Given the surging popularity of mobile devices, the short answer to the question posed by the title of this piece is “yes.” Yes, it’s right for your company because increasingly, that’s where your customers are. The longer answer is a little more involved with that, so let’s tease it out and get to particulars.
Two Flavors Of Mobile Advertising
When people speak of mobile advertising, they tend to view it as though it were this singular, monolithic thing. It isn’t. There are two distinctive “flavors” of mobile advertising, and while both may not be suitable for your company, one of the two is all but certain to be.
The first category or “flavor” of mobile app advertising comes in the form of your own company’s app. If you don’t already have one of these, you’re missing out. As mentioned above, hand held devices are increasingly replacing the PC as people’s primary way of connecting to, and extracting information from, the web, and given that your customers are people, they’re undoubtedly part of this growing trend. All that to say that if you do not yet have an app for your business, you could only help yourself by creating one. Whether it is to sell directly to your customers, inform them of special deals, and/or tie into your company’s regularly updated blog and other social media, an app that’s native to your company is increasingly on the must-have list.
You’re at a strategic disadvantage if you’re not even playing the game, and of course, one of the uses for such an app is advertising direct to your customer base. Connecting with them on a device they hold near and dear to their hearts. A device they take with them everywhere they go, and use compulsively for hours and hours a day. You see people using their mobile devices on breaks, surreptitiously at their desks at work, on vacation, and yes, even during their own weddings (http://youtu.be/IFJU6g-CVvQ ). There’s power in buffing your own brand on a platform so widely used and cherished.
Third Party Apps
Here’s where the “maybe” creeps in. Increasingly, coders are to this century what the “starving artist” was to the last. There are a vast number of coders of different skill levels out there, many gainfully employed by various companies, and many more scratching out an existence selling homemade apps that do a wondrous variety of different things. Throwing a little money at hungry developers who are working on an app that happens to align with the market your company is operating in, and doing that in exchange for a bit of advertising on their platform can be a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal, provided the fit is good and the app gets a sufficient level of post-production marketing.
Let me give you an example. Let’s say you are in the business of selling survival gear. Survival bracelets, knives, fire starting kits, water purification kits, backpacks, and the like. A clever person in your marketing department observes that a group of young and hungry developers has recently begun work on what looks to be a fantastic zombie game for the hand held market. Zombie games and survival gear go together like ice cream and chocolate syrup. They’re just a fantastic mix, and so, the app represents an opportunity for you. You’re not in the zombie game business, but people who play that game are pretty interested in survival stuff. You throw the developers some money, and they agree to sprinkle ads for your survival gear at various points in their game. They win, because they’re now better positioned to make a better product and market it, you win, because you get to reach a segment of the market you would not have been able to easily tap into otherwise.
Depending on what it is that you sell, you may or may not be able to uncover a happy pairing like the one I outlined, but with a bit of creative thinking, you can do it more often than not. When you find a good match, you should jump on it.