A wise man said recently that if mobile is not part of your brand experience, you don't have a brand experience! The reality is that we have crossed over the tipping point in terms of both functionality and user numbers for smart mobiles to mean they are now a key platform for the delivery of brand experiences.
The question now, therefore, is what data do organisations need to deliver and support these experiences and what are the implications around that data? The good news is that the data layers to support mobile already exist in most organisations. It is really a case of organising them in a seamless, near real-time way to deliver the brand experience. The ability to do this will separate the champions of tomorrow from the also-rans.
The starting point is to put all your customer details, records, preferences and content in places where they are accessible for marketing decision-making - and also to drive the right content from your content management systems.
More fundamentally, there are two key considerations to bear in mind:
1 - Integration with other channels and the product proposition. These must align to give a seamless customer experience.
2 - Privacy. Just consider the outrage arising from Apple and Google supposedly tracking mobile phones
without customer knowledge. Mobiles are highly personal devices - I guarantee yours will be within 30cm of you right now and you do not share your mobile with anyone else. The nature of privacy in the mobile marketing world is therefore both about use of data and permission, but also related to the closeness and personal nature of the device.
Direct mail is usually high up on the list of bug bears that people consider intrusive. And that is just an envelope on a doormat that you might have to pick up and throw away at a time that suits you. Imagine the same message delivered at different times and places. An offer via mobile for pizza as you pass the High Street on a Saturday after the match is very welcome. But it’s less so when you are woken up at 3am on a Wednesday morning by the same message.
Ultimately, the approach to the user’s privacy and appropriate data usage will be the core determinants of customers’ acceptance of those marketing messages. To get that up-close and personal is a privilege not to be abused.
It’s also worth remembering that, even with mobile, the basic rules of direct marketing still apply:
•A reasonable value exchange will leave customers happy and wanting more. Asking for too much private data in exchange for a poor offer is not going to cut it
•The message must be clear and simple, or the app must solve a genuine need or issue. A downloaded app that is only used once does not take you forward.
•Timing and content are crucial.
•Test, test and test again, just like the good old days of direct mail!
Mobile is a relatively new weapon in the overall armoury of marketing communications. But ultimately, it’s there to do what every other channel helps us to do - engage consumers and drive ROI. How we get there may have changed - the end result should not.