Mobile is currently the communications solution burping and dribbling its way into the world. And like many new parents many businesses don’t really know what to do with this new bundle of joy that they want to love, but just don’t know how to yet. More often than not, the first steps into something new or somewhere new are always the hardest to take.

The easiest thing to do is rush headlong into mobile and build an iphone app, that’s what many businesses appear to be doing, and you don’t want to miss the boat, right? Well it might be the right thing to do to leverage the massive mobile opportunity, but you need to have an idea as to whether or not it is the right thing to do before embarking on the journey.

Mobile is evolving very quickly, not only do game changing developments appear to be hitting the sector each year, but there is currently a massive creative explosion in development and publishing. The opportunities are great…. but to really get the most out of it for your business now and in the future then the tried and tested planning structures still hold true.

This one works for mobile…

1. Go back to basics, what are your business objectives?

It doesn’t matter what your sector or industry you are in, always refer back to your business, brand or campaign objectives. In doing so they should give you a clear picture as to whether or not, in your own eyes, Mobile can be integrated into your overall comms or commercial framework. So, are you looking to drive sales, promote a new product, retain customers, or even strengthen your brand? If you are looking to do any of these activities or others that require engagement then the likelihood is that mobile can help.

2. Define what you expect Mobile to do for you.

The brands successfully using mobile start by defining the reason they are using it. For instance, Pepsi wanted it to facilitate traffic to its web site (they printed a QR code on the side of 400m cans). So if you want mobile to make your posters interactive, help deliver your new loyalty scheme or simply be another outlet for your TV ads then define the role you expect it to play. It gives you both a starting point for what you need to do and something to refer back to when you are making decisions.

3. Establish your strategy

The next step is to define your strategy, what you need to do to deliver the mobile expectations. Your mobile strategy is how you intend use the channel, how do you meet the objectives you have defined in the role. If it’s helping to drive band awareness then a strategy of making yourself very visible when your target audience are using the mobile internet could be the route. If you want mobile to strengthen your trade CRM then an interaction and incentivated application led strategy may be the solution.

4. What do you need to develop?

Then you enter the development stage you define what do you need to design, build, develop, or produce in order to meet your strategic mobile objectives. If you are building an App then consider your target audiences phone usage, for instance, what handsets do they use? Are you building just for iphone? If it’s a business audience across the UK then you’ll need blackberry or if it’s a broad audience then you’ll need to include Android for Google phones. If mobile is to be a promotional tool then how do you get your mobile vouchers to work? Ask yourself the question as to whether or not you can afford not to have an Msite or a website that adapts to mobile. Finally is the only development you need simply creative executions or adaptations of existing collateral.

5. Delivery

So you’ve decided on what you are developing, but it’ll only work if you get enough of the right people to engage with your mobile activity. This is the delivery stage, what do you do to promote it, to generate traffic, to entice people to your mobile properties. There are loads of comms opportunities from sms and Bluetooth through to msite search and banners as well as traditional routes such as print and online promotional opportunities. Mobile advertising costs of entry can be very small with CPMs and CPCs far lower than online. In addition click through rates are far greater and mobile gives you added dimensions such as location based activity, click to call and a myriad of other opportunities.

6. What worked, what didn’t and what should we do better next time?

Last but not least you need to know if what you did worked or not. Were your objectives met, did anything else come out of the process, did it have an effect beyond what you thought would happen? If it didn’t work what was wrong, what do you need to fix?

You need to make sure that the activity is monitored and evaluated. Research and monitor the activity try and get under the skin of what happened and what you need to do to make a good thing even better next time round.

So there you have it, It’s a fairly simple process but one that takes in all the major stages to ensure that your mobile activity will have the best chance of succeeding and making a permanent presence on future plans.