The degree to which mobile penetrates and influences our daily lives is truly staggering. Consider these stats taken from a recent Forbes compilation of 50 essential mobile marketing facts.
There are five times as many mobile phones in the world as PCs, and in 2013, mobile phones overtook PCs as the most common Web access devices. Ninety percent of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery, and brands using text messaging successfully reach 95 percent of smartphone and non-smartphone users.
As mobile has expanded marketers’ potential audience to the billions of people around the globe, our society has taken a quantum leap in the way we integrate mobile into our habits and preferences. New technologies like faster mobile networks, more sophisticated smartphones and game-changing apps have unleashed new options for mobile users to interact with their favorite brands in richer and more intuitive ways. As a result, brands recognize that mobile has become the basis of a multichannel marketing strategy and the best channel to connect with consumers in real time, providing information and offers that are contextually relevant.
The operative word is “context” – understanding an opted-in mobile user’s key characteristics, including location, preferences and usage habits that enable brands to deliver highly relevant, micro-targeted campaigns. We’ve all heard that “content is king,” but context has staged a palace coup, especially when it comes to mobile.
New mobile services and technologies now enable brands to engage users in contextually relevant ways. To better understand how some of the world’s largest brands are evolving their mobile marketing strategies, Syniverse recently collaborated with market strategy consulting firm iGR to conduct a global survey of decision makers at Fortune 1000 companies. The survey yielded significant findings in how brands are playing an essential role in delivering the highly personalized mobile experiences that users demand. Tellingly, an overwhelming majority of respondents – 92 percent – confirmed that mobile solutions are “very important” or “important” in their industries, making it clear that companies must redefine their mobile marketing strategies and move from bringing the customer to their brands to bringing their brands to the customer. Two areas of the survey are particularly relevant to marketers.
One of the most important new directions in business intelligence today is the rise of big data and, more importantly, how to make use of it. A tremendous wealth of consumer information opens unparalleled opportunities to revolutionize the customer experience based on consumer context and relevance.
Location-based services enable brands to use the locations of mobile devices to present relevant offers, reward loyal clients and gather valuable customer data. These services can be used for “geo-marketing” in which offers are made more relevant by including location context, such as by pushing a text offer to an opted-in customer walking near a company’s retail store. Paired with customer preference data in real time, geo-marketing is an important ingredient in optimizing the customer shopping experience via a mobile device, a concept termed “shoptimization” by mobile marketers. Mobile location context can improve the customer experience as well. For example, it can be used to immediately verify that the location of a consumer’s mobile device and the same consumer’s attempted credit card purchase are the same, providing an effective safeguard against fraud.
For this quickly growing area, 73 percent of our survey respondents indicated they have a location-based services strategy and 56 percent said they have implemented or are in the process of implementing that strategy. This is clear evidence that companies recognize the value of real-time, context-aware information for their customer interactions.
In a fragmented mobile world of multiple devices, operating systems and service providers, SMS remains one constant that offers a singular channel through which brands can communicate with all mobile users instantaneously. By considering a customer’s mobile context, brands can rely on the mobile messaging channel for highly relevant and timely interactions.
Our survey showed that messaging is continuing to gain ground in new areas of brand engagement. Almost one-third of respondents said they are using messaging for customer or business partner outreach. What’s more, when respondents were asked what type of functions are currently utilizing text messaging, one of the most popular responses was customer service. In this way, companies are actively embracing messaging for one of their most important customer interactions – direct service with customers to solve problems or provide assistance. For example, if a user experiences a problem with an electronic device, she could send a message directly to a customer service center and receive an immediate response and resolution.
THE NEW KING
As these survey findings indicate, the way that brands connect with their customers is evolving to be more contextually relevant and timely through the unique capabilities that mobile provides. Consumers and mobile users are virtually one and the same, and it’s clearly documented that mobile users habitually keep their devices on and within arm’s reach. Context has become king. The mobile lifestyle means people want to be engaged immediately and intuitively, and they don’t want their time wasted with irrelevant information. Optimized content plus relevant context through the immediacy of the mobile device mean it’s brands that will ultimately rule.