Putting Mobile First in Email Marketing

mobile email

How does email stay relevant when it’s not a big screen?  In a keynote to the Mediapost Email Insider Summit this morning, where I am honored to have served on the programming committee, Chris Miller, chief digital officer of DraftFCB said that the solution requires marketers to think Mobile First.  “Mobile is the device that consumers go to first for their Internet use, and so how can marketers create experiences that are so great in the mobile space that email stays the #1 activity on devices?” he asked.

“I challenge you to make those experiences great – because if we as marketers don’t create strong experiences, then consumers will change their behavior and go to other channels. That will move the email channel to the bottom of the mix,” he says.

Putting mobile first means that the small screen drives the content and creative strategy.   “Start with the UX and map out the content that will appeal and engage your consumers on the small screen,” Chris advises.  It is easier to start with the small screen and be additive, then it is to start with a big content set and then delete.  Chris says that once everyone internally has battled to get real estate on the big screen, then how are you going to say that you are taking something out or moving something lower?

“Better, start with the small screen and build,” Chris says.  Email use on the PC is down, but email use on the mobile device is up – the number one activity cited by eMarketer.    “We see for all our clients that people are accessing their online content on mobile devices. Everyone is up in terms of mobile usage,” he says.

The good news is that Chris cited tips for making mobile content breakthrough, and these are the same principles of good data driven marketing!  (Whew!) He talked about the power of creating scarcity, vividness, immediate benefit (or pain), connectedness (e.g.: what people like me are doing); clear and simple calls to action, comparables (e.g.: demonstrate competitive position); goal-driven participation (e.g.: a pre-punched loyalty card).

What is different about Mobile, he says, is in the recognition that mobile is the connective tissue, it’s the one device that is always with us and is essential, Chris says.  “Timing and context are inextricable for mobile. Make your content bite sized, relevant and disposable.”   Technology is changing, but it’s really about the behavior.

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