Rachel Pasqua joined digital marketing agency iCrossing in 2005 to build the agency’s mobile division. As a digital strategist, Ms. Pasqua is interested in ambient media—the rapidly evolving interactive ecosystem that exists beyond the traditional desktop. She is a proponent of using emerging channels such as mobile, near-field communications, social media, GPS and image recognition to build strong relationships between brands and consumers.
Ms. Pasqua spoke with eMarketer about what makes for effective mobile marketing.
eMarketer: At what point in the process do marketers meet with you to discuss their needs for strategizing, building and implementing mobile campaigns?
Rachel Pasqua: At what point in the process do they or at what point in the process should they? I think almost all of them come to us sort of postfact. They’ll have everything else set up. Their site will be built or they’ll have already planned out their display campaign. They’ll have sorted everything out and then they end up tacking mobile on at the end.
eMarketer: So, somewhat like search was a couple of years ago?
“Mobile is an afterthought in campaigns, and hence it becomes more confusing, more expensive and less effective.”
Ms. Pasqua: Mobile is an afterthought in campaigns, and hence it becomes more confusing, more expensive and less effective.
In a perfect world, every brand would be addressing the mobile opportunity for every media touchpoint from the very beginning of the strategic discovery phase. Planning a Website redesign today without thinking about mobile users is a recipe for failure, or at least a recipe for a less successful site than you could have.
Most major brands, if they take a good, hard look at their site analytics, will see a significant amount of traffic coming from mobile devices—mobile devices that won’t be able to handle their desktop site to the best advantage. I think failing to take those users into account will have serious repercussions.
eMarketer: What is the process for developing a campaign? To what extent is it common across categories?
Ms. Pasqua: To a large extent, it depends on your goals and the audience you’re trying to reach. Shaping an accurate portrait of your target users is an important first step regardless of what you hope to achieve.
An essential question you need to answer is whether your audience is made up of feature phone or smartphone users. The more sophisticated your users, the more sophisticated you can get with your solutions.
I think developing a persona-based approach is the way to go—developing solid personas for your core demographics and then coming up with user journeys and figuring out which technologies to plug in based on who those users are, what types of devices they’re using, what types of media you know that they respond to.
If you are mainly addressing an audience of feature phone users, you should focus your efforts on SMS and basic WAP sites. If you have a lot of smartphone users, you can think higher-level and expand your repertoire to include apps, Bluetooth, augmented reality and image recognition.
As for business goals, a mobile Website is the first order of business no matter what your goals. Branding, direct marketing and search visibility are all enhanced by providing an optimal mobile user experience.
Think about it: If you don’t have a place to drive traffic, or if you do have a place to drive traffic that no one is going to be able to use, you’re going to lose a lot of potential customers. If your concerns are CRM, direct marketing and advertising, then SMS is your go-to solution. Apps are pretty flexible and can serve many purposes, but done right they are the best tool there is for branding.
eMarketer: From your experience, does mobile work better for certain kinds of brands or verticals than others?
“Automotive, publishing and entertainment brands have all been very successful early adopters.”
Ms. Pasqua: Brands with the most avid mobile users will have the most success with mobile. Automotive, publishing and entertainment brands have all been very successful early adopters, but remember you’re looking at companies that are using mobile for very different things.