Why Shout When You Can Converse? Mobile Ads vs Good Design



I recently read a headline that mentioned mobile ad-spend topping $7 Billion by 2014. It got me thinking: why are we turning to new technology to further old practices? How does shouting get anything done? Here’s what I mean… paying for attention through all-out advertising works for some businesses and some in some situations. But the next generation is so inundated with out-and-out advertising that they can smell a sell from a mile away.

Instead of throwing money at mobile advertising with no plan, businesses need to think of how their customers, leads and audiences are using mobile technology. Instead of using a QR code to send a potential home buyer to your real estate site home page when they scan it from your yard sign, maybe that QR code takes them on a 60 second tour of that house. What if instead of buying an ad on Angry Birds free that sends a user to a banking website, that bank used the money to create a blog that helps clients save money through budgeting?

As an iPhone user who plays the occasional game, I get very tired of the full screen ads that come up on my phone with no immediate way to close out of them. This sneaky way of getting me to click on your ad out of frustration or by mistake is no way to drive click metrics.

When I looked into mobile marketing for my employer AmeriFirst Home Mortgage, the only answer I got was, “Here’s how you can get found: Buy mobile ads on these random games and apps.” Instead, I’d much rather buy ad space on product-specific apps and (mobile-optimized) websites that help us further our reach. As a mortgage banker, this is not Draw Something or Cut the Rope. I would consider an ad-spend on a realty-focused website or app. This capability is becoming a reality, but it’s not the norm. Instead it’s the old “spray and pray” method of shouting at everyone and hoping something sticks. We need to change this. Technology demands that we think in new ways.

What do you offer to your audience members, prospects and clients that helps them on the go? With phones in hands and pockets at all times (We even keep our phones by our heads while sleeping, don’t we?), mobile is definitely a vital part of doing business. But simply buying advertising space in a mobile world is no way to grow your business in a long-term, sustainable manner. Do you solve a problem, like “how to change a tire” that people may search for on their phones? As a mechanic, this could be a golden opportunity.

As with anything, if what you’re doing is working for you, then by all means keep doing it. If spending money on advertising is simply part of your current, successful business plan then who am I to tell you to change. Just keep this in mind: buyer behavior is changing. With DVR’s in our homes (no more TV ads), phones in our hands (no billboards get our attention) and pop-up blockers (Internet ads are annoying) we have made it clear: we don’t like advertising. So as marketers we must adapt and find new ways to get our message out. Social media, search engines and online video add up to content marketing that helps us spread the message and solve consumer problems.

So instead of shouting at me through my phone, have a conversation with me through these new channels in new ways. Don’t use my phone to holler at me – solve my problem with a unique solution.

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