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BizReport : Mobile Marketing : December 12, 2014

Expert: How shoppers will engage with brands in 2015

There is a new idea out there that consumers have become 'mobile first', or that they look at mobile screens before PC, television or other outlets. According to eMarketer Americans are spending at least 3 hours per day on mobile devices. One expert offers his insight on what this means for brands heading into 2015.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: First, what does 'mobile first' mean to you?

Puneet Mehta, Co-Found and CEO, MobileROI: Instead of treating mobile as a silo, marketers should be developing omni-channel strategies that are optimized for various consumer touchpoints (Web, TV, Mobile, Out of Home, etc.). The mobile channel today is often an afterthought with marketing from the Web simply repurposed on mobile. This is a careless strategy because it fails to take advantage of the true potential of the channel (i.e., highly relevant and personal), and fails outright when it comes to engaging consumers because you aren't approaching them in the right way.

Kristina: How will the consumer of 2015 want to engage with brands?

Puneet: Mobile is a highly personal, intimate channel and in 2015, consumers will increasingly expect that every brand interaction on mobile be highly individualized and relevant to their immediate situation, need or desire. Next year, we will reach a point when any message, experience, offer or ad served out of a consumer's context will not only be ignored, but will have a powerfully negative impact on a person's affinity and loyalty toward a brand.

Marketers must also focus more than ever on removing friction from the consumer journey. Companies and technologies like Uber and ApplePay have seen success by creating platforms that facilitate daily activities like shopping and transportation through quick, seamless action via mobile. Marketers should follow their lead and examine the entire consumer journey for processes that can be automated or streamlined in an effort to make things faster and easier for the consumer.

Kristina: What tools and technologies should marketers explore to accomplish that goal?

Puneet: To personalize and contextualize mobile interactions, brands need to integrate all the silos of customer data they have (social, CRM, transactions, mobile, etc.) to create a single view of their customer. By analyzing all data together, a brand, for instance, can reference a past online purchase in a cross-sell mobile offer when a consumer enters a store, driving relevance and motivating action. Brands can also tap into ambient data linked to a person's location like weather or traffic to further tailor experiences.

Beacons are also a great way to bridge the gap between online and offline worlds but unfortunately, few marketers have used them properly; instead simply firing off offers based on proximity to a location without regard for consumer context or behaviors. For instance, a consumer purchases a latte while shopping across town and then receives a mobile coupon for a free coffee an hour later as she passes a different location. I'm sure many of us can identify with the need for caffeine but how often do you suppose that coupon actually works in similar situations? Beacons are more effective as part of an omnichannel approach that utilizes multiple data streams beyond location to personalize communications and ensure contextual relevance. It is also more effective to use beacons for more than just offers, like disseminating product information, reviews and images, contactless payments or surveys.

Kristina: Any other predictions about the mobile market in general?

Puneet: No one needs me to tell them that the mobile market is going to continue to grow; numbers get published every day showing that. But I do think that 2015 is going to be a pivotal time in that growth. We're at a point now where brands that continue to regard mobile as an extension of Web will lose customers - and revenue - in droves.

In the same vein, organizations will begin to eliminate data silos in order to take proper advantage of mobile marketing platforms. Integrating consumer data profiles into mobile marketing strategies can make the interaction that occurs between brand and consumer on this extremely personal device as personalized as it can be to truly resonate with consumers. Our phones are an extension of ourselves, and in 2015, the marketers who take a customer-centric approach and understand the importance of marketing to the individual on mobile will be the ones driving the next explosion of growth in the channel.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: mobile consumers, mobile marketing, mobile trends, MobileROI

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