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A 3 Step plan for creating a mobile marketing strategy

Author's avatar By Simon Swan 24 Sep, 2014
Essential Essential topic

Planning a mobile marketing strategy

'The year of mobile’ has been quoted many times over the past 5 or even 10 years as organisations tentatively decide if this will be the year to invest in their mobile proposition. A recent study by comScore suggests the dawn of mobile marketing becoming a mainstream channel is finally upon us with a recent report claiming that mobile usage (combining mobile web browsing and mobile apps) accounts for 60% of time spent consuming digital media compared to 40% via desktop. This suggests the importance of creating a mobile marketing strategy and in this post I will highlight some key components of this and case studies to illustrate where a mobile strategy has been implemented.

The chart below enhances this significant change in media platform usage since May 2013 to June 2014, displaying a fundamental shift to mobile browsing:

Mobile 1

Source: comScore

Not only has mobile browsing disrupted the digital landscape, the chart below sheds some more insights into how users interact with their mobile devices to support their daily needs for media consumption such as interacting with their mobile for gaming, weather, maps, social networking and photo content.

Mobile 2

Source: comScore

This in turn has seen the creation of brands specifically geared to the mobile user, such as social media platform Twitter where it estimates that 75% of its 220 million users are accessing the site via mobile devices.

Planning your mobile marketing strategy with this 3 Stage Framework

When planning your mobile marketing strategy, there are a number of insights and research methods you should consider planning your strategy around by gathering both quantitative and qualitative research. Below is an actionable 3 stage framework to help you understand the opportunities in creating a mobile proposition. For a more detailed approach, see the Smart Insights members guide to Creating a mobile marketing strategy.


 Step 1 - Research the Market

  • Analytics

Measuring how effective you are engaging and driving reach through other digital communications channels is essential in order to understand which channels need to be resourced and invested in as well as potential opportunities to exploit depending on the objectives you are trying to achieve.

Your mobile proposition may not be at the stage of defining specific objectives but focusing on your analytics can provide you with some insights into how your existing users are interacting with your brand through mobile. There are a ton of analytics insights that can be uncovered

To kickstart your reporting, here are a few analytics reports to consider:

  • Entry page visits, total visits, total page views, pages per visit, average visit duration, single page visit. Simple analytics metrics can provide a general position on the organisational health check of your business. You should split out smartphone and tablet traffic using Advanced Segments in Google Analytics.  This will tell you how the volume and quality of your interaction varies on mobile devices and so provide you with an opportunity to develop a SWOT analysis on your current position.
  • Countriesby user, provides insights to the make-up of your current audience interacting with your digital brand and could well provide you with opportunities to enhance your international vision through the use of mobile.
  • On site search – insights into how users are interacting with your mobile device through further search on specific content themes.
  • Traffic referrers – who is already linking to your content and more importantly, who you can further enhance strategic relationships with.
  • Browsers – How users are interacting with your current mobile proposition and what browsers should be considered for future planning.
  • PlatformsWhat are the platforms of choice for your current audience – a good metric to provide you with a simple gaps and opportunities appraisal of your current mobile proposition.
  • Activity by day of the week/time of the week.
  •  Competitor analysis

Who are the competitors operating within the mobile marketplace? There are a number of different factors to consider but a competitive analysis framework would feature:

  • Platforms your competitors are focused on
  • Keyword ranking
  • Optimised for search engines
  • USP- differ between desktop and mobile proposition?
  • Content marketing
  • Desktop v Mobiles – what content has been focused on in their mobile proposition.
  • Competitor objectives

Smart Insights have produced a handy framework known as the RACE model (Reach, Act, Convert, Engage) to provide a more structured approach to creating a competitor analysis for your industry

Mobile 4

Source: Smartinsights  

Step 2. Know your audience a handy tool providing smartphone adoption and usage across 48 countries providing you with the ability to gain insights into specific markets you may operate. Below is an example comparison chart on smartphone penetration levels by age for a select number of countries.

Mobile 5

  • Personas and Scenarios

Access to persona classification models such as mosaic profiling helps to provides you with a snapshot of your existing digital audience in greater detail so to understand how to drive the right content and engagement.

Example: Nationwide car insurance provides a great example of understanding their audience by creating an app that was geared to assist customers who have just been in a car accident, informing users with a handy step by step guide on what needs to be done after the accident.

Bringing to life the personas is essential to get buy-in from across the organisation by creating a scenario on how a persona could be interacting with your brand proposition. Scenarios are examples of how they may interact with your mobile proposition in terms of an activity, location and time of day – it helps to create a contextual landscape on how an individual could be using your product or service.

  • Welcome to Generation C

It’s no longer about Generation Y or Generation Z where organisations traditionally classified groups of populations by year of birth, age, economic factors and use of technology, we are now serving the 'connected generation' where it isn’t about age any longer but more about how the connected generation would interact with your mobile proposition. Mobile apps platform Localytics conducted a survey where 'Sixty four percent of people with a smartphone and tablet expect a company to offer a mobile-friendly experience and 42% expect to find a mobile app'

Step 3. Identify a USP

Creating a USP provides you with a differential advantage over your competitor’s products, service and brand within the market place and an opportunity to build on something that’s unique and remarkable within the sector.

Completing a competitor analysis will provide you with potential gaps and opportunities for your brand to exploit with their mobile proposition and help you understand how your proposition can stand out from the 'noise' of the market.

  • Introducing Utilitarianism marketing (UM) – according to Fast Company UM is about 'providing would-be customers with something useful while also delivering your marketing message'

It’s estimated that 1 in 4 apps are never used again after being downloaded indicating how cluttered mobile app stores are and how many apps built are not catering to their audience or creating a value added proposition. UM is a tactic that focuses on creating something your customers would want to use every day and more importantly, drives a reason for customers to want to use your brand every day.

  • Create a Brand Differentiation framework: Blue Ocean Strategy: 'The aim of a blue ocean strategy is not to out-perform the competition in the existing industry, but to create new market space or a blue ocean, thereby making the competition irrelevant'.

Brands need to focus on creating a blue ocean strategy, defined as an untapped market space where competition is irrelevant. The issue many brands have is they are all competing in a market place with little differentiation between the brand proposition, known as the red ocean (head to head competition) where the need to differentiate is required (either through pricing or product range) The chart below provides the main differences between a red and blue ocean:


Source – Adapted from 

Case Study: Charmin

A great example of this is from the Proctor & Gamble brand, Charmin with their 'Sit or Squat' app. This aim is to inform you of a public toilet based on the location service on your mobile device.


Charmin have developed something completely unique within their market, tailored to their audience and which provides users a level of interaction on a daily basis whilst driving brand awareness.

The year of the mobile has arrived, we’re shifting to a One Screen World where the only important screen we should be concerned about is the screen our customer is interacting with our brand through, summarised nicely by the below graph which indicates the range of screens we interact with:



Mobile should be treated as just another technology to interact with customers, knowing your audience and knowing the opportunity the technology offers to deliver a successful mobile marketing strategy.

In this Case Study from  USA Today operates in a crowded digital market space competing on audience share and visit traffic to drive advertising and sponsorship opportunities. The objective was to build the organisation’s digital audience.


As well as creating a standalone digital brand to drive this campaign, USA Today realised from analytics insights, 75% of their traffic was from mobile and minimal traffic visited the homepage.

To meet their objective, USA Today focused on mobile content delivered in bite-sized chunks of 300 words basing the articles on social media channels, lists and features short reads and infographics.

Brands need to create a reason for customers to engage with your brand on a daily basis and to help create a point of differentiation. It’s about understanding your audience, what your existing analytics is telling you about your audience and what opportunities exist within the market you compete in to delight your existing customers and entice new audiences through your mobile proposition.

Author's avatar

By Simon Swan

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