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the psychology that underlies mobile marketing

tenets of mobile marketing

by Kenneth Rudich

Mobile marketing is built around the functionality of feature phones, smartphones and mobile devices – that is, it uses their functionality to reach customers and prospects in ways that would have been unimaginable only a short time ago.

At the same time, it’s important to appreciate that mobile’s functionality as a marketing tool is a byproduct of the functionality it offers to users, particularly with respect to smartphones and mobile devices.  Said another way, consumers don’t buy these gadgets for the purpose of giving marketers a new and innovative means to reach them. 

Rather, the robust adoption rate is due to the resources they get for enriching their own day-to-day lives.  Consider, for instance, how much can be done with them.  They’re a phone, still picture camera, video camera, text messenger, bar code reader, payment device, email tool, music player, video player, calendar/planner, web browser, and they’re location aware (especially smartphones and mobile devices).

But that’s just merely what they do.  The real accomplishment rests with how they’ve grown to be perceived.

The versatility of these devices has endowed them with a unique role in people’s lives.  Many users essentially become wedded to their mobile device.  Seldom do they go anywhere or do anything without it close at hand.  It’s their source for news, music, books, research, shopping, entertainment, social connections, planning, and more.  It’s also their companion, their assistant, their planner, their trainer and maybe even their therapist.  Smartphones and mobile devices can even provide an opportunity to express one’s individuality by customizing its display (an idea that presumably derives from the wallpaper concept of the pc world).

This element of psychological attachment translates into it becoming part of their personal space, with ownership over who, what, why and how others will be allowed into it.  We’re all familiar with the way people treat their personal space.  Strangers have one boundary and friends have another, while tighter friendships typically get more latitude than mere acquaintances.

This dynamic comes with clear implications for marketers.  Suffice to say you must remain sensitive to it, and you must never intrude upon or violate someone’s personal space.  If you do step over that boundary, you can expect to be locked out for good.  And possibly worse, it may annoy the user enough to start a lethal word-of-mouth campaign via his or her social network, which can be conveniently done from their mobile phones and devices.

The best marketing approach is to imagine yourself as a guest bearing a good reason for them to grant entry.  The objective is to form a relationship by winning their acceptance and trust – meaning: you won’t overstay your welcome or break the rules that come with being allowed in.

You may recognize these fundamentals as similar to those practiced with inbound marketing and, even more so, social media marketing.  If you heed them, customers are more likely to become fans, followers, subscribers, and perhaps even advocates or ambassadors of your product or service.

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