By Ingrid Froelich
Smartphone use is expected to increase exponentially over the coming months. Forrester expects mobile commerce sales to reach $10 billion in 2012, an increase from this year’s $6 billion. As smartphones and tablets continue to commoditize, brands will need to create thoughtful, strategic plans about how to best use these mediums.
The most distinct feature of mobile devices is that they are fundamentally customer-centric. This places the onus on organisations to create customer-driven experiences and interaction. With online interaction touching every moment of our lives, marketers need to figure out the best approach to capitalise on each customer touch point. They need to fulfil customer expectations and achieve tangible results for marketing investments in these areas.
With you, all the time
Mobile phones now hold miniature versions of customers’ lives, preferences and wish lists. As these are such personal devices, this also presents the opportunity for marketers to create intensely personal customer experiences. This includes using the native device’s capabilities, location-based promotions, check-in offers and more.
The way in which brands use mobile devices needs to reflect real-time use and preferences, as well as accommodating the varying capacities of the thousands of devices now on the market. The marketing possibilities are endless. Options could include everything from coffee cards, to dealer-locators for cars, from bank reminders, to local news, and from place and time-based special offers – to travel plans and reservations.
It all comes down to understanding the way in which people want to interact with your brand.
For example, mobile devices are being increasingly used for email access, marketers need to adapt and tailor their message and interaction to take into account pixel width, image to text ratio, the placement of the offer, clear call to action buttons, subject lines, the content itself and mobile-friendly links.
Marketers must also consider SMS interaction and ensure that they don’t intrude on people’s personal lives. This means that SMSs should have subscriber assent – where subscribers also indicate their preferences. Messages need to be both time and location sensitive, providing either subscriber specific information (such as alerts for their account) or provide enticing and exclusive offers that are location and time-of-day sensitive. The key is that any mobile interaction needs to provide clear value-added.
With you, when you’re relaxing
When you compare tablets and mobile phones, they fulfil different roles. People are much more likely to use their tablet when they’re relaxing. With greater opportunity for a multimedia experience, greater portability than a laptop and a more interactive environment than a mobile phone, tablets provide tremendous opportunity for brands to truly engage their customers.
Tablet owners now seem to be moving away from their home computers and spending significantly more time on their tablets. Frequently “multi-tasking,” these technically adept users frequently combine watching TV, while simultaneously using their mobile phones and their tablets. This tablet market has great potential since users frequently have high disposable incomes. Figures to date indicate that the average purchases from tablets are higher than online purchases or via mobile transactions.
Respect your customers
Brand interaction is inherently multichannel: home computers, work computers, smartphones, tablets, physical locations, advertising etc. And your relationships with customers are becoming increasingly personal.
To create a relevant experience, marketers need to use customer data to provide true value at the right moment. The most exciting part is that the opportunity for innovation is without boundaries. Each new technology innovation provides new changes to engage in a new way.
Today’s consumers want personalisation, easy transactions, social media interaction. They also want to review content, rewards, special offers and glean more out of their mobile experience. Your respect for their time, priorities and wishes, and the way you translate this to your mobile strategy, will ultimately create the best possible mobile experience.
About the author and SDL’s Web Content Management Division
Ingrid Froelich works at SDL Web Content Management Solutions. The SDL’s Web Content Management division offers an enterprise class Web Content Management platform, SDL Tridion. A recognised market leader, SDL Tridion enables organisations to deliver a consistent, interactive and highly targeted customer experience, in multiple languages, across multiple Web sites and channels