Top 5 Mobile DON’Ts When Marketing to Millennials

By Paul Barron, Foodable Founder


As Millennials dominate the mobile landscape in the restaurant business, quite a few brands are stepping up on mobile engagement to connect to this emerging dining group. This pushes both brands and consumers on a collision course for the development of innovative mobile apps, websites, games and processes that will position brands in the near future as mobile breakout brands.

The Top 5 Mobile DON’Ts for Millennial engagement starts with analyzing the mobile behavior and comments on social that can help brands in the development of a mobile roadmap.

1. Don’t opt-out on a Mobile Roadmap for your brand. 

This is the development and research phase that’s required in order to understand the platforms and directions your brand should take, and includes everything from mobile apps vs. websites vs. mobile gaming and mobile engagement tactics. An example of understanding your audience is to understand your own mobile demographics. Android is the leading platform for Millennials, but just by a little, with iOS close behind. This potentially pushes brands to build apps for both platforms — not that you wouldn’t anyway — but in many cases, the process can be difficult and limiting with developers for each platform.

 2. Ditch the plain HTML and Flash website.

I’ve said this for the past several years: Mobile responsive and mobile sites are the only option now for any brand or startup restaurant. If you don’t have a mobile responsive website, you are losing as much as 52% of mobile consumers that simply give up on you before they even try you.

3. Don’t forget the power of Mobile Location. 

This is one of the most difficult areas to understand for most brands. Pulling location-based actions from mobile users requires not only big data, but also physical systems like the new BLE Beacon technology that’s sweeping the retail segments for geo-fencing activities when consumers are literally in your business. Every app or system you build today must have BLE Beacon technology built in to accommodate the massive opportunity that this brings to loyalty, sentiment and competitive understanding of the mobile consumer. But what about NFC, you ask? Well, let’s just say that though NFC has its use cases, BLE Beacon technology is surpassing this already and it’s just beginning, versus the five year run-up to mobile that NFC has had.

4. Don’t forget how to do the Mobile Math. 

Ingress is a highly popular app that has only been available, until its recent launch on iOs, on Android devices. The point is that consumers, especially Millennials, like the gaming aspect that mobile has. The biggest mistake most brands make is they gamify the order process or loyalty process rather than build a completely separate brand-driven game app. Think of app development more like native content that you can control to drive top-of-mind use. Millennials spend 17.8 hours per day consuming media and over 70% of that is on mobile devices. Do the math, and you begin to understand why you have to create mobile top-of-mind engagement in every mobile strategy you use.

5. Don’t believe the mobile ordering headlines. 

We’ve just completed a 6-month data study on speed of service, and found a few key elements that surprised us on the idea of mobile ordering. While it appears mobile ordering is an accepted idea, there was no mention of it by social consumers of speeding service in the Top 6 Sources of Improvement (below) tracked by RSMI data.

Six for Speed

Top sources social consumers say improve speed:

1. Staff knowledge
2. Wait systems
3. Call-ahead ordering
4. Menu design or options
5. Fast servers
6. Dual lane drive-thru

This contradicts some recent findings that consumers have an average of six mobile ordering apps on their iOS device. However, these apps are in the bottom 10% of use. Remember, these apps are meant for something we do everyday of our lives: eat.

There are so many areas that we should be focusing on when in comes to mobile, including mobile conquesting of our competitors’ consumers on mobile mentions, check-ins, and location-based actions — Building mobile CRM platforms that engage mobile consumers in a new way. Building mobile email platforms that only deliver to mobile via text. Creating new engagement models in-store that create mobile use and bluetooth active use for enhanced understanding of our mobile guests.

More mobile math for you: A brand with 500 locations and an average of 150 visits per day vs. the density of 64% in smartphone users equals 17.5 Million mobile opportunities per year to engage with consumers. Where else are you getting 17.5 million one-to-one opportunities that you can scale with technology?