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How the Invisible Goes Mobile

March 4, 2010

By Carol Aubitz  Head of Marketing, Aurora Creative Group  First Published: February 22nd, 2010

About Mobile Marketing

Perhaps the most invisible of those who sell services rather than manufacture hard goods, are consultants.

I tried to find an accurate number of how many consultants there are in the U.S. as of this writing. It turned out to be an impossible task. The number of consulting specialties is staggering. From how you should dress to what food to eat; how to manage your business to how to protect your money, there are experts in every topic making a living by sharing their knowledge and advice with those willing to pay.

The selling of a person’s knowledge and experience is built almost exclusively on a promise, unlike a product that can be touched, tested, smelled, seen and easily compared to other choices in the marketplace.

Pricing of knowledge and experience is based on the value perceived by the seller and what the market is willing to pay. Frequently a higher price equals a greater perceived value.

The pricing of hard goods is different. Pricing still needs to relate to what the market is willing to pay, but there is a different standard of cost. There’s labor, materials, overhead, research and development. After that comes the markup required to generate a level of income to sustain the business and produce profits.

The common denominator to what the market is willing to pay, whether the product is invisible or tangible, is marketing and positioning. A person or company delivering poor quality services cannot be saved by an effective marketing campaign. In fact, the opposite is true. Advertising legend Bill Bernbach once said that the fastest way to kill an inferior product is with a successful advertising campaign.

Companies and individuals that offer exceptional, superior services, however, may never achieve the success they want if they lack an effective marketing campaign. Even the best products can be doomed to failure without great advertising.

Word of mouth is always one of the best ways to get new business. For the service industry, word of mouth is essential. It is the validation of performance that persuades others to use the service. That is the key reason to integrate mobile marketing into the advertising strategy for service businesses. Frequent contact creates top of mind awareness that increases the potential for referrals.

Being in the service industry myself, and from talking to others in various service industries, I know that one of the most frustrating and common complaints of service providers is that their customers use only one or two areas of the service they provide. Customers forget the full scope of services available.

Mobile marketing is an ideal way to frequently keep your name and services in front of your customers in quick, short unobtrusive messages that remind them of all you do. Think of the mobile screen as an ever-changing sign and look at how it can work for your service.

Consultants need to maintain an ongoing value with their clients. Because the consultant relationship is a personal one, mobile messages should be approached as ways to share important information and reminders rather than to advertise.

Information and knowledge are the product. By sharing it in your mobile marketing you are providing free samples. Customers love free samples! This is also an easy way to remind customers that your scope of knowledge may be broader than what they are using. It’s an easy way to expand your opportunities for new ways to work for them.

Business Professionals such as architects, designers, writers, accountants and others will find that mobile marketing is a fast, easy way to let customers know about new and expanded services, different benefits they provide, and new industry related information that reinforces they’re on the cutting edge.

It is an excellent way to keep in touch on an individual level about the status of existing projects, pending meetings, changes or quick reminders. People aren’t always at their computers, but they are rarely away from their phones.

Personal & Health Advisors of all types, such as counselors, massage therapists, fitness centers, personal trainers, studios offering yoga, Pilates or dance, personal grooming salons and spas can use mobile marketing to send health, fitness and beauty tips to advertise their services.

The small mobile screen is ideal for simple graphics and short, easy-to-remember messages and delivery of special offers. 

Home Services such as landscapers, handymen, arborists, pet groomers and housecleaners thrive on referrals from existing customers. Integrating an ad strategy to increase touch points with existing customers through mobile is a great way to promote additional services and increase customer value.

Mobile messages are timely. Because it’s an outbound medium it can be a fast source for increasing jobs during slow times. Sending reminders that relate to weather or seasons will motivate customers.

Contractors for trade services such as electricians, plumbers, HVAC providers, painters and installers will benefit from mobile marketing in the same way as service providers, using seasonal messages and offers.

The shelf life of a mobile contact is brief. Just seconds. But the reality is that consumer attentiveness to advertising is declining. Attention spans are shorter and information is assimilated faster. The sound bite is often more powerful than long copy for time-starved consumers.

Remember, however, that to build a mobile marketing strategy and campaign, you need to first build a customer list. Mobile marketing is an opt-in process. You can’t buy lists for it. You need to integrate opt-in mobile list building strategies with all your other advertising mediums.

Mobile media is an emerging market in the U.S., where 91% of people are within 3 feet of their phones 24 hours a day. Through GPS strategies, you can actually do location based marketing, which is targeted marketing on the move.

Outside the U.S. nine out of ten digital messages are on mobile devices. While we here in the U.S. were engaged with our PCs and Macs, the rest of the world jumped into mobile. It’s time to jump in with them.

with permission © Copyright 2010, Aurora Creative Group. All Rights Reserved.

Click here to Sign up for Carol’s  Marketing Workshop on March 11 2010.

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