Apr 05 2011

Mobile Marketing: What Small Businesses Need To Know

Category: mobile marketingTom Shivers


If you are an early adopter of technology, you already know that mobile marketing is big and it’s just begun. To get up to speed on what’s happening in this space, I had the privilege of interviewing Christina Clark, co-founder of GMBH News Mobile.

What is the biggest challenge today for businesses who want to engage prospects via the mobile internet?

Many businesses don’t know how to enter the mobile market, they don’t know from where to start, there’s no in-house know how and it’s generally very expensive to hire external contractors (at least for small businesses).

What are some of the things small businesses need to know or think through before entering mobile marketing?

  • Most of the people who use their mobile phones to access the internet belong to the 18-34 age group – this is the most active group who use their mobile phones
  • Mobile users are more responsive to ads and more likely to convert to customers
  • Mobile phones or smart phones ARE NOT computers, so a web page targeting computers isn’t supposed to look the same on a mobile device
  • 84% of Americans own a cellphone or tablet, and fully 47% get their local news on such mobile devices.
  • Tablet penetration is growing so rapidly—as quickly as any device we have seen to date
  • People almost always move with their mobile phones (Not with their computers)

So the mobile market has a huge potential, a big growing market, and customers willing to spend money on products. Missing this opportunity is almost criminal; small businesses have nothing to lose but a lot to win here.

(Data source: http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Local-mobile-news.aspx)

You mentioned that Mobile users are more responsive to ads and more likely to convert to customers, do you have any statistics on that?

My conclusions are based on experiences, articles and survey results from ABI research: mobile advertisements offer more flexibility due to features like Geo location and the portability of the device.

When you say tablet, I assume you mean devices like the iPad; at what rate of adoption growth of these devices are you seeing?

Yes, I mean tablet devices like iPads + android tablets, Kindle and others in this area. Since these devices are relatively new to the market, and apple is the market leader here with their iPad, (RIM is still trying to enter the market, but has no device yet on the market), we are seeing an 80% iPad adoption growth in the fortune 100 companies and we also know that the iPad has the fastest tech adoption rate ever. Furthermore, 70% of the iPad 2 sales went to new customers.

These numbers are mainly focused on iPads because it’s the market leader and I have better numbers here. The competition is just getting ready to enter the market and we will probably see an increasing number of new products in this area from Android Os like the motorola xoom, Blackberry with the playbook, Windows tablets, HP Touchpad tablets.

How many different devices are there and which ones are most important for small businesses to design for?

At this point, due to the market share and the user experience, I think it’s great for small businesses to design for the iPad. Furthermore, many fortune 100 companies are already betting on the iPad, and these companies generally have quite high security standards. Since the iPad has some neat advantages like the increased security that comes with iOS 4, the application level encryption, the ability to remotely wipe the device, it’s a very safe bet + the iPad has been on the market for almost 1 year and is being tested. We unfortunately can’t say the same for the Playbook and the HP WebOs alternative or windows tablet, my second recommendation here would be to go with the Android platform, it’s a very open alternative.

As for the design, we have to consider that, developing native applications (for one or each platform) is very expensive for small businesses and since almost all new devices support HTML5 and advance web technologies, the best thing to do here for small business is to use web technologies and stay open for all those devices, it is definitely the thing to do. Some advantages: flexible, cheaper, deliver the same experience as native apps, easy to implement, easy to maintain, develop once and for all, wider audience and more.

What types of small businesses can benefit the most from designing for mobile users?

First of all, all small businesses can strongly benefit from designing for mobile users, but of course you could say B2C (business-to-consumer) businesses and publishing businesses can benefit even more from mobile users as well businesses targeting the 18 to 34 year old audience.

Christina Clark is co-founder of Gmbh News Mobile services: we help publishers create and monetize mobile versions of their websites in less than 60 seconds.

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2 Responses to “Mobile Marketing: What Small Businesses Need To Know”

  1. Dana says:

    In my opinion, the future of mobile marketing is in Tablet PC, not in smart phone. It is because Tablet PC offers enough display while still good on mobile usage.
    Dana recently posted..ASUS Still Believes in Windows 7 OS for Its Tablet PCMy Profile

  2. Tom Shivers says:

    Dana, you may be right. I recently saw some data from Yahoo mobile search suggesting that tablets are hot among baby boomers and for that age group the tablet did beat the smart phone. Plus, baby boomers tend to have more $.
    Tom Shivers recently posted..Mobile Marketing- What Small Businesses Need To KnowMy Profile