Mobile marketing should be seen as an appetizer

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What a great time we live in as marketers. Today, we can offer our clients more than just the typical sales aid. Now we can promote brands via web, email, print, broadcast, social media and mobile.

Think this is  exciting? Wait a few years when we begin see the results of our endeavors. That's exciting.

But for now, mobile is the hot topic. Practically everyone is exploring the possibilities of delivering brands directly into a 2x3 screen.

Amidst all the hype, many of us marketers are forgetting the reality we live in—a regulated environment that requires marketers to fit a 500-word fair balance in a screen as small (or smaller) than a playing card. Huh? And our clients' customers are supposed to figure out what we're trying to say?

Those marketers who believe new technology will lead to a time where sales reps are no longer necessary are living in an alternate reality. We sell life-saving drugs. Complex brands that require clinical data, references, black boxes and fair balance.

Bottom line, we need to reel ourselves in and not get caught up in all the excitement that mobile can deliver. We need to remember that mobile marketing is one tactic among a series of other tactics. It is part of an overall brand strategy.  

If we begin thinking of mobile as an “all-inclusive,” we've wasted our clients' time. And money. Yep, it's cool. It's hip. But mobile alone isn't the best tactic to drive conversion or prescriptions. Of course, I may be preaching to the choir.
Smart marketers are using mobile as an “appetizer.” Tease the taste buds before the big meal.

For now, the “big meal” is still the sales force, a talented group of individuals who have, time and time again, demonstrated their ability to build relationships. Of course, a compelling web experience can be thought of as fast food or take out.

What we can do is integrate these tools now available to us —including mobile—to build a conversation (anywhere, everywhere) that leads to stronger relationships.

In a few years, we'll see even more communications advances. I, for one, can't wait. But whatever it is, let's be sure that we have the strategy in place before we execute the tactics.  

Barclay Missen is director, digital comms, Topin & Associates
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