Jen Brown, director of marketing, EMEA at Tealium, explains why mobile can be used to hold together the full customer journey.
There is no doubt that, for the vast majority, mobile is now habitual – from the moment we wake until we finally part company with our device to sleep. We are attached to our smartphones at the hip, sometimes literally. This means mobile can be used as the marketer’s superglue, in order to create the ultimate prize: a single customer view. Mobile can join the dots between online and offline, enabling organisations to engage customers in real time, no matter which channels they are using to research and purchase.
To understand why mobile is needed as the superglue for a single customer view, let’s look at the transformation we have undergone so far. Unless you were born in the 21st century, you will no doubt remember when the retail industry was less complex. Retailers were focused on bricks and mortar, supported by above-the-line advertising and in-store promotions.
The downside was that, as marketers and data analysts, we were very data-poor. In those days, it was difficult to build relationships with individual customers. While we only had one channel to manage, most of our customers were anonymous, which led to the rise of reward schemes as a means of collecting data.
Raising the bar
Enter online, social and, most importantly, the smartphone. Brand advertising is still very important, of course, but now we have the opportunity to identify the individual and their unique behaviours, adding them to segments and audiences in real time across numerous channels. Online has levelled the playing field in regard to price and product, so now our biggest differentiation is customer service and a personalised shopping experience.
However, with a renewed focus on customer service and multi-channel engagements, we need to change the rules and shift the goalposts. Mobile cannot be reduced to yet another channel to advertise on. Mobiles are not just vehicles for engagement, they are tracking devices, facilitating relevant real-time engagement.
The bar has been raised, and expectations are high. As consumers, we will probably pay more for convenience. Amazon is always the obvious example. I personally was prepared to pay for the Prime subscription, even before the bells and whistles of music and video streaming were added. Soon I will be able to do an entire weekly shop, delivered within two hours, from my mobile.
As mobile marketers, we are poised to meet the challenge of this raised bar. And we are in a pivotal position; mobile has the ability not only to be a channel in its own right, but to connect all other channels together.
On the hook
I have stopped using the term ‘smartphone’, because the mobile now infiltrates every aspect of our lives – we are truly glued to it. In this app-driven world, we use mobiles to wake us up, to help us zone out during the commute, to control the lighting and temperature of our homes, to order any product or service we need, to board a flight…Let’s face it, we are completely hooked.
So what do we need to do to capitalise on the sticky opportunity mobile offers to create meaningful customer engagements?
First, we need to take a look at what we hold mobile accountable for. Mobile is a critical influential point in the retail experience and buying cycle. Does it matter if the conversion occurs on mobile or not? It shouldn’t, because a holistic view of your data solves the attribution problem.
Algorithms are being commoditised now, so I believe we should embrace data silos to create a single customer view and act on it. Of course, the critical ingredient of true mobile measurement is the underlying data. So how do we achieve multi-touchpoint attribution to ensure mobile gets the credit it deserves to drive real organisational change?
The wonderful irony is that mobile is the key not only to customer engagement, but to holding together the entire journey. If we are glued to our mobiles, then those devices are with or near us whenever we are using a desktop computer, or when we are in store. So once we have identified an individual via their mobile, with geolocation or beacons, we can identify that same person across other channels. This is in addition to all the other ways we already have to track visitors across multiple channels using email, transactions, social handles and, if we are fortunate, site or app logins.
Mastering mobile measurement
At Tealium, we recommend a single entity to manage all mobile site and app interaction – a single SDK to rule them all. This will enable you to keep track of visitors across multiple channels, using mobile as the catalyst.
If your mobile measurement is mastered, you can effectively engage with anonymous consumers – the known unknowns. With mobile measurement, we can use consumer interactions, across multiple channels, to drive engagements over time until the appropriate value exchange compels them to provide their contact details.
So what role does the retail store play in this mobile-centric world we are trying to do business in? How do we ensure we continue to build rapport with our customers and maintain loyalty? Actually, I think we could see a resurgence in retail footfall. The key is not to get hung up on whether the transaction occurs there. Whether the customer reserves an item online to collect from the store later, or if they visit the store to try it on and then have it delivered to their home following an online purchase, does it really matter?
With focus, tracking, and an appreciation for how central mobile is, I believe that mobile can truly be the superglue needed for all customer engagement. It enables us to engage both known and unknown consumers, and create timely relevant interactions to drive up revenue, margin, repeat purchases and customer satisfaction.
This sponsored article first appeared in the February 2017 print edition of Mobile Marketing. You can read the whole issue here