The Rise of ‘Engagement as a Service’

Filed in Mobile Engagement, Mobile Marketing by on September 3, 2014 0 Comments

Faster networks, more sophisticated devices and more advanced multimedia capabilities have opened a new world of possibilities for mobile users to interact with their favorite brands in more personalized ways. New channels offered by apps, over-the-top (OTT) programs, and social media have combined with the more traditional channels of voice, messaging and email to present a wide spectrum of options that users can choose to suit their preferences. As a result, reaching consumers through one primary channel has become ever-complex for brands in an increasingly fragmented mobile landscape.

A new trend in mobile is now emerging that seeks to address this challenge. “Engagement as a service” is a multi-part campaign management program that attempts to engage consumers at a number of mobile touch points that include text messages, emails, push notifications, and social media updates. Other services include enterprise messaging to enable companies to engage in sophisticated two-way SMS conversations with customers,  employees and partners.

With this more comprehensive approach, engagement as a service supports an omni-channel communication strategy with these key capabilities:

  • Effective way to reach users through a complex mobile landscape at their preferred touch points
  • High reliability of message delivery guaranteed through utilization of multiple mobile channels
  • Reduced costs through capability to program multiple mobile channels in one comprehensive platform
  • Flexibility to integrate a wide range of mobile tools to tailor a communication process to a brand’s exact needs.

Using engagement as a service,  companies can now target their marketing spending on a specific user and calculate ROI by customer instead of by an entire target group,  and companies no longer have to rely on mass, untargeted blast campaigns. Moreover, companies across industry sectors like retail, travel and hospitality, and financial services  can take advantage of an engagement-as-a-service model to better deliver optimized mobile experiences to their customers with the right message, at the right time, through the right channel.

Enterprise messaging, in particular, is emerging as a valuable component of engagement as a service. Messaging remains one of the world’s most popular and practical forms of communication, and in a fragmented mobile world of multiple devices and operating systems, messaging is the one constant that offers a channel that all mobile users can communicate with each other through. Consequently, there are two reasons among many others that make messaging a valuable engagement channel.

First, companies are increasingly seeking a more personal and customized relationship with their customers. New technologies have accelerated the way that users integrate mobile with their personal preferences. Faster networks and more sophisticated devices and apps have redefined today’s mobile interactions. Consumers now want brand engagement in real time, and they want it now. Messaging, with its real-time speed and delivery at a personal phone number, offers an ideal channel for this real-time brand engagement. As a consumer, I want to know if it’s been six months since I bought a refrigerator filter, I want to be contacted by SMS, I want to get the message while I’m near a Home Depot, and I would like a discount if I buy it today.

Second, the emergence of mobile context as a resource is enabling a whole new level of engagement between companies and their customers. Mobile context is the insight gleaned from users’ opted-in mobile devices, including usage patterns, opt-in preferences and geolocation. The increasing availability of contextual information is now allowing the development  of a variety of hyperpersonalized messages and notifications that can be delivered to customers through the types of campaign management tools explained above.

Location-based mobile marketing campaigns are one example being used by many of the world’s leading brands in an engagement-as-as-a-service model. A universal goal of many  companies is to engage customers with the right offer, through the right channel, at the right time. Mobile location services enhance the right-time model for customer communications. The mobile industry has been focused on the close-proximity, beacon-led geofencing model, but location is just one part of the mobile context opportunity. Brands that are integrating geolocation with opt-in preferences and usage patterns can expand the value of mobile context through applications that include fraud prevention, preference management and identity verification, among many others.

As engagement as a service continues to gain momentum, the adoption of these aggregated, contextual data sets will significantly increase and open a number of new ways to enhance the mobile experience between companies and customers. I for one look forward to seeing how engagement-as-a-service will develop and what new possibilities it will bring.

What are your thoughts on an engagement-as-as-a-service model? Is it something you think that companies will increasingly adopt in the future? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section.

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Todd Thayer is a former Vice President of Product Management at Syniverse.

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