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Mobile Musings : A Round Peg for a Round Hole

Choosing the right mobile marketing tool for the job

March 2012 By Kim Dushinski

A mobile marketer’s toolbox is full of strategies and tactics they can leverage to interact and engage with customers and prospects alike. To successfully use mobile marketing to impact your company’s bottom line, you need to choose the right tool for what you’re trying to accomplish.

Let me give you a real-life example: A friend of mine recently contacted me asking for the best way to get a mobile app built for his retail business. I’m so glad I first asked him what he wanted to do with the app, because it turns out an app would have been the wrong mobile marketing tool for him.

My friend wanted to be able to alert his customers and prospects when he sent out important emails they needed to see, such as a sale on a product they regularly order, if a certain product came back in stock, if a product was being recalled, if a new brick-and-mortar store is opening and so on. He thought a mobile app would be the right tool for this job, but an app isn’t the best tool for outbound communication with customers.

What my friend really needed was a text messaging service. Using SMS, he could build an opt-in list of customers and prospects with whom he could proactively communicate with when there was a good reason to do so.

Here’s a list of six top mobile marketing tools and what they’re best used to accomplish:

1. Mobile apps. When customers have a good reason to interact with your business repeatedly — e.g., filling a prescription at a pharmacy — an app can help you offer that functionality to them. For example, customers might use your company’s mobile app to check in each time they visit one of your brick-and-mortar stores, to track their loyalty program participation or to interact with their account.

2. Quick Response (QR) codes. There’s really just one thing QR codes (and all other types of mobile 2-D barcodes, for that matter) are designed to do: connect users with mobile content. Scanning a QR code can open a mobile website, send a text message, save contact information onto a user’s phone, launch a video, open the App Store to purchase or deliver multimedia content to a phone, among other things. When you have great mobile content you can use QR codes to entice customers and prospects to interact with it. But until you have great mobile content, QR codes aren’t the right tool.


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