7 Biggest Mistakes Agencies Make in Mobile.

By Egotist / /

Mobile has undoubtedly captured the attention of advertising agencies of all sizes, with many adding mobile to their laundry list of campaign deliverables. However, mobile is still a young channel and given it’s nascent nature, it’s easy to see why agencies often make the same mistakes. These mistakes are not without consequence and can limit the effectiveness of an overall campaign, or worse, undermine the expertise of the agency. Below is a list of the most common mistakes in mobile, with some helpful advice on how to correct them.

1. No mobile strategy.
This is perhaps the single biggest mistake agencies allow their clients to make. Whether it is a 1-2 year mobile roadmap or a campaign with a one-month shelf life, agencies must make sure those mobile efforts all track to an overall mobile strategy. This doesn’t necessarily result in the creation of a 100 page PowerPoint deck, (although sometimes that is a good idea.) but it does however, mean that agencies should always answer three critical questions: What is mobile’s role in the overall campaign? Does it create intrinsic value for both brand and consumer? And what strategic advantage will it give our client? These three questions should be on the first page of every mobile presentation. In our experience with dealing with C-Level audiences at Fortune 500 brands, they are the only questions.

2. Lack of formalized education and training for agency staff.
While there are some people in agencies that “get” mobile, the majority does not. Mobile is by far the most technical of all marketing channels and a lack of understanding of industry best practices and carrier regulations can sink an agency’s mobile efforts. Since multiple departments are responsible for the client’s business, it’s important that they all have a firm understanding of the space. A good solution is to have client business leads get certified by the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA). This is quick way to gain an understanding of the fundamentals and gain more credibility with clients.

3. Creating mobile tactics as an after thought.
Many agencies remain slavish to their offline habits, spending exorbitant amounts of time on print ads and manifestos, which often never see the light of day. This usually leads to shortsighted mobile tactics, e.g., one-off mobile apps or augmented reality campaigns that ultimately look like a never-ending pilot campaign. Smart agencies take advantage of the long-term nature of the client/agency relationship by making sure their mobile efforts track to their client’s long-term business goals such as customer acquisition and loyalty.

4. Using generic data.
Stats are the Pez candy of the marketing world and mobile is no exception. Free stats and other forms of data are bandied about quite freely and often take the place of more meaningful qualitative and quantitative data that drive true insight. Nine times out of ten these stats apply to groups unrepresentative of the end customer. Agencies must make a concerted effort to gather and analyze the data that applies to their customers. If for example, you are targeting teens or millennials, then focus on their demographics and buying behavior, not the overall U.S. population. Forrester, comScore, Nielsen and eMarketer are all good places to start. Just as in cooking, to make a great dish you have to start with great ingredients.

5. Treating mobile as a stand-alone marketing channel.
There isn’t an agency or media group out there that would argue against using an integrated marketing approach. Yet, mobile is often the campaign orphan, lacking support and integration from its online and offline counterparts. While there are many potential integration points, integration with social media is key. Many brands we speak with are still getting their heads wrapped around social. So the agencies that shine are the ones that can build community involvement and at the same time build mobile presence. One way to help ensure that mobile is integrated into the overall marketing efforts is to have the User Experience (UX) team build in integration points to the customer journey. For example, add SMS opt-in widgets to corporate websites and Facebook pages that allow customers an easy way to opt in to mobile loyalty clubs using channels they are already familiar with.

6. Focusing on the sexy, not the successful.
There is no lack of bright and shiny objects in mobile, which explains why so many agencies seek out exotic mobile formats as opposed to the established ones. If there is one mobile tactic that works across the board, it may very well be mobile search. Surprisingly, very few agencies take advantage of mobile search. Perhaps that’s because they know they’ll never win a Cyber Lion with a mobile search campaign. Here at Dark Matter, we constantly examine which mobile tactics resonate with which audiences. Search is one of the few that seem to work across all demographics. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re ready for a dedicated mobile search campaign, a good rule of thumb is that if more than 10% of your search traffic is coming from mobile devices, then it’s time to launch a dedicated mobile search campaign. And why not? Google tells us that nine out of ten smartphones searches results in an action, almost all of which happen within the same day. So agencies should remember: “mobile shopper equals hot lead”.

7. Lack of measurement.
One of the things that make the mobile channel difficult is its siloed nature. This tends to create problems with analytics and measurement. While all mobile vendors offer their own flavor of dashboard, many are not integrated into a larger CRM system or measurement tool such as Webtrends or Omniture. This leaves agencies with a handful of stats, but no real insight or understanding of campaign success. Remember: what gets measured gets funded. So it’s important for agencies to look beyond simple download and opt-in stats and focus on long-term client goals such as customer retention and/or acquisition. It doesn’t matter what it is, it only matters that the deployed mobile tactic tracks to the same goals as the overall campaign.


About Angel Evan:
Angel Evan is the Managing Partner and Mobile Strategy Lead for Dark Matter, Inc., a marketing group exclusively focused on mobile and social. A former creative director turned marketing strategist, he leads mobile marketing efforts for both brands and agencies with the goal of transforming mobile from the complicated to the understandable.