December 6, 2011

7 Last Minute Mobile Marketing Tips For The Holidays

by Kane Russell, VP of Marketing at Waterfall Mobile

With the holiday craze upon us, defining an effective digital strategy for the December holidays is certainly top of mind. And in terms of channels, Google predicts that in 2011 65% of consumers will use their mobile device to make in-store purchase decisions and 44% of all last minute gift searches will originate from mobile. Incorporating mobile is becoming increasingly important for digital marketers everyday. Here are 7 tips on how to position your mobile marketing strategy for the holiday push.

Transform holiday shoppers into long-term customers

During the holidays, everybody is fighting for consumer wallet share. That's why we see so many discounts, offers or specials. Sure, we all know that it’s better to give than receive during the holidays, but that doesn’t mean that marketers shouldn’t get anything in return (consumers have to give too!). Request that consumers opt-in to your mobile list in exchange for receiving holiday discounts. Once you have your list built you can design interactive messaging campaigns to alert customers about upcoming store promotions and usher consumers toward a beyond-the-holiday relationship.

If you don’t have a mobile program set up, you can still enrich your customer database with demographic information (e.g. zip, email address) that will be useful for future mobile sales and marketing. Remember, consumers certainly shop during the holidays, but that shouldn’t be the end game. Work hard to develop a relationship with consumers so that you can maximize customer lifetime value.

Use QR codes purposefully

Making sure to mind your best practices, using QR codes is an excellent way to launch a mobile marketing strategy. However, there is a significant gap between using QR codes with and integrating QR codes into a marketing strategy. Some high level tips:

  • Test QR codes in the exact environment in which they will be promoted
  • If you are going to link to a website, make sure it is a mobile optimized website
  • Provide an alternative call to action (e.g. URL, SMS, email) in case customers don’t have a smartphone
  • Provide an incentive or rewarding experience for people to scan your QR codes

Remember, asking consumers to scan a QR code is similar to anything else in marketing. They need to feel that that experience was worth their while, not just a flashy new technology bolted on at the last minute (remember the novelty of the new?).

Map out all possibilities for mobile coupons

With people rushing around from one engagement to the next, mobile coupons provide several benefits to consumers. They travel everywhere they go, are easy to search for and helpful for saving on last minute holiday purchases. Notice that all these benefits revolve around ease of use. Thus, it’s essential that brands make an effort to ensure that the mobile coupon user experience is a positive one. This all starts at the cash register. Check and double check to make sure your point-of sale employees are aware of things like looking for a short code sender on any SMS coupon, using an alternative code to enter if scanning an image doesn’t work out and how to assist consumers who cannot figure out how they to use the brand’s SMS, mobile web or mobile app coupons.

Use personality in your interactive two-way messaging

As much as it gets overlooked, the holidays are about providing happiness. This should come through in your mobile messaging and marketing efforts. Using holiday themed and appropriate language (don’t forget that not everyone celebrates the same holiday) will ensure that shoppers feel welcomed. When possible add interactive components to your mobile marketing communication channels, as making consumers feel engaged in a dialogue rather than the subject of spam messages will ensure that they continue coming back after the holidays.

Optimize your marketing using a cross-channel approach

The importance of cross-channel messaging cannot be overstated, especially in mobile. Make sure your various communication managers are aware of each other’s plans so that consumers don’t feel double contacted or confused about why they are receiving messaging in a particular format.

You can also include calls to action for your various media channels across your entire media portfolio. Providing instructions for a mobile and email sign up on social media, for example, will ensure that online customers remain engaged with your brand when away from their computers.

Remember the importance of location

Last minute shoppers have to shop locally. Thus, things like store location, store hours and item availability become doubly important.  Consider using location-based mobile features like store-locators, store hour requests or mobile database searches now and in the future.

At the very least delivering hyper-targeted messages to specific cities, zip codes, or neighborhoods is an excellent way to drive in-store traffic, last minute purchases and (hopefully) save someone from the dreaded “I didn’t have enough time to get you something” predicament.

Start planning for mobile now

Even if you don’t have a fully thought out mobile strategy now, that doesn’t mean you are not in a position to start planning for success. Observe consumer habits over the holidays. Provide in-store surveys about how service could be improved. With smartphone penetration continuing to increase rapidly, future spoils will go to those brands that most effectively learn from consumer behavior now in order to best position themselves going forward.

Kane Russell
VP of Marketing at Waterfall Mobile

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Kane Russell, VP of Marketing at Waterfall Mobile

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Comments

LOVE this article, my favorite part is the section about using QR codes purposefully! They are such a powerful tool, but they are so frequently under-utilized.

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