5 Ways to Win with Mobile Consumers

By John Lim




In the ever-competitive advertising world, we keep using the same digital conversations to reach consumers through the devices they depend on. We have created and accepted a standard where engagements are average or below average at best. When did this become acceptable? And is it possible to achieve higher rates of engagement with today's dynamic consumers? The answer is yes. By changing the conversation, your campaigns, and tactics, you can engage at unexpected levels and improve your bottom line.

Here are the top five ways to win with today's mobile consumers:


1. Create for the Human Behind the Device

Forget about the cool device, the sexy app, and the latest technology. Focus first on the human behind the device you want to reach. One of the best ways to engage consumers is to understand them and determine how they connect with what you have to offer. To be successful, marketers need to pull an emotional cord with the consumer.

When I work on a marketing campaign, I remove the device from the equation and, by doing so, change the vantage point. This allows me to focus on the human behind the device. Only when the campaign has been conceived do I then bring in the device to enhance and scale the experience.



5 ways to win with mobile consumers.


Taco Bell's 2016 Cinco de Mayo campaign is a great example of engaging with consumers and having the ability to scale a campaign due to the mobile device. It was extremely successful because it focused on a social channel, Snapchat, where the company's target consumer is highly active. For the campaign, Taco Bell used a lens on Snapchat to turn consumers' heads into a giant taco shell, resulting in 224 million views in one day. At the time, Snapchat said it was the most viewed Snapchat lens, beating Gatorade's Super Bowl campaign, which had more than 165 million views. The average user played with Taco Bell's ad for 24 seconds before sending it as a "snap." In terms of unique plays — or the number of times individuals played with the ad — the campaign generated 12.5 years' worth of plays in only one day, according to Snapchat.


2. Be Respectful

Just because you can mine big data to learn about your consumers' habits doesn't mean you want to convey to them that you are constantly monitoring their behavior. Consumers want to feel that brands know and understand them while also respecting their privacy. It is a delicate balance we must strike as marketers — we need to engage with consumers without making them feel uncomfortable. Keep your messaging at a level that doesn't make your target audience feel like you are trolling their every move and their posts on social networks.

Successful campaigns are, by their very nature, designed to achieve a balance between effectively getting the message out to the whole audience and being personal enough for each consumer. A good example of this is when a brand asks mobile consumers if they would like location services turned on. iPhones now also ask if users would like to put their devices on "do not disturb" mode while they are driving.

Under Armour is a brand that successfully respects the privacy of its consumers. Its acquisition of fitness apps MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, and Endomondo provides access to an enormous amount of data, which it uses in a non-intrusive way, true to the brand. It leverages the knowledge to better provide products that its consumers need and want. Under Armour says it wants to build a complete ecosystem to manage health and fitness with data insights, and it is doing that through software investments and physical gear that can track performance. If you are tracking sleep over time, for example, a clearer picture can develop about how much sleep is ideally needed to maintain top performance while out on a run or some other physical activity. Some apps can track the number of miles that a runner logs, then tells the user when it might be time to toss the shoes in the trash and replace them to avoid injury.


3. Speak to Consumers in Their Language

Consumers know when you understand them because you approach them in the ways they want to be marketed to. With any campaign that has a high level of engagement, the marketer has made an effort to understand the consumers and to speak to them in the way they want to be spoken to. To achieve high engagement rates, marketers must embrace and leverage Dr. Tony Alessandra's Platinum Rule, which states, "Treat others the way they want to be treated."

The use of Domino's one-click pizza emoji to order a pizza and have it delivered illustrates how to successfully communicate and market to consumers in this way. Domino's started tapping into the Platinum Rule in 2015 when it introduced its mobile app. It understood that consumers wanted information about their deliveries and the ability to track and order easily on their devices. Thanks to this one simple change, sales were up 19 percent in the three summer months, compared to the previous year. The company also grew its online ordering business through its website, app, and even the Apple Watch. As of October 2015, after this introduction, three-quarters of Domino's Pizza orders were made online, with half of those orders coming through the company's app or digital devices.


4. Meet the Consumers' Need for Speed

Today's savvy consumers are dynamic individuals who are moving at lightning speeds in their worlds. Because mobile access to the internet makes their lives and lifestyles easier, consumers want what they want, and they want it immediately. We've gone from being an "I want it now" society to an "I need it now" society.

In order to win, it is imperative that you and your brand address the needs of the consumer quickly and effectively. Making sure that you are in the right place, at the right time, when the consumer clicks to get what they want, is essential.

McDonald's has always recognized the need to provide its consumers with food quickly and efficiently. It continues to meet the consumers' need for speed with the introduction of its mobile app, which allows diners to place orders and pay on their devices. Food can be delivered curbside, inside the restaurant, or at the drive-thru. The fast food chain has now become even faster. Mobile order-ahead is still in its early days, but will be a $38 billion industry by 2020, accounting for 10.7 percent of total QSR industry sales.


5. Be Present on Mobile

Modern consumers want the ability to reach out and instantly get the things they need. More than ever, they rely on their digital devices like a sixth sense that plays an essential role in how they interact with and relate to the world. Studies show that the typical cell phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 times every day.

However, it is not the device itself they can't live without, but the access to what they want in the moment. Let the digital and mobile campaigns you run serve as a resource that allows the consumer to notice your brand when seeking to fulfill these needs. Your brand recognition will rise in the minds of your target audience as they naturally reach out to you through their mobile devices.


It is our ability as marketers to first seek to understand the human behind the device — the person who can't live without the inherent access to everything he/she desires — that will ultimately win the day. When you put the consumer first, your engagement levels will soar and so will the number of consumers who put your brand first. That is how you win. Stop being satisfied with low engagement rates and second place to blow the doors off your competition and improve your bottom line.


John Lim is the founder and CEO of linknexus.