When it comes to consumer behavior and business marketing on mobile devices, the growth stats are always staggering. Here’s one of the latest, from Pew Internet: 87% of smartphone owners check the Internet or email on their phones, including 68% who do so every day and 25% who say they "mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer."
That last number is an important one. “Rather than with a computer” shows that consumer behavior is on a fast track to be the dominant, rather than secondary, content-consumption screen.
Where 'Call To Action' Means What It Says
This is also clearly a case where consumer behavior will have a direct impact on B2B buyer behavior. With 70 million people now accessing email by phone in the United States, for example, considering mobile platforms for lead generation and other push marketing tactics has gone from nice to necessary.
“Like it or not we are all already marketing on mobile devices,” said Giles House, Vice President at Callidus Cloud, which operates the Lead Formix platform.
“There are some obvious differences between reading on a mobile and a laptop/desktop such as size and formatting," House stated, "and a 'call to action' can be exactly that – a call now."
House also pointed out the challenges involved in reaching mobile users. "One of the other big differences is people's attention spans when flicking through emails on a mobile; we are almost always doing something else while trying to skim and digest a sales pitch we probably didn't ask for," he explained. "We have to hold the attention of our audience whatever the medium, but marketers must pay more attention when trying to reach a mobile audience.”
Mobile Marketing: A Game Of Seconds
For B2B marketers, an obvious key to "paying attention" to mobile users is the relationship between content and design. Mobile platforms play by a different set of rules for creating and presenting content, and experts agree that B2B marketers ignore these at their peril.
“Many companies are still behind and are not optimizing the web experience for mobile, which is incredibly damaging for their brands," said Steve Woods, CTO of Eloqua.
"There have been countless studies that show a consumer will abandon a website in less than five seconds if the experience is unsatisfactory,” said Woods. “Now that we know potential buyers are reading our emails and visiting our websites from their mobile devices, marketers need to make the appropriate adjustments.”
Keeping It Simple
According to Woods, Eloqua has focused on adopting its marketing automation tools to suit a variety of desktop and smartphone email clients. The Eloqua platform's new Mobile Template Gallery, for example, includes email templates that dynamically adapt for optimal viewing across any device or form factor.
Woods also recommended simplifying HTML email designs, many of which were created primarily for desktop displays.
“Remember that viewable real estate on mobile devices is limited – even for those that render HTML emails," he said. "So, while colorful displays and large images are what we may gravitate toward to help promote our messages, keeping it simple for the sake of mobile will be beneficial in the end.”
Mobile-Enabled Tools For B2B Marketers
Email is obviously a huge component of any business conversation devoted to attracting, defining, scoring and tracking leads. As a result, many B2B marketers already grasp the basics of effective mobile email design, including short subject lines, concise copy and a clear call to action.
On the other side of the screen, however, B2B marketers expect the tools they use to work effectively in a mobile environment. Marketers view campaign reports, manage workflows, track marketing dashboards and perform database updates on mobile devices – albeit within realistic limits.
“Design [reporting and analytics] with a few 'real' scenarios in mind,” said House. “Most of a marketer's job is still best performed at his or her desk. CMOs and VPs of course want to access their dashboards and campaign reports, so you need to make sure this data is readily available.”
Social media is fast become mobile-dominated, as well. Callidus Cloud is working on a social module for mobile that features workflows so marketing teams can access information on the go.
Social Tools And Sales Enablement
These tools are also relevant to B2B sales teams – and in fact, said House, mobile capabilities can deliver a major competitive advantage for sales reps.
“Don’t forget that the number one consideration for us is sales people,” House stated. “Make sure they get access to the info they need, whether it's new leads to qualify and accept/reject, or existing opportunities they are working. In either scenario they need to know who is responding to their campaigns, and what other influencers are getting involved in the deal in real time.
"Having lead reports and alerts laid out for mobile access is key," House added. "But the data is the real important part, and that’s where the backend comes in, pulling intelligence and data from social sources and technology.
3 Best Practices For Mobile Marketing
For marketing and sales organizations considering tools with mobile-ready features, House recommended looking at three areas where best practices have emerged.
Readability: It is important to get the readability aspect correct for the mobile environment to ensure campaign success and stickiness. All content, links, destination pages should be mobile-optimized and presented in a consistent manner.
Testing: Marketers increasingly demand the ability to test/preview content on multiple email clients and devices. Verifying cross-platform delivery should be a mandatory step in executing any new campaign.
Analysis: Marketers need to understand which prospects/customers are coming in on mobile devices; which devices they are using; and how engagement, abandonment and behavioral patterns vary across these devices. All of this data can play an important role in a marketing organization's overall campaign analytics.