Mobile Marketing Should not be Disruptive

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When I think of the promise of mobile marketing and location based services I get excited and a little bit concerned.  A couple of posts down, I talked about tweeting interrupting my experience and I think the same thing could happen with mobile marketing. For example:

You’re in the Tattered Cover bookstore and perusing the art section. You’re enjoying a book on Modern Rock Concert Posters and then you receive a notification that there is a sale on childrens books in the basement.

Now, as a marketer, you have just taken at least a 50/50 chance at annoying your potential customer. Do you know if that customer has children? You can’t know that person was thoroughly enjoying themselves or if they were killing time waiting for their spouse. This type of situation will make most businesses provide more vanilla offerings like “15% off of your overall purchase”.

. . . and that can still be annoying.

Mobile marketing should enhance the experience. It can help extend the experience. One way to do this online we do this through recording the experience (like a concert) and then allowing users to view it; reliving it. This type of extension does not work real time in the book store but other things are possible. Maybe when viewing the book on concert posters, an offer to view a YouTube video of the author speaking or one of the bands in concert, is sent to your mobile. The easiest way would be for the user to request something related to the area they are in and this goes against the concept of mobile marketing that most have have embraced but does follow the online search model which everyone is used to. Both should work. (You could do this with a QR code and when the user scanned it, the video came up.) The goal is to know what the user wants before they know.

Mobile marketing is going to have to get very smart. It’s going to have to use GPS, triangulation, a divining rod and marketers are going to need put ownership in the users hands and allow the user to turn advertising off when they want to.

Until then, no disruptions please.

By Michael Myers

I’m an Associate Teaching Professor of Digital Marketing at the Daniels College of Business, University of Denver. I also consult with startups and established brands. I’m currently focused on artificial intelligence, cognitive neuroscience and culture. I am married to an amazing woman and have two incredible children. I was raised in Colorado and spend my free time with family, cycling, snowboarding and going to the Pacific Ocean to SCUBA dive + surf. I’m passionate about architecture, design, street art, photography and the art that tattooing has evolved into.

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