ADOTAS – When is the last time you left the house for few hours and realized you didn’t have your cell phone? What was your first thought? Panic? Concern? Did you immediately turn the car around to go get your phone or did you decide to “live dangerously” without it?
A 2013 Facebook-sponsored study by IDC Research found that 44 percent of the people who own a smartphone said they use it as an alarm clock. That number rose to 54 percent for people 18 to 24. Mobile devices keep consumers connected around the clock, prompting marketers, advertisers and retailers to use this channel as a means of engagement. In fact, eMarketer recently issued a report stating that U.S. mobile ad spending more than doubled from 2012 to 2013, from $4.4 billion to $9.6 billion. This year, eMarketer expects mobile ad spending to reach almost $15 billion on its way to surpassing desktop spending by as early as 2017.
It’s clear that brands are investing significant advertising dollars into mobile. But, on their own, are these investments enough to keep a consumer who is bombarded with messages and offers loyal to your brand? Companies must move beyond simply inundating consumers with ads; instead they should prioritize two-way communications with consumers as a way to build long-term brand enthusiasts.
The Emergence of Mobile Care
Just pushing deals, promotions and content to consumers won’t cut it in 2014 and the years ahead. A business’ mobile strategy must include customer care. What’s often overlooked is how a brand can use the mobile device for care; it doesn’t involve a fancy new app, it’s as simple as a SMS message.
We already know consumers will connect with companies and brands on their mobile devices. In late 2013, Millward Brown Digital conducted a survey on behalf of mBlox that found 68 percent of respondents who received a text or push message from a company found it valuable. Further, four out of five consumers were willing to share information, including their location, with brands to receive offers via text.
Mobile care ensures that quality and service continue well beyond the point of purchase. For example, banks or credit unions can issue a mobile customer survey to solicit feedback to improve their customer’s future experiences, or they can create personalized loyalty programs through SMS that consumers choose to participate in. One third of the U.S. population defines themselves as “brand loyalists,” and consumers are increasingly welcoming prolonged engagement opportunities with brands they trust.
The Marriage of Advertising and Care
Brands that engage in care as part of their overall marketing strategy have the best chance of establishing deeper and more valuable relationships with consumers. When done right, a care program will nurture consumers from one-time customers to long-term advocates for the brand.
Aside from building brand loyalists, how else does mobile care positively impact a brand’s bottom line? It’s well established that existing customers are more likely to purchase from your brand than someone who has not. By placing a greater emphasis on customer care, your team will interact with those who are most likely to continue to make purchases, driving recurring revenue. What’s more, from a resources perspective, companies that use their mobile advertising platform for customer care can find efficiencies by sharing the cost across different departments. Instead of marketing and customer care having their own engagement channels with their own price tags, now a business can stretch their investment to serve dual roles in advertising and care.
Mobile customer care is rapidly becoming an opportunity for companies to distinguish themselves in an increasingly competitive economy – where products and services can be purchased from anywhere at any time, and often at a discounted price. SMS remains the most effective and valuable way to grab consumers’ attention; it’s the most direct means of communication on a mobile device. To be successful, companies must look beyond advertising to include care as a means to connect with consumers in a targeted, relevant and valuable way.
Aligning customer care with your brand’s mobile ad strategy will ensure that you create meaningful touch points for consumers across the full customer experience, and will derive the most value for your brand.