Reflections from the Stanten Family Vacation: Focus on Mobile Marketing

Andrew Stanten


Last month, I took a long overdue family vacation to Virginia Beach. Throughout the trip I was reminded that A) there is life outside the Northeast; B) the word “y’all” has a certain appeal that makes me smile; and C) excluding mobile from your marketing and customer engagement mix is like going into the ocean when the purple flag flies (sharks in the area).

Digital marketing isn’t new and should be a key part of your marketing mix because it’s targeted and you can track it.

But did you know you can (and should) be serving up different efforts – campaigns, creative, offers, calls to action, streamlined website experiences – specifically for mobile devices? In our increasingly connected, smartphone world, everyone is searching and increasingly they are doing it on mobile devices. Whether it’s paid (advertising) or organic, user behavior and expectations differ based on the device used.

On mobile devices, people want fast load speed, immediate access to the information they’re looking for and no barriers to making a decision and moving on. As you begin strategizing and budgeting for 2014, you need to be thinking mobile.

Here are just a few ways that the Stanten Family Vacation was impacted – positively – by the effective use of mobile efforts implemented by various establishments and companies.

When Old Gets New

My 12-year-old was dreading the visit to Colonial Williamsburg.

How does a family entertainment destination set in the mid-1700s stay true to its brand while remaining relevant to a new mobile generation? Clearly, the marketing folks did their homework because, in 10 steps, my son was hooked. All because of their mobile efforts to engage.

First, we downloaded their app, complete with maps, schedules, facts and more. Suddenly, this place was cool! Then came RevQuest – a text-messaging based, spy-themed, clue-gathering scavenger hunt. Using top-secret orders and his cell phone, he moved through the city to find and solve clues. He texted in answers and eagerly awaited a response that contained his next clue or instructions to rethink things and try again.

Brilliant use of technology to capture the minds of an entirely new demographic.

If Colonial Williamsburg can get modern and find ways to leverage mobile, so can your business, but you need to think outside the box.

Info on the Go

Because of our incredibly busy schedules, my wife and I left some of the planning to the last minute. And some of the planning we had to do en route to our destination.

We picked our parasailing operator and the first three night’s restaurants based on social media input, user reviews and digital advertising – all while driving to Virginia Beach.

The parasailing operator and all the restaurants we chose deployed simple navigation on their mobile sites and a “click-to-call” feature that meant once I read the topline on what they offered, I clicked, got a live person and booked my reservations.

All before the traffic jam moved a mile. Multitasking at its best.

Can’t Live Without It

While hiking in a state park along the Chesapeake, my son and I came across an iPhone in the middle of the trail. We wanted to get it to its rightful owner, but by the time we got back to the park office, it was closed.

“Tiffany’s” iPhone was password protected.

My innovative 12-year-old son knew, however, that on this particular model, voice activation didn’t require access to the phone. He tapped Siri and said, “Call Mom.”

Sure enough, out in California, Mom answered and informed us Tiffany was stationed at nearby Norfolk Naval Yard. Mom told us to try calling her friend, Andre.

Siri did the rest.

Andre answered and said it would be at least 45 minutes until they could get there. When Tiffany arrived at the park she said, “My life is in that phone. I can’t thank you enough.”

It’s the least we could do for someone serving for our country and freedom. And it should tell you something about how important mobile is to everyone – and how key it should be to your 2014 planning.

“Mr. Stanten, Your Table Is Ready”

Next, the fam and I headed to Richmond to visit old friends where we went on an adults-only dinner date to a new restaurant in the hip Carytown section of the city.

An hour-and-a-half wait greeted us.

The hostess station was armed only with an iPad. I was asked for my cell number so they could text me when our table was ready. I’m usually reluctant to give up my cell number. Not this time. It was a non-threatening, matter-of-fact ask done only to give me what I wanted:  A table.

And what a great way to build the customer database — tremendously targeted and highly effective.

Following our visit, I got a text message thanking me for my patronage and asking me to opt-in to receive specials and announcements. I agreed.

Three weeks later, I get an email that says, “Mr. Stanten, if you think that Chilean sea bass you ordered last time was fantastic, I wanted you to know that during the month of September we’ll be featuring a delectable Mahi dish. It’ll pair quite well with the Pinot from the Clos du Bois vineyard you enjoyed with us last time. Click here to reserve your table.”

Conquest Sales Go Mobile

It’s a crowded marketplace no matter what business you are in. You need to stand out from the competition – whether it’s a bold approach to your website design, advertising, a break from conventional trade show displays or boldly tapping into emerging technologies like mobile geo-targeting.

Case in point: While strolling the boardwalk, I wanted to look up a brewpub we had read about on the drive down but couldn’t remember the name. I typed in “brewpub Virginia Beach.”

A competitor’s ad showed up letting me know they were less than four miles away. It took me to their mobile website – and quickly earned my business. Their mobile ad was geo-targeted to reach only people who were within a mile of their competitor and within a five-mile radius of their brewpub.

Quite a brilliant way to gain some conquest sales!

The take away? Part of your 2014 digital strategy needs to explore how you can geo-conquest. Maybe it’s around trade shows that you can’t attend. Or near your competitor’s headquarters.

Andrew Stanten

Andrew Stanten co-founded Altitude Marketing in 2004. As CEO, he ensures the right people are on board, delivering world-class marketing services to Altitude’s global client base, and staying true to Altitude’s mission, vision and values.
Andrew possesses an innate ability to process, organize and summarize massive volumes of client and market information and turn it into actionable, strategic thinking. This enables Team Altitude to get smart about a company quickly—and develop winning, integrated approaches that vault clients into a position of prominence and strength.
Andrew graduated from Syracuse University and earned his MBA from Lehigh University.