Are Mobile and Social Best Practices the Same?

Originally published in MediaPost's Social Media Insider

It's getting clearer by the day that mobile marketers can learn a lot from social marketers. This never struck me as much as it did last week while watching OMMA Mobile's keynote speaker, Andy Graham, who leads mobile strategy at Adidas.

On occasion I worry that I embody the adage that when you just have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. I am coming from the vantage point of someone responsible for both social media and mobile marketing strategy, so it's natural that some similarities will stand out. With Graham's presentation though, while he was talking entirely about mobile, I could have easily assumed he was referring to social instead.

Below are his five best practices for mobile marketing, with my thoughts on how they apply to social marketing. Graham's list is from my notes rather than direct quotes, but they should be true to the spirit of his talk.

Here are Graham's top five mobile takeaways, and why they're my top five for social:

1) Offer unique, personal, functional value: Mobile devices are extremely personal — Pew Internet & American Life Project reported this year that two-thirds of adults sleep with their phones on or next to their beds. Yet what's more personal than your social graph, the web of everyone you're connected to? Social marketers need to respect that and elucidate the value exchange between the consumer and marketer. Or, in layman's terms, always ask, "What's in it for the consumer?"

2) Gain individual consumer insights and trust: I'd argue these are two very different points fused into one. Consumer insights, especially those culled from social media, should inform any marketing program. Building trust is a major goal for any program that involves a two-way dialogue with consumers.

3) Enable end-to-end service journeys: Mobile is that proverbial bridge between online and offline experiences, so this takeaway is especially important for mobile. Yet marketers using social media shouldn't just think of social experiences that involve consumers who happen to be accessing Facebook or Twitter or a blog at a given moment. Marketers should think about how consumers discover their products or services, research information and competitors, decide on the purchase, share their experiences with others, and consider when and why they would repeat the experience. Social media can fit in with all of these stages.

4) Engage in ongoing one-to-one brand conversations: With both mobile and social, literal one-to-one marketing doesn't scale well, but the potential is even better for social, where marketers can talk to consumers as individuals and address their specific needs. While marketers can treat channels like blogs and social networks as broadcast media to blast out messages, marketers should embrace the conversational nature of social media to encourage brand advocacy.

5) Make your key objective lifetime, valued relationships: Not every mobile banner ad will achieve this, nor will every tweet. The overall goals need to be set higher though, and this will put all these other best practices into context. When you tap consumer insights to provide value through end-to-end journeys built on engaging one-to-one conversations, you have to measure the long-term results of those relationships.

I'm still left wondering if Andy's really a social marketer in a mobile marketer's body. Or maybe there's a lot more we can all learn from each other. 


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An aside: for more on where mobile and social media intersect, view (and freely download or share) the presentation below, posted several weeks ago: