It’s January and as such it’s time for everyone to cast their perspectives on the trends for mobile marketing and what they think companies and brands need to know to win in 2018.

JANUARY 24, 2018 | BY JOHN LIM

 

It’s January and as such it’s time for everyone to cast their perspectives on the trends for mobile marketing and what they think companies and brands need to know to win in 2018.

As I have been reading through some of the recent commentary these past few weeks, I came across an article – really an op-ed – on the Mediapost Agency Daily site that caught my attention entitled “Digital Marketing Trends You Need to Know for 2018.” The trends suggested in this article barely scratch the surface and perhaps need a reality check.

I don’t agree with all of Jonathan Schwartz’s suggested trends in the article and here is why:

GEOFENCING

Geofencing, or the use of GPS or RFID technology to create a virtual geographic boundary that triggers a response when a mobile device enters or leaves a particular area, is not going to be successful and never has been. If it’s not tied to a particular social media platform such as Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram, geofencing is a waste of time, energy and money because most people are not in the apps or getting notifications in the geofencing side of the world. It only works in social media.

The most important part to geofencing is your message, which should be delivered through social media. Content truly becomes king when you talk about geofencing. If it is not relevant to the event that users are at or the area that they are in, and if it is super-selfish to you and focused on selling only what you want to sell, you will come across as creepy and not natural. The test is, if it doesn’t feel organic or natural in a one-on-one human conversation, don’t do it digitally.

Do not geofence users into all different types of apps and definitely leverage the Platinum Rule. Geofence them the way they are communicating, meaning spread your wealth. Use Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and all of the marketing vehicles in front of you, not just the one that you want the most followers on. When you do that, make sure that your personalized message fits that network. Differentiate from network to network. Make sure you speak to them the way they want to be spoken to on each network. Don’t just pick the cheapest or the largest reach when it comes to geofencing. Be very strategic when it comes to this approach.

Marketers are humans too and the “I Need It Now” Society principle applies to their geofencing approach. Brands and marketers are most likely suffering from thoughts of “I need to make more sales,” “I need to know where you are,” “I need to communicate with you now,” and “I need you to click on my links immediately.” The principle they should be using and thinking about is the Just Because You Can Doesn’t Mean You Should” concept. You, as a marketer, want to make sure you are not inserting yourself at the wrong time or in the wrong way with the consumers you are trying to engage.

INFLUENCER MARKETING

Although influencer marketing has continued to grow, it needs to be considered beyond just their communities of followers. The definition of Influencer Marketing is not standard and there are many networks that claim to have this. The range is wide and depends on the area of expertise, be it a chef, physical trainer, a Kardashian or other celebrity, or a sports athlete – they are all different. There is no customary amount that you should pay an influencer or a definition of what he or she will actually do. Evaluation is important as influencer marketing continues to work only when done correctly, but be mindful of who you are paying and understand what their real influence is, not just how many people they have following them. Questions you should be asking include how many views are you going to get, and in their past posts, how many people actually clicked through and went to the product, and what were the actual results from that influencer.

For example, you might have somebody who has 2 million followers but their penetration, because they are so large, may only be 5%; whereas somebody who has 500,000 followers and whose network is so intimate with them may be able to get you more sales and more people even though their numbers are less. Don’t be fooled by the topline number. Make sure you do your due diligence and get the actual results from past influencer marketing efforts they have done.

PERSONAL ASSISTANTS AND BOTS

As for personal assistants, meaning online chats, recommendations and other digital assistance, the truth is today people want to talk less and don’t want to be on hold on the telephone anymore or read FAQs. There are more consumers than there are customer service people, and it is just natural that using personal assistants is becoming more common. I agree with Jonathan about this trend.

“I Need It Now” Society principle comes into play here too as well as “Leveraging the Platinum Rule.” The consumer could be asking the same question as an FAQ. However, FAQs are static, feel impersonal and are not live. They don’t make sense for certain questions. Today’s consumers just want to ask the question they have and get the answer. Personal assistants, bots and live chats will continue to grow, and they are super-important to the customer service aspect of this new consumer.

Don’t just invest the time and money to do this on your site, but also leverage Facebook Messenger like KIA did. They speak to the consumers through Facebook in a fashion similar to a live chat window. They built this in Facebook because that is where their consumers usually go with inquiries. KIA is a great example of the “I Need It Now” Society principle by being where their consumers are on Facebook and also “Leveraging the Platinum Rule” by building this on Facebook and speaking to their consumers there the way they want to be spoken to.

MY #1 TREND: POST-CLICK PERSONALIZATION

Let’s consider some real trends for mobile marketing this year that get to the heart of how to succeed.

The #1 trend that marketers would do better with this year and need to focus on is POST-CLICK PERSONALIZATION along with digital transparency with bringing the right people to your marketplace for 2018.

I agree with the commentaries about the personalized experience and not treating every user the same way. In life, we don’t treat people the same way every single day. The more we get to know them, the more we interact with them differently. In social media, it is the same thing. We interact with the people we trust. Typically when someone wants to connect with you via LinkedIn or Facebook, if they don’t have a picture, you won’t connect with them. You will not answer a phone call unless you know who the person is. Personalization and speaking with the people you know has continued to increase throughout mobile and social media.

Post-click, given the personalization, is incredibly important; however, it is also very difficult. To give a unique experience to millions of individuals through a single URL using information you are gathering in real time across all companies is nearly impossible. There are not enough programmers to physically do that. There needs to be a software or platform that can be used in order to do that which allows the marketer to create that experience and not be dependent on the engineer to build the experience, just like E*Trade does when it comes to the financial world. E*Trade gave everyday investors the opportunity to invest in a turnkey, efficient way and eliminate the middle man and red tape.

Along with personalization comes “I Need It Now” Society concept again, which is really important here. You not only need to personalize something to your brand and to what you want to get across, you also need to understand that if you hit the consumer in a digital medium, especially on their mobile device, make sure that the speed of the interaction and activity meets the needs of the “always connected”, dynamic consumer you are trying to reach. If the consumer wants something, he or she wants it immediately. If consumers see a picture of a sweatshirt they want on any site, get them to the checkout as quickly as possible. Don’t send them to your site to show them your other products. If you waste time, you will lose the consumer. In the personalization market, if you are selling something and not just promoting it, the speed at which your consumer is looking at your content, especially on Snapchat or Instagram where it is just a picture, is supersonic and so is their response. Get them immediately to the checkout so they can complete their purchase when they click through the picture or you risk losing them and your sale.

Content needs to be personalized because it needs to pull an emotional cord, but it should not be individualized such as “Hello, John” or “Good Morning, Joe.” While this could be construed as personal, it’s a bit too personal. Make no mistake; there is a delicate balance here and a line of demarcation marketers don’t want to cross when content becomes creepy. To personalize your content if you are going to do geofencing, marketing or put out content around a Florida hurricane, for example, make it personal to the hurricane, not to John who is suffering during or after the hurricane. Don’t make it individualized. Understand the difference between personalizing and individualizing content. It should still be general enough where it is personalized to the situation, event or the environment but not individualized to the actual person who is reading your content, even though you know all the information you want to about them.

When you personalize your content and hit users on their devices that they are super-intimate with, you need to make sure that the message is not creepy and not individualized. Keep in mind that consumers use mobile as their 6th sense.

In alignment with this is creating unique experiences post-click. To date, we have been good at generating these at the top of the marketing funnel to get them in and attract people to the brand; however, where we have lacked doing this is once they are in the funnel in the middle to the bottom of the sales and marketing process. We have great techniques for getting people to check out. For example, the first time you visit most retail sites, they will give you 10 to 25% off your purchase by signing up for their email list because they know they have already paid for you to be there. If they can successfully get you to sign up for their list, then they can market to you directly. However, they should know whether the user is already on their marketing list. The question here is: why is the brand offering 25% off if the user might just join the list anyway without it? Why not make the offer at the end of the experience instead of at the beginning of it?

HUMANIZING THE CONSUMER EXPERIENCE

In order to keep the consumer experience as human as possible, you need to bring yourself back to the 1920s as a marketer to an era when there were no mobile devices or computers. We have become dependent on marketing in the digital world because that is the world we all grew up in. You need to mentally get back to a state that is not focused on the digital world. Have a conversation with your staff and team without phones or technology and without saying we can put this out on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google, social media or whatever and figure out how to have the human conversation one-on-one. Then leverage all the digital tools to determine how you can scale that to have a one-on-one human conversation with millions of people.

When you consider “Leveraging the Platinum Rule,” and speaking to others the way they want to be spoken to, remember: people who live in Texas don’t want to be spoken to the way people in New York do. People in New York don’t want to be spoken to the way people in Arizona do. We are all in different walks of life, but our geographical location, time of day and day of the week really changes things for each consumer. You need to make sure your personalized experience handles all of that. Follow the Platinum Rule and speak to people the way they want to be spoken to. Take into account the human elements that are affecting the people around them. Stop looking at people in general marketplaces.

THE SECRET TO STAYING ON TOP IN 2018

To stay on top in 2018, “humanizing” is the word of the day. It will be thrown around like buzzword bingo. It will be the most popular word. It used to be “personalized” or “content is king.” Now the focus has turned to how we humanize the conversation.

Remember that as humans, we are creatures of habit so our instincts lead us. We are visual and verbal creatures. When you are looking to humanize an experience through a device that can show you things but not always speak to you, the idea is to make sure all of your conversations start out human-to-human and only leverage the technology to scale; otherwise any principle you follow on the way to humanizing the experience will fail.