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PR in the Mobile Marketplace

Mobile phoneClearly, mobile technology is revolutionizing the way consumers interact with our brands and products/services.  According to Placed Inc. and an independent study commissioned by Cars.com, 63 percent of car shoppers now use their smartphones to do research and make decisions while at automotive dealerships and 81 percent did so at some point in the purchase process. In addition, on-lot mobile “showrooming” significantly influences both dealership and vehicle selection, with pricing information, inventory availability and mobile advertisements persuading shoppers to visit competing dealerships.

As the auto industry has shown in this example, marketing strategies have started to cater to mobile-oriented consumers.  We’re beginning to see more examples like this one of good, proactive mobile marketing strategy, and of course advertising can do a good job of capturing mindshare and diverting mobile traffic from one place to another.

But how can PR complement the transition to mobile marketing?  What are the key items we need to keep in mind as we execute in this area?  This is an area I haven’t seen explored as much, and one where I think there’s huge opportunity for us to add value in the coming years.  Here are a few thoughts of mine…

  • As with anything else, it all starts with the message.  Mobile technology demands brevity and simplicity; we just don’t have the space or time that we have with other assets we might develop to communicate.  So we all have to focus on boiling down the message to its essence and making every word count.  All the time.  This will require us to continue to work at being better writers – and sharpen a set of skills that many PR executives would say has been weakening in recent years.
  • I’m a firm believer that any good PR/marketing message tells someone how a product can be fun/interesting/valuable (for B2C) or save someone time/money/risk (for B2B).  Especially for B2B, how do we deliver those messages via mobile – or through another channel that our audiences care about that translates to mobile?  We can have the best message ever, but if we can’t deliver it properly and penetrate our target audiences we won’t achieve success.  I’m not sure what all the answers are…maybe social media, maybe push notifications, maybe advertising, or something else.  But I look forward to experimenting, following this closely and finding out!
  • No matter what the central elements of a mobile-oriented program are, I think it’s essential for us to remember that mobile is a tool in our tool belt – not a magic bullet.  Elements and tactics that support mobile should not stand alone; ideally, they should be part of a holistic program that includes other complementary PR elements and efforts.

What do you think?  Leave a comment…I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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