By Chris Lee
The tablet PC market is booming. Sales grew by 256 per cent in 2011 to almost 73 million units, according to market watcher NPD DisplaySearch in its Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report. The group found that tablet PCs now make up a quarter (25.5 per cent) of all mobile PC shipments.
It is in this backdrop that marketers are increasingly looking to appeal to a growing mass of tablet PC users. NMK caught up with Tim Norman, a director at digital content specialists SDL Web Content Management Solutions, to get some top tips on how to create an interactive brand experience for consumers on tablet PC devices.
The rise and rise of the tablet device
According to Norman, the rise of the mobile phone was “rather anti-climatic” and it required the commoditisation of smart phones with affordable data packages for marketers to believe that there was real potential in this new way of reaching audiences.
“The tablet PC is having a similar effect,” he told NMK. “Its bright and shiny promise is now finding its way into our psyche. With the exception of early adopters, marketers are starting to think about how they can use this new device to their advantage.”
So what’s the opportunity now for marketers?
“What immediately comes to mind is the size of tablets and their interactivity. Their touch screens deliver the luxury of larger real estate than smaller smartphone screens and this provides new marketing opportunities,” Norman said. “However, the key difference is how people are using tablets. Tablets are inherently ‘leisure devices’ and with the exception of job-related tablet use, most people associate tablets with their own time – when they’re relaxed.”
Typically, Norman said, owners spend an hour or more a day on their tablet device, use them at home and have decreased their computer use in favour of the tablet. Tablets also offer an immersive environment for visitors to find more information, interact within their shopping experience and even pay for their purchases. This inherently interactive environment, enhanced by customers’ power to steer their own interaction, provides a tremendous opportunity for branding and a rich content experience, he argued.
Research also shows that average purchase via a tablet is much higher than online of via mobile, probably due to the high average income of tablet device owners.
Top tips for tablet marketing
Norman’s top tips for marketing via tablet devices include:
• Take full advantage of tablet capabilities by creating a rich experience that extends beyond website capabilities
• Find out what time of day your users mostly access your tablet apps/site and accommodate these usage patterns. Tablets seem to be used primarily in the evening. This may well guide a tablet strategy that incorporates more rich media since users are more at leisure and will spend a longer time on your site or app with fewer time constraints
• Create a marketing experience that builds an audience for your tablet investments by promoting your tablet interaction on your website, social media, mailings and any communication channel
• Accommodate concurrent use, knowing users may well quickly go from other devices to tablet
• If applicable, provide geo-location sensitive interaction to tailor the experience for where they are and take advantage of local activities and promotions
The holistic approach
According to Norman, multi-channel strategies must now become multi-device strategies.
“As tablets become an increasingly commoditised device we have now passed the point at which they are just owned by early adopters. The big lesson marketers have hopefully learned is to approach marketing strategy in an integrated way since no one tactic truly stands on its own,” he said.
To really create that single, engaging customer experience and cater for customers’ use of different devices, marketers need to manage their experience across channels, Norman added.
“This involves integrating tablet strategies with those of website, online marketing and mobile channels. Providing this experience for customers, demonstrates that you recognise them and ensure that you market services or products for which they’ve already indicated a preference — regardless of device,” he said.
Moving forward, as analytics develop, marketers will be able to further identify the best ways to interact with customers on different devices. In the meantime, you need to optimise the experience in all channels, while taking full advantage of new opportunities.
Traditional marketing principles still apply for achieving success in tablet marketing; Norman suggests some strategic questions marketers need to consider:
1. Know your target audience. Do they use tablets? Like any tactic, it is only as effective as its reach. Understand the trends and evolution by keeping abreast with audience developments
2. How can you best apply your message to this medium to create an immersive experience?
3. When visitors interact with your brand on a tablet, what do they do and what do they want to do? Is the best vehicle to interact with them an application, website or advertisement?
4. Is the right channel for your company based on how tablet visitors currently use the medium? Are there innovative ways in which you can use tablets to reach your markets?
5. How can you synchronize your channels to create a continuous experience from channel-to-channel?