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Why It’s Time To Stop Separating Mobile From Marketing

With most people now on mobile, the argument goes, marketers should make mobile marketing their priority. But, with marketing effectiveness at an all-time low – thanks in part to a preoccupation with tactical campaigns fueled by siloed thinking – the time feels right to go further and stop thinking of ‘mobile’ as a distinct channel.

Sometime ago, MarTech Series made a strong argument for marketers making mobile marketing their priority in 2022. Mobile is pretty much ubiquitous. It’s a great place for any B2C or B2B brand to reach customers and it’s a dynamic space where location, data, automation, UX and AR make it easy to customize and target communication. So far, so good. But this argument points to a wider issue that is relevant to one of the biggest challenges we now face within our industry.

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For instead of creating marketing service silos that proport some kind of ‘silver-bullet’ effect, we need to keep in sight the fact that a solid customer-centric marketing strategy will address all considerations around mobile (platform), social (channel), UX (discipline) – and anything else you care to mention – right from the outset.

Consider the antiquated term, ‘digital marketing’ and the fact that today, with almost all marketing execution  having a digital component, there is just ‘marketing’. Yet the market is so used to looking for digital marketing as a service, many agencies still have to call it out as something they do.

Yes, digital represents a big chunk of the field in which we play as marketers; but any solid strategy should be grounded in fundamental marketing principles and best practice. And the same is true for what’s referred to as ‘mobile marketing’ – one element of the mix that no marketer can now possibly afford to ignore, whatever the campaign.

Today, ‘mobile’ doesn’t exist as a standalone category or channel. Rather, it’s a vital platform consideration within any customer marketing strategy.

Modifying your approach to marketing in respect of smartphone users is essential. But it’s also no more than what’s expected. And it doesn’t need to be prefixed with ‘mobile’ because such channel/platform-oriented tweaking should be well provisioned within marketing’s existing definition.

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Location, data, automation, UX and AR are not the sole preserve of mobile marketing. And one way or another, they have all been a part of the communication landscape since analogue times (with the exception of AR).

The painstaking care taken with the technology – the careful technical considerations; the subtle nuances between app and smartphone optimized browser experience; the use of SMS, MMS and geo-special targeting – is all part of the marketing mix and something we expect to do from the outset, factored into the process as a matter of course. Of course, this all follows a robust and extensive diagnostic phase to inform the execution blueprint ( also called a marketing strategy).

This might just sound like an argument about semantics. But I believe that the growing insistence on devising new ways of grouping methods of marketing hurts our industry.

The decline of marketing effectiveness to its current all-time low is due to a number of factors, of course. But, our industry’s fascination with marketing’s ‘tactification’ – a preoccupation with tactics and tools at the cost of focus on strategy – has a lot to answer for. And that’s what I believe an emphasis on ‘mobile marketing’ has contributed to, as it emphasizes tactics above strategy.

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Given the sheer breadth of the current marketing mix, the existence of a wide and varied spectrum of skill sets and services to serve them all is inevitable. Of course, we need experts who specialise in marketing for mobile platforms, but they do not, in isolation, represent the answer to your marketing woes. By re-defining marketing based on what’s trending, as a way to answer nuanced needs ,we put ourselves in danger of making everything sound more complicated  than it is, so we need to stop doing it.

Technology changes as it always will, but the principles of using a diagnostic approach to understand customers, what they want and how they behave, is the bedrock of what we all get out of bed for – and it already has a name: marketing.

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