Have you ever walked onto a car lot and been instantly approached by an overly anxious sales rep? As soon as they shake your hand, they’re dragging you to see the latest and greatest (and usually the most expensive) inventory on the lot. They ask your name and inquire about your current vehicle and before you know it, they’re handing you the keys to test drive a two-seat convertible (even though you have three kids and a dog). How would you describe this experience? A waste of time? Irrelevant? Off-putting? Unfortunately, the experiences that results from some mobile marketing efforts aren’t much different.
The mobile channel opens new doors for companies to engage with their customers, but with this opportunity also comes risk. The device is highly personal to consumers – always on, always with them. So if you deliver “waste of time, irrelevant, and off-putting” to a mobile device, you’re likely to have an unhappy customer.
So what do mobile marketers need to provide a better customer experience – one that is personalized, welcomed, and appreciated? It’s all about understanding a customer’s needs and delivering what someone wants when and where they want it – taking us back to the basics of customer engagement.
Look at our not so successful salesman. A deeper analysis of the customer could completely change the sales pitch. How large is your family? Is safety or style more important to you? What do you like and dislike about your current vehicle? How long have you owned each of your last two vehicles? Are you loyal to a particular brand? What is your annual mileage? All of these insights would help build a comprehensive understanding of this individual’s needs and preferences related to the purchase of a car.
And although marketers don’t have the luxury of having in-depth person-to-person interviews with each of their mobile customers, their approach to engagement should be the same. Learn as much as you can about a customer and then act on that understanding at the time it really matters. Easier said than done, right?
It’s no secret that the mobile channel produces far more data than any other channel. Information about a customer’s usage, transactions, purchases, location, social connectedness and more all add up to massive amounts of customer data. Good data to have? Yes. Easy to use? Not always. Easy to automatically act upon? Rarely. The scale of mobile data far exceeds the capacity of traditional marketing technologies and without the ability to ingest and analyze massive amounts of data, and act on it in real-time, the value of having so much data becomes moot.
Fortunately, marketing technology is advancing just as quickly as mobile usage. Solutions that combine big data analytics and behavioral marketing capabilities are enabling marketers to understand and monitor the behavioral patterns of customers to then automatically trigger the right offer in the right context. Some are referring to this as scientific marketing. This is an entirely new approach to engaging with customers based on knowing how customers truly behave, as well as how they are likely to behave in the future, and then take the best action based on these insights.
Think of a loyal customer who engages with your brands’ app at least three times per month but during the current month has not accessed the app – perhaps they are on vacation, sick, victim to new policies at work, just have a loss of interest, haven’t recovered from a poor mobile experience, etc. Most traditional marketing techniques that identify customers based on a snapshot in time would deem this customer a non-loyal, non-user. On the flip side, we know based on analyzing customer behavior over time that this customer has recently become disengaged. Understanding and monitoring customer behavior over time is critical. In this case you deliver the right message and you re-engage a potentially vulnerable customer; you deliver the wrong message and you alienate a potentially loyal customer.
So how do you know when it’s best and how it’s best to interact with your customers? Like with science, the answer is in the data. Unlike experiences that require initiation by customers, the mobile channel enables marketers to proactively engage with customers. The key is knowing how and when to engage with them to ensure a better, more personalized customer experience that leads to improved loyalty, and hopefully higher customer revenues.
With real-time behavioral analysis and contextual insights fueling the delivery of messages, alerts, offers, and content, marketers ensure that every attempt at customer engagement is timely and relevant – and most importantly, aligned with individual customers’ needs and desires.
So take marketing back to the basics and focus on what your customers want. Are you leveraging data and analytics to deliver a better, more personalized mobile experience? Or are you trying to sell a two-seat convertible to a soccer mom of three?