By Andy Gladwin, head of global mobile GTM at Cheetah Digital
There’s a mounting pile of evidence, highlighting what many of us already know – we’re inextricably obsessed with our mobiles. For marketers and brands, this obsession translates into endless opportunities, especially as the third-party cookie crumbles and relationship marketing emerges as king of the marketing paradigm.
Already, 58% of APAC marketers are creating mobile-specific content as a strategy to improve engagement, and the majority of marketing professionals (84%) consider ad length and design for mobile when creating mobile content, according to a recent WARC report.
Meanwhile a number of major industries like retail, banking, health care and telecommunications are also jumping on the mobile marketing bandwagon, sending messages to their customers. Ranging from marketing campaigns to promotional codes and appointment reminders to bank alerts, A2P (application-to-person) messaging is a trend that’s growing.
The evolution of consumer mobile behaviour
Not only has there been an increase in the adoption and number of businesses who use SMS, but the way they’re using SMS and mobile marketing is also flourishing. Take a look at mobile wallets, for example. Consumers are increasingly using their phone to pay with their credit cards. One, it’s easy because, as we addressed, their phones are always with them. And two, the pandemic has made us obsessed with contactless.
Marketers look at this behaviour from a loyalty point of view and see that it’s a great opportunity for loyalty cards to sit in these mobile wallets. They can just tap and redeem points. The tapping could trigger messages, relaying a new tier has been reached or that there’s a sale they might be interested in.
These are great opportunities to deliver not only value but convenience too. We talk about going from the physical to the digital world and then back to physical again, in terms of engagement. Well, mobile increasingly resonates with brands as a way to do this, especially in this post-pandemic environment where physical contact is minimised.
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.
The challenge: Extracting value from mobile marketing
Despite mobile marketing emerging as the hottest trend in relationship marketing, some brands and organisations are still hesitant to latch on. It all comes down to the three key reasons, including:
- – Failure to launch: These organisations understand the value of SMS, but they don’t know how to get started. They don’t know what they need to put in place before sending a message; for example, the provisioning of codes and gathering of consent.
- – Analysis paralysis: These organisations know they want to use SMS, but they simply can’t decide the most effective way to implement it as a strategy. They question if they should use SMS for promotions, notifications, delivery or appointment reminders, etc. They want to understand where SMS is most effective to justify their investment.
- – Regulation concerns: Whether a small startup or a large enterprise, nobody wants — or can afford — to damage customer relationships. These organisations and brands want to know how to effectively implement SMS into their marketing toolkit while staying in bounds with current regulations and providing best practices for customers.
Getting mobile marketing right
It’s not enough for a brand or organisation to have an SMS program with notifications, promotions and alerts set up. They have to personalise each message to ensure it is relevant to the consumer.
This could be understanding whether someone is a first-time or long-term user or discovering what their interests are. For example, if they’re looking at ski holidays, send them an SMS that’s tailored to ski holidays — not a ‘fun in the sun’ getaway.
With SMS, there’s a multitude of different attributes that create context — has the customer filed a complaint recently? What were his/her last transactions? Have they enrolled in a loyalty program recently? This type of information can all be used to create an environment that fosters relationships with consumers.
Having this information allows you to create the content decisioning channel that offers the most impactful and valuable personalised interaction. These leads then drive customer lifetime value.
Using SMS in the context of the broader digital engagement with the consumer is key. That greater understanding will help brands and businesses send text messages that are powerfully poignant and impactful.
Enterprises that know their customers better, and can contextually serve them, according to insights will positively differentiate themselves. Mobile offers a wealth of assets, equipping brands to do exactly this. The insights gained from mobile can be applied across any form of customer engagement to deliver a more personalised and impactful relationship.
Four ways to leverage mobile marketing to transform customers into brand advocates:
- 1. Master the 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 a compelling reason to access that value by enrolling in a 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.”
- 2. Power 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.
- 3. Eliminate silos: 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.
- 4. Become a customer know-it-all: 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.