Mobile marketing: how to effectively appeal to digital natives

Marketing is an essential element of any business landscape. Over the last couple of decades, how we conduct business has undergone a rapid shift. Marketing has had to keep pace alongside it. The widespread accessibility of relatively advanced digital technology has provided new tools for digital marketers, but it has also provided some challenges.

One of the key hurdles to overcome is how to understand and pitch campaigns to each rising demographic. Millennials and Gen Z-ers are the first crop of true digital natives. They have grown up alongside the rise of mobile digital tech. They have a close and comfortable relationship with it. It also makes them somewhat savvier about its uses. They are quicker to spot when marketers are using it in ways that are too promotional. Their preference for engaging with businesses is via mobile marketing — in the form of short messaging services (SMS) and multimedia messaging services (MMS)

The power of mobile marketing

So what precisely about SMS and MMS marketing appeals to Gen Z and Millennials? How can businesses capitalize on these techniques in ways that are both meaningful and effective? Let’s take a closer look at the challenges inherent in mobile marketing and the tools we can use to help overcome them.

Get personal

The rising generations of digital natives have distinct preferences when it comes to marketing and technology. Both Millennials and Gen Z engage with communications and campaigns that are more personalized. This already puts SMS and MMS marketing at an advantage as it is an innately personal medium. Content arrives directly onto their mobile device in the same way that they have conversations with friends and family. 

But this is also challenging for digital marketers. One recent study shows that Gen Zers, in particular, are resistant to being defined as one “type” of person, and value uniqueness.

How to personalized your marketing messages

How do you personalize marketing messaging for a large number of people who all put a premium on their individuality? There are a few useful ways to approach this:

  • Niche interests. Further break down your overall demographic into areas of interest or study. Send messages that are centered around or refer to these specific areas. Provide links to content or offers that capitalize on these.
  • Dialogue. One of the upsides to SMS and MMS is there is an expectation for an immediate response. On average, people respond to text messages 60 times faster than they do emails. Marketers can make this feel more personal by starting a dialogue. Ask questions. Make it conversational.
  • Data. For existing customers, use purchasing data to understand what their shopping habits are and tailor messaging to reflect this. Provide them with discount codes for similar products, or links to VIP experiences that match their interests. Don’t get creepy with it, but demonstrate that you’ve considered the content that reflects their individual interest and personality.     

Be responsible and authentic

Authenticity is paramount when marketing to digital natives. We are living at a time in which there is a digital bombardment of misinformation. Both Millennials and Gen Z have become deft at spotting the inauthentic. This also means that they have little patience for companies who are anything less than sincere. It’s one of the reasons that influencer marketing is so successful. It taps into the idea that products are being recommended by a person who consumers follow and trust. This means that SMS and MMS marketing must exhibit authenticity at all times.   

At the most basic level, this should begin with the tone of your messages. A company can try too hard to be on this trend. For example, filling messages with emojis or corporately generated memes immediately comes across as suspicious. The best approach is demonstrating that businesses care about the same things they do. One of the ways Gen Z is disrupting digital marketing is through prioritizing the environment. They willingly pay more for sustainable goods. Use SMS and MMS to engage with them on prevalent issues. Show authentic support for activities and campaigns that highlight their concerns. 

Show you are responsible

It’s equally important to demonstrate that your marketing methods in themselves show a sense of responsibility. Adopt secure behavior that shows your commitment to keeping consumers safe. Introduce them to additional security measures for mobile apps such as multi-factor authentication, or facial and fingerprint recognition options that will keep their data secure when engaging with your services. This is not only ethically vital, but it reduces the potential for consumer information to become compromised. It could negatively impact your brand reputation among digital natives.

Make it part of a wider digital campaign

Mobile marketing on its own is not the Holy Grail of pitching to digital natives. To rely on this method alone is to miss the point that both Millennials and Gen Zers are operating in a digital landscape that provides them with access to various tech options. They are not just adept at utilizing a wide range of devices and services, they are comfortable switching between each as their needs dictate. As such, it’s important to make MMS and SMS components of a more comprehensive digital campaign.  

The rise of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing is one of the primary forms of advertising in the current climate. Brands expected to spend up to $15 billion on its use by 2022. Coupled with social channels as a platform, many companies are adopting tools that help support effective influencer use in digital campaigns. Alongside scheduling software and instant messaging services, SMS and MMS can be used to support influencer efforts. Send messages composed by the influencer in their authentic voice. Also, provide links to their social channels and relevant promotional content.

Successful content marketing

In addition to social media and influencer marketing, eclectic content marketing is proving successful in the current climate. This involves a mixture of content approaches. Create blog posts that are not simply promotional, but provide value to the reader on subjects that matter. Produce podcasts that are entertaining and insightful. One of the key challenges of content marketing is drawing eyes to it in a saturated marketplace. SMS and MMS can be used to alert the target demographic to their existence, direct them to links, and provide video clips as teasers. As 3.3 billion people access the internet primarily through mobile devices, this can be the ideal medium to have them engage with content. Make it convenient to view it on the device they prefer to access the internet through.


At a time in which most of us have access to advanced technology, it can be tempting to focus marketing efforts on highly visual digital methods such as video content. However, digital natives — Millennials and Gen Z — have demonstrated that their preferred method of marketing communication is via mobile services. By making SMS and MMS marketing more personal, and prioritizing authenticity, businesses can tap into the preferences of this vital demographic. You can boost the effectiveness of mobile marketing when you use it as part of a larger digital marketing strategy.  

Beau Peters

This guest blog article was written by Beau Peters, a professional writer with a passion for purpose-driven business content. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new cooking recipes. Follow him on Twitter @beaupeters7.