5 Ways to Make Your Mobile Marketing Work Harder


Image via @stephrog on Flickr

With 80% of global Internet users owning a smartphone and 47% owning tablets, we are now well past the tipping point of mobile device usage. In fact, 2014 marked the first time U.S. adults accessed the Internet more through mobile apps than they did through personal computers; over half of their Internet time (on average, 3 hours per day) is now spent using smartphones and tablets.

This presents a tremendous opportunity for brands to connect with consumers, but it is important to take the context of mobile device usage into account to ensure your mobile strategy succeeds. Smartphones in particular are incredibly personal devices—they enjoy space in our pockets and on our night stands, keeping us connected to friends and family via email, social networking, video and voice calls. They also provide high utility, allowing us to accomplish tasks and find information instantly, from any location at any time of day. It is critical to keep these usage habits and expectations in mind when developing your mobile strategy. Here are five ways to make your mobile marketing work harder.

1. Take advantage of mobile’s precise targeting ability. Digital media has given us sophisticated targeting options for years (demographic, behavioral, contextual), but mobile targeting ups the ante with its geographic precision. Serving ads and delivering experiences that are location-aware can really “wow” a consumer, and make things more convenient for them. We have had success using a technique called geo-fencing to serve mobile ads to people in the vicinity of our clients’ retail locations, providing messaging and offers that drive foot traffic. Similarly, we have used location services to dynamically generate mobile ads featuring territory-specific sales reps, complete with a head shot and a convenient click-to-call button.

2. Design experiences with small screens in mind. It is critical to use responsive design in this day and age, to ensure optimal viewing experiences regardless of screen size. While smartphone dimensions are increasing, they are still much smaller than a desktop, and rely on human fingers for touch-screen navigation. Don’t frustrate consumers by using painfully small text, images and buttons in your mobile executions, or cramming an entire desktop experience into the small screen. Also, there are several new ad formats that are optimized for mobile, like Facebook’s carousel ads which let viewers scroll to browse multiple images, and Snapchat’s vertical video ads, which have proven to have higher completion rates than horizontal mobile video ads.

3. Consider how your consumers are using mobile. As with any other channel, understanding your consumer’s mobile usage patterns is an important first step in devising a winning marketing strategy. In general, mobile app usage is still more common than mobile web usage, with the majority of that time going to social networking (Facebook), casual games, or other entertainment—not necessarily the best time to serve a marketing message.

Consider mobile behaviors, expectations, and context to identify opportunities to enhance, rather than interrupt, the experience. When we wanted to drive engagement with a client’s health plan members, we promoted a special offer via mobile but gave consumers the option to receive more information via email, so that they could peruse the details later when they were in the mind-set to read about health insurance. For one of our hospital clients, we learned that finding a doctor and looking up driving directions were the most common mobile use cases, so we made sure to optimize the mobile web experience for those two features.

4. Integrate your mobile efforts into your broader marketing mix. Some of the most effective mobile campaigns are ones that tightly integrate the mobile experience into other channels. People increasingly use mobile devices while watching television, to check email, peruse social media, and shop online. Many brands have tapped into this second-screen viewing phenomenon by including mobile calls-to-action in their television ads (Shazam to download this song, Like us on Facebook, tweet this hashtag now, etc.). We have also found success by synchronizing mobile and outdoor advertising, particularly transit placements in and around subways, buses and trains where you encounter a somewhat captive audience that is more inclined to read your article or watch a video while waiting for their ride.

5. Commit to regular measurement and optimization. There is no one-size-fits-all solution to mobile marketing, or any marketing for that matter. The best way to succeed is to agree on business objectives and success metrics before putting anything into market, and put the proper tools in place to measure performance on a regular basis. There is an array of measurement technologies available to track ad delivery, engagement, response and subsequent web traffic activity. Most major ad servers and site-side analytics packages like Google Analytics can help here, as well as mobile-specific solutions like Localytics. We have found the latter to be especially useful in evaluating mobile app deployments.

It’s an exciting time for mobile marketing, and the best way to master it is to get out there and see what works for your particular product category and consumer base. The opportunities for mobile marketing, mobile app development, and mobile web deployment are seemingly endless, and will become even more varied as wearable devices become mainstream. By keeping the form and context of these mobile experiences in mind, you will determine the best way to deliver brand value to your constituents, and maybe even surprise and delight them along the way.

This article originally appeared in Communication World Magazine.

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Zagato Milano

After visiting the studio of Alessi designer Mario Trimarchi, we drove to Rho, Lombardy (northwest of Milan) to visit the headquarters and showroom of Zagato Milano, an independent coach building company that has been building some of the world's most beautiful and winning racing cars since 1919.Image

A representative of the company presented us with a slideshow explaining how founder Ugo Zagato used his background in aeronautics to design light-bodied, aerodynamic racing machines.

Cars at the time were bulky, and Zagato wanted to apply the lightness and strength of aircraft to the automotive business. His focused turned to racecars in the 1920s when Alfa Romeo asked him to revamp their Romeo RL models. Bugatti, Maserati, Diatto, Ferrari, and Rolls Royce all became clients soon thereafter. And Zagato-bodied cars went on to win several of Italy's Mille Miglia races.

What's so interesting is how they modify these cars. Zagato is strictly a coach-builder; they don't modify the mechanics (engine, suspension, etc.), nor do they touch the original cockpit (which has undergone too many crash tests to risk change). The original manufacturer still designs the interior, which is why the cars still carry the badges of Ferrari, Maserati, Lamborghini, etc.

Zagato begins with a blueprint of the original car and takes care to ensure that the redesign still accommodates these basic structural elements. Then they design inclined windshields, more aerodynamic headlights, convex bootlids, and perforated disc wheels (to help brake cooling). With the introduction of Plexiglass in the 1940s, he created the "Panoramica" body, and his signature "double bubble" roof. Here you can see the evolution of one design:



In the 1950s, Ugo's son Elio began racing cars in the new Gran Turismo category, which included cars designed for everyday use but sleek enough for weekend racing. 

Today, Zagato produces bespoke cars for racers and car afficionados alike. They collaborate with the customer and the original manufacturer to infuse more personality into mass-production vehicles, typically working on 2-door, 2-seat coupes from Aston Martin, Bentley, Ferrari, Maserati, Diatto and Alpha Romeo. Here are before and after pictures of the car that was customized for the CEO of Bentley (note the curved back window and double bubble roof):   Image

We then proceeded to the showroom to marvel at a selection of Zagato-body cars.Image

The full lineup:Image
Ferrari Testarossa:Image


Diatto: Image


Alpha Romeo:

Alpha romeo


Aston Martin:Image

This one (sorry, I can't remember what it is!)


And this little fellow (and yes, that sales woman behind me is smoking in the showroom! They smoke everywhere here...even in the restaurants):Image


I don't know much about cars, but even I could appreciate the beauty and design of these. And of course the men in the group, who seemed only mildly interested in the Missoni visit yesterday, were in Heaven :)

On My Radar

The crush of correspondence/news/information I receive these days has made it increasingly difficult for me to make time for long-form blog posts. But I continue to discover and  share a variety of interesting things throughout the day, and I miss my blog and the conversations that it spurs. So, I'm switching to a micro-blogging approach here for awhile. Enjoy!

Here's what crossed my radar today:

Eye Candy

VERAMEAT-for-Of-a-Kind-Frenchie-Ladder-Cuff-102713-780 Poppy Necklace

The Frenchie Ladder Cuff by Verameat and the sparkly Poppy Necklace by Piper Strand.

Brain Candy


I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
    in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
    of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.

Just for Fun

Very Pinteresting...

You've likely heard of Pinterest by now; it's the hot new social networking site (I hate that phrase) that combines the bookmarking ease of delicious with the image sharing of Flickr. Here are a few of my pinboards - Critters, Farm Stands and Landscapes:


What's so interesting to me - aside from the incredible growth spurt and the beautiful imagery - is how differently people engage with this site versus, say, Flickr (which could have been Pinterest all along). The social sharing here is on steroids; consider this: I pinned about 80 pictures from my long-standing Flickr account to Pinterest and this is what happened to traffic on my Flickr pages...


The spikes occuring around Jan 20th are when images were cross-posted on Pinterest. There was of course a drop off when I stopped "pinning" but it's interesting to see the new life Pinterest infused into the old Flickr account.

And now Flickr is planning a redesign of its own...one that will look decidely like Pinterest.

Girl Scout Cookie Locator

It's Girl Scout Cookie time, and I have it easy: I get my annual Samoas fix through a coworker's enterprising young daughter (she's got a lock on all orders in our office).

But what if you don't know any Girl Scouts (who are in fact the sole distribution channel - selling cookies is part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, so they don't simply sell them online)?

Then the Girl Scout Cookie Locator app is for you! Using your phone's GPS, the app will show you cookie sales nearby, as well as information on flavors and some social media integration.


It's currently only available for iPhone (I'm Android, so thank goodness I have my contact!), and is reportedly rather buggy, but I like that the Girls have gone mobile.



A Delicious Year

This email I received recently from restaurant reservation site OpenTable made me chuckle: I sure do eat out a lot! And the funny thing is, it doesn't even include the nights out when I didn't use OpenTable or when someone else made the reservation.


But it's a great tactic on their part, and a great walk down memory lane for me. I didn't realize I'd been using the site for so long - I registered way back in 2002! Back then, it was strictly a web-based solution, but now I primarily use their Android and iPad apps.

And look at all the fantastic places I've dined!



Truly a delicious year decade.

Little Printer

A friend sent this one to me, and I'm not sure what to make of it. The Little Printer is an electronic device that lets you set up subcriptions to a variety of content providers - major publishers, game & horoscope providers, or even your friends' social profiles - and aggregates them into a daily feed.

Sounds like RSS you say? Yes, but The Little Printer (as it's name suggests) prints out your aggegated news items onto a thin strip of paper, non unlike a grocery store receipt. It is the invention of BergCloud, a company dedicated to creating connected products with beautiful design.

Watch the video below to see what I mean. It's incredibly cute, but would you use it?

Hello Little Printer, available 2012 from BERG on Vimeo.

Evernote Food

There's a wildly popular productivity app called Evernote that lets you store notes and ideas - in the form of text, images, web pages, or voice memos - for future reference, list making, and archiving. I use it in its Web, iPad, and Android incarnations to note restaurants I want to try, wines that I like, travel ideas, and other random info that I want to remember. The beauty of it is that I can store info from all three devices (laptop, tablet, mobile phone) and it synchs for easy access from any of them.

So I was excited to read about its latest update: Evernote Food. You know how much I like to document great meals (as evidenced by yesterday's post and my Flickr feed dedicated to good eats), and this app promises to let you "capture, share, and relive your memorable meals." Sadly, it's not yet available for Android so I'll continue with my traditional ways. But I like where they're headed.

My social network, visualized.

I jumped on the InMaps meme yesterday, using this latest experimental tool from LinkedIn to visualize my professional network. The result is interesting (and also quite beautiful):

LinkedIn inMaps
For the most part, it is what I expected: the major nodes in my professional network are driven by my current & past employers (PARTNERS+simons, Hill Holliday, One to One Interactive, THINK New Ideas), professional organizations (BIMA, MITX), and education (Bowdoin College).

The only real surprise is the inclusion of Compete, a local data analytics company, as a major node. While I have never worked for the company, I started out as a client of theirs about 5 years ago, and have grown into a "friend of the organization," both professionally and personally. So it makes sense that they're there, too (and I'm happy to be affiliated with such a smart group of folks).

Data visualizations like this are so interesting & informative. In one glance, you can quickly get a handle on my professional experience and the company I keep. Wouldn't it be cool if we could build similar visuals for a company or brand? LinkedIn Labs, are you working on this?

There are tools to visualize your Facebook network as well, but for the most part their value is unclear to me (basically, they all display some variation of which friends know each other). The one exception is UpGo, a Facebook app which does let you sort & filter your network based on different filters (high interaction, mutual friends, interests, age, location...) and groups (companies, schools, affiliations...). It's actually more like the inMaps app, but with a few more bells & whistles:


Want to explore more visualizations? Head over to Visualizing.org, a new, collaborative data visualization hub created by Seed Media Group and GE. It's a great resource.


National Conference for Media Reform

Attention fellow media, arts, technology, and culture junkies!

Ncmr2011 This April, Boston will host the fifth annual National Conference for Media Reform (NCMR), where over 2500 people will gather to collaborate on a new vision for our media system.

For three days, NCMR participants will explore the future of journalism and public media, consider how technology is changing the world, look at the policies and politics shaping our media, and discuss strategies to build the movement for better media.

While the full program schedule won't be available until late March, it promises to include include live musical performances, film screenings and over 50 interactive sessions about journalism and public media, technology and innovation, policy and politics, arts and culture, social justice and movement building, plus hands-on workshops and how-to trainings.

I'm particularly interested in the "Media Makers, Culture, and the Arts" track, which will explore music, art, film and other creative media, showcasing inspiring projects, examining how media and technology are affecting our culture, and connecting the arts to media policy and politics.

Here's a sneak peek of the event:

NCMR is the brainchild of the non-profit organization Free Press, which is dedicated to making media reform a bona fide political issue in America. Through education and advocacy they promote independent media ownership, strong public media, quality journalism, and universal access to communications. From their web site:

Our media system is in a crisis.

The takeover of our country's media outlets by a small handful of giant conglomerates puts too much power and influence in too few hands. That's bad for our democracy, which depends on our ability to access diverse sources of news, information and opinion.

Our media is in trouble in other ways, too.

The big cable and phone companies that control access to the Internet want to be gatekeepers, deciding which Web sites and services you can use depending on which companies have paid them the most. They want to turn the open Internet we've always had into a closed, private toll road.

And public broadcasting, one of our most valuable public resources, is under constant threat in Washington by those who would cripple alternatives to the commercial media and muzzle the critical voices and diverse fare that public media offer.

It's up to us to change the media. The way we do that is by changing media policies.

NCMR 2011 takes place April 8-10, 2011 at the Seaport World Trade Center. About 2,500 people are expected to attend, so get your tickets now! Early bird registration is available through January 28th at $125; regular registration is $175.

Hope to see you there!