What Should You Spend on Mobile Marketing for Your Education Products?

BY Celisa Steele


7%

7 percent, give or take, of your overall marketing budget, according to a white paper available from the Mobile Marketing Association.

What’s Driving the Recommendation

Often when it comes to advice, I’m left unsatisfied by platitudes of inactionable unspecificity. Do just enough, and no more. Everybody’s situation is different, so you’ll have to experiment to find out what’s right for you. And so on and so forth.

This 7-percent recommendation is at the other end of the spectrum. And its preciseness got under my skin, made me both skeptical and curious.

The white paper draws on a lot of data to get a bead on the return on investment for various marketing media, including mobile:

The analysis here embraces the tenets of “Impact Based Planning,” and uses software to get an objective benchmark of optimized industry mix. This provides a recommendation based on multiple synthesized data sources—an approach that is increasingly becoming the way savvy marketers’ approach budget allocation….

Obviously, each marketer and each campaign is unique. Our meta-data establishes a benchmark for planning future budgets. But benchmarks are only a reference point. Nonetheless, media agencies and marketers that plan their marketing budget allocations with Impact Based Planning benchmarks and optimization software are consistently better off than those that build plans without spend-to-impact response functions (SIRFs).

The white paper also discusses what might drive an organization’s mobile marketing above or below the recommended 7-percent average. Namely, four factors:

  • Industry vertical
  • Marketing objective
  • Profile of the people the marketer hopes to reach
  • Marketer’s budget and scope of the budget

Figuring Out Mobile in Your Marketing Mix

While there’s nothing particularly magical about those four factors (fairly standard marketing fare), I did appreciate the discussion of the first two—industry vertical and marketing objective—as they relate to mobile marketing.

typical marketing funnel

Source: Business Audience Marketing (http://blog.bizo.com)

“Higher involvement” verticals like automotive and financial services tend to justify a higher-than-average spend on mobile marketing while “lower involvement” verticals like consumer packaged goods and entertainment tend to warrant a lower-than-average spend.

Mobile marketing tends to be more effective on “lower funnel” marketing objectives, like intent to purchase, than on “higher funnel” objectives like awareness.

These two points alone can be useful tools to help you think through your mobile marketing spend.

I’d argue associations as a whole are a “higher involvement” vertical. You might want to lay your association’s particular industry focus over top to see if that reinforces the “higher involvement” designation or perhaps averages out to a more mid-range involvement.

Consider too the type of educational product you’re considering for mobile marketing—is it a “higher involvement” product, perhaps a facilitated multiweek course or mentorship program, or a “lower involvement” product, perhaps a short self-paced course aimed at getting the learner some continuing education credit?

For marketing objective, it’s useful to know that “lower funnel” activities work better with mobile—so what mobile marketing dollars you spend for your education business are likely better geared to actual purchases or referrals than general awareness campaigns.

Recourse to a Platitude

In the end, the platitudes are true, if not particularly helpful—everybody’s situation is different, so you’ll have to experiment to find out what’s right for you. It may turn out that the 7-percent range is not right for your organization’s spend on mobile marketing for its education business. But having the white paper’s bigger-picture framework and findings to reference may well help you figure out what is right.

Celisa

P.S.

For more on mobile marketing, register for our free July 25 Webinar on “How Mobile Technology Impacts Your Organization’s Learning and Marketing of Learning.” Thanks to Meridian Knowledge Solutions for sponsoring the Webinar.

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