More than half the UK population now have a smartphone that can connect to the internet, manage information, run programs, manage email (+ other communications e.g. text) and help organize their lives. One of the key challenges facing executives today is how to harness the mobile, not only in the conventional way to enhance marketing, but to create new customer experiences.
Many mobile and social technologies deliver new opportunities to interact with customers. They also offer the promise of innovating industries and fundamentally changing business models. In time this will of course transform markets forever…e.g. the healthcare; travel and education…to name a few.
Many executives are purely focusing on the marketing aspects. But why? The smartphone holds the key to providing relevant and rich experiences when customers need it (and in more intuitive and interactive manner). The ability to combine social interests, location and real time interactions through our most personal device, offers the promise of personalized marketing. If we look at how Facebook’s expanding eco-system now combines the benefits of semantic interactions… watch (Netflix, run (Nike app), listen (Spotify)… you can build a picture of this. Build in location and this takes things to another level again combining social and location.
- Near Field Communications – (NFC) early stages as yet but huge prospects
- Locational or Geo Technology
- Multimedia display/play e.g. video
- Digital media capture – video, camera…
- Send/receive communications – email, text, social networking…
- Applications – including Facebook’s social graph integration
- There does of course some intersections between such as augmented reality
A Mobile Customer Experience
For many businesses mobile marketing is the holy grail of fusing personalized marketing with real time opportunities – the stuff of science fiction films e.g. Minority Report, where technologies access personlized data to deliver highly customized services and products.
Smartphones carry the detailed data of when, where and how we behave that can unlock greater insights into more relevant and personalised experiences.
It is clear though that we have yet to recognize the incredible potential of the mobile for delivering customer experiences as yet. Many businesses are yet to use mobile websites and their current ones aren’t fit for smartphones. It is no wonder then that may businesses have yet to develop an application that truly harnesses the full potential of social and mobile technology.
Although adoption is high and mobile apps are soaring the use of the internet may seem low as reported by statcounter at 8.5% of internet traffic. However, this figure underestimates the use in particular countires, demographics and situations:
- Over 25% of adults search products online whilst in stores – source Pew Internet
- 77% of smartphone users put their phone to work while shopping – source Altimeter see image below
- According to research by Google-Ipsos 69% of US and 54% of UK mobile users access the internet daily – see slides below
Key Points for businesses
Customers will continue to access businesses in a variety of ways, but the mobile represents the most immediate and personal device we use. Smartphone penetration has passed the tipping point and now smartphones outsell PC’s. Smartphones will be increasingly used for:
- customer service
- social networking
- mobile search
- accessing email
- apps that deliver benefits – fun, entertaining, useful….
Businesses need to have a clear mobile marketing strategy in place that provides an effective way to provide a value based customer experience. This requires thinking about the context of how you can facilitate customer experiences rather than simply selling, putting the user experience first rather than the message a business simply wants to get across.