Dear Catalog CEOs:
Do you remember when you made the decision to sell via the internet? You waited a few years, watching companies like Amazon stumble and bumble and then grow at an epic rate. At some point, you realized that this "internet thing" wasn't going to go away, and maybe you could even garner a few incremental dollars of sales by having a website.
Do you remember when a few folks told you they were using this goofy service called "Google"? They would search for something, and this tool actually returned relevant results. They found that they didn't have to remember anything anymore, that "Google" remembered everything for them. And they found all of these little online brands that seemed to own the first ten results on "Google", little online brands that offered free shipping and cheaper prices for the same merchandise you sold. You decided that it was time to start a paid search program. In the case of search, catalog brands were probably a bit behind the times.
Do you remember when folks told you that you had to participate in Social Media? All of these Social Media experts sprung up out of nowhere, some of them with audiences of a hundred thousand or more. They told you that if you set up a blog, or got on Facebook or Twitter, you'd have real conversations with real customers, and you'd make a fortune. Remember that? You heard all about Zappos and their army of bloggers and watched them consume footwear. So you tried Social Media, mostly because it didn't cost much, but the effort was tepid. Eighteen months later, your blog has ten page views a month and you have 294 people that will only follow you on Twitter if you offer 25% off and free shipping.
Sometimes, the strategies that the futurist pundits tell you that you must do work (internet). Sometimes the strategies work, but they do not scale all that well (search). Sometimes, the futurist pundits miss their mark by a bit (social media).
This brings us to mobile marketing, aka "The Next Big Thing".
At Webtrends Engage, we learned that 11% of all page views at The Huffington Post are on mobile devices.
Mobile, however, can go in any direction. It can become a tool used to facilitate social relationships. It can become an extension of search. It can become the future of computing. And it can go in directions we cannot imagine today (most likely).
This is one of those inflection points in direct marketing history. We were ahead of the curve when it came to the internet. We were way behind the curve as the internet morphed into a social monster. This time, we can create the future.
Why not test now, while the costs are relatively cheap and the risks are exceptionally low?