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When it comes to technology and innovation, the bandwagon mentality rarely works. By the time everyone is doing it or using it, it’s probably nearing the end of its natural lifecycle. That’s why the great innovators take a look at what everyone else is doing and then invent a new way to revolutionize technology.
Mobile marketing is currently experiencing a mad dash toward the familiar and predictable. Like kids scampering to collect the candy after the piñata bursts, mobile marketers are looking to scoop up strategies they think will help them market to their audience, but many of these strategies aren’t worth pursuing anymore.
Let’s take a look at six trategies that are sputtering, confusing and ineffective, or simply need to die:
1. Thinking of mobile channels solely as apps and mobile Web
Earning a coveted place on the app home screen – next to the likes of Tinder and Facebook – is an extremely difficult feat. Consumers also demand more context-aware experiences than mobile websites and advertisements provide. Companies must think beyond these traditional channels for customer connection on mobile and consider mobile wallet and Facebook’s new Messenger for Business.
Within a mobile wallet like Apple Passbook, people can store loyalty cards, offers, and more. For consumers, the psychological hurdle of saving something to a mobile wallet is much lower than downloading an app, and by eliminating friction from their daily lives (offer redemption, loyalty program rewards), the consumer is more inclined to engage. These saved passes can also trigger context-aware experiences based on a person’s location (geo-fence or beacon), similar to the in-the-moment marketing opportunities that apps provide.
Similarly, the new Messenger for Business is reimagining customer communication and support by enabling brands to engage with their customers privately within a private chat thread.
Companies must explore channels like wallet and Messenger that require less buy-in from consumers to opt-in.
2. Adopting new technologies that are not integrated into ‘one view of the customer’
With every new technology and emerging channel, companies are adding more and more silos of customer data (app, beacon, online marketing, email, CRM, social, etc.) none of which talks to the others. As a consumer, I might receive a personalized experience that reflects my loyalty to a brand online and an experience in-store that treats me like a stranger, even though I have spent hundreds of dollars with the company. Brands need to stop creating channel-specific databases with customer insights and instead work to create a single profile of every customer that incorporates data from all channels to create an omnichannel experience that fluidly moves between touchpoints.
3. Relying only on humans for customer support
The future is now and, unfortunately for technophobes, robots and automation are taking over. Companies should not rely solely on humans to power interactive chat or in-store support. Brands must centralize knowledge and rules of engagement in the cloud – instead of the heads of distracted, transitional sales associates and customer support employees. Lowe’s, for instance, recently piloted robots in stores to replace human associates for some shopper needs, like finding products in its massive aisles. While not every company will be able to afford actual robots, the smartphone can be used as the interactive channel for artificial intelligence-driven support that automates virtual responses to customer inquiries in and out of store, like product recommendations, product finder and availability, order status, etc.
4. Ignoring intent
Many marketers looking to contextualize user experiences rely on location – and completely ignore user implicit and explicit intent. What if a man walks through the women’s department? Should he get a message on his smartphone about a sale on lingerie? Unless it’s Valentine’s Day or a similarly appropriate holiday when he might be shopping for his wife, probably not. When a company is able to understand users’ intent at a given moment, it can help them accomplish whatever they are trying to do by providing the right experience, content, or functionality.
5. Collecting every piece of data you can [whether you use it or not]
Forget pocketing all of the candy. Just find the delicious pieces. Big data is a spectacular pool of information to pull from, but it must be mined, sorted, and distilled – and most importantly, protected. In a time when security breaches are on the rise, data minimization is more important than data maximization (collecting anything and everything). Companies should think about the information they are collecting and ask themselves whether they need it all, if the risks of collecting the data outweigh the benefits, and how that data is benefiting customers.
6. Taking advantage of every opportunity to interrupt
Like anyone trying to make a deep connection, mobile marketers must pick their spots. Everyone likes to receive a cheery text message from a friend, but an onslaught of ill-timed chirps can be distracting and ultimately a turn-off. Just because you have the power to instantly reach your customers anytime, anywhere doesn’t mean you should. Brands must show restraint. Do consumers really need to get a push alert with a 20 percent discount “TODAY ONLY” every time they pass your store? Show sophistication and discipline by only reaching out and engaging when it’s in the right context. Your customer will notice and you’ll be rewarded.
With billions of dollars in potential revenue up for grabs, mobile marketing efforts must focus on the complete customer journey and avoid the myriad crash-and-burn mobile gimmicks out there.
Puneet Mehta is cofounder and CEO of MobileROI.
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