7 Ways to Take Your B2B Marketing Mobile

Plan for Mobile MarketingWithin the last few years, the use of mobile technology in the workplace has risen dramatically. In the B2B space, professionals accessing business information and content on smartphones and tablets is impacting business operations, workflow, communications and marketing.

B2B mobile marketing spending will quadruple over the next five years, rising from $26 million in 2009 to $106 million in 2014, according to Forrester Research.

So how should your business plan for the impact of mobile on B2B marketing?

1. Provide mobile-friendly marketing content
Optimization of your web site, emails, blog and other marketing content for mobile devices should be a top priority for your development team. Don’t simply re-purpose existing content. Design and create specifically for the mobile environment.

2. Consider mobile users when creating content
As the use of mobile increases, short form marketing content may generate more impact than long form content. Blog posts and short videos may provide more long-term B2B marketing value than not-so-mobile-friendly content like whitepapers and webinars.

3. Centralize content
You may need to re-consider the source of your business marketing content. Instead of publishing it in a specific channel, you may want to put it in a central location (web site, database, etc.) and then point your channels to that content or broadcast it from that content source. That way you can announce or display the content in your various marketing channels such as email campaigns, social networks, mobile apps, blogs, text messages, etc. Recipients will either access the content directly or pull it through the interface or channel of their choice.

4. Choose mobile-friendly technologies
When creating content, consider the channel or service you’ll be using and determine if it’ll work well in the mobile environment. Certain tools and services will work better for videos, animations, blogs, etc.

5. Mobile app vs. mobile site
With the abundance of apps proliferating the app stores, many marketers are considering if the time and expense of creating apps is worth the effort. Can a mobile site offer a better experience and broader reach? Is there additional branding and marketing value in having an app available in an app store? Consider the short term and long term value of both options to see which may be a better fit for your intended audience.

6. Review your analytics
Understand if mobile is impacting your marketing and make decisions based on analytics. Make sure you are set up to be able to determine the mobile audience for your web site, blogs, email campaigns and social channels wherever it is possible to do so. Use that information to make the decision on the importance of preparing a mobile strategy for that channel.

7. Test emerging marketing strategies
Because many businesses are still determining the potential of mobile marketing, testing and refining their mobile marketing process and choices are an ongoing process. But by doing so, marketers will identify the mobile opportunities that will create business value. Testing now can lead to significant long term mobile marketing success.

If you remember to keep your target in mind and consider the impact of mobile marketing on near and long term goals, you’ll likely find a way to use mobile to create value for your customer and your business.

For more great B2B mobile information, be sure to check our our previous post The B2B Mobile Revolution is Here and download The Mobile Revolution & B2B (PDF) by CK.

The B2B Mobile Revolution is Here

There is no doubt that B2B marketers need to learn more about mobile, so they can reach their already mobile audience. This is not a coming revolution, it is already here and you need to catch up. Rather than have five posts about mobile, we have links to two posts and one big link to the awesome site B2B Mobile Revolution. Our friend CK makes the following case for B2B mobile marketing on her microsite. And there’s absolutely a mobile version.

B2B companies have been slow to move into mobile. And the irony is stark, given that mobile is the one set of media that is most used by their target audiences. With 72% of the U.S. workforce already mobile, 64% of B2B decision makers currently reading their email via mobile devices, and more than 70% of executives under 40 considering mobile their primary communications tool, it’s clear: professionals view their mobile devices as veritable “lifelines to their livelihoods.”

Mobile Revolution and B2BSo definitely check out the site, as there is lots of great information, but the centerpiece is the downloadable PDF The Mobile Revolution & B2B: Why Mobile Ignites A Revolution And The Marketing Imperatives For Today’s B2Bs, which includes a business case for B2B mobile integration, a 5-point framework of marketing imperatives, mobile statistics, 10 B2B mobile examples and 7 video clips.

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Where does mobile fit into your B2B marketing plans?

Mobile Apps Are The New B2B Web Sites

With the announcement of Apple’s new tablet device mobile applications are now going to take an even greater spotlight. Mobile application stores from Apple, Google, and RIM have led to the development and deployment of mobile applications on a large scale. What does this maturing mobile application market mean for B2B companies and marketers?

The B2B Mobile Application Goldrush
One of the worst things that can happen when it comes to B2B mobile applications is that smart companies are going to revert to behavior that they had in the 1990s. It is likely that you are in planning meetings for 2010 and someone internally or externally is championing the need for mobile applications for the organization. Don’t allow the business to get caught up and pay overblown development charges for an iPhone or BlackBerry application that is only a copy of your corporate Web site. This was the behavior when B2B companies first started to develop web sites in the 1990s. The reaction was “we need a web site now” and they quickly over-paid for one without much clear thinking to its use and purpose.

The Mobile Browser Is The Killer Application

Stop, before you go and develop a full blown mobile application for your customers or employees, and let’s take a minute to think about an application that comes with all smart-phones: a web browser. When it comes to achieving B2B mobile marketing success start with the mobile browser. The browser is on the mobile device out of the box, so you aren’t spending part of your marketing budget getting your customers to download a mobile application. Instead, invest in making sure that your Web sites and customer portals display properly in different mobile web browsers, so that your customer can have a pleasant mobile experience.

It sounds simple, but if I customer clicks a link in an e-mail you sent it is not going to open up your mobile application (supposing that they actually have it). It is going to open up the mobile web browser. Without a mobile optimized web site, the mobile user experience is incomplete.

Mobile Applications Need To Solve Problems
Most early corporate web sites were bad. The issue is that we haven’t improved B2B web sites much in the the past 10-15 years. Many are still boring brochure sites that exist to shout new products, and not to cater to the needs of customers. Many corporate mobile applications will be approached in the same way.

Mobile applications need to solve customer problems. They provide a unique touch point opportunity to B2B companies, not a place to shovel text and images from an outdated Web site. A mobile application has a very different emotion behind it than a traditional desktop application. When you open Facebook and look at your feed, you feel action. It feels like things are happening. Mobile apps are largely about solving a problems on the B2B level. People interrupt their meeting, trip or other aspect of business in an effort to get the answer they need quickly. When someone closes a mobile application they should feel satisfied that they got what they needed.

Consider this my open plea to B2B marketers to approach mobile applications different than corporate web sites. What are the mobile plans for your business?

3 B2B Mobile Trends To Watch In 2010

Recently Gartner, the respected analyst organization, released their predictions about Mobile Consumer Applications In 2012. While I agree with most of Gartner’s consumer predictions, I wanted to talk about the impact of mobile on B2B organizations in the next year. Planning for 2012 is great, but it is important to understand what is actionable this year.

The difficult issue when discussing mobile is that it really addresses a wide variety of communication methods including: people finders, schedule organizers, text alerts, wake-up calls, mobile web sites, mobile coupons, voting, and Bluetooth. Another issue to keep in mind is that BlackBerry is still out selling Apple’s iPhone at a rate of more than 2 to 1. However, looking at application downloads and activity on both platforms shows that the iPhone has a higher level of user engagement and a more mature application store.

The important thing to remember is that most of the business world is still on BlackBerry devices, while the iPhone is currently a more consumer focused device. This is changing but when planning mobile strategies for 2010 it is critical to have a clear picture of the device adoption rate within your current and potential customer base.

B2B Mobile trends To Watch

1. Location-Based Integration With All Mobile Applications
– Integrating location-based functionality into B2B mobile applications in 2010 will begin to set a trend that will become standard in years to follow. I will be writing a more in depth post solely about the implications of location-based applications soon. Meanwhile, in the B2B space we continue to hear about consumer location-based applications like Foursquare and Brightkite. While these applications clearly add a valuable layer of experience to social networking, the true power of location-based applications sits with B2B.

Social media connects people online, but adding location-based applications to mobile devices helps to foster online relationships offline. On this blog we have talked a lot about the power of relationships for B2B. If your organization values relationships, then location-based is a logical step in cultivating digital customer relationships.

Location-based functionality will become common place in CRM applications, B2B social networks and other applications. I don’t think wide adoption will occur in 2010 but it will certainly be the start.

2. Multifaceted Customer Service Applications
– For years now B2B customer service, a critical customer retention and acquisition tool has been relegated to a 1-800 number and an e-mail address. Recently things like real-time chat and user groups have surfaced as an extension of customer service. In 2010 B2B customer service will begin to go mobile in a significant way.

Not only will customer service begin to go mobile, but it will also create new customer touch points in the form of mobile applications, text messaging, mobile chat and more. In the coming year it will not be uncommon to have a distributor use a mobile application, not just to check on the status of his order from the manufacturer, but to get push notifications about shipping or production delays, to ask a customer service rep a question via mobile chat, or see the top questions about a product in a user-forum.

3. Integrating Mobile Into Tradeshows – Industry tradeshows are not going away anytime soon in the B2B space. They are a staple cost in most annual budgets for B2B organizations. However, what has already started to change is the increased focused on maximizing cost of event sponsorships and employee travel, while at tradeshow events. Mobile is a major catalyst in helping to boot this ROI. In 2010 B2B organizations will begin to use mobile communications tools, like text messaging to spread word-of-mouth about tradeshow parties and events while building new opt-in databases for mobile marketing.

Do you agree? How is your organization handling the opportunity of mobile?