venture-beat-article-photo-2This sponsored post is produced by Jeff Michaud, Vice President of Marketing, 3Cinteractive.

1. Develop intimacy with your customer’s “mobile profile”
In today’s mobile-centric world, different demographic and psychographic consumer groups will display varying expectations and demand for mobile interactions with your brand. This makes it critical to understand and segment your customer’s demand for mobile in order to build an effective mobile strategy that meets their expectations.

A simple way to build this profile is to conduct a customer survey to measure their satisfaction with the quality and quantity of your current mobile interactions. Combine this with survey questions that gather basic demographic data and you will have a solid base to begin developing mobile profiles of your customers. For a more sophisticated analysis of your customer’s mobile profile, Forrester, a global research and advisory firm, provides a comprehensive measurement known as the “Mobile Mind Shift Index” that will put you on the path to truly understanding your customer’s demand for mobile.

2. It’s not about inventing, it’s about improving
Too often today, line-of-business executives responsible for mobile get caught up trying to invent the “next cool thing” to do with mobile. This can lead to a lack of decisive action, or even worse, to a great deal of time and money wasted on mobile apps that don’t produce results. Remember, your business hasn’t changed because of mobile! Just like the Internet did, mobile improves the way you provide service, support, and commerce to your customers. A good rule to go by when thinking about this is “follow the money.” Meaning, take a look at all of the customer interaction points that drive revenue for your business – and apply the appropriate mobile technology to improve those processes.

So, don’t get caught up in all of mobile’s “bright shiny objects,” and remember, it’s not about inventing, it’s about improving. I think a quote from Gartner report “Cool Vendors Supporting Multiple Nexus Forces” says it best: “Mobile enablement was, and should be, subservient to clear business goals.”

3. Rethink what a “mobile app” actually is
In 2006, my firm deployed a mobile application using text messaging that drove a double-digit increase to our client’s bottom line. Two years later, we struggled to convince anyone that a mobile strategy was about more than an app you could download to an iPhone. Even today, we still fight against the “there’s an app for that” mindset. As great as native apps are, they are only one component of driving true, rich consumer engagement via mobile. Today’s devices support sophisticated mobile web apps, highly interactive messaging and voice apps, location services, mobile payments and more. A successful mobile consumer engagement strategy will encompass many or all of these mobile application channels to provide your customers with real utilities – and the tools to manage their relationship with your brand.

4. Integrate to automate “right-time” decisions
I am confident that in the near future, big data tools will allow brands to derive sophisticated consumer profiles and predictive analytics that will make contextually aware mobile engagement a marketer’s utopia. Until we get there, however, there are plenty of simple and highly effective ways to make “right-time” decisions about when, where, and how you engage your customers. Start by thinking of the customer event data you already have in your CRM and ecommerce systems and identify points where an automated, proactive engagement mechanism could drive a commerce event (i.e. when a prescription refill is due, when a customer is up for renewal, when loyalty point thresholds are achieved). Once you have identified these points, integration with a mobile platform can enable you to automate proactive notifications via SMS that will drive consumers to take a desired action leading to a commerce event. Remember, 95% of the time, text messages are opened and read within the first five minutes of receipt. This type of basic messaging application may not be sexy, but it can drive results – and you can do it today.

5. Determine ROI models, measure, and invest
Once you have identified the areas where mobile engagement can directly impact a commerce event, work to determine the ROI derived through that mobile engagement. With the right mobile partner, this should not be difficult. It is important to remember that the velocity at which consumer technology evolves has altered traditional budget processes. Marketers are making more and more technology purchases and obtaining in-year budgets based upon the ROI they are generating. According to the report “Breaking Out of the Funnel” by DemandGen, over 70% of budgets for technology purchases are allocated outside of the traditional year-end budget processes – most often after an ROI was proven. So, drive towards proving out these ROI models, and you’ll find that obtaining budget dollars to invest more in mobile will be easier to justify.

To recap, to make mobile consumer engagement drive measurable results for your business, understand your customer’s mobile profile; think business goal first, mobile technology second; rethink the concept of mobile app and open up all mobile channels; seek out where you can use mobile to drive “right-time” decisions around commerce events; and measure ROI on your mobile investments to get the budget you need to achieve your goals.

Sponsored posts are content that has been produced by a company, which is either paying for the post or has a business relationship with VentureBeat, and they’re always clearly marked. The content of news stories produced by our editorial team is never influenced by advertisers or sponsors in any way. For more information, contact