Can you think of a time where you learned how to do something, and then did it the exact same way for the rest of your life without ever trying to improve? I doubt it. Even the simplest things I’m sure you have learned to do better. Marketing is the exact same way. You can’t learn about marketing once and then use those same marketing techniques the rest of your career. In marketing you constantly have to be innovating and raising the bar. This is what Brent Bouldin, VP of Marketing, Media, and Customer Acquisition at Choice Hotels International shares with us in his episode of Mobile Matters. Brent talks about how marketing is evolving, and why it is important that marketers evolve with it. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from our conversation with Brent.
Digital Marketing Is Just Marketing
Let’s be honest, the world has gone through digital transformation and basically everything is now digital. In the US alone 312.3 million people actively use the internet… that is 95 percent of the population. If it isn’t obvious, that is quite a few people on digital devices. So, while it may have made sense to separate digital marketing out into its own category 10 years ago, it’s important that digital marketing is just being thought of as marketing today because the majority of your consumers are living in a digital world. While not all marketing has to be moved onto a digital platform, you should constantly be thinking about how digital can be incorporated into marketing campaigns because that is where so many consumers are.
Mobile and Desktop Aren’t the Same
Personally, there is nothing more frustrating to me than a mobile website that is just a desktop website shrunk down. You can’t read anything and you can’t click on the buttons, so at that point why even waste the time to make a mobile site? All your consumers are just going to get frustrated and leave anyway. When you design for mobile, whether it be the mobile web, a web app, Progressive Web App (PWA), native mobile app, etc., make sure you are making your content readable, and making it possible for users to hit just one button at a time.
Also, keep in mind mobile and desktop differ in more than just design. Consumer behavior is completely different on mobile compared to desktop. Think about your own behavior, do you use your smartphone in the same way you use your computer? Of course not! They serve two different purposes. When you are on mobile you buy differently, search differently, and discover brands and content differently. So, brands need to be aware of this and change their desktop and mobile messaging to fit consumer behavior. You need to use analytics to find how consumers are discovering you on mobile and desktop and then individually cater to those actions on the respective platforms.
Marketers Can’t Live in the Past
This one is a biggie. We all love to be comfortable, but unfortunately marketing is a profession where you shouldn’t always feel comfortable. If you stay within your comfort zone, your brand will never move forward. Brent suggests that 10 to 15 percent of your media campaigns should be focused on testing and experimenting new practices, technologies, and trends. You can even increase the number to 20 percent if you are feeling up to it. Marketing and consumer behavior is changing everyday whether you are moving with it or not. So while it is good to find strategies that work well for your brand and your consumers, it is important you are always running tests to see what could work even better in the future. If you become too focused on what has worked in the past, your consumers will leave you behind.
Consumers Expect More From Marketers
The bar has been raised in marketing, and you need to rise to it. These days consumers are expecting much more from brands than they have in the past. They want a brand to provide real value to them, not just interruptive advertisements that have no connection to the consumer. The biggest challenge is privacy restrictions have become much stricter, and it’s not as easy to obtain information about your target audience. This is not an invitation to further invade the privacy of your consumers, but rather an opportunity to create content that will connect and resonate with the consumer. When you build those authentic connections with your consumers, they will start to trust you and provide you with more information. You can then take the information they chose to give you and further personalize advertisements and content for them.
Brent shared a lot of valuable mobile marketing information with us from the differences between mobile and desktop experiences to the importance of innovation. Overall, your marketing strategy should always be moving forward, and you should always be trying to provide as much value to your customers as possible, whether it is on desktop or mobile. If you want to hear more conversations with marketing thought leaders, check out more Mobile Matters Episodes!