If driving customer loyalty is a major business goal, the answer might be yes.

Is It Time to Try Mobile?

If you keep up with technology news, you’re probably well aware that the mobile space is heating up. Recent acquisitions by Apple (Quattro Wireless) and Google (AdMob) as well as the introduction of Apple’s new iPad device and its astronomical ad price tags (in the $1-$10 million range at launch) have drawn significant attention to mobile advertising. If you’re like many of the executives I speak with, you may be asking yourself – is it time to try mobile?

As with any new technology initiative, it’s important to first take a look at your business goals to better weigh the costs and benefits of adopting any given technology.

For example, comScore recently announced the results of a study on brand loyalty which found that customer loyalty is a major issue for many consumer goods and products. Specifically, there has been a steady decline in brand loyalty over the past two years.  Due to the economic recession, brand names have lost out to lower priced goods. If you find yourself in this boat, mobile marketing might be a good option for you, as it has proven to increase customer loyalty through engagement while offering customers coupons and discounts.

Many consider their mobile phone to be their most personal device. It’s something most of us carry nearly all the time, and use to connect with people and information that is important to us. According to CTIA- The Wireless Association, 89 percent of the U.S. population, more than 276 million people, have mobile phones. What’s more, these people are using their devices for more than just calls – CTIA also found that 1.25 trillion SMS messages were sent in 2008 and Nielsen reports that mobile Web usage has grown to nearly 57 million users as of July 2009.

A  Hipcricket Mobile Marketing Survey found that 37 percent of consumers said they would be interested in participating in a mobile customer loyalty program from a brand they trust. The same survey found that 83 percent of the respondents noted that their favorite brand does not currently market to them via their mobile phone, showing that the opportunity is there for brands to take advantage.

There are many entry points into mobile marketing and advertising. They range from simple initiatives like SMS text-to-win campaigns to overall holistic integrated mobile programs which include everything from SMS to WAP sites to display and banner ads to branded mobile applications. When deciding which techniques to employ, it’s important to go back to your business goals. Properly identifying your customers and prospects, as well as their technical-level will help to better determine which mobile channels will be the best fit.

Mapping your target audience back to your business goals will help you round out your mobile strategy. For example if you run a consumer packaged goods company, and your business goal is to increase trial of your products, then an SMS coupon campaign would be a great start. However, if you run a luxury goods company and your goal is increased engagement and continued interactions, then a mobile application might be the right choice.

So, is it time to try mobile? With the wide breadth of mobile marketing and advertising technology available to choose from coupled with mobile’s wide reach and unmatched ability to engage customers, the answer may very well be yes.