Choosing a Mobile Vendor: 4 Keys to Selecting the Right Mobile Marketing Vendor
Rita Chang, an editor at Advertising Age, insightfully wrote that approaching mobile marketing as an extension of the online channel is dangerous. For her, "winning in mobile requires special expertise." She's exactly right — provided the definition of "expertise" expands beyond the confines of the dangerous niche-driven vendor landscape direct digital marketing has been subjected to since the 90s.
Direct digital marketing is broken up into three primary channels: email, mobile and web. And marketers, for some reason, love silos. Therefore, rather than approach direct digital marketing holistically from the beginning — with the consumer as the centerpiece — a fragmented vendor landscape has emerged, forcing marketers down a less efficient, more time-consuming path.
Today's mobile marketing landscape is dangerously close to running headfirst into the path others stumbled down in the 90s, creating a marketplace where vendors divvy up niche capabilities and force marketers to engage several specialists at once. Marketers, however, have the power to prevent history from repeating itself — and simultaneously gain immense efficiencies.
Since marketers now have complete control, it's extremely important to be armed with the right information when it comes to choosing a mobile vendor. With a firm grasp on history in tow, here are four tactics cross-channel retailers must consider when selecting a mobile marketing partner:
Tactic No. 1: Demand your mobile partner understands each mobile channel.
When retailers are in meetings talking about mobile marketing, they're generally discussing one of three concepts: SMS (text messages), the mobile web or apps. The right mobile partner acknowledges these channels and celebrates their differences with an informed background, the kind that can only be developed from experience with each concept.
Of course tactical execution is important, but strategy comes first. A holistic approach from your mobile partner ensures your strategy is tactically agnostic and tailored to specific business needs and goals. If the goal of a mobile campaign is to encourage retail customers to use their phone as an in-store guide, for example, it's likely that SMS isn't tactically viable. Marketers' goals must not be beholden to the limitations of a vendor's understanding. The more capabilities a vendor has, the better partner they are for the short and long term.