Mobile as Marketing Platform: Just hype?

I really was knocked over the head last week at the Marketing Profs B2B Forum about the impact of mobile on marketing – and business for that matter. It’s the next big opportunity for B2B marketers was the pitch. And those that didn’t integrate mobile into their marketing mix risked not being there at the point of sale because executives ALWAYS have their mobile devices with them – and expect immediate access to information when inspiration strikes.

CK made an incredibly sound case for mobile and provides a most comprehensive overview of both it’s potential and strategies for getting started. In addition, a panel moderated by Chris Koch of ITSMA with Bob Gold of Gold Mobile, Jeannine Rossignol, Vice President, Marketing Programs, Xerox Global Services—North America and Dawn Cochran, Director P&C Solution Labs, CSC reinforced what she articulated. I was hooked.

A few days have passed since then and I’ve started to immerse myself further into the mobile opportunity. But then there’s the argument that mobile may not be that big of deal for advertisers afterall. With any new platform, marketing opportunity, or shiny tool, there’s going to be a lot of hype. There’s going to be a flurry of OMG I gotta have this madness. Toss everything out and start over! But once the dust settles, those who are more thoughtful – and less reactive will see the true opportunity with mobile.

The key fact about mobile is it’s personal. No other device do people take on vacation. Or literally sleep with. That means you need permission to reach people with mobile. Spam and you’ll be kicked to the curb. Good luck getting back in the door afterwards. But get permission – through a double opt in – offer a ton of value and always respect an individual’s time – and you’ll likely find success. And that’s why mobile may not be the biggest thing for advertising. Because advertising does not easily get invited to the table. You have earn your seat.

Those most apt to find mobile useful are those focused on building real relationships – which is what B2B is all about and why mobile is worth more than a cursory glance. People like Keith Ferrazzi – one of the masters of building lasting relationships and forming meaningful connections along with Tim Sanders are likely to find success. They know what it takes to get invited in. Being invited into one’s mobile world is like being invited to a dinner party. Or inner circle.

So ignore the hype and take a step back before jumping in. In any trend passions run deep on both sides. Find the middle ground and know that there’s not a scientific formula for mobile marketing. Borrowing from Steven Covey, begin with the end in mind. Determine what you want to accomplish. Have clear goals and most of all respect the people you’re connecting with. Make their lives easier by being there.

Think about you you’d feel having a company ping you while you’re relaxing by the fire. You certainly wouldn’t take kindly to an annoying ad or an uninvited sales pitch. But forge the relationship, get their permission to connect on the go and if you’re lucky, they’ll think of you when they’re ready to buy – and you’ll be ready to respond.

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