Michael Becker_Interview Part 2

Michael Becker, Mobile Marketing Association

In last week’s Mobile Thinkers interview, mobile marketing expert Michael Becker shared his thoughts on how to wrap your mind around mobile.  Today, in the second half of my interview, Michael shares advice on how to navigate your first step into the mobile arena, how to manage the 5 building blocks of mobile marketing, including what to look for when hiring agencies or vendors, and he answers the ever-present question of monetization.

For any of you that might be in the “I’m skipping mobile” camp, you’ll especially want to read Michael’s answer to my last question. You may be missing out on the biggest engagement opportunity out there today.


Q: What’s the best way for an organization to plan their first mobile campaign?


A: People shouldn’t even think ‘campaign’ until they understand their strategy. If you start by taking a campaign perspective with mobile, meaning a tactical initiative, what you end up doing is a bunch of mobile campaigns without having a persistent mobile presence.  You train your customer to think you’re mobile through your campaigns but in fact, organizationally, you’re not.    Therefore, when the customer goes to find an App from you or a mobile website, they don’t find any sustainable presence and you end up leaving a bad taste in their mouth.

Marketers need to understand why they want to go mobile before they in fact, go mobile. Ultimately, you need to ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is my customer?
  • What current marketing activities or initiatives do I use today to engage, interact and support the engagement with my customer?
  • Where and how do I want to be in the consumer’s mind?
  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What’s my plan of attack?
  • Do my customers tend to have mobile phones?  They probably do, but to what extent do they use them?

It’s important to ask all of these questions first.  Don’t do mobile for mobile’s sake.


Q:  Once marketers have built their strategy, how do they actually get started?  Are most marketers seeking out agencies?


A: The building blocks of mobile marketing are strategy, creative, tactical execution, platform, analytics and reporting modules.  Of these, you want to identify the ones you will do yourself and if there are any you want someone do for you. From there, you can take 4 different approaches: an agency approach, a do-it-yourself approach, a platform approach or some form of hybrid approach.

The agency approach is for people thinking:  ‘I know what I want to get done, but I have absolutely no idea how I’m going to do it. I’m going to get someone to do it for me.’  The challenge for marketers with this option is that you don’t learn anything yourself because somebody is doing everything for you.

The DIY approach is for people who say: ‘I know what I want to get done and I think I can do it all myself.’  The DIY approach requires tremendous focus because of the technology, the rules and regulations.

With the platform approach, you work with a company that has already built a platform for the particular mobile enablement capability that you’re looking for.  For example, they may have a platform for Apps, or SMS or mobile website rendering.  You would do your own creative but you would never need to build the mobile web content delivery or SMS systems.  You would use theirs.

The hybrid approach is for companies like Coca-Cola that are very mature with their strategy, their execution and implementation of that strategy.  With this approach, the company does a little bit in house and a little bit with outsourced vendors.  The core competency needed here is how to manage the internal and external relationships.

The platform approach in my opinion is the best option.  You do what you do best — your marketing, your creative, about half of the execution and then you let somebody else handle the technology.


Q:  How do marketers distinguish between a full-service agency that will do everything, and one that does just the platform?


A: It’s insanely difficult because everyone says they can do everything.  You have to have the diligence to interview your prospective vendors.  Trust, but verify.  If they say, ‘we can do everything’ say ‘oh great, show me.’

Ask to see their platform and if you see a line of text on the bottom of their screen saying ‘Powered X Company,’ you’ll know they’re not a platform company. They’re more likely an agency doing strategy and creative and outsourcing the other services to a platform company.   And that’s a perfectly viable thing.   There’s nothing wrong with it, just be aware of what’s going on.


Q:  What about the big monetization question with mobile?  How are people monetizing this medium?


A: Mobile is an access point for commerce, an access point for transactions, an access point for many forms of monetization.  It just depends on what monetization means to your business.

One in 5 consumers are purchasing stuff via their mobile device.  Mobile advertising is also a major way of monetizing content, website positioning and such.  Google said they are going to sell $1.5 billion worth of goods and services through their mobile channel this year.


The key is to provide value and make it easier for the consumer to engage with you. I get the sense that a lot of people think mobile commerce means you have to have a credit card system available via the mobile web.  Well, not at all.  If you are offering a service via a mobile website and you don’t have mobile commerce infrastructure enabled yet, just have a button that says, ‘click here to call our call center’ and take their order that way.

Use the existing services that you have in place and integrate them into your mobile strategy in all the appropriate places.


Q:  Do you have any predictions on where things are going in terms of monetization?

The people that are getting it are recognizing that mobile is the centerpiece of their engagement strategy and it’s effective at every stage of the customer life cycle, from awareness to retention, to customer care to social media enablement.

The sky is the limit.  Engagement retail is going to be big.  But, everybody is coming out of the woodwork right now – retailers, CPG (consumer packaged goods) players, direct marketers, print guys, everybody.  They’re all getting excited and looking into it.  The ones ahead of the curve are: CPG, retail and automotive.  They are the ones leading the pack, very quickly followed up by entertainment, content publishers and healthcare.   Financial Services is also in that top 10.

Q:  How would you respond to people that say ‘no, I don’t want to be in mobile?’

A: Mobile has to be a part of the strategy simply because consumers themselves are increasingly mobile, physically mobile

We don’t change our mobile phone numbers any more.  We change our email address, change our work numbers but the mobile number goes with us.  You don’t lose touch if you have a consumer’s mobile number. Mobile is a direct and important medium and now is the time to do it.

It’s the connective glue that integrates and interacts with all your other marketing approaches.  If you’re not using mobile, you’re not taking the most efficient opportunity to engage your audience.

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