The mobile channel is having a significant and positive impact on direct marketing.

In fact, with the integration of the mobile medium, marketing has never been so direct, interactive and engaging. Whether delivering communications straight to the consumer via the mobile device or using mobile to enhance traditional direct marketing channels, brand communications incorporating a mobile element are making direct marketing more immediate, targeted and successful than ever before and are allowing consumers to act on the point of impulse.

Consumers have an increased expectation of the ability to instantly interact with brands and organisations, and for many, mobile represents an access point that allows them to get the things they want, when they want. This expectation presents an opportunity for marketers to interact with the target consumer on a one to one, contextually relevant basis that cannot be overstated. Marketers should consider how they will deliver that instant interaction and what happens when they open up a two way dialogue with consumers.

Often the intention of marketing has been to interrupt consumers and invite them to follow a call to action - traditionally to access a website, make a phone call or go in-store. But now, rather than interrupt, a brand can enhance the consumer experience and foster a relationship built on interaction and value. All consumers have to do is click on a link, download an app, text a short code, or scan a mobile barcode to access a wealth of multimedia information or achieve an instant connection with the brands of their choice. If that information or interaction offers value based on utility or entertainment then the interaction is likely to be a success and repeated.

Offering that relevance and value is also made more achievable with mobile, enabling marketers to incorporate contextual relevance into their communications, ensuring that content is tightly tailored to the consumer according to who they are, where and when they are and also what they are doing. The mobile channel offers a greater level of targeting and the ability to deal with everyone as individuals, while location-based services allow marketers to know where an individual is and what time of the day it is. Mobile can also allow a marketer to understand the need and state of individuals based upon what they are doing on their handsets.

With all the options that the mobile device presents, the traditional techniques of direct marketing are now taking a new direction as mobile calls to action or mobile executions provide instant engagement. Indeed, research has shown that ad awareness increases when delivered via mobile, whilst incorporating a mobile call to action in advertisements not only increases a consumer’s likelihood to respond, but also the likelihood of them then making a purchase. In this way, brands using mobile are achieving significant cut through in a cluttered marketplace and reaching the consumer in innovative and relevant ways.  By using mobile, brands can inform and influence purchase decisions, whilst also fostering a rich, engaging, long-term consumer relationship as no other channel can. Consumers develop an active relationship with brands as they can easily interact with the product, the digital content and the brand itself.

Mobile also pays dividends in terms of campaign analytics, increasing the traceability in terms of ad delivery, ad impressions, and clicks in real time, as well as a wealth of resulting information about who and where the consumer is in order to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign. Brands can also track multiple different channels in order to monitor where the responses have originated from, allowing marketers to determine the cost effectiveness of various channels and correctly allocate marketing budget to ensure maximised return on investment.

Who knows what the future holds for direct marketing? What is certain is that the incorporation of mobile holds huge potential for consumer targeting and engagement and therefore campaign effectiveness. The inclusion of a mobile execution or a mobile call to action not only creates a direct response mechanism that consumers will be more likely to interact and engage with, but it also enables brands to create communications that are targeted based on real consumer need, location and time. Combining this with the ability to accurately gauge the effectiveness of a campaign or a specific channel, will allow brands to maximise their marketing spend, and deliver marketers a truly winning mix.

Paul Berney, CMO and Managing Director for EMEA, Mobile Marketing Association