There are no easy answers, but there are some questions that will help produce them. Ask yourself: “Would this [marketing/approach] annoy me?”. That’s a good start. “There are just basic rules of etiquette. You use different media judiciously and the ability to do that intelligently is one mark of a mature and intelligent service brand.”
In his inimitable style Rory drives his point home with examples that are much closer to home. “You wouldn’t stay friends very long with someone who rang you up at 3 in the morning.” Likewise, you would not be positive about or responsive to marketing that is interruptive or irrelevant.
Rory also remind us that mobile – more than any other medium — attention “must be earned rather than bought.” What will encourage people to let brands into their daily lives and routines?
Rory segments incentives into three groups: court jester (funny), courtier (useful) and courtesan (sexy — meaning just really cool). “Broadly speaking, those are the things that encourage users to engage with brands.”
However, marketers should not limit their efforts to getting the value exchange right to properly entice/reward individuals for their attention. “I think in mobile you can be more specific….The message can be specific to a small group of people [and] it could be a message that’s specific to a small moment.” (Rory is referring here to the timely, ‘placely’ nature of advertising that can/must be aligned with a target moment or mood that we discussed in this earlier interview.)
Where do we go from here?
Rory’s answer may surprise you. In his view, the next ten years in mobile will see the rate of change slow and (hopefully) provide the industry (marketers, in particular) with a “period of reflection rather than a kind of endless frenetic excitement about what’s next.”
What matters is what’s important.
Rory tells us to “go all the way back to the value question” and the core of what mobile does best.
“Does mobile provide us with a way of serving people who are unaffordable to serve conventionally? Does mobile enable us to serve our existing customers better and to make them more loyal? Does mobile enable us to actually automate some interaction which will thereby improve the value exchange for both parties? What you’ll find is that mobile, for most businesses, will provide them with [ways] they can actually enhance the value they give their customers.”
The last sentence sums it up best. Mobile can enhance the value exchange. But let’s not only focus on marketing. The excitement (and opportunity) is around enhanced customer service and mobile relationship marketing (a term you’ll be hearing a lot more of!) Mobile Relationship Marketing (MRM) is everything it takes for companies everywhere and in every vertical to ensure continuous customer touch and interaction, sustained support and service, closer and more dependent connectivity, as well as greater insight and intimacy. Mobile elevates the ability of brands and marketers to do just that. No matter what the objectives are (promote products, gather feedback, reward us for purchases) mobile has earned its place at the table. As companies harness mobile to create more direct relationships with their customers, expect a heightened interest in the rules of engagement and the merits of asking people their permission and preferences.
Listen to the podcast with Rory Sutherland here. [16:52][audio:https://s3-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/mobilegroove/2011/09/MOBILEGROOVE_Rory-Sutherland_pt.3.mp3]
Editor’s note: Thanks for your positive feedback and my personal thanks to Rory Sutherland for the interview, and to Denise Birch for arranging it. Paul Skeldon, who assisted in podcast production, runs Videobaby Media – a one-stop-shop for high-quality, entry-level video and audio recording, editing and production for media companies looking to get a foot on the multimedia ladder. MobileGroove theme music courtesy of Dan-O, who offers an awesome selection of free royalty free music for production purposes.