by Lynette Hundermark, managing director of Useful & Beautiful
Never under-estimate just how fiercely personal your mobile device is. It may be hard to believe, but it’s 7 years since the explosion of the smartphone market, and with the increased availability of low cost smartphones there is now a phone in almost everyone’s hands. But…before we can start talking about any trend, as marketers we need to understand that mobile starts with an understanding of how fiercely personal this device is. It has become more of an appendage rather than a device.
Walk into any hospital waiting room, hop on the Gautrain, or just stand in a checkout queue in the supermarket, and you will see that everyone is pretty much attached to their mobile device. With that as a starting point, it’s easy for us to understand that mobile is connecting us to our digital worlds, but increasingly it is also about activity in the real world and real connections. Mobile is the bridge between the physical and digital worlds and that is exciting for us as marketers – as the messaging can start on mobile and then extend to the real world with real results. So, what is that consumers want this coming year?
A shift from contextual marketing to cognitive marketing to enable better decision making
Mobile marketing originally started off with understanding the context (delivering the right message to the right person at the right time). However, 7 years later we are refining that and taking it to an even more personal level. With mobile being representative of such a personal device, it’s become imperative for marketers to understand the need state of their customer, what they require, what they are using the device for (be it advice, help in purchase, information), and it is about using the data to deliver the appropriate messaging to cater to their needs. The key now is for mobile marketing to be truly in the right context, appropriate channel, and be genuinely useful and relevant to our customers. Not all customers are created equal; understanding the signals (the channels) and using tools like clustering, looking at metrics like customer retention and having a clear idea of the customer journey, are crucial to successful computational or growth marketing. Put that all together and you have a mobile holistic approach that will ultimately lead not only to user buy in, but to seeing mobile customers ‘grow’ from ‘minnows’ to ‘whales’ in terms of their wallet share on your mobile platforms.
Think customer experience which means incorporating the omni-channel customer
We hear and speak a lot about the omni-channel experience, but many brands seem stuck in a single channel paradigm when it comes to their digital marketing approach. Brands can no longer afford to still ‘think channel’, they are now compelled to think customer experience with all channels integrated (mobile, online, social, bricks and mortar) or risk losing significant market share. Despite how great an app or mobile idea might be, remember it is just another touch-point in your digital ecosystem and it is a consumer expectation that it will work seamlessly across all channels. Their mobile phone is the one thing your consumer will carry with them no matter where they are, and if there is one experience that you want to get right, it’s the experience your customer has on mobile. It has to be a unified experience that brings all channels together. An example to illustrate this would be the traditional retail sector. Still to this day, brick and mortar retailing continues to dominate retail sales, in comparison to mobile commerce in South Africa. However, retail consumers will create the omnichannel experience themselves by using mobile as a catalyst (e.g. looking up product information and price comparisons) to drive them instore where they will complete the path to purchase. With the shift to cognitive marketing, you will know what your customer intents are based on their activity from their mobile device, followed through to their browsing patterns which may lead to conversions. Based on this and other data, you have the insights at hand to tailor relevant messaging and deliver personalized products and information.
In the consumers’ eye, the perspective is very much a case of: “You know who I am and what I am consuming, please send me relevant information.”
People want more customization and personalization and marketing strategies need to change accordingly to cater for this. This is a trend we will continue to see this year.
Artificial Intelligence and chat bots to improve customer service
2017 was the year of the chat bot and this is a trend we’re likely to see continue into and throughout 2018, however, just as there is “an app for everything”, do not fall into the trap of assuming your company must automatically have a bot integrated into your mobile communication strategy. Rather, think omnichannel, think customer experience and incorporate a bot strategy into your mobile execution that actually accomplishes a business objective/customer goal. If, for example, your business objective is a decrease in call centre volume with a view to an improved customer experience, then consider having a chat bot that not only answers basic questions but also gets trained to deliver relevant and appropriate messaging based on who the actual customer is (empowering the customer to make better decisions), rather than generic messages which may end up in the a frustrating customer experience. Artificial intelligence can facilitate for this superior customer experience by learning about your customer’s mobile behaviour from the vast quantities of data available that have previously been untapped by marketers. This is part of the shift towards cognitive marketing which we will see as a rapidly growing trend next year.
With mobile, the power is literally in your hands. You have access to personalized real-time time information about your user and as a brand, it is an amazing opportunity to be able to get to the bottom of the data and understand your audience. This is the key to creating great cognitive marketing campaigns that will make a lasting impression.
Here’s to many more memorable mobile experiences in 2018!
Lynette Hundermark co-founded U&B from Prezence Digital, where she served as the Apps Business Director and Head of Product Strategy. Her prior roles included mobile roles within the Naspers Group and she started her tech career as an enterprise analyst/programmer working in the UK for brands that included HSBC, Citibank , and Tesco. With a BSc (Hons) in Computer Science & Psychology , Lynette also holds various technology certifications in development, SCRUM and human factors in computing. Lynette's appetite for the mobile space while keeping abreast of the latest industry trends has established her locally as an expert tech commentator and opinion leader. She is also involved in a variety of mentorship programmes that aims to build a greater community of passionate people in the tech and mobile field.
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