Why it’s time to ‘dial up’ the power of mobile marketing

Article by Cheetah Digital Global Mobile GTM head Andy Gladwin.

There’s a mounting pile of evidence highlighting what many of us already know: we’re inextricably obsessed with our mobiles. For marketers and brands, this obsession translates into endless opportunities, especially as the third-party cookie crumbles and relationship marketing emerges as king of the marketing paradigm.

Since mobile has become an extension of the consumer (48% of Australians say they check their mobile phone at least once every 30 minutes), it now lies succinctly at the heart of relationship marketing. That’s because relevant and timely messaging, which SMS and apps so easily provide, is key to educating customers, minimizing friction, building purchase consideration, and developing deeper relationships.

APAC marketers get this. In fact, 58% of APAC marketers are creating mobile-specific content as a strategy to improve engagement, and the majority of marketing professionals (84%) consider ad length and design for mobile when creating mobile content, according to a recent WARC report.

Getting mobile marketing right

Four ways to leverage mobile marketing to transform customers into brand advocates:

1. Master the value exchange: Before any marketing can occur, you must gain consent to communicate with your audience and learn about their true interests. First, an organization must identify its value proposition whereby a customer feels a compelling reason to access that value by enrolling in a program. This is not limited to promotions but could be for convenience, better service, information updates, exclusive access to content, and the list goes on — this is called creating a “value exchange.”

Once the value has been set, it’s time for a brand to spread the word. This is where mobile plays a considerable role, as it builds customer awareness and enables sign-up beyond the laptop, casting the net further afield into any other environment. This could be adding a QR code or a short code on physical banners, TV, receipts, in shop windows or on the hotel bedside table – directing customers to use their mobile to engage with the brand. Simply put, mobile offers boundless flexibility to provide a doorway to value in any environment.

2. Power real-time contextual engagement: In the digital marketing space, it’s about getting the right message to the right person at the right moment. Mobile is instrumental in achieving real-time, relevant and impactful customer engagement.

There is an increasing number of markets where mobile penetration is greater than 100%, which provides an ecosystem where brands can be confident they can serve any of their customers at any moment. It is not just the ubiquitous nature and the “always on” accessibility that distinguishes mobile, but the immediacy it can offer compared to other channels.

This is why time and business-critical messages are sent using mobile channels. Within banking, this could be for two-factor authentication or fraud alerts; for a restaurant, this may be sending a reservation reminder; or for a retailer, this could include shipment delivery notifications — the list goes on. But the power of immediacy is what makes old technology like SMS continue to have double-digit growth year-on-year.

3. Eliminate silos: There’s a lot of talk about communication channels not residing in silos – and for good reason – customers’ circumstances may evolve when they have a change in geography, disposable income, relationship, preference or because they’re influenced by interactions with a competitor. Simply because a customer is enrolled in a loyalty program, it does not mean that he/she is an advocate, nor that your brand is his/her first choice. This is important to succeed in driving longer-lasting customer relationships.

With this in mind, it is important for enterprises to actively seek customer feedback, listen to their preferences and continue to check in with them. Mobile offers the ability to gain further insights, address all customers and drive real-time contextual engagements. As a result, we see brands leverage mobile apps as an impactful solution for driving customer loyalty and benefiting from the assets of this environment.

Customers who download an enterprise app and opt-in for communications have actively chosen to have a closer relationship with a brand; these are some of your most valuable customers. They should be nurtured and catered to, and a loyalty program is suited for just that.

4. Become a customer know-it-all: Marketers’ ability to effectively communicate with customers is highly dependent on having ready access to key data sources and the right tools to act on that data at scale.

With handcuffs increasingly being placed on former data assets through policy, regulation and a more data-conscious consumer, mobile apps can offer a unique environment from which brands can gain great insights into customer behaviors.

Mobile apps offer insights such as customer frequency, recency, pages visited, products clicked on and many others, which can help enterprises better understand their customers. This helps serve them in the best manner possible.

A customer’s duration in an app can help brands understand and cater to their customers’ needs. For a bank, a short duration may be desired to make a payment, and if there is an observed delay, a communication may be triggered to provide help. For a sports team, a long duration in the app may be a success indicator, representing fan engagement and attention.

Mobile marketing and loyalty

A number of major industries like retail, banking, health care and telecommunications are jumping on the mobile marketing bandwagon, sending messages to their customers. Ranging from marketing campaigns to promotional codes and appointment reminders to bank alerts, A2P (application-to-person) messaging is a growing trend.

Not only has there been an increase in the adoption and number of businesses who use SMS, but the way they’re using SMS and mobile marketing is also flourishing. Take a look at mobile wallets, for example. Consumers are increasingly using their phone to pay with their credit cards. One, it’s easy because, as we addressed, their phones are always with them. And two, the pandemic has made us obsessed with contactless.

Marketers look at this behavior from a loyalty point of view and see that it’s a great opportunity for loyalty cards to sit in these mobile wallets. They can just tap and redeem points. The tapping could trigger messages, relaying a new tier has been reached or that there’s a sale they might be interested in.

These are great opportunities to deliver not only value but convenience too. In terms of engagement, we talk about going from the physical to the digital world and then back to physical again. Well, mobile increasingly resonates with brands as a way to do this, especially in this post-pandemic environment where physical contact is minimized.

Mobile marketing offers businesses and brands the ability to message customers easily, effectively and instantly. In fact, once an SMS is sent, the immediacy is profound — roughly 90% of messages are read in 90 seconds.

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