As more consumers spend more time connected to the Internet and to each other via portable devices, mobile’s distinction as a unique, specialized communications channel dissipates. It simply becomes the dominant way we interact with brands beyond the physical world.
More consumers will interact with your brand on a smaller screen, not at a desktop or even on a laptop computer. “Marketing” will concentrate on reaching people where they are and optimizing the experience for whatever screen size the consumer is using.
Mobile is less about being a channel and more about when, where, and how people experience and communicate with your brand.
Consumers increasingly experience brands through technology—whether your Web site, mobile application, social network, kiosk, e-mail interface, or interactive vending machine.
Having experienced a number of cool apps on my iPad the last few months, I’ve become convinced that the tablet’s larger screen will transform apps into one of the predominant channels that consumers will use to engage with brands.
I’m not suggesting that marketers will be writing code. They will, however, evolve into “product developer/managers,” scoping out potential marketing-centric applications and managing their development, launch, and lifecycles.
More companies will grasp the technology challenges and opportunities I mentioned above and hire a senior-level manager (the “CMTO”) to oversee all technology-related aspects of marketing and help marketing, e-commerce and IT/MIS work together more effectively. (I suspect this position will not be C-level, but more commonly vice president or director level.)
As new channels emerge and the pace of change picks up, companies that don’t invest significantly in dedicated marketing-technology resources risk getting out-maneuvered by their competitors.
With a seemingly never-ending flow of new marketing channels, and social media and mobile getting all the buzz these days, e-mail sometimes feels like the forgotten stepchild. In fact, e-mail is only getting stronger and more vital in its role as marketing workhorse.
Maybe e-mail isn’t sexy anymore, but it continues to deliver consumer value, brand engagement, cost savings, and revenue. However, a major shift is occurring, albeit quietly.
Consumers are using e-mail less for personal communications, relying instead on texting, tweeting, posting on Facebook, etc. But because e-mail has a strong permission foundation and gives users control over the in-box, it has become consumers’ preferred channel for communications with companies and brands.
Additionally, devices like the iPhone and iPad are actually enabling a better e-mail experience for consumers and making reading and engaging with e-mail fun again.
Finally, I believe we have reached the point where more companies simply do e-mail marketing better by moving to lifecycle and trigger-based messages that truly deliver on the promise of “right message, right time.”
Loren McDonald is vice president of industry relations for Silverpop in Atlanta. Contact him at 866-745-8767. This article is reprinted with permission.