As brands work to be more customer-centric, mobile has become one of the most critical channels to effectively acquire, engage, and convert customers into loyal brand advocates. According to research from Experian Marketing Services, not only are mobile customers highly engaged with brands, but when subscribed to both email and mobile messaging, they are likely to be among a brand's most valuable customers. Further, we often find that when clients leverage data from multiple channels, they are able to create more relevant experiences, drive incremental revenue, and develop even greater engagement for their brand.
All of this is great -- but mobile also presents a lot of new data challenges for marketers. To avoid feeling paralyzed by these challenges, I've found that it's best to first acknowledge what your digital marketing utopia looks like, and how mobile fits into it. Your ideal situation may mean that marketing departments and channels work together seamlessly, with easily accessible data available from every channel used to personalize each and every message in real-time. By identifying the vision, it will be easier to identify (and tackle) the barriers that are most critical for your organization to face as you make your utopia a reality.
Here are some of the more common data barriers for marketers as they integrate mobile into their overall vision:
Mobile customers are limited or non-existent
Mobile customers are more difficult to acquire initially due to the personal nature of the devices and the experience. Further, growth of a mobile customer database tends to be slow, even stagnant. To tackle this, build a strategy to acquire a permissioned list of subscribers and have mobile customers opt-in to a program. Your current email subscriber database is a great place to start, as it's a ready-made, insight-driven audience that has already shown interest in the brand.
We are losing both email and mobile subscribers
As digital marketers, we tend to believe everyone is like us. It can be risky though, to assume that every customer with a cell phone will be glad to get your messages through another channel. If your mobile marketing efforts are too intrusive, the consumer will likely start to see your brand in a negative light, and not just within the mobile space. That negative association will spread to your entire brand relationship -- so an ill-thought-out SMS campaign can influence your email programs as well.
To avoid communicating too often, or inappropriately, with subscribers, marketers need to fully understand their customers and the data they collect in each channel. For example, not all customers engage with brands to receive discounts. But according to our research, most brands that are using mobile SMS today are using it solely to send customers promotions and discounts. Pay attention to those customers that respond to promotions via email, and introduce them to mobile with a clear plan for how you will test and measure engagement.
Marketing silos block your cross-channel view of the customer
Within many organizations, marketing departments are siloed by channel. The mobile team doesn't talk to the email team, who is also not talking to the social team. This is a situation that I hear about almost daily when working with clients. Often clients will explain to me that there is hardly any integration with other channels and they have very little insight into programs in other channels, let alone access to the data being collected.
It's easy for these organizations to lose sight of what the others are doing and how it might impact the customer. Further, without cross-channel data integration, these groups find it difficult to truly personalize the messages and cater the communication cadence to the customers' needs rather than the organization's.
As marketers, we need to remind ourselves every day that customers see our brand as one entity -- they don't care how you define mobile marketing, or email marketing. To meet these expectations, it all comes down to utilizing the data that you have. As a team, set milestones to optimize and personalize your campaigns based on every single piece of data the customer has provided to you. Further, develop a measurement and attribution strategy so you have data-driven insight into your customer's full experience and understand how each channel may impact another.
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