Why Mobile Marketing Matters – A Case Study

On a Friday in mid-January, my wife backed our van into a five ton trash compactor at about 15 miles an hour. The back corner of the van’s hatch was severely bent and the right rear taillight was crushed.

It’s times like this that proves why marketing on mobile devices matters. Mobile marketing provides the best chance for marketers to reach the right buyer at the right time, like me with my broken van.

Mobile is Bigger than the Web and It’s Local

And why not. Smartphone adoption grew from 35% of global phone purchases in 2011 to 56% of all phones in 2013, according to eConsultancy.com. That’s 8 times the 1990s adoption rate of the Web. And business intelligence firm Gartner estimates that half of all smartphone users are using that phone as their main computer, allowing them to access the ads, directions and coupons just when they want to buy.

Mobile marketing also has local buying power. According to Gartner, 60% of laptop users who research products online are more apt to buy online while nearly 60% of mobile users are more apt to buy in a store and local.

The statistics are clear: Reach a buyer at the right time through mobile marketing and you are more apt to generate sales.

Right Time, Right Place

The right time for us was right there in the parking lot. In the hour after the crash, we checked mobile versions of eBay, YouTube and a variety of eCommerce and coupon sites, along with taking detailed pictures. We gained confidence through social and mobile marketing right there by checking forums.edmunds.com that the damage was small enough for us to repair and that we could do it cheaply. The local body shop lost business because they didn’t come up on our local search.

Back at the house, a series of videos from body shop guru Donnie Smith on YouTube (http://youtu.be/u0IJjKh-dWE) made the work actually look fun and something I wanted to do. I just needed a simple set of body shop tools.

The next morning, Saturday, I offered some comforting words to my wife (guys, that’s very important in times like this) and then she pulled out her Samsung right over coffee and found the tools I needed at the local Harbor Freight. I searched on my phone (another Samsung) and ordered the rear tail light from a used parts dealer in North Carolina who was selling on eBay. With a 80/120/360 grit sandpaper kit and Bondo, we figured our total cost would be $125 for the fix versus $700 for the pro.

Within the hour, I was on the road to Harbor Freight when my wife texted a coupon to me for 20% off anything from the store. Harbor Freight’s web site has a horrible mobile experience but they do a good job with email marketing. I simply pulled it up on my phone in the store and let the checker scan the image from my phone. Easy peasy. I’m now a Harbor Freight devotee.

For the Bondo and white paint, I was going to head to my local NAPA store when she texted another coupon for 10% off from Fred Meyer and found Bondo on their online sales flyer. Bondo at Fred Meyer? Never would have thought of it. Since we also needed milk, though, Freddie’s got the sale.

Mobile marketing matters simply because it hits that nexus of right product at the right time. In our case, a lack of local body shop experts on YouTube and a bunch of direction on Edmunds drove us away from the body shops. Then, while we were in the process of buying, the right ads and incentives directed how we bought and even built our allegiance towards certain stores.

It took time, but my van is looking great, and I saved money.

How Can You do Mobile Marketing?

Looking to market to mobile users? Consider these simple tips:

  1. Market to the Local Need: Your keywords should reflect the need a consumer has now, like “car crash”, “[city] body repair” and “used [CAR] parts”, as shown in our case.
  2. Think Small: Our Samsung phones are 2.5 inches across so sites like Harbor Freight and Fred Meyer are really hard to use. Consider a responsive design that allows users to scroll down and not left and right. If reformatting your whole site is too expensive, redirect mobile traffic to a mini site and just list your location, your deals and your hours.
  3. Use Social Media: We found experience on YouTube, cheap, quality car parts on eBay and deals on Retail Me Not, all of which are mobile friendly. How are you connecting to your customers?
  4. Mobile is Not Tablet: The two devices are used very differently and the design used to reach those users is different as well.

For an excellent infographic on the impact of mobile marketing on advertising, go to Digital Buzz Blog. It is well worth the time.