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Thursday, April 15, 2010

B2B Mobile Marketing: Why Mobile for B2B Companies?

WhyMobileWith 4.6 billion current mobile subscriptions projected to surge to 6.5 billion mobile connections by 2014, there's no denying it, marketers: Mobile has arrived—and it's changing how (and where) business professionals communicate with each other, and how (and why) business audiences interact with B2B brands.
But while B2C marketers are tapping mobile tools and technologies in earnest, B2B marketers have not yet fully recognized *WHY* mobile poses a robust, revenue-generating channel for their efforts. After all, with a new set of media comes a brand new learning curve.
As with all emerging technologies (like B2B social media), building the the business case begins with answering the fundamental questions of:  "Why Mobile for B2B companies? How do business professionals benefit from mobile marketing programs? And what types of value do B2Bs stand to gain from integrating mobile tools, technologies and approaches into their marketing activities?"

Answers to those questions, along with insights and reasons to integrate mobile into B2B marketing initiatives, are featured below. *Please note: If you prefer to view the following content in slideshow format, just go here.

Growth, Engagement, Reach:
Growth: Mobile's Explosive Growth Tear and Adoption Rates Are Unparalleled, Unprecedented, And From All Accounts, Unstoppable.
Between mobile's mind-blowing growth tear and rates of adoption, the “Why Mobile for B2Bs?” question could easily start and end right here. Current figures cite 4.6 billion mobile subscriptions already. More amazing still, Gartner forecasts those numbers to surge to 6.5 billion mobile connections worldwide by 2014, marking a 90% mobile penetration rate. Further, by 2013, Gartner predicts mobile phones will overtake PCs as the most common Web access device worldwide.
The numbers and projections speak volumes and what they're telling B2B marketers is, along with consumers, business audiences have adopted mobile media in droves—and now it's their turn to integrate mobile into their marketing activities.
Engagement: Professionals Are A Highly Engaged Mobile Audience Due To Being Driven By Business-Centric Needs. 
100126_five_reasons_why_kerley_lg Whether on site, between sites, or working remotely, professionals need to keep their companies running at optimal levels of productivity, performance, and profitability. For today's business professionals, mobile devices ensure they remain informed of developments and constantly accessible to their teams. In other words, professionals use mobile devices to fulfill business needs (vs. using mobile for personal activities, as with consumers). The action point for B2B marketers is to assess how they can develop mobile programs that help professionals work smarter, faster and better. 
Reach: Mobile Extends B2B Marketers' Reach To A Global Stage.
Through social media, and a WORLD-Wide Web, B2Bs are provided new ways to penetrate markets that were once cost-prohibitive to reach through other media. Just look at the adoption rates cited in the first bullet point and it's clear that the same level of global reach applies to the mobile Web. According to Motally, 80% percent of mobile websites get traffic from at least three regions outside of their own and 72% of mobile applications (“Apps”) are used in four or more regions.
Given that most B2B offerings aren't confined to certain geographical regions, and that today's growth opportunities are occurring in global markets and foreign regions, mobile presents marketers with a new channel to pull more prospects to them, no matter where those prospects are physically located.

Immediacy, ROI, Measurable:
Immediacy: Mobile Messages Touch Business Audiences Immediately... Anywhere, Anytime.
Because professionals always have their mobile devices within reach, marketers' messages 'touch' audiences immediately. And due to mobile's 100% opt-in requirements, messages are more likely to be readand professional audiences more likely to be qualifiedthan through other media that "sprays and prays" when targeting audience segments.
ROI: By Integrating Mobile Into *Existing* Efforts, B2B Marketers Can Increase Success Rates.

Nm_texting_090610_mnBefore identifying new mobile marketing campaigns, the first step for B2B marketers should be to audit their current activities to identify how mobile can increase the ROI of their existing programs. For example, B2Bs might provide business audiences with SMS text feeds of real-time breaking developments that they already track on their blogs, or create in-venue apps to improve attendees' experiences at industry events that they already sponsor. 
Approaches will be contingent upon each company's specific set of marketing activities; but through first integrating mobile approaches into *existing* efforts can serve to increase the impact (ROI) of programs that B2Bs already invest in.
Measurable: Mobile Isn't Mushy, It's Measurable.
Mobile is trackable, measurable and accountable, with mobile metrics akin to what marketers are used to tracking for their interactive initiatives. And since many metrics—like open rates, click-through rates and number of subscribers—are available in real-time, marketers have the ability to track the progress of their campaigns, as well as continually optimize their efforts so as to increase the success levels of their programs.

Communications, Lead Generation, Content:
Communications: Mobile Offers Marketers A Uniquely *Personal* Communications Channel To Initiate New Dialogues With Business Audiences. 
Texting Mobile is the most personal communications channel and the closest you'll get to your business market, other than in-person interactions. In establishing new dialogues with business professionals, as through SMS text feeds, B2Bs can turn mobile connections into customer connections by creating familiarity, offering new points of value to professionals and consistently providing positive brand encounters (not sales pitches!) to business audiences.
Lead-Generation: Mobile Transforms Static Branding Campaigns Into Dynamic Lead-Generation Programs. 
Where marketers could once only work to raise awareness of their brands through print, direct mail and broadcast advertising, by integrating mobile approachesas with featuring mobile short codes on print advertisements enabling users to subscribe to mobile content feedsB2Bs can transform once-static branding campaigns into dynamic new vehicles that work to pull prospects in, rather than merely push messages out. 
Content: When Professionals Are Working Remotely, They Still Need To Access B2B ContentIncluding Information That Influences Their Purchasing Decisions.
Texting-in-conference-session Even when business professionals are working off-site, they still need information that will inform their work, improve their efficiency, and influence their purchasing decisions. The implication is for B2Bs to constantly consider the mobile-viewing experience in their marketing programs by offering content that is optimized for small screens, be it developed in text, audio or video formats. (A helpful post with several examples on this best practice is located here.)
B2Bs need to remain mindful that mobile content optimizations make all the difference to professionals who still need the data that B2Bs publish, but now need it in manageable, mobile-friendly formats, too.

New Ways For Business Professionals To Interact With B2B Brands:
Mobile Apps and Widgets: Through Mobile Apps And Widgets, Marketers Can Increase The Value (And Utility) Of Their B2B Brands.
Downloadable widgets are simple, single-function programs, like weather forecasts, clocks and ROI calculators. Apps, on the other hands, can be quite sophisticated and provide users with small programs on their mobile devices. Through developing apps and widgets—that underscore their brand's value proposition while providing benefits and solving problems for users—B2B marketers are afforded a rich new vehicle to build brand awareness and engage target audiences around their offerings.
Location-Based Services: Through Location-Based Technologies, Marketers Can Provide New Benefits, And Richer Experiences, To Business Audiences.

SmsExpress_texting By using Location-Based Services (LBS) in their mobile programs, marketers can provide a new set of benefits to their professional audiences. For example, mobile programs can leverage LBS to target business audiences located within a respective proximity (such as at industry events when business professionals are at the same location). Or, mobile programs could use LBS to let professionals in the same industry reveal their locations to other peers so as to spark new, locally based professional connections.
Integrating location-aware features into mobile programs lets B2B marketers offer richer and deeper levels of benefits to their business audiencesand marketers can use those benefits to increase awareness and sales.
Whichever mobile approaches and tools used, the over-arching goal is for B2B companies to use mobile as a path to build brand familiarity, provide positive brand encounters, and forge new relationships with business audiences... that can be transformed into new sources of revenue for their organizations.

Now that you've learned the many reasons *Why* Mobile is valuable for B2Bs, learn *How* to integrate mobile into the B2B Marketing Mix.
B2B Mobile Cover This 10-Step Starter Guide walks B2B marketers through the 10 key steps of WHAT they need to know to get started in mobile marketing, HOW to approach mobile audiences and environments, WHICH tools they can implement to add impact to their existing programs, as well as key proof points to analyze WHEN measuring mobile ROI.
For the 10-Step Guide On Integrating Mobile Into the B2B Marketing Mix go here for the slideshow or go here for the downloadable PDF.
(And to understand why brands should have a Social Media presence, just go here.)

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