SMS? QR Code? App? Mobile Site? What Do I Do?

As marketers see the proliferation of mobile behaviors and devices, the natural reponse seemingly is to start integrating mobile into everything possible. Every campaign, promotion, tool, etc. Unfortunately, everyone isn’t always asking the questions… “Is mobile right for this?” or “What mobile tools are right for my audience?” or “How am I going to know if mobile is successful if I don’t know what to expect?” As a part of our on-going shopper study, The Checkout, we have asked about mobile marketing interaction and found some interesting differences that clearly illustrate the need to dig into mobile behaviors specific to our audiences, because like the rest of marketing, there is no mobile silver bullet.

For example, even looking at surface level data like respondent age yields some drastic differences in prefered mobile engagement.

First of all we notice that it isn’t neccessarily the “kids” that are hot to engage with your brand as 18-24 years olds are less interested than the 25-34 year old group. However, after that, there is a clear correllation between age and having no interest at all in mobile brand or retailer engagement.

Looking at different tools there are a couple highlights:

  1. The mobile site vs app debate, at least from an audience standpoint, definitely shifts with age. The younger folks seem to slightly prefer mobile sites (possibly because their devices are already full of apps), while the 50+ an older folks very slightly lean toward apps.
  2. SMS continues to be a favorite among the under 50 crowd but falls out of favor with older mobile oweners.
  3. While the numbers may be a bit smaller, QR codes seem to gain favor the older consumers get, even becoming a prefer method of interaction with the oldest sets. Seeing as older shoppers are often driven by being informed, this makes sense as many QR interactions are based on product education.

Also, its not just age. As noted in the Mobile Issue of The Checkout, we saw interesting patterns in the data amoung different ethnicities as well, and there are most certainly different stories for many audience segments.

So how are folks engaging mobile-ly? Well it seems that the manner of engagement is critical (for fun, reward or information, etc) as is the the audience we are targeting and what mobile behaviors they have come to prefer. So, for your next mobile program, how are you going to better connect with your mobile audience?