I am a software guy. And like many people who create software, I seek out patterns. In software, design patterns are akin to templates that can be applied to situations and tasks, to better understand the situation and to design solutions. To this day, one of my favorite books on software is Design Patterns: Elements of Reusable Object-Oriented Software, known colloquially in the software community as the “Gang of Four” Design Pattern book.
The first is way in which Amazon is enabling consumers to scan products in stores with their mobile devices to get their online price. The second is Starbucks initiative to enable their customers to pay for their coffee via mobiles. And the third is the geo-targeted and content-targeted advertising that YouTube has developed specifically for mobile devices.
I would like to extend Amy’s models to the “pattern” concept described above. As I see it, the three models map to three broader marketing patterns.
In this pattern, the mobile device acts as a tool to bring customers closer to the brand/business. The Amazon Price Check app that Amy referred to is a good example. Other examples include the Ikea Catalog app that lets users scan pages in the print catalog to get additional information about specific items. The Homes.com Real Estate Search app lets users search nearby homes for sale and rent and connect with real estate professionals.
As you can see, in this pattern businesses offers some handy tools for their consumers to bring them closer. This pattern will be more applicable to large scale e-commerce retailers with high-volume inventory and high-touch goods. In terms of the marketing funnel, this pattern applies to the mid-funnel activities. It would be appropriate to apply this pattern if a customer already aware of a specific brand and the brand wants to bring the customer closer.
As consumers are becoming more comfortable with buying things using their mobile devices they tend to perform more transactions using mobile device/apps. Businesses provide apps to make this interaction easy and convenient. The Starbucks App is a good example. Other examples include:
In this pattern, the customer is not only brought closer to the brand, but is also made to transact with them. In the marketing funnel, this pattern corresponds to bottom of the funnel. This pattern applies to anyone who is trying to sell something through their mobile channel.
In this pattern businesses push (relevant) materials to users in order to increase awareness and increase brand affinity. Most mobile advertisements fall under this pattern. Many brands also build apps to push content to their customers. Examples include:
- Banner ads served by different ad networks
- Apps that provide “fun” content, such as the Virtual Zippo Lighter app
- The Magic Coke Bottle app
In terms of marketing funnel, this will apply to the top of the funnel activity. Brands push messages to increase the awareness amongst their potential customers.
Of these three patterns, which ones would I put my biggest bets on?
Based on the way mCommerce is trending, i see that most of the retailers will soon start providing mobile apps with transactional capabilities. And business will continue their spend on advertisements and pushing content. So I would double down on Transactional and Push patterns.
But there’s an even more important question for marketers: How can you leverage these patterns?
Splitting a mobile marketing budget, some might think the easiest way to proceed is to split the spend equally on each pattern, as shown below:
But as I just pointed out, I believe there will be tremendous growth in the transactional patterns. Further, there will be many more mobile channels to push your marketing content. So, if I were in your shoes, my allocation would be as follows:
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