For Mobile Marketing, Think Local...


The recent frenzy over Pokemon Go is another reminder that we live in a mobile world. Mobile already accounts for the majority of traffic for many brands, and it’s still growing. Yet while these devices may connect us far and wide, Pokemon Go also demonstrates that mobile is inherently local.

For retailers, this holds out the alluring prospect of identifying customers based on their specific location, enticing them into the store, and interacting with them while they shop. Add in elements of gaming that makes Pokemon Go such fun, and it can seem like marketing nirvana.

But there's another side. Mobile enables customers to take action in the moment, which creates a much more specific, local focus. For example:
•    Finding out what stores are nearby, and what people think of them, rather than what the brands are generally like.
•    Sharing their experience of shopping the local store, rather than of the overall brand.
•    Wanting to know when the pothole in the car park will be fixed, rather than seeking assurance that the condition of car parks is taken seriously.

The brand needs to be just as local, but this is challenging when your marketers are remote from the locality. One approach is to try to automate the response, using the power of big data to work out what the customer is really after in the moment, and then serving up the right information. In effect, to take the marketing mobile. But while essential in the longer term, this currently presents a major technology challenge.

Perhaps a more immediate alternative is to make your marketers mobile instead:
•    Give each store the responsibility to answer any questions about their store on social media.
•    Give each store the responsibility to manage their reputation in the locality. For example, making sure the social profiles of the store are accurate, and responding to customer reviews.
•    Give each store a budget to address customer concerns, outside of the normal refit cycle.

Of course, this is familiar territory. It’s a 21st century version of the perennial national vs local marketing debate, with all the challenges of budgets, training, managing the local/national balance, and providing the necessary tools. But in an increasingly mobile world, can your marketers really be in one place...?

A version of this post first appeared in Supermarket News.