Brands Name Their Top Mobile Myths

There is no Santa Claus. The tooth fairy isn’t real. And this is not the year of mobile.

Mobile marketing, like a lot of other digital tactics, is full of myths and misconceptions. Digiday spoke to brand executives to get a sense of what these myths and misconceptions are. The gist: Mobile is a mindset, not a technology, and consumers are using their phones for more than just social networking and playing games.

George Felix, brand manager for eBusiness, Procter & Gamble
The biggest misconception is that mobile marketing means creating an app, delivering a mobile banner ad or simply making things visible on a small screen. In reality, mobile marketing starts with understanding what your consumers are doing differently on their mobile device and then designing your brand website, social channels and marketing plans to address those insights. Since the mobile phone is the most intimate device a person owns, it is imperative that we be smart about how, when and where we choose to engage with consumers in this space. Without adding value to consumers through the mobile experience, we will most likely annoy them by intruding in a space that they feel is personal.

Edward J. Kaczmarek, director of innovation and emerging technology, Mondelez International
One is that mobile marketing is not as effective as other digital marketing. When done great, mobile marketing is one of the best ways to engage consumers closest to the point of purchase. Consumer behavior has changed dramatically over the past few years, and you don’t have to look further than the checkout line to see it play out. When consumers used to look up at product displays before checkout, now they’re much more likely to be absorbed in their phone, and that’s a major challenge for major categories of our business, from gum to candy to chocolate. So mobile marketing enables us to better connect with the mobile shopper to win in-store and in-aisle. It is also an amazing marketing vehicle to present interactive information in a relevant manner — when the consumer needs it most and it’s most impactful — whether that is using contextual or location.

Barbara Williams-Pamplin, mobile marketing global practice lead, Microsoft
The biggest misconception about mobile marketing is that due to the computing power of the current generation of smartphones and the tablet’s screen size, mobile-first experiences are not a priority. The misconception is based on the idea that viewing the “normal” Web is technically feasible on these devices, so there is no need to create experiences especially for these devices. However, that approach fails to take into consideration several facts. First, consumers don’t use all devices in the same way or for the same purpose, so content and input methodology needs are different. Also, consumers will move on to look for another source of info (competitor if necessary) if they are unable to find what they are looking for on the mobile site visited. And, lastly, a poor non-mobile optimized experience can and will negatively impact the consumer’s perception of the brand.

Steve Morse, search and mobile marketing manager, Omaha Steaks
One is that text-message marketing is the silver bullet. While SMS is a great way to reach people on the go, it’s not one-size-fits-all, and it certainly doesn’t work for every marketer. There is considerable effort in building the list to scale, and much thought has to be put into the messaging to achieve the desired action. It works better for smaller, local business than it does for the big brands. It can be powerful when used strategically, but it’s certainly not the silver bullet for mobile marketers.

Jim Cuene, director of interactive marketing, General Mills
The biggest misconception about mobile marketing is that it’s about phones and phone technology. It’s about a mindset, a user context and need states. The phone is just a tool.

Aubrey Flynn, brand content director, Ciroc Ultra Premium Vodka
The biggest myth about mobile marketing is that it’s only for a younger audience. Over 50 percent of mobile users are over 35. With expectations that the mobile Web will hit 2 billion users by 2015, outpacing desktop Internet usage, marketers will be forced to treat mobile as a top priority. Another misconception is that consumers are only using mobile for social networking and games. Nearly one third of consumers say they prefer shopping on mobile devices. Hence, we’re expecting more innovations through mobile commerce in coming years as well.

Stephanie Kovner-Bryant, former senior manager of digital marketing, Unilever
The biggest myth is around consumer “trust.” I don’t think consumers are ready to dive into mobile with their financial information. There are still concerns around security. Consumers do want to use their phones to accomplish simple tasks (utilize coupons, scan products, use as a boarding pass, etc.), but I think there is some real hesitancy when it comes to keeping their financial information on their phone and then using it in retail environments (i.e., the wallet).

Brian Maynard, Jenn-Air director of marketing, Whirlpool
Whenever new channels become available, particularly in the digital space, it is suddenly believed that this new channel is the most important. Mobile is yet another tool in the marketer’s tool box and should be used when it can support your strategy. I’ll add here that mobile discounts/coupons can be important for certain categories but not all, like some say. I find it hard to believe that if I provide a coupon because you are near one of my sales outlets that that would suddenly cause you to purchase a $7,500 range. Luxury appliances are a very considered purchases, so we spend our efforts educating consumers.

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