Mobile marketing is one of the hottest topics right now. Following the trade journals and newsletters, it seems that if you're not doing anything mobile right now, then your business is doomed to collapse within the next six months.
While there is a lot of excitement about mobile, just remember how journalists get paid and how all those conference speakers get paid.
The natural human response to the generated hype is "We need an iPhone application" or "We need to do SMS right now."
Marketing is a strategic activity. All successful strategies are built upon successful processes. In this article, I submit Forrester Research's POST Methodology that Josh Bernoff, Charlene Li, Cynthia N. Pflaum, and Scott Wright originally introduced in October 2007 as one process you can apply as you develop your successful mobile marketing strategy.
Forrester's POST Methodology builds upon the following tenets:
(1) People: Get to know your people - not the average person, not your competitor's people; your people.
(2) Objectives: Decide upon your goals. Is it to increase brand awareness? Is it to cut your support costs? Is it to move your customers through the lifetime value cycle? Is it to do damage control (think millions of downloads of flaming laptop battery movies)?
(3) Strategy: Determine your approach to meet your objectives.
(4) Technology: Choose the right technology that best enables you to implement your strategy.
I've seen a lot of different strategic processes before, but I like Forrester's POST methodology because quite frankly, it keeps it all simple. It's easy to remember and it's easy to keep straight. When you're talking about marketing strategies that could run into the millions of dollars, the more simple the process, the better the chances of a favorable ROI.
Forrester Research Analysts Julie Ask, Charles Golvin, Michelle De Lussanet, and Laura Wiramihardja recently published their research article on applying the POST methodology to developing a mobile marketing strategy.
Step One of understanding who your customers are is to take a look at the Mobile Technographics Profile they've developed.
The ladder shows progressive mobile interaction and "sophistication" as you go up higher in the rungs.
Inactives, Talkers, and Communicators tend to be mutually exclusive categories. On the other hand, there is overlap between Connectors, Entertainers, and SuperConnecteds.
So now that you have a breakdown of mobile technographic profiles, the key question you need to ask yourself is "where do my customers fit", and more importantly, "where do my customers that I want to target with my marketing strategy fit?"
There are many different ways that you can answer these questions; time and money are your two resources. The first way to learn the mobile technographics profile of your customers is the most obvious but most often overlooked: ask them. If you have an online presence, how easy would it be to put up a simple survey? Give people a simple incentive to fill out the survey. Keep the questions short and simple - no more than 10 questions and make sure the questionnaire can be answered within 2 - 5 minutes.
Another way is to compare the demographics of your customers (based on your marketing objective, remember?) against the mobile adoption "national average" by age breakdown that Forrester Research Analyst Julie Ask presents in her research, Mobile Technographics.
While gender is no longer a differentiator for mobile technology adoption, age is still one - though rapidly disappearing. So just to get things started, do a test campaign matching your targeted audience by age to the type of mobile campaign you should do. Test your assumptions. Do your customers line up with the average? They may or may not.
If you've been reading about the social media space, you'll also know by now that this is a wealth of information that people are divulging about themselves via their tweets, Facebook posts, etc. Social media data aggregators (like Unbound Technologies, and Rapleaf) are building social profile data on individuals based on this public divulging of information. You can certainly take advantage of these services to build mobile technographic profiles of your customers.
And finally, I suppose you can always contract Forrester Research to construct the mobile technographic profile of your customers (no, this is not a paid endorsement, just a suggestion).
The key takeaway is that while mobile marketing is hot right now, you need to find out whether its hot right now for your customers. Follow the POST methodology. Don't start with the technical solution without first understanding your customers, your objectives and your strategy. Remember: if there is a mis-match between your customers, your objective, and your strategy, then no technology in the world can save you - it will only cost you...BIG TIME!