Cezar Kolodziej, CEO and co-founder of Iris Mobile, argues that brands should use rich messaging content to engage with their customers and prospects on mobile.
Google recently released a series of stats on brand perception that would make any mobile marketer sit up and pay attention. 55 per cent of respondents said a frustrating mobile experience hurts their opinion of a brand and 79 per cent said they would turn to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience. You are probably thinking of slow-loading web pages, awkward websites that are not mobile friendly or even apps that offer little value and are confusing to use. But are you thinking about direct mobile messaging? If not, you should be.
One of the most impactful ways to reach customers is via a direct mobile message, and marketers must choose whether this interaction will strengthen or weaken brand perception. There are many ways to build and destroy brand loyalty using this mobile touchpoint, but messaging is often overlooked for its rich opportunities to do so.
In the next three years, mobile spending by marketers will increase by almost 140 per cent from current levels to over $31bn (£18bn), yet most direct messaging initiatives are unbranded, purely functional basic text. Why is it that we are investing thousands in responsive sites which will adapt to different screen resolutions, but at the same time we think 160-character text messages offer a sufficient brand experience?
Marketers need to get smarter about messaging. With advances in technology, it is now possible to challenge limitations using this very personal marketing strategy. Certain direct mobile messaging platforms like Rich Media Messaging (RMM) can create a customer centric experience via messaging. Using intelligent handset detection and the natural capabilities on the customer device, RMM messages can include optimized images and video without a data plan.
Marketers can take the technology one step further by including CTAs to apps, mobile web pages, or social sites, and all features can be accessed directly from the text message. Further, each outgoing message is customized to cater to the recipient’s device, so that only the phones capable of these types of interactions receive the rich content.
Why is messaging important? You may have heard a statistic around text messaging stating that 90 per cent of text messages are read within three minutes. Or that most people have their phone within arm’s reach 24 hours a day and are checking it (presumably for new messages as well as missed calls) 150 times a day. These stats are becoming commonplace in the world of mobile marketing and are slowly having an impact on marketers’ adoption rates. In 2011, only 7 per cent of marketers were running a text messaging campaign. In 2012, the number grew 197 per cent to 21 per cent of marketers. Still, brands employing a text message marketing strategy are in the minority, and those who are adopting the strategy are sending unbranded, bland content via SMS which ultimately degrade the customer experience and does not do the brand justice.
Studies have also shown that more media results in more views. A message that includes text and photo receives almost twice the views as a text-only message. When you add video, views increase to over seven times that of text only, and a message including text, photo, video and downloadable files sees nearly 10 times the views of simple text.
In describing a newly-released spring collection from your favourite retailer, a few lines of text and short video set to music might communicate the same key points, but how would you prefer to be informed about the new clothing line? As humans we are inclined to gravitate towards colour, imagery, and interactive experiences. We expect brands to have personality, quirks, and recognizable qualities that make our experiences with them both useful and enjoyable. Perhaps more importantly, we have come to expect that these traits will present themselves across all interactions with the brand.
The concept of branding has undergone profound evolution, first with the advent of personal computers in the 80s and 90s, and today, with the explosive adoption of mobile devices and tablets. Brands exist increasingly in the virtual world and the idea of “user experience” has become essential to describe interactions and evaluate overall satisfaction.
Julius Talvik of the brand innovation company Unison describes the merging of brand and user experience and how companies must evolve to survive. “To me, it means that to stay ahead of the technology/content curve, companies will have to align all brand touch points – the physical and the digital manifestations of their brand – around their core principles. This is the brand experience,” he says.
The idea of closing gaps between marketing initiatives and creating a seamless, uniform experience is crucial, and absolutely achievable by employing strategies that unify these touchpoints, including recognizable branded qualities in each channel, without exception. Marketers can amplify the effects of this principal by integrating mobile touch points and linking them together using platforms like rich, branded content in mobile messages that direct customers to their next steps in the brand experience.
Cezar Kolodziej is CEO and co-founder of Iris Mobile