Getting Beyond The Hype: How To Use Mobile To Grow Your Global Business

Getting Beyond The Hype: How To Use Mobile To Grow Your Global Business

Not long ago, a study by the 60 Second Marketer found that, on a global basis, there were more mobile phone owners than there were toothbrush owners.  That may be hard to believe, but it’s true.  Equally surprising is the fact that in many Western European countries, the index for mobile phone subscriptions exceeds 100.  In other words, for every 100 people in those countries, there are 100+ mobile phone subscriptions.

In the end, whether you live in Amsterdam, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney or anywhere else around the globe, mobile is a part of your life and will remain so for a long time to come.  So, as a member of the global business community, the question becomes not whether you should use mobile to grow sales and revenues, but how you should use mobile to grow your sales and revenues.

Wrapping Your Mind Around Mobile

Learning how to leverage mobile for your business is not difficult because there are only seven primary platforms you’ll need to be familiar with.  Here’s a quick rundown of each:

  • Mobile Websites: This is a simplified and streamlined version of your desktop website that’s been designed to appeal to a mobile visitor who is using their smartphone or a tablet to connect with your brand.
  • SMS and MMS: Short Message Service and Multimedia Message Service are systems that enable brands to send texts or rich media (graphics, video, audio) to prospects and customers.
  • Mobile Apps: Not to be confused with mobile websites, these mini-software programs reside in the smartphone or tablet and can be used by brands to provide information or e-commerce with prospects or customers.
  • QR Codes: QR codes wont be around forever.  For the time being, they’re a viable way to engage customers and drive them to your mobile website.
  • Mobile Display Ads: These are also known as mobile banner ads and are also an effective way to drive new prospects to a mobile website.  You can also use “click-to-call” mobile display ads, which make it easy for prospects to call your business with the push of a button.
  • Mobile Paid Search: Identical to desktop paid search except for the fact that it’s customized for mobile.  The largest and best-known players in this field are Google and Bing in the Western Hemisphere and Baidu in China and Asia.
  • Location-Based Services (LBM): This includes services such as foursquare, SCVNGR and Yelp, all of which can be leveraged by global companies to drive traffic to their locations.  LBS service revenues in the EU 27+2 reached an estimated € 735 million and are forecasted to grow to € 2.3 billion by 2018.  In North America, revenues are forecasted to grow from almost US$ 1.8 billion in 2013 to nearly US$ 3.8 billion by 2018.

How To Get Started In Mobile Marketing

Many businesses believe that building a mobile app is the first thing they should do to launch their mobile campaigns, but that’s not actually the case.  The first step is to make sure your website is optimized for mobile.  In most cases, that means using responsive design to re-format your website content so that it’s easily-readable on a smartphone.

The odds are pretty good that your website is already optimized for mobile, so the next step is to investigate mobile paid search and/or mobile display.  These two tactics are easy to execute and can be used on both a global and a local basis.  Most global businesses will want to work with their ad agency or marketing communications firm to develop a mobile paid search or display campaign, but if you’re a do-it-yourselfer or have an internal agency, reach out to Google or Bing for the paid search portion and to a mobile ad network for the mobile display.

Targeting with mobile display is where the revolution is happening…
If you’re going to dive into mobile display, you’ll want to take advantage of its powerful targeting capabilities.  Are you interested in only reaching business travelers while they’re in airports waiting for their next flight? No problem.  How about reaching people who are walking within a 50-meter radius of one of your retail locations.  Again, no problem.  And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  Targeting with mobile display is where the revolution is happening and it’s a great place to kick-start your global mobile advertising campaign.

Once you’ve got a mobile website and you’ve launched a mobile paid search and display campaign, you can start looking into other tactics such as app development, SMS, QR codes and location based services.  Each of these tactics has their strengths and weaknesses – for example, apps are best used to reduce customer churn, not for customer acquisition – but a well-rounded mobile marketing campaign will likely use elements of each tool and technique.

In the end, as someone interested in building a global business or a global brand, there’s only one thing to remember – despite our different cultures and nationalities, we still all have one thing in common: we’re all human.  And human beings behave the same way when it comes to the brands they love.  They start by being interested in a brand, then desiring a brand, then taking action to purchase the brand.  And mobile is the perfect tool to facilitate that process.