Four mind-shifts you’ll need to make mobile marketing work

Mobile marketing is up-and-growing, but it’s also an entirely new ball game altogether. Many of the rules that applied to other media have to change if you have to apply them to the mobile space.

Here’re a couple of ways in which mobile is different from other media you’ve known – that you’ll do well to keep in mind.

1. Mobile targeting is different from other media

If you’re advertising on web search, you target customers by the keywords they type in. If you’re advertising on newspapers, you target customers by the regions where they stay(based on editions). Each of these needs you to think very differently.

Mobile is different – and requires a different mindset altogether. For instance, on mobile, you can target your customers by different handsets and different operators.

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Think about what kind of devices your customers are using. The users of low-end basic phones are a very different demographic compared to users of high-end sophisticated Android devices, iPhones or iPads. What devices are your best customers likely to be using?

On the same lines, would you want to target larger, national telecom operators? Or smaller, niche, regional operators? Larger players give you access to more customers – but presence on these larger players is also more expensive, and more competitive. Users of which operators do you want to target?

2. Mobile has unique interactive capabilities

The mobile medium is far more interactive than anything that’s come before it. Engaging, interactive ads using rich media can make full use of the capabilities of the mobile medium.

For instance, the possibility of dragging-and-dropping, or of tapping the screen, or of swiping a part of the screen all open up unique possibilities for designing graphics-rich ads and reaching out to users.

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When you think mobile, think of the unique capabilities of the medium and what it lets you do.

3. Mobile transactions work differently.

If you offer mobile value-added services(ringtones, subscription based alerts, paid apps, music etc.), the way you receive money is very different from the way you do in traditional media or the internet.

You typically bill your customers in two broad ways:

  1. Through app-stores if you are selling an app. Your user pays the app store, the app store pays you.
  2. Through mobile operators if you’re selling mobile value-added services. Your user gets billed by the telecom operator, you receive money from the operator.

Therefore, because the app stores and operators are typically large, anonymous entities, you have to pay careful attention to payments policies – and plan for them(for as a marketer you definitely aren’t in a position of power compared to these guys).

4. It’s early days yet

This is a good thing for most marketers. A majority of brands and advertisers aren’t active yet on the mobile medium. Which means there isn’t much competition, and the rates are cheap compared to other media. For instance, many businesses I have seen have a cost-per-lead on mobile that’s under 50% of what it is on web.

What does this mean for you as a startup, or a marketer? This is the time to get into mobile, before it gets hypercompetitive and rates shoot up.

[Shamanth Rao is the head of campaign management for APAC at InMobi (http://InMobi.com ). His writings are at http://BywayStar.com ]