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Why are marketers treating mobile marketing as an afterthought?

Companies need to stop treating mobile marketing as an afterthought in their overall marketing strategies.

I was just at the ExactTarget Connections conference, and one of the themes was that, when it comes to digital marketing, it seems like there's email, social and then there's mobile. But mobile marketing is still disconnected from the overall digital marketing strategy. You're seeing companies create marketing messages that look good on a mobile device or they're making their websites mobile-optimized, but they're the same, traditional messaging. It's not necessarily taking full advantage of what these mobile devices can offer, and particularly how mobile apps can take advantage of the functionality that mobile devices have.

The early adopters are taking full advantage of the mobile opportunity. Companies like Fitbit, which has created an app that takes advantage of little engagement opportunities that don't act as traditional marketing messages. They monitor things like battery life and send you encouraging push notifications. These engagement opportunities can be a reminder of things that you need to do.

All of these go well beyond the traditional marketing message like an email newsletter that looks good on a mobile device or a text message. We're in the very early stages of companies really integrating mobility from a custom app perspective into their marketing opportunities.

There's a lifecycle companies have to go through between when they adopt this technology and then use it. You can't just send the same old messages using that modern technology. [Marketers] spend a lot of time sending email messages and updating websites, but the vast majority of time [customers] spend on their mobile devices is being engaged in some sort of an app. If we want people's attention and we want to optimize engagement opportunities, we need to start figuring out how we can create apps that allow us to do just that. 

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What are some examples of mobile marketing techniques that have had a positive impact on your customers?
I think text alerts about different coupons or deals work very well. It makes a lot of sense to send out digital coupons via SMS. I think holiday and seasonal deals can still work well with a number of different consumers. It makes sense to reach out to new parents with video content on their phones that will appeal to kids and parents. Gift cards can also be a great marketing tool for sure.
Text, emails, twitter, even short video or audio clips. We'll do anything possible to engage our customers and bring them to our products. We've had particularly good success with surveys and opinion polls.

Our customers want to feel they're part of the product experience and we work to enhance that. We our customers to actually be part of our ongoing marketing efforts. We listen to them, we adapt to their needs.

The more we listen to our customers, the more they respond to our mobile marketing.
I think it's a good sign that marketers are at least considering mobile designs as part of their process; it will take some time to fully recognize the unique possibilities that mobile provides.
Senior marketers have gained an education, built a career, and earned great rewards without mobile. The risk-averse will stick with what’s worked in the past and it won’t work on mobile, which will serve to confirm their bias.
Good point, Laura - old habits die hard, especially if those old habits have brought you a lot of success. Newer processes have a tough hill to climb, in that they often can't prove themselves without full buy-in, but that buy-in only comes after success. 
Traditional marketers will fend off mobile with about the same success as buggy whip manufacturers held the automobile at bay.... The consumer trend is strongly to mobile and while it may be a unique platform for us, there are unique rewards to it.

Our job won't survive if we take a slow approach to adoption; we need a full-on, face-front approach to this evolving technology. I don't believe we'll be able to catch up later after we figure out every nuance.
The biggest challenge with mobile is the speed in which people drop apps and move on to other things. Marketing in that space is especially difficult. A proven track record and high satisfaction works more than blatant and steady marketing, because the tolerance level for direct marketing in the mobile world is way lower than in the desktop world.