There is one device that spans the full breadth of options open to multi-channel brand marketers, the mobile. It has swiftly become one of the most pervasive consumer technologies ever and presents great opportunities for brands to attract; engage and retain customers. Mobile devices are highly personal, always-on and consumers are happy to keep them to hand 24/7. However, what’s really interesting for brands and marketers is the measurability and insight into the customer base that the mobile channel provides.
Mobile research specialist mobileSQUARED forecasts that multi-channel marketing will be worth £1.24 billion by the end of 2016 yet comparatively few brands seem to have fully grasped the vast potential offered by the mobile channel. With only one in 10 companies taking full advantage of mobile, I wonder whether the majority of brands today are doing enough to tap into this increasingly important communications and marketing channel?
Velti’s own research has revealed that up to 55 per cent of UK consumers would be willing to opt-in to mobile communications from trusted brands. That said it’s worth noting that they will only accept mobile messaging from a limited number of companies, typically from between one and three, this means the window of opportunity for brands is already closing. Couple this with the knowledge that smartphones and tablet devices are continuously opening up even more ways for brands to connect with customers, then traditional barriers to establishing your brand presence on mobile seem less and less relevant. In addition, innovations such as mobile payments, location-based services and in-app advertising all present opportunities to build greater engagement between the customer and the brand.
Depending on a brand’s mobile strategy, those that adopt and utilise the latest HTML5 technology will provide their consumers with a much richer user experience, plus it’s those brands that blend utility based apps with the reach the mobile web offers that will be the most successful.
Figures from mobileSQUARED suggest that 51 per cent of opt-in users for multi-channel marketing will be using smartphones by the end of 2012. Whilst this is a significant number, there will still be a comparable number of feature/legacy handsets still in use and these models don’t support apps of any type. However, around 95 per cent of all devices can access the mobile web, meaning that mobile-optimised websites should play an important part in the total mobile marketing mix.
I am a firm believer that the opportunities offered by the mobile channel will become more convincing with each passing year; however before you make any significant investment there are some core considerations to take into account. As I see it, these are:
How are you building your brand on the mobile channel?
Think about mobile marketing and how your brand is going to look on the small screen; it has to be fun, engaging and enhance your brand offering. This means you need to provide easy, intuitive navigation and functionality.
Will your mobile strategy allow you to do at least the same as competitors?
Know your competition, do your research and build a future-proofed strategy.
Can you provide a positive mobile experience?
Provide a memorable, engaging, well thought through mobile experience.
Do you know what tasks your customers perform on their mobile devices?
We’re all pressed for time and these days, consumers are completing more tasks than ever before via a mobile device. Consider all activation points and the times of day your customers are most receptive to branded communications.
Are you planning to acquire new customers via mobile?
Mobile is the glue, the one core component, platform and device that your consumers always have close at hand, so embrace it as a sales channel. In particular mobile is making a huge impact on the retail industry, consumers around the world can browse, search and purchase products via mobile 24/7.
Will your mobile strategy deliver extra value?
Think beyond using mobile as a simple branding exercise, consider the services/sales opportunity and ask what else mobile will enable you to do. Consumers want to know “What’s in it for me”, this means you must deliver true value or they won’t come back.
Roughly what share of your marketing effort will be spent on mobile marketing?
Invest in mobile – take time to understand what the key drivers will be for investing in the channel; then prioritise and allocate budget to suit.
The number of people willing to sign up to receive on-going mobile messaging and branded communications is set to grow so the key message to any brand or business, irrespective of sector, has to be that now is the time to embrace mobile because if you don’t, then your competitors will.
Barry Houlihan is the general manager of Velti UK.