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Top do?s and don?ts of mobile marketing

Nowadays, marketers are constantly looking at ways to implement mobile into their efforts to increase engagement and brand awareness. However, many times companies miss the mark by not taking the necessary precautions to ensure their campaign is executed effectively.

Mobile presents marketers with an array of opportunities. Companies who use mobile can drive in-store traffic, increase revenue and reach consumers on a deeper level.

Here are the top do?s and don?ts of mobile marketing.

Do know your customer and plan mobile accordingly.
It is important for marketers to know who their target audience is and figure out who they are trying to reach.

?Steve Mura, director of digital marketing at MillerCoors, knew that the iPhone would raise the profile of mobile, but it would take the introduction of Android devices to satisfy his ?guys? ? relatively young males who demand choice,? said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, New York.

?Steve and his teams spent more aggressively on mobile once he was confident that the Android was in the hands of his customers and a vital part of their day,? he said.

Don?t chase so-called shiny objects while neglecting the products and services in mobile that work.
Companies should stop looking at what the latest trend is and figure out what medium works best for them.

?The objectives are to sell more product, and to drive engagement and loyalty,? Mr. Hasen said. ?If you spend only against the newest products, you likely will only move your business backward.?

Do keep it simple.
There is nothing worse than a busy mobile marketing campaign.

Mobile provides less real estate for companies to reach consumers. Therefore, it is important for marketers to keep their message as simple as possible.

?The smaller the screen, the simpler the marketing message should be,? said Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism, New York.

Don't give the consumer too many choices.
Again, marketers must keep their campaign as simple as possible. It is important that marketers find out what their main objective is and go from there.

?Marketers should figure out what your main mobile marketing objective is and focus the campaign on achieving that target,? Mr. Buckingham said.

Do have a simple and clear call-to-action above the fold of the phone screen. 
Making sure the message is visible is key.

?This allows the customer to act quickly and effectively,? said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, Atlanta.

Don?t direct a consumer straight to the home page of your mobile site. 
When it comes to mobile marketing, the idea is to guide the customer to an action for that specific promotion. 

?Don?t allow the mobile user to lose track of what actions they are looking for,? Ms. Troutman said. ?Maintain their attention and direct them to an easy action.?

Do take the necessary time to understand how mobile would be discovered and used by your audience and what value you can deliver to them. 
Nowadays, marketers are looking at what their competitors are doing or what the latest trend is and replicating that for their own initiatives.

While it might work for some, companies need to make sure they are creating a personalized and relevant experience for users and tailoring it specifically for them.

?Contextual relevancy combined with a simple call-to-action and a great user experience is a recipe for success within mobile marketing,? said Brett Leary, vice president and director of mobile marketing at Digitas, Boston.

Don?t do mobile for mobile's sake. 
While mobile is a hot topic, marketers should not dive-in head first.

?All too often we see still mobile marketing campaigns that either haven't thought about the user and the context they would engage the brand within a campaign and/or neglected to ensure the experience is tailored for the user's mobile device,? Mr. Leary said.

?This results in the brand becoming discouraged about using mobile in future campaigns, because results weren't as expected, or worse ? a mobile audience not interested in engaging your brand in future campaigns,? he said.

Do format your marketing emails for mobile.
Email is the highest-converting referrer and one of the largest sources of traffic.

?When someone clicks on a promotion, the experience should be as seamless as possible,? said Chris Mason, cofounder/CEO of Branding Brand.

Don't send people from a QR code to a non-optimized site.
There is nothing more frustrating than a well-thought-out campaign that lacks a proper execution.

?If they're scanning the code, they're on their phone,? Mr. Mason said. ?You'd be surprised how many QR codes take people to a desktop site.?

Do leverage social.
Mobile and social go hand-in-hand.

When the two channels are married together, they provide marketers with so many possibilities.

?Mobile campaigns can use social to amplify the message and drive word of mouth exposure,? said Carrie Seifer, vice president of sales at Millennial Media, New York.

?This is becoming a key part of many campaigns,? she said.

Don?t forget about the customer.
Marketers need to know who there target customer is and reach them.

"We all have mobile devices ourselves, and we know what we do and don?t want to see," Ms. Seifer said. 

"You don?t necessarily need to throw the kitchen sink into every ad," she said. "Focus instead on presenting an ad that consumers will want to see."

Do start thinking about measurement in the early stages of your campaign.
Mobile advertising, and in particular rich media, allows marketers to tell a detailed story about their brand message's impact.

?By identifying your goals and tying them to key performance indicators in the earliest stage of campaign planning, you can more effectively gauge the success of your mobile advertising,? said Elena Perez, director of marketing at Medialets, New York.

Don't treat mobile as an add-on.
As the medium that literally travels with users everywhere throughout the day, mobile uniquely serves as a unifying thread that ultimately drives greater value for your entire campaign.

?When you embrace mobile in the early stages of strategy, you can more effectively integrate creative elements that maximize mobile's potential and drive more impact for your broader marketing mix,? Ms. Perez said.

Do target media audiences in highly contextual, quality content.
This is the best environment for advertising in any medium.

?In this case mobile optimized content which can be found mostly on mobile optimized Web sites, but also content focused apps,? said Jim Selden, senior vice president of marketing at Crisp, New York.

Don?t repurpose Web creative or run flat lifeless banners.
It is important that marketers utilize the unique features and functionality that mobile offer.

?Generally through the use of rich media designed specifically for mobile, to vastly improve metrics based on your advertising objectives,? Mr. Selden said.

Do recognize the opportunity.

Right now, there is a tremendous opportunity to change advertising for the better, whether on mobile or through other digital channels. 

"The opportunity is to toss out the rulebook as we know it and think about the user and the experience first," said Michael Burke, cofounder/president of adtivity at appssavvy.

"What are they doing? When would be the best time to deliver a message and at that time will the user be open to receiving it? In mobile, the channel presents an opportunity that can?t be ignored and that is when the user is most engaged," he said. 

Don?t go down the same path as Web banners.

Currently, mobile is headed down the same path as the online world, boxes with ads in them, primarily tiny little banners that often take up valuable real estate, are annoying or clicked by mistake. 

"We can do better as an industry and today is the day to start," Mr. Burke said. 

Do give people a way to unlock more information from traditional media using their mobile device.

Consumers are increasingly turning to their handsets to browse content. Therefore, making sure it is optimized for mobile is critical. 

"This is a fantastic way to connect with loyal or qualified customers when they are on the go and have interest," said Mike Wehrs, CEO of ScanLife.  

Don?t make the consumer work harder than they need to. 

At this day and age, consumers expect more from their favorite brands. 

"Give them a clear path to what they want at the time - be very relevant and very focused," Mr. Wehrs said. 

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York