What is Mobile Marketing Automation, and Why Should B2B Marketers Care?
A mobile presence is indispensable to B2B marketing today. With the number of smartphone users in 2016 forecast to grow to 2.08 billion, and 82% of executives considering enterprise mobile apps to be essential to their businesses, it’s a mistake to ignore mobile channels as a means of reaching prospects.
But with all the hard work B2B marketers already do to run effective campaigns, how can they comfortably extend brand reach into the mobile universe? As time goes on, the answer will be a convenient new tool: mobile marketing automation (MMA) platforms.
Just as traditional marketing automation platforms (MAPs) streamline and organize many aspects of brand messaging, lead generation and lead nurturing, MMA platforms promise to make mobile campaign management easier. Mobile product research among B2B buyers has grown by 91% in the last three years, making it more important than ever to integrate mobile ecosystems with all other marketing aspects. By using MMA, more companies will be able to accomplish this integration with ease—and with a serious competitive edge.
What Does Mobile Marketing Automation Entail?
MMA platforms attempt to deliver actionable insights about users, automated messaging and user behavior analytics, all within the context of mobile apps and websites. In an MMA platform, the functions of a marketing automation platform (MAP), customer relationship management (CRM) software, and an analytics tool are combined to effectively reach consumers that are using smartphones, tablets and wearables, such as the Apple Watch.
MMA platforms are supposed to go beyond simple “mobile marketing”—which might simply entail optimizing current assets for phones and tablets—towards the automation of all the essential components of a thorough mobile outreach.
These components include some, if not all, of the following functionality:
- Collection of mobile user data, including user-reported demographics, location (as enabled by geolocation capabilities on mobile devices), response to ads, tracked website visits and phone contacts.
- Segmentation of mobile audiences.
- Automated deployment of push notifications, text and multimedia messages.
- Analysis of user behavior and A/B testing.
- Automated ecommerce and transaction capabilities, including shopping cart functionality and the use of near field communication (NFC) payment technologies such as Android Pay and Apple Pay.
Given all of the above, a mobile marketing automation platform can act as a complete solution for drawing prospects into mobile sales funnels and leading them efficiently to the point of sale. Ideally, MMA should be integrated with other resources, such as a CRM and a social media management platform, for a comprehensive view of leads and customers.
Existing Mobile MAPs
Several major companies already offer full-featured mobile marketing automation solutions, each with unique selling points:
- Urban Airship brings together multiple technologies, including in-app messaging and proprietary “Connect” and “Wallet” features, to support powerful customer-focused campaigns. The platform’s message center lets marketers track user actions, and built-in “ad-hoc discovery tools” aggregate individual data points for greater insight.
- Kahuna offers omnichannel location-based messaging through “Kahuna Locales,” which employ machine learning to distribute the most relevant content, in the correct language, to users around the globe.
- Tapjoy focuses on app monetization. With smart prediction of which users will convert and user “rewards” that consist of increasingly relevant advertising, Tapjoy enables efficient targeting for maximum ROI.
- Swrve customizes MMA for each industry, be it mobile magazines or newspapers, games or retail. With the platform, marketers can easily employ specific mobile engagement and analytics best practices for their specific niche, while performing A/B tests for the best-possible engagement.
- Leanplum is billed as the first “marketer-focused” MMA platform. Within a clean user interface, marketers can create a flowchart of automated messaging based on user behavior. A/B testing of user interfaces and customer experience optimizations are also possible without the need for a full app redesign or resubmission to an app store.
- The Adobe Marketing Cloud is forward-thinking, envisioning a future in which mobile might be the only marketing channel that matters. Various tools such as Adobe Target and Adobe Analytics combine to provide a step-by-step system for segmentation, message targeting, analytics and CX optimization for optimal mobile lead nurturing.
As more MMA providers innovate ways to improve mobile engagement, this list will only grow.
Should B2B Marketers use MMA?
The MMA industry isn’t fully mature yet, with only 1.5% market penetration observed in 2015. That said, usage of MMA platforms by B2B marketers will grow by leaps and bounds in the coming years, and there are some important reasons marketers should entertain using such services now.
For one, mobile is the future of computing, with mobile-only usage having outpaced desktop usage in 2015, and the technological divide between old and new expanding into the foreseeable future. In addition, more B2B companies will seek to enhance their mobile market presence. The personalization capabilities of mobile will also be a huge factor, as it is for social media marketing, in building formidable campaigns.
It’s simply a smart idea to begin thinking about an investment in MMA platforms, even if you’ve already enhanced your mobile presence with apps and a mobile-optimized website. But should you jump on the MMA bandwagon now?
Here are a few things to consider:
- Do your current market segments reflect heavy mobile usage? Consider your market segmentation and whether broad swaths of your customers depend heavily on mobile technology. For example, do you market to traveling management consultants, multi-regional companies, or smaller, very young companies whose ecosystem almost completely runs on mobile platforms? If so, MMA might be a natural fit.
- How mobile-ready is your sales funnel? How much marketing collateral do prospects encounter as they move through your funnel? Do you have mobile-optimized versions of each whitepaper, case study, and in-depth report that your leads download as they move closer to buying decisions?
- What is the nature of your customer touchpoints? Do touchpoints tend to happen almost immediately after encountering some of your marketing messages, or do they take days or weeks to unfold?
If you find that your customers are increasingly dependent on smartphone and tablet usage, your marketing collateral translates well to mobile devices, and your typical customer touchpoints happen relatively quickly after content consumption, then MMA might be worth investing in early.
Whatever you do, you’ll want to make sure any MMA solution you adopt fully integrates with your social media marketing platform. Social is unmatched in creating immediate touchpoints, and it naturally complements mobile marketing, which travels with your prospects and enables you to reach them any time of the day or night.
Mobile marketing isn’t the wave of the future—it’s already here to stay, and if you’re seeking to remain competitive in your market, it will play a big role in your lead acquisition and brand reach.
Is your marketing currently a good fit for MMA adoption? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!