There’s a growing body of evidence, suggesting that people are more obsessed with their mobiles than ever before. For marketers and brands, this obsession translates into incredible opportunity, especially as the third-party cookie crumbles and relationship marketing emerges as king of the marketing paradigm.
Smartphones are often the first thing people check in the morning and the last thing they touch at night. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that people spend an average of four hours every day clicking, tapping, swiping, and watching on their mobile devices – that’s at least a quarter of their waking hours. Undoubtedly, mobile has become an inextricable extension of the modern consumer and as such, has emerged as the heartbeat of relationship marketing.
Challenges, trends and opportunities
Popular forms of A2P (application-to-person messaging or business SMS) messages include marketing campaigns, promotional codes, appointment reminders, account security codes, bank alerts, and shipping notifications. Many major industries like retail, banking, health care and telecommunications have adopted A2P technology to send messages to their customers. It’s a trend that’s growing.
However, some brands and organisations are still hesitant to latch on the mobile marketing trend. That hesitancy can be attributed to a number of factors, including trouble getting started, investment justification and intimidation by regulation.
To eliminate these barriers, it’s key for the industry to embrace bodies like The Mobile Ecosystem Forum (MEF) that package thought leadership into bite-sized, consumable information for enterprises to learn. This can get more organisations to adopt A2P, helping them drive additional value to customers about the services they provide.
Here are four ways to leverage mobile marketing to create lasting relationships with customers:
- Create a value exchange: Before any marketing can occur, you must gain consent to communicate with your audience and learn about their true interests. First, an organisation must identify its value proposition whereby a customer feels that there is a compelling reason to access that value by enrolling in a loyalty program. This is not limited to promotions, but could be for convenience, better service, information updates, exclusive access to content and the list goes on — this is called creating a “value exchange.”
Once the value has been set, it’s time for a brand to spread the word. This is where mobile plays a considerable role, as it lifts customer awareness and enables sign up beyond the laptop, casting the net further afield into any other environment. This could be adding a QR code or a short code on banners, TV, receipts, in shop windows or on the hotel bedside table – directing customers to use their mobiles to engage with the brand. Simply put, mobile offers boundless flexibility to provide a doorway to value in any environment.
- Drive real-time contextual engagement: In the digital marketing space, it’s about getting the right message to the right person at the right moment. Mobile is instrumental to achieving real time, relevant and impactful customer engagement.
There is an increasing number of markets where mobile penetration is greater than 100%, and that provides an ecosystem where brands can be confident they can serve any of their customers at any moment in time. It is not just the ubiquitous nature and the “always on” accessibility that distinguishes mobile, but the immediacy it can offer when compared to other channels.
This is why time and business critical messages are sent using mobile channels. Within banking, this could be for two-factor authentication or fraud alerts; for a restaurant this may be sending a reservation reminder; or for a retailer this could include shipment delivery notifications — the list goes on. But the power of immediacy is what makes old technology like SMS continue to have double-digit growth year on year.
- Unify loyalty and marketing: There’s a lot of talk about communication channels not residing in silos. And for good reason – customers’ circumstances may evolve when they have a change in geography, disposable income, relationship, preference or because they’re influenced by interactions from a competitor. Simply because a customer is enrolled in a loyalty program, it does not mean that he/she is an advocate, nor that your brand is his/her first choice. This is important to succeed in driving longer-lasting customer relationships.
With this in mind, it is important for enterprises to actively seek customer feedback, listen to their preferences and continue to check in with them. Mobile offers the ability to gain further insights, address all customers and drive real-time contextual engagements. We see brands leverage mobile apps as an impactful solution for driving customer loyalty and benefiting from the assets of this environment.
Customers who download an enterprise app and opt-in for communications have actively chosen to have a closer relationship with a brand; these are some of your most valuable customers. They should be nurtured and catered to, and a loyalty program is suited for just that.
- Become a customer expert: Marketers’ ability to effectively communicate with customers is highly dependent on having ready access to key data sources and the right tools to act on that data at scale.
With handcuffs increasingly being placed on former data assets through policy, regulation and a more data-conscious consumer, mobile apps can offer a unique environment from which brands can gain great insights into customer behaviours.
Mobile apps offer insights like customer frequency, recency, pages visited, products clicked on and many others, which can help enterprises better understand their customers. This helps serve them in the best manner possible.
A new era of ‘relationship’ mobile marketing
The value of mobile in the digital age is vast. When engaging with a brand, consumers interact with several digital touchpoints that are seldom connected. However, these channels can almost always be accessed on mobile, with SMS, browser, email, apps, social and wallet readily available on most smart devices. Therefore, by making mobile the nucleus of any digital communication strategy, brands can harmonise data and use it to power more personalised and frictionless experiences across all touchpoints.
Mobile marketing offers businesses and brands the ability to message customers easily, effectively and instantly. In fact, once an SMS is sent, the immediacy is profound — roughly 90% of messages are read in 90 seconds.
Even more, whether the recipient is eight years old or 80, there’s no barrier to understanding how to operate a text message. With that level of engagement, one that provides up to 45% of responses where there is a call to action; it’s very compelling for more and more organisations to jump on the trend. Relationship marketing bridges the gap between data and contextual engagement, ensuring brands and organisations can easily and fluidly understand their customers, activate insights and effectively deliver personalised experiences across all channels and touchpoints. Relevant and timely messaging, which SMS and apps so seamlessly provide, is key to educating customers, minimising friction, building purchase consideration, and developing deeper relationships.
Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person? Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.