Trying to quantify how many companies are in the “mobile” space right now is a futile task, but it must be in the magnitude of thousands. It’s no wonder, considering the mobile marketing ecosystem was calculated to have generated $139 billion of incremental output to the U.S. economy in 2012. Over the next five years, this figure is set to skyrocket to $400 billion representing an annual growth rate of 52%. The same study calculated that the mobile industry provided 524,000 jobs in 2012.
Given the sheer size of the industry and the number of vendors how do CMO’s, ad agency executives, and brand managers go about selecting the right vendor for their particular needs?
The first place to start would be to realize that “We are new to mobile and need some guidance about how to start.”
Once you have done your homework and found a list of potential vendors either based on a referral or a quick search, see how long they have been in business and try to find brands they have worked with or campaigns that they have executed. See if those campaigns were successful or not. Make sure they also have plenty of great in-house case studies. Any vendor can provide case studies, so be careful and also make sure you ask for references.
The most important factor a choosing a mobile partner is their background in marketing. With all of the “fly by night” mobile experts arising these days, very few have a marketing background. How can you expect those companies to help you with integration into your existing marketing plan if they don’t understand your business or industry. It is imperative that they are able integrate mobile campaigns according to your sales & marketing goals without too much disruption.
Technical integration is another aspect of mobile that is often overlooked. Assume that you have now found who you believe to be your perfect mobile vendor, but then you discover that they are not proficient at API integration and that their platform does not integrate to your CRM platform and customer database. If this type of integration is unavailable , Beware; This may be a good sign that this new mobile company may not own their own platform, and may be using a third party supplier. This type of channel will inevitably cause problems because of hundreds, if not thousands of keywords may be out of compliance and assigned to the very shortcode you will be using to execute your campaigns. A well processed and proven support system is also a must in finding a stable partner.
The regulatory environment for mobile in the United States is complex. Your mobile vendor must be able to guide you through the obstacles and make sure that your campaigns and brands are not at risk. The penalties for mistakes are big and expensive.
Financial stability is another issue worth thinking about when selecting your mobile vendor. Try to obtain their financial information and also find out who is behind the company. Many mobile companies are still in the early stages and might be making losses (most are), but they might have strong backers who are committed to the cause. Longevity also holds great weight in finding a competent mobile partner, the more experiences they have, the more value, trust and insight they are able to provide.
Finally, it all comes down to the chemistry. Once you have been through the process, you have to want to work with the people that you select. My sincere advice is to find people who are passionate about mobile and who you believe will dedicate themselves to your success. You will have ups and downs as you embark on your journey into the highly effective world of mobile marketing, so make sure that you enjoy the journey with people who you like, and who also have a great reputation.
About Sonic Mobile. Sonic Mobile is one of the most experienced mobile marketing companies in the US. We are also an internationally recognized provider of all mobile services including SMS/Text message connectivity and campaigns. Our highly skilled team has been deploying, designing and managing these services for over a decade with the results that prove our services work for our customers. At the heart of our business is a dedicated team of individuals with the technical know how and creative talent to help our clients make the most of their digital spend.