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Taking B2B Marketing Mobile: The Pitfalls and Payback

Mobile marketing for B2B is one of the newest marketing channels yet, according to the 2011 B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, it ranks second only to whitepaper downloads for growing B2B email lists – even though only 48% of the B2B companies responding have a mobile version of their website.

“As more businesses target marketing to mobile, I expect even better results,” says Meghan Lockwood, MECLABS research analyst.

She will be moderating a panel discussion, Integrating Mobile Campaigns for the Complex Sale, at the MarketingSherpa B2B Email Summit this Wednesday in Las Vegas.  I caught up with her to preview the discussion and reveal what she expects to be some key takeaways.

“There’s an immediacy to mobile that captures an audience as they move through their day, especially busy executives. However, before investing in mobile marketing it’s critical that you thoroughly know your funnel and your key value proposition, and how mobile can advance that,” she warns. “You must be very strategic because marketing to mobile users isn’t inexpensive or easy; you have to code for viewing content on every platform you are targeting – from Droids to iPads – and codes vary by operating system. You have to know what your audience is using and how they’re using it to make sure the investment pays back.

“However, as you can see from the results of the B2B Marketing Benchmark Report, companies are already using mobile to inform and support other marketing channels, and are getting great results,” points out Lockwood. “Considering less than half of B2B marketers are embracing mobile, there is real opportunity for those who know how to strategically use it. After all, the first to engage a customer through a new channel is often the one who makes the greatest impact.”

She will expand on these thoughts with panelists Nick Fuller, Director of Strategy & Analytics, eDialog; Josh Herman, Vice President of Product Strategy, Acxiom Corporation; Kate Williams, Consultant to T-Mobile, and R.J. Talyor, Director of Product Marketing, ExactTarget. The conversation will include:

Integrating mobile with other channels. “Complex sales have a longer gestation period and some are very content-based; which requires nurturing and repetitive touches with content like newsletters and whitepapers,” says Lockwood. Reading them on a small screen can be next to impossible, so she advises giving prospects the option to forward the content to their tablet or laptop for review later.

Analyzing existing customers’ usage. “For a few companies, creating an app that can make their customers’ jobs easier, such as ordering inventory immediately from a job site, could create powerful brand engagement. These organizations will literally be at their customers’ fingertips all of the time. Of course, I can’t emphasize enough that you must make sure your audience will use an app before taking the time and money to develop it.” Lockwood points out. “However, mobile is a great tactical tool for learning more about your customer – technology can track location, phone type, links clicked, time spent on content, and more.”

Knowing what your audience is seeing. “You must have first-hand understanding of the full user experience,” insists Lockwood. “Test your mobile marketing campaigns on yourself. Know how long they take to load. Know what your email looks like on mobile. After all, according to Return Path, that’s how almost a quarter of your audience is seeing it – they say that 23% of all email is viewed using a mobile device.”

Testing. “Mobile marketing is still in its infancy, so it’s smart to begin with a clear objective and measure its effectiveness in achieving it,” she notes. “For instance, at the Summit, Silverpop is having a contest leveraging its new PlacePunch platform. Attendees who check in via mobile from certain locations and activities can win an American Express gift card. They’ll get an introduction to PlacePunch and Silverpop will build their list.

“Best practices will emerge over time. In the meantime, be strategic about your mobile marketing activities, and test them so you know precisely what works and what doesn’t,” she advises.

Do you think your marketplace is ready for mobile marketing? Why or why not?

Are you using it already? If so, tell us how – what has worked and what hasn’t? We’d love to hear from you.

If you can’t attend the conference and are hungry for more mobile marketing advice, whet your appetite with  MarketingSherpa’s 30-Minute Marketer: How to Use Mobile for Marketing: – 11 Quick Tactics for Taking Your Marketing Strategy Mobile.

Andrea Johnson
 

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