If you thought social media marketing grew quickly, then hang on tight because mobile marketing is absolutely exploding. Every company is trying to get their brands a few taps away from smartphone and tablet owners, so consumers can engage with brands anytime and anywhere from their iPhones, iPads, Android devices, Blackberry devices, and so on.
This month, Apple unveiled a new subscription option for mobile apps in its store that streamlines the process for app developers to sell their apps and charge monthly fees for their use. Of course, Apple tacks on a 30% fee for themselves using this new process, but they also take care of credit card processing and other behind the scenes tasks and maintenance. Now, mobile app developers can sell their apps to the growing iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad consumer base for free, for a one-time fee, or for ongoing subscription fees.
The trick for businesses is finding the sweet spot that balances the usefulness of the app with the amount people are willing to pay for it. No one knows the secret yet because although mobile marketing is exploding, it’s still in its infancy.
And that leads back to our original question. Is mobile marketing still an option or now a requirement? In 2011, all companies are looking at mobile. It makes sense. That’s where customers are moving if they’re not already there. Research from Forrester reveals that U.S. consumers are expected to spend over $1 billion via mobile in 2011. Of course, that’s not all through apps, but it demonstrates a clear trend in consumer behavior.
The problem for businesses in 2011 is falling victim to the risk of marketing scared. The last thing a business should do is invest time and money into creating a mobile app just because that’s the big buzz or just because competitors are doing it. Instead, take some time to create a truly useful mobile app. As Forrester predicts in its 2001 mobile trends predictions:
“Companies will invest first in convenient services for customers; acquisition will come second. In the hierarchy of benefits that mobile offers — revenue generation, cost savings, and convenience — convenience will reign for the next year. However, for some industries, particularly in the retail space, we expect more and more companies to reach seven figures in direct mobile transactions.”
The key take-away is this: mobile marketing is a huge opportunity, but don’t dive in without a paddle or your efforts will drown. Your first step must be to plan, strategize, and think long-term by creating a truly useful app for your target audience.
What is your company doing in the mobile space? Leave a comment and share your story and your opinions about mobile marketing.