5Qs: Author Chuck Martin on Mobile Making Life Fun

Chuck Martin describes himself as a mobile evangelist. He is the CEO of the Mobile Future Institute. His new book, The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile, will be available on May 16.  Here Martin shares his views on how companies on both sides of the value equation ought to approach mobile marketing. Follow him on Twitter @chuckmartin1.
What makes a successful app? And is it different than what makes a successful mobile webpage?
An app should make life easier, cheaper or fun. Even better if it does more than one of those. Examples of making life easier are service-oriented apps that provide value, such as locations of stores or restaurants around a consumer with reviews and ratings from people who have been there. Examples of making life cheaper are barcode scanning apps that provide comparative price information based on the consumer’s location or those that identify the lowest-price gas based on location. Making life fun would include games, such as the classic Angry Birds. Mobile websites are typically more oriented to providing specific content or services from a particular company or brand, and are less specific.
What factors should companies consider when developing a mobile marketing strategy?
They first should determine what they expect to achieve, standard marketing, really. What is the value proposition? What value or service does the company expect to provide, what customer problem does it address and why would the customer want or use it? The other obvious factor is determining what types of phones the customers have and what are they doing with them. For example, if the majority of customers are active smartphone users, an app could fit into the tactical approach. But if the majority are not, then apps are a waste of resource, since the customers won’t be able to use them. The most significant factor is internal, that is, how will the company execute. An example of internal failings would be a great app created by a company to provide discounts to the best shoppers at checkout and the people at the store — those who do the actual checkout — are not properly trained in how to identify or cash in the reward when presented a phone at checkout. With mobile strategy, one of the biggest challenges is in all-the-way-through execution.
How can marketers take full advantage of location-based marketing without making consumers feel as if they are being watched or having their privacy invaded?
This gets back to the issue of value. People have to first opt-in, so the approach is not really pushed to the customer but rather pulled by the consumer. The value proposition has to be clearly stated to the customer, so that the customer agrees in advance to accept offers and has a clear understanding of what those offers might be and has the ability to easily stop them at any time. The company needs to first determine the barrier to entry, that is, what it will take for a customer to want such messages based on location. The customer also has to be able to essentially make themselves invisible whenever they want, such as by easily disabling the location tracking. All this being said, it will take some time before the idea of location-based marketing is accepted across the board. Mobile consumers will have to see the value their friends and neighbors receive by it and then they will sell the concept to each other. But it is going to be very, very big.
Now that digital subscriptions for magazines are available to smartphone and tablet users, what will the correct strategy be for publishers as they consider the value of advertising in those publications? 
As in the introduction of any new medium, the first phase involves moving what was done in the old medium onto the new one. Think banner ads at the beginning of the Web. The first Web ads were actually paper-based ads simply copied onto the Web. The next phase is for features of the new medium to be capitalized on. Think YouTube. The same is happening in mobile. Advertisers and publishers approach with the same ideas and metrics, such as what is the price of an ad in print and what is the price of an ad on a phone or a tablet. That will evolve so that there ultimately will not be a comparable porting of something from one medium to another. Rather than debating the price of a magazine ad versus a tablet ad, we should be thinking of engagement factor of the interaction with the consumer via a tablet initiated by content from an advertiser. Tablets and smartphones provide significantly more capabilities than presenting a static advertising page to a reader, and this will evolve nicely.
In what ways is successful online marketing different from and similar to successful mobile marketing?
The similarity is that both are interactive and neither is a broadcast medium, per se. The big differentiators with mobile are the addition of time and location. The mobile consumer is untethered, not tied to the PC based on where it is located. And the untethered consumer has new expectations that are evolving as they see more and more capabilities from their smartphones. This changes when a consumer wants to be marketed to and where. A mobile consumer may want specific information from a company right at the purchase decision time standing in front of a particular product. The company that does not prepare to provide that information to the mobile consumer will be extremely disadvantaged. Mobile is the ultimate empowering device for a consumer.

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