The strategist's view: Mobile first marketing - the 2014 digital challenge


Smart watches, flexible screens, geo-targeting and Google Glass - we know what the mid-term future looks like, and it couldn't get more exciting. So why is the present such a mess for most brands when it comes to "mobile first marketing"? Danny Meadows-Klue, President of the Digital Training Academy, explains why in the rush to innovate, most firms missed out on what was already mainstream.

Danny Meadows-KlueThree years ago I was in a mall in Shanghai where a brand manager was explaining to me how their new sexy mobile marketing would revolutionise the grocery store experience. As the shopper took out her phone and viewed the in-store landscape, it would be transformed through a layer of data and messages that the brand would deliver to her. The only problem? She didn't download virtual reality apps, there was no compelling benefit in the call to action, and the final stumbling block was that she only had a simple featurephone that would never support the technology. It was technology ahead of its time.

And that's the challenge with 'mobile-first'. It's about using the relevant mobile tools in the right way for the customer.

At one end of the spectrum a brand like Nike can turn my iPhone into a sports tracking tool and get me using Nike shoes (and sensor chips) for the next 10 years; families in Poland can get the best recipe ideas pushed to them daily by the Knorr recipe app (; doctors can remind patients to take their medication thanks to pharmaceutical apps, and even local restaurants can push last minute offers to any consumer looking through the location-based deals tools.

But for most brands, mobile is where the web was in the late 90s: websites that don't work, search engines that don't find them, videos that don't play properly, and posts in social media that don't get seen.

In mobile first, the real 2014 digital challenge is simply fixing the basics. So here are some tips from the team to help your brand get the basics in place.

Identify the challenge for your mobile first marketing

Think about your customer and look at your business through their eyes. Look again at your search, websites, CRM, social and content on the real handsets of your real audience – you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Use this to identify the pain points, and fix the basics before aiming for the stars.

Mobile first? Fix the basics.

· Get found in search: If you have a paid search campaign running, then ensure it runs on mobile. Consider improving the effectiveness by location based targeting, or focussing on relevant times of day or days of the week – focusing precious budgets on where they will deliver the best results.

· Fix the website experience: Fully optimised experiences should be the norm for all new site launches, and the simpler “responsive design” used to quickly fix the existing sites at low cost. Check the size of your pages and the download speed at the same time to ensure people who are not on the same fast connection as you are not forgotten.

· Tighten the customer’s journey: Look at your website on the small screen and tightly prioritise the options based on where people might want to go.

· Check the social feeds: Review your images and copy inside the relevant apps like Facebook’s to find ways to improve the experience of the viewer.

· Explore interactive voice response: For developed and emerging markets where the mainstream audiences are usually on simple mobile phones, tools like interactive voice response remain a game changer for any digital marketing ecosystem

Track performance

Use the analytics to find out who is visiting you and what types of mobiles they’re using. Then turn the traffic details into a scorecard to track progress over time.

Getting an existing digital ecosystem sharpened up to perform well on mobile should be a quick win. Once that’s in place brands can tap into the social media generation's hunger for bite-sized content, fuelling their conversations through Vines and Instagram. Marketers can leverage their position of strength to then unlock the missing link between online and offline behaviour. Google’s mobile tracking in-store, NFC, Apple's iBeacon and mobile coupons will have a big impact in the mid-term, but for most marketers today the big wins in mobile first are simply completing what they already started in building their laptop-centric digital ecosystems.

Danny Meadows-Klue is the founder of the Digital Strategy Consulting group that advises brands and companies on their social media strategy. He is a Commissioner for the regulation of marketing in the UK, and President of the Digital Training Academy where his team train marketers on best practice for digital marketing, and design processes for organisations using digital channels. You can reach him at

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