Mobile Matters

Knowing Your Audience is the Key to Mobile Marketing Success

Knowing Your Audience is the Key to Mobile Marketing Success

by: | August 9, 2012

Mobile has made the old saw “know your audience” more relevant than ever. Not only does mobile technology enable marketers to pinpoint campaigns according to a range of demographic variables like geography, age, gender, and income level, but the platform also encompasses a host of different marketing channels (e.g., SMS, in-app ads, and QR codes) to match the behaviors and preferences of almost every customer base. The challenge facing brands and retailers is understanding which mobile marketing tools and approaches most effectively reach a given audience, and make no mistake: One size does not fit all.

African-Americans and Hispanics have long outpaced other U.S. demographics in adopting mobile phones and data services, and a new study published by The Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research indicates the two groups remain ahead of the pack when it comes to embracing mobile marketing and m-commerce. There are a number of vital distinctions between the two customer segments, however.

For example, African-Americans are significantly more likely to have used their mobile device to read product reviews and keep a shopping list, while Hispanics are more likely to use their phone or tablet to compare prices. At the same time, slightly more than 60 percent of Hispanics cited anywhere/anytime accessibility as the greatest benefit of mobile shopping, compared to less than 50 percent of African-Americans and about a third of Caucasians; conversely, more than 25 percent of African-Americans cite access to exclusive content and promotions as the most attractive facet of m-commerce, far ahead of Hispanics and whites.

As for mobile marketing, the Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research survey found that more than half of Caucasians express no interest whatsoever in interacting with brands and retailers via mobile device. By comparison, more than 60 percent of both African-Americans and Hispanics are open to the possibility, although each group has its own preferred methods of interaction. African-Americans favor SMS and text alerts by a wide margin over other mobile marketing vehicles, while Hispanics engage with text, mobile websites, and mobile apps in roughly equal proportion.

Mobile marketing variations are not unique to ethnicity, however: Factors like gender and family size also play a significant role.

Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research report that 25 percent of American men and women use their mobile phones to shop, a behavior driven primarily by accessibility and convenience. But looking at secondary drivers, women cited access to exclusive deals and content, while men pointed to additional content like offer alerts, recipes, and games. At the same time, 54 percent of households without children said they are not interested in interacting with marketers via mobile, compared to 58 percent of households with children who are inclined to receive deals and discounts over the phone.

“The preferred method of engagement by these adults is good old SMS,” Integer Group and M/A/R/C Research state. “Interestingly, we also see that mobile apps have impressive adoption with 30 percent of these adults interested in brand/retailer interaction on more interactive apps. Furthermore, across the board for all adults, we are seeing significant adoption of mobile websites, apps and even snapping QR codes or other scanning methods.”

Knowing and exploiting these not-so-subtle demographic distinctions can mean the difference between a mobile campaign that flourishes and one that flounders.

Posted in: Campaign Development, Mobile Advertising, Mobile Development, Mobile Matters, SMS

About the Writer:

Jason Ankeny is the executive editor of the FierceMobileContent and FierceDeveloper e-newsletters as well as a regular contributor to Entrepreneur magazine and the website All Music Guide. Additional credits include efforts for publications including Rolling Stone, Wax Poetics and No Depression, along with liner notes for a number of album releases. He lives in Chicago.

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