sources are pointing to similar growth rates in mobile data plan subscriptions, smartphone sales, and mobile internet usage. I have to admit, I am a bit curious as to how businesses of all sizes will embrace the mobile internet. Will they treat it as an extension of their current website? Will they treat it as a separate medium? It will definitely be interesting, and fun, to see how the mobile internet evolves.