You may well have decided that mobile is the way you need to go to engage with your customers, clients and prospects, but how exactly do you go about doing that?
Well the answer lies in finding the right partners. The mobile ecosystem is a complex affair, with many players and a somewhat convoluted value chain. Its not particularly expensive, but it is hard to fathom if you don’t know what you are looking for.
So, with that in mind, here is a 101 on the mobile marketing ecosystem to help you get to grips with what you need help with and where to turn.
The first step is to look at the mobile ecosystem, to help you work out where you need help. In essence it can be broken down into four ‘strata’:
- Mobile specialty vendors
- Mobile platform providers
- Digital (interactive) agencies
- Mobile-specific agencies
Let’s take a look at what these do
Mobile specialty vendors
Mobile specialty vendors include mobile search providers, such as Google, mobile ad networks, e.g. Millennial Media, and SMS vendors, like Cellit. These providers are great for those marketers who already have their mobile strategy in place and now need advice and execution in the service provider’s particular area of expertise.
Mobile platform providers
Mobile platform providers, such as Velti and Augme, supply the underlying technology that runs mobile programs, and helps the client to optimize, measure and manage the campaign. The relationship is more likely to be wholly-owned and managed by the company’s IT department (or agency) than by the marketing department.
Agencies – of all types – are chosen by marketers who are either just getting started in mobile or are looking to expand their mobile programs, as well as those companies that routinely turn to agencies for comprehensive services. Types of agencies include
Digital (interactive) agencies
Agencies such as SapientNitro and Razorfish focus on giving marketers great experiences across all interactive media, including smartphones and tablets.
Mobile specific agencies
Mobile-specific agencies. This emerging category of agencies, which includes Punchkick Interactive, Plastic Mobile and Joule, focus on providing just the mobile piece of a marketer’s strategy.
So who do you need?
So with the above in mind, how do you work out what you need and what partner or partners are for you? Here are some basic tips.
1) Start by evaluating the mobile expertise of the existing/potential agency partners, focusing on strategy, creative, execution and measurement.
Agencies will have different levels and history of experience in the channel. Marketers should decide ahead of time how much experience the agency should have to make them comfortable with relying on that agency’s expertise.
2) You should make sure you understand the current/prospective agency’s strategic approach to mobile, and that it aligns with your vision of how you want to engage your mobile customers and create integrated digital experiences.
Are you looking to create deep experiences with your most loyal customers?
3) Demand case studies – not just examples – that prove the agency has measurable success for companies with similar objectives to their own.
You don’t just want to know that the agency has built an app for a brand, you need to know how well that app performed against the agency’s objectives.
After download, was it used a lot or abandoned? Did it move the needle on brand measures? Did it provide important info about the customer, etc?
4) Check references to determine how skilled the agency is at collaborating on mobile projects – it is common for different agencies to partner on projects; for example, where they need to bring in technical expertise.