Recently, NativeMobile caught up with digital marketing expert Uzair Dada, the well-respected CEO of Iron Horse Interactive, for an exclusive interview about the rise of digital advertising, marketing’s growing dependence on the mobile challenge, and how marketing automation continues to evolve.
NM: How important is mobile for marketing automation providers in today’s environment?
Dada: If you’re a marketing automation provider and not leveraging mobile to the fullest in your efforts; in particular, mobile responsive design elements, then you’re at a major disadvantage in today’s environment. The operative word is ‘responsive’ when it comes to mobile for marketing automation providers today. With more than 50 percent of emails being opened on smartphones or tablet devices, not only do your emails need to be responsive, but landing pages need to be responsive as well. The providers who understand this and integrate it into their platforms are the ones who will reap the benefits, while the ones who ignore mobile responsiveness will continue to be at a major disadvantage.
NM: How has the role of mobile changed in marketing automation over the past few years? What is happening differently today than from a few years ago?
Dada: Mobile in marketing automation has changed dramatically over the past few years, and nowhere has this been more transformational than at the enterprise level. Three to five years ago mobile wasn’t anywhere near as pervasive as it is today for enterprise brands, whereas today tablets and smartphones are the norm for enterprise customers. In most enterprises the BYOD trend (bring your own device) is becoming the norm. Enterprises are gearing up to support the users, specially sales, marketing and IT users, and their needs to support multiple devices and operating systems. If you’re an enterprise brand that’s targeting B2B users mobile is more important than any other touchpoint. And it goes beyond just mobile friendly design. It’s about the necessity to design, develop and support marketing strategies that can run across multiple operating systems, form factors, connectivity states, networks and geographic locations.
NM: How are companies integrating mobile into their preferred marketing automation platforms?
Dada: While there’s been progress in this area over the past few years, mobile integration into marketing automation remains a major challenge. Most marketing automation platforms support responsive design to an extent, but have difficulty working with effective HTML code and integrating seamlessly into their systems. In the future we anticipate marketing automation systems to adopt better HTML handling capabilities and responsive design, but for now this still requires additional work on part of the enterprises.
NM: What are some examples of innovation you’re seeing with regard to mobile in marketing automation?
Dada: One of the best examples of mobile marketing automation that we’ve seen recently is certain marketing automation vendors opening up their APIs for other developers and professionals to collaborate and build new cloud applications into their platforms. Almost all marketing automation providers have app exchanges and are using mobile as an extension of their own platforms. Instead of doing it all themselves they’re taking an ecosystem approach to align themselves with partners and developers that truly understand the mobile landscape, and ensure that they’re constantly on the cutting edge of innovation when it comes to mobile on their platforms.
NM: Are you seeing any differences between enterprise and non-enterprise companies when it comes to how they’re approaching mobile in their marketing automation strategies?
Dada: Absolutely. Velocity is the biggest difference between enterprises and smaller companies at the emerging/start-up level. Enterprises are naturally slower to implement than emerging and start-up companies. At the enterprise level by the time a mobile marketing automation strategy gets through the implementation process it takes a tremendous amount of time to approve, scale, and globalize these capabilities. On the other hand, smaller companies can execute quicker since there is generally less red tape involved. Smaller companies can decide on standards, experiment with design and standardize quickly as fewer stakeholders and decision makers are involved. The same process at larger companies generally takes more time and is often led by corporate marketing with inputs from IT, Privacy, Business Units, Geographic teams, Sales and Channel stake holders, and so on.