The Reason Why Email Marketers Think Mobile Marketing is Stupid–and Why They are Wrong.

Being in mobile for a decade, I have heard it all, especially from those who think mobile marketing is stupid. There is a common theme among companies that believe mobile marketing is intrusive. I speak with prospects all the time that have either tried mobile and said it was not successful or won’t try it because they feel their customers will get upset. After asking a number of questions about what went wrong or drilling down to what their fears are, I almost always come to the same conclusion:  there is a big misconception about how mobile should be managed and, guess what, it all starts with email.

SMS costs money, and 95% of SMS messages are read within four minutes–two facts that can bring together a horrible user experience if not executed properly. Almost every company looking at mobile is an email marketer, and I know email marketers are jaded because of their experience with email and realizations about spam. 72% of the 320 billion emails sent on a daily basis are spam, so who could blame them? Most companies don’t understand email best practices and, as a result, they have felt the burn of user complaints, poor open rates, getting blocked, and ending up on blacklists. Legitimate companies are not spammers; they are generally just ignorant. They don’t realize that you should not upload a list that has not been sent to in two years or fail to confirm an email address upon opt in.

So back to those who think mobile marketing is stupid. Mobile is very different from email and it has to be done right. I like to help people understand that if your strategy was to build the largest email database possible, then mobile needs to be about building a database of your best and most loyal customers. Mobile is about loyalty–period. Those who are willing to have their day interrupted as their pockets buzz are going to be your best customers. If you have the email marketer mentality of “batch and blast,” mobile is going to be a disaster for you. However, if you learn to treat mobile as a totally different type of channel, it can be truly successful. With mobile, there is a new set of best practices and they are different from email.

Your first approach to a mobile strategy should be to offer something only available via the mobile phone. The incentive should be good and be the only place your customer can take you up on your offer. I am sure most of you have been to a nightclub before. Ever been in line when someone walks right past you up to the front of the velvet ropes and right into the club? He or she is what is known as a VIP. This is how you should treat your mobile club. They are VIPs that can get exclusive updates, offers, and content only available in the mobile channel. Make it exclusive and make it appealing. Make sure when you are opting people into your database, you not only get them to respond “YES” to join, but you manage their expectations with the types of messages they will get, how often they will get them, and how they can opt out.

If I was to tell you that by sticking to this very basic strategy you could build a solid database of loyal customers who will not only not be mad at you but will look forward to your messages, would you still be afraid?

Of course, your mobile database is not going to be as big as your email database, but is that important? Answer this:   which is a bigger return –a call-to-action that sees a 20% take on a mobile database of 3,000, or a 5% take on an email database of 10,000 people?   If you guessed the mobile database made you more money, you guessed correctly.  Time and time again mobile has a higher response rate.  Let’s take a look at the reasons why:

  1. 95% of cell phones have SMS capabilities and 87% of the population has a cell phone.
  2. You can reach someone no matter where they are.
  3. 95% of text messages are read within 15 minutes.
  4. There are virtually no delivery issues with SMS. If you send it, they will get it, and right into their inbox.
  5. All mobile clubs should have a double opt in so you cannot sign up anyone but yourself. The subscriber takes the action of responding with a “YES.”
  6. 33% of email addresses change on a yearly basis, but with number portability (the ability to take a number from carrier to carrier), people are ditching their home phones and keeping their cell phone number for life.

Shall I continue?

These six stats alone should perk up the ears of any marketer who doubts the power of mobile. Think about the value of a phone number; it’s like having your customer’s IP address. What other channel can you say that about? People move, people get fired, people leave their email account for another because of spam, people are getting rid of their home numbers. But what stays consistent? If you said mobile, put a little gold star on the fridge. It goes with your customer for life wherever he decides to go. Deep, huh?

Those who think mobile marketing is stupid only do so because they treat it like email and don’t understand that mobile is about loyalty. They think that if they cannot have a database of half a million people, it’s not worth it. They don’t have email best practices down so, of course, they are going to screw up mobile best practices. If you want to make it work you can–you just need a plan and someone to help shine the light on the path ahead.

Mobile marketing is stupid, but only for people who make it stupid.

 

20 Responses

  1. Brett says:

    Great article Jared. We are moving into the mobile space and front in center is how to position it (anecdotes and real case studies on how smart marketers use it). Simple is better, along with the VIP concept nails it.

    Speaking of simple, just yesterday, I was bringing daughters to see MJ's movie. In line was a text ABC to # and get a free popcorn. It was a no-brainer to me, especially as movie food prices are, as we all know, absurd.

    The moment was – I am right there in line, I have my phone on me, I can save instantly. Pretty simple.

    Keep up the good work,

    Brett

  2. bitflung says:

    i made it halfway through this article and had to stop. i see 3 fundamental flaws:

    1. first you state, "95% of SMS messages are read within four minutes" and later you state, "95% of text messages are read within 15 minutes". at this point i assume all of your statistics are actually bogus made up numbers – and the only real juice in your article is ABOUT your stats.

    2. copied, again verbatim, from above, "Answer this: which is a bigger return –a call-to-action that sees a 20% take on a mobile database of 3,000, or a 5% take on an email database of 10,000 people? If you guessed the mobile database made you more money, you guessed correctly." IF I GUESSED MOBILE??? GUESS?? how stupid do you think your readers are? can't do 20% and 5% calculations instantly? that's, what, 3rd grade math? am i weird for reading this sentence, doing the math as i read, and then feeling underestimated by the supposition that i would have GUESSED? why not give the numbers? 20% of 3000 is 600. 5% of 10000 is 50. at this point you sound like a used car salesman to me, or worse a religious nutter trying to convince me that jesus is pissed off.

    3. ok, sort of reverse order here, right? #1 was my final straw, #2 was actually the second thing i noticed. but this, #3, was my first issue: STOP! DON'T DESTROY MOBILE LIKE YOU !@#$ BASTARDS DID WITH EMAIL! seriously, just because you CAN do something doesn't mean you SHOULD. people don't want advertisements. we don't. do the opposite. buy advertising slots and fill them with silence. need to claim responsibility? fine. put your logo in the corner of the TV screen or something and a message "this advertisement intentionally left blank". on mobile? how about NOT wasting my precious SMS plan? or my precious BATTERY? or my precious TIME? how about NOT ADVERTISING on mobile? seriously – if i get an advert on my mobile i'm liable to go black-hat bastard computer engineer on the company behind it. not the company whose crap is being pushed, but rather the advertising consultancy who failed to convince their client this would be a bad bad thing.

    please. JUST STOP.

  3. Jared Reitzin says:

    Brett I was checking out your company, very cool! How many employees do you have? I love the titles. You guys have been in business as long as we have, its strange I have never ran into you guys, kudos on the site, it looks very nice. So you are getting in the mobile space huh? Are your customers asking for it or do you just know you can make money from it?

  4. Jared Reitzin says:

    bitflung, you ok bud? You seem hurt.

  5. Brett says:

    Hi Jared,

    We had a stealth early period and an interesting way we came about and "went public". Our business changed after 5 years and frankly we evolved as an ESP. We've grown organically and are now hitting the ground running. Things are great and we're loving it. We're looking at mobile because we see an opp and customers are asking. Love to get a friendly perspective from someone in the biz.

    It'd be good to chat some time. Feel free to shoot me an email. Love what you guys are doing and have more compliments for you.

    Brett

  6. Brett says:

    Hi Jared,

    We had a stealth early period and an interesting way we came about as we "went public" really in the past 5 years. Our business changed frankly we evolved as an ESP. We've grown organically and are now hitting the ground running. Things are great and we're loving it. We're looking at mobile because we see an opp and customers are asking. Love to get a friendly perspective from someone in the biz.

    It'd be good to chat some time. Feel free to shoot me an email. Love what you guys are doing and have more compliments for you.

    Brett

  7. Kev says:

    @bitfling

    LMFAO Are you kinding me?
    "how stupid do you think your readers are? can't do 20% and 5% calculations instantly? that's, what, 3rd grade math? am i weird for reading this sentence, doing the math as i read, and then feeling underestimated by the supposition that i would have GUESSED? why not give the numbers? 20% of 3000 is 600. 5% of 10000 is 50."
    You must be stupid because 5% of 10000 is 500 not 50 lol.

  8. Jared Reitzin says:

    I wasn't even going to go there

  9. [...] really like that line.  It was the last line of a brilliant blog post    about the overabundance of stupidity in the mobile space.  It’s from Jared Reitzin, the CEO [...]

  10. [...] really like that line.  It was the last line of a brilliant blog post  about the overabundance of stupidity in the mobile space.  It’s from Jared Reitzin, the CEO [...]

  11. Ollie says:

    Hi Jared,

    A good read I must say. We are always looking for little gems of info to share with our customers to help them out.

    It echoes a lot of the same principles as in your article, good to see other people on the same page when it comes to SMS marketing!

    keep it up!

    Ollie

  12. Jared Reitzin says:

    Thanks Ollie. Sorry I had to edit your comment, we don't allow external links to competing providers.

  13. Hi Jared,

    Thanks for an informative post.

  14. Hi Jared,

    Great post, thanks so much for such excellent intel, really helpful for me. I'm now venturing into the mobile realm after acquiring a handle on search marketing, after a past life as a journalist.

    I have a blog myself: http://Blog.DesignatedEditor.com that attempts to demystify SEO and social media. It takes a lot of work to create a blog that other people value, @bitflung!

    Thanks again Jared,
    Suzanne
    PS sorry for the double entry, a little to quick with the return key :)

  15. naomi says:

    Well put! Technology aside, the "spam" designation is our target audience's punishment for a poorly executed campaign.

  16. Jared Reitzin says:

    Bitflung I point out both stats because I have seen both stats and who knows which one is right. As a mobile company I always want to think that the best stat is the right one but you never know. I personally check SMS messages within 10 seconds and most people I know do within a minute.

    Your other stuff I can't really comment on, but I can tell you that Jesus is definitely not happy with you right now. He just text me and told me so.

  17. Susan says:

    Superbly said!

  18. Pushkaraj says:

    Excellent article & very well explained!

  19. Harry Hackim says:

    A very powerful article!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  20. Jun Sabijon says:

    interesting perspective, thank you for the article

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