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How Marketing Leaders Should Use Mobile in Uncertain Times

By Mike McGuire | March 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

Mobile MarketingMultichannel Marketing

Our commonly used mobile engagement tactics — push-notifications, in-app messages, SMS/text messages — can be particularly useful in the COVID-19 era. The trick is to be intentional.

Customer mobility (how they use mobile devices to link online and offline experiences) offers us some useful capabilities to help your clients during this extraordinary time.  But we need to take care with all of our outbound communications. While Occam’s Razor might tell us the fastest, simplest way to get to customers and prospects is via their smartphone, let’s add a caveat: if we’re intentional.

Why You Need to Be Intentional With Mobile in a Crisis

 That said, job one for marketers is ensuring that they’re set up to handle their customers needs today.

So, with old Occam in mind, let’s think about customer mobility, mobile marketers and marketing tactics and strategies. Some thoughts:

 It’s easy to send, but hard to un-send, a message. Outbound communications, regardless of channel, need to be consistent. Marketers responsible for mobile marketing need to ensure their messaging is consistent with corporate leadership and marketing executives’ guidance for external communications. 

 You don’t want to stress people out who are already overwhelmed. Push-notifications , in-app messages and SMS messages are powerful ways to engage but make sure the message is equal to the medium. With customers already grappling with an unprecedented situation and trying to manage incredible stress, marketers need to be real clear about why they’re going to cause their customers’s phone or tablet to buzz or light up the red ball on their messaging app or app inbox. Ask yourself if the message requires an immediate response? If not, making clear that the subject field or topic of a push or an SMS message is or is not time-sensitive (e.g. order confirmation or appoint confirmations).

Mobile Presents Alternatives for In-Person or Scheduled Engagements

For marketers, particularly B2B marketers who have focused on a “mobile-extender” (see “Two Types of Mobile Marketers: Which One are You” subscription required) approach, there are multiple opportunities to constructively engage through  

  • Messaging: With the proper safeguards in place (See “Keep SMS in Your Toolbox”) approaches messaging offers the ability to deliver immediate messages (noted above) but also the ability to offer an asynchronous exchange with customers. In other words, use the threaded conversations inherent in all consumer-messaging or SMS/text apps (all of which requires us to get a specific opt-in from the customer or prospect) to extend engagements over time, at the customer’s convenience.
  • Video and Image Capture and Delivery — Without Film Crew: Beyond the mobile versions of leading web-conferencing solutions, apps such as Storyvine (storyvine.com), can enable you to craft your own scripted video exchanges without having to hire professional videographers, editors etc. While not meant to replace a professionally created video for high-profile public events, such tools can enable marketers, particularly B2B marketers who engage with clients over longer periods of times, to craft personalized yet structured videos that can be posted on a website or emailed. Video hosting sites such as Vimeo or even YouTube, can provide a simple and straightforward way to get video information to a large or a smaller targeted audience and don’t require  a scheduled broadcast. 

Use Mobile to Reduce Uncertainty

There aren’t any precedents for what we’re living through right now. Never have the medium and the message so utterly converged in real-time. Everybody is equally bewildered, stressed and looking for the way forward.  Work to eliminate ambiguity but acknowledge uncertainty. Use all your mobile marketing tools but use them with intention.  

Looking for More COVID-19 Related Insights?

Gartner is providing updated insights and recommendation to help navigate the disruptions of COVID-19 on marketing and business right  here.  Look for additional insights from my colleagues on the Gartner Blog Network. Just look for the #COVID hashtag.)

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