Dead? No, but Digital Marketing is in need of a holistic perspective.
Marc Pritchard, Procter & Gamble’s global brand building officer recently caused a media flurry over comments he made at dmexco. Mr. Pritchard shared some compelling messages about the state of marketing and his perspective, stating: “The era of digital marketing is over. It’s almost dead. It’s now just brand building. It’s what we do.”
Mr. Pritchard, representing the world’s largest advertiser and a company with a massive consumer insights practice, is spot-on with some of his recent thinking around the digital marketing space – challenging the industry and his own employees to shift their mindset when it comes to marketing.
To understand where Mr. Pritchard is coming from, it’s important to think about where we have come from a marketing perspective. In the early days, great brands were formed, based on creative ideas, campaigns, learning and extending those learnings over time using the few channels available to them. Granted, it was much easier to focus and work out ideas then largely due to those few channels available; but it was understood that it was the idea, and execution on that idea that created impact. Now, we’re at a crossroads where the tools and channels we have at our disposal have nearly overwhelmed the process. Mr. Pritchard’s comments remind us that we must return to the essence of brand building where it’s the right ideas and execution on those ideas that matter.
It’s easy to get lost in the weeds of the digital space, focusing on these platforms and tools. Thanks to the shift of the social and mobile customer along with relevant technology, we have the opportunity to activate brands across all platforms and devices at scale.
In addition, we are entering the dawn of the “internet of things” where brands are extending to the devices we touch each and every day. At this point in marketing, it’s a perfect time to refocus around the manifesto of brand building with a holistic marketing lens regardless of your specialty. The divide between traditional and digital marketing is shrinking. It’s all becoming connected.
That said, Mr. Pritchard clarified his remarks, speaking to P&G’s “digital back” approach to marketing, “Start in the digital world, and build your way back to the rest of the marketing mix. It’s an approach that is building our brand equities, our sales and our profits.”
The point is not that digital is always going to make or break your success. It’s the idea, the campaign you are executing, and selecting the appropriate tools and channels to launch that great idea (which may just be digital) that can make the difference. Campaigns launched using digital channels at the onset provide the opportunity to gain quick learnings, instantaneous consumer insights, fast iterations and a launch-pad to extend the brand messaging (sometimes via other channels). P&G has proven this point through their recent successes leveraging their “digital back” approach.
As an industry, we are still defining what exactly mobile marketing can be and it will continue to play out as technology enhances, user behaviors shift and businesses adapt. One thing is for certain in our experience – that desktop, tablet and mobile customers should not always be treated the same.
The businesses that want to get a leg up need to start focusing first on understanding the context of their mobile customers experiences, use cases and environments before just pumping out content. With this approach, the creation of more informed and relevant brand and consumer content will naturally be a byproduct.
Take the example of engaging with a major retailer online. In the pre-mobile days, we would enter the search term, click on a Google Ad or search engine result, land on the brands website, browse and then bounce or convert. All while sitting in a comfy chair, typing with 10 fingers, enjoying a cup of coffee with the attention span of the pre-twitter generation on a 19-inch display. Sounds peaceful.
Be Discovered through mobile search. Engage with an optimized mobile strategy. Close with the help of educated staff.
1 in 3 shoppers use their smartphones to find information instead of asking store employees.
According to a recent Google survey, self-help during the shopping experience is becoming more and more common. For many of us early adopters, we have long replaced seeking out in-store associates in exchange for hitting our phones for a quick answer. This trend is now reaching a critical mass.
Before you go changing your staffing plans, start thinking about what opportunities are waiting to be unlocked for your business. Consider how you can turn this shift into an opportunity to educate your existing staff, optimize your mobile presence, enhance the shopping experience for your customers and ultimately increase sales.
Embrace this reality and be a part of it.
Many mobile customers are going to be heads down on their phone during their shopping visit and the period leading up to their in-store experience, with or without your involvement. Find ways to be a part of what they are doing and complement this behavior. The good news for you is that frequent mobile device shoppers, on average, spend more on their shopping trips that their peers who are not mobile savvy. The bad news for you is that if you are not able to engage this new type of shopper on their terms, you might lose that sale (and future sales).
The simplest way to be a part of this experience is to first have a mobile-optimized site for your customers. As search is where customers usually start on their mobile devices when looking for products or services, you want them to land on your optimized site as a result (and of course rank for the right keywords) and engage with your brand – not a competitor.
In addition, it’s important to factor in what your customers are doing on mobile as part of their shopping experience to provide the appropriate content and context on your site in an extremely user friendly way. Here is what customers reported doing on their mobile phone and should be a good guide as you factor in what is most important to include on your mobile site:
- Find locations / directions (58%)
- Find store hours (57%)
- Make price comparisons (44%)
- Find promotions and offers (44%)
- Browse products and services (43%)
- Find where specific products are sold (32%)
- Find product information (31%)
- Find product reviews (30%)
- Make a purchase (19%)
Analysts forecast the native app market to almost double this year in the amount of downloads, and, with that, revenues for worldwide app sales. Notably, this is connected to the growth of smartphone adoption, particularly in emerging markets which are rife with opportunity, and exploding revenue streams as the ecosystem and inventory continue to develop (such as gaming apps, in-app purchases, and productivity apps).
As marketers we have many choices to make in life and approaching a project building a Native Web App and/or a Mobile Web App is one of them. Enter the substitute and complement scenario…
Native apps may not be appropriate for every business case (and vice versa). In some cases, a mobile web app may be the more appropriate solution (substitute). In other cases they might play well in the sandbox together (complement). While sometimes there will be a winner given the marketing objectives – the native vs mobile web app decision is not always a mutually exclusive one.
One thing we all know is that the web, in general, is changing, largely due to this new mobile customer and the advances in hardware and technologies. As this trend continues, we are seeing a convergence of web and native app features and how they are used.
To clarify the different lingo being used for this post:
Native Apps are those apps you download and install from an app store such as the Apple App Store or Google Play. Usually, a developer has to release specific versions for different operating systems (e.g. iOS and Android versions of the app). Most often, this path is for rich interactive experiences with heavier processing needs, higher performance and offline access.
Mobile Web Apps are most often in-browser experiences, that may look and feel like a native app, but which can be engaged with directly on a business’s website without requiring an install or purchase from an app store. They can be updated in real-time, across all browsers, without requiring the end user to install updates to access new features over time. While some functional requirements may currently only be available via native apps, that gap is closing with the advancement of mobile web browsing technologies.
At the end of the day, with the current state of the space, the approach that is ultimately taken requires the consideration of multiple factors, such as your target audience, budget, functionality, distribution, requirements, processing, current mobile web presence, etc.
For most companies, it is next to impossible to get the discoverability, installs and user retention needed to succeed as a standalone native app sitting in a store. That is of course unless you have a viral hit on your hands or the additional budget to heavily promote and market your native application across multiple stores and platforms. To put this volume into perspective, it was recently reported The Google Play and Apple App stores each have over 800,000 apps in their inventory.
In some upcoming posts I will be exploring and sharing thoughts on the recent excitement over the Native vs. Mobile Web App conversations going on. You will find from my upcoming posts, it’s not always a “versus” situation and there are reasons to engage on both strategies. This particular post outlines some key benefits of mobile web apps for the retail category.
Retailers are a great demonstration of why native apps may not be the appropriate solution and are more of a nice-to–have, whereas a mobile web experience is a must-have. In a recent Google survey, it was reported that 84% of smartphone shoppers use their phones while in a physical store. And, they aren’t clicking install on a library of apps to make that happen in real-time.
They are engaging with brands, just like they should, on the mobile web. Additionally, the data shows that 82% of shoppers use search engines as their starting point. Not going to app store directory…not going directly to the brand site…not pulling up an existing app. They are searching on the mobile web. As a corollary, check out my post on the growing importance of mobile SEO as it’s related to this topic.
While this data is focused on retail customers and experiences, there are similar trends and activities happening across the board when it comes to mobile web usage. As mobile search activities continue to soar, it’s important for marketers to remember how search works. A user is looking for information based on their intent, the search results return them some qualified sources of that information, and the user expects to click through to get the appropriate solution to their search query. This needs to happen fast and in real-time. And most often, this means the customer will not click an ‘install’ button on an app, let alone welcome a redirect to the app store.
We are still early in this game.
I am proud to announce that Stuzo has been recognized by the Philadelphia business community and the Philadelphia Business Journal in the 2013 list of the area’s best Branding, Marketing and Media Services companies. Pair this recognition with our recent ranking as a top 25 software development company in the region and it’s been a really great year for the recognition our hard work has produced. Read more on the Stuzo site.
This is a followup from Part I of this series of posts entitled: Moving From A Network of Silos to Data-Driven Collaboration
Organizations that consistently win in marketing are able to collaborate, adapt, and now – able to execute in near real-time. By leveraging the power of their internal and external networks effectively they tap into key knowledge, learnings and data to deliver favorable business outcomes. This post will will help outline some key tips to make this happen at your organization and some learnings I’ve experienced myself along the way.
Below are some tips to help go from a silo’d approach, to a more connected and efficient marketing and agency ecosystem.
If you work in marketing, you may have spent a good portion of your life in meetings and status phone calls for the projects you are working on. And I am not talking about your internal team meetings to keep your own piece progressing forward (you spend plenty of time doing that also), but the coordination check points that are set to help herds of different companies working on the project to progress in unison for the common goal.
The stakeholders involved may include multiple technology vendors, creative agencies, media planners, brand managers, program managers, legal, PR, exec sponsor, and the list goes on depending on the project. A key reason for this, is these calls often serve as one a few chances to attempt to cram learnings, confidence and collaboration quickly against the non-moving deadline for all involved. Looking past the veil of collaboration, sometimes its mainly to ensure all hit their target deliverables and dates (and sound/look good doing it).
On separate ends of the spectrum, we are seeing a specialization of agencies booming for particular market needs (social, mobile, local, social-mobile-local) along with the continued growth of integrated agencies (who most often, acqui-hire from those niche agencies during their growth mode) and technology providers that provide a particular integration required (wearables, live streaming, tv, social dev). That being said, don’t expect the number of parties on the project check-in conference calls to drop in volume anytime in the near future.
While we all have the chance to build extremely rewarding and successful engagements working in this manner, it can be a lot of brain-busting work for all involved when each new project comes through. A key problem is many brands, and marketing campaigns, are organized as silos within many companies with a rotation of partners and resources that may engage on a given project. At the same time, the industry is moving towards a real-time, collaborative, data-driven marketing environment. Which means things have to move faster, be more agile, work smarter and across a plethora of devices.
Humbled to receive the feedback that Stuzo is ranked by the Philadelphia Business Journal as a Top 25 Software Development Company for 2013. All credit goes to our software development team (not just in Philly – but around the globe) and awesome clients who let us work on projects with them. Additional credits to: the inventors of the smartphone, internet, Atlassian, Facebook and people who let me hack websites together for them back in college (sometimes paying me).
Sigmund Freud is famous for making society’s understanding of the conscious mind versus the unconscious mind popular. The conscious mind is associated primarily with our current moment of perceptions and awareness, while the unconscious mind largely motivates the actions in our lives — even if these motivational drivers are only available to us in a disguised form. If you compare the mind to an iceberg, as Freud often did, the unconscious is the large mass unexposed below water level. Humans: We are complex beings, aren’t we? Now let’s fast-forward about 100 years: How do we use Freud’s principles to create extremely successful and engaging social and mobile marketing solutions?
Think about this short lesson from Freud the next time you make a restaurant decision from a Yelp reviewer, change your mind when opting in to a Web form, or decide to buy that pair of New Balance sneakers over Nike when presented the option in a social shopping application. Is it only because of a present perception you are aware of (price, fit, need), or does a possible unconscious motivator also propel you toward one direction over the other, which you can’t always put your finger on right away? In most successful and engaging marketing experiences, you’ll often tap into multiple parts of your mind, especially when it comes to socially connected mobile experiences.
At Stuzo, when architecting, designing, and developing mobile experiences (we’ll use both social and mobile in this post interchangeably, as the social Web is mobile, and vice versa), we’ve learned a lot over the years from Freud to create successful social and mobile engagements for leading brands. Here are our five tips for marketers to engage users to take action by tapping into their conscious and unconscious minds with the help of our friend, F.R.E.U.D. Continue reading »
- Is Digital Marketing Dead?
- Can you spot the difference between a Native and a Mobile Web App?
- The Importance of Contextual Awareness to Deliver Relevant Messaging in Mobile Marketing
- Be Discovered through mobile search. Engage with an optimized mobile strategy. Close with the help of educated staff.
- The Convergence of the Mobile Web and Native Apps