You’ve no doubt heard about the growing use of mobile devices and the importance of mobile throughout the consumer's experience with your brand. Just as websites were initially used as point solutions with limited integrations, mobile has followed the same path. Often mobile is seen as a singular experience, rather than being customized and integrated across all phases of a user's journey.
A typical consumer journey consists of some form of this:
Today’s consumers expect their entire journey to be a unified experience.
To provide this, the strategic focus is less on mobile becoming a top priority for businesses, and more around the fact that mobile must be integrated across the entire customer journey. It’s critical to have an integrated mobile strategy that becomes part of the corporate culture, for the simple reason that providing true mobile customer experience affects everyone in the organization.
What does it really mean to have an integrated mobile strategy?
With wearables and the Internet of Things, the range of mobile experiences is ever-expanding. Consumers expect this to be reflected in brand communications. We need to provide fluid, remote experiences, anywhere and any way consumers can be reached, on whatever devices they use. This is why Patagonia now drives all traffic to its mobile website, making the decision to no longer support their mobile application. This has affected all parts of its organization: how they go to market, creative collateral, content, client interaction and so on.
The expanding ambit of mobile experience means that a broader approach to mobile needs is required. A brand’s mobile strategy must be integrated throughout the entire customer experience. All parts of an organization that market to consumers need to be on the same page.
This requires that all stakeholders understand and implement the organization’s strategic marketing approach. Mobile can no longer be an element of marketing: its centrality in the customer journey demands that it be fully integrated.
Laying the foundation for a cohesive mobile strategy
- Providing the best products or services
- Implementing the right technology
- Intelligently gathering, interpreting and acting on analytics
Each must be considered during all phases of the customer journey, as their expectations, needs and behaviors vary greatly at each. The experience and technology required will differ from the awareness phase to the during-sales process, and further after purchase.
Provide the Best Product or Service
Consumers have limited patience with technology – it must not interrupt their experience in any way. We’ve all experienced the annoying popup that covers the content on a mobile site, for instance.
Pandora thus offers an alternative ad experience. Ads display where the album art normally is, becoming part of the experience rather than interrupting it. Less intrusion offers more engagement potential. New users are more likely to continue using the app and become paying customers through developing a relationship with the brand.
The next consideration in a marketing strategy is the marketing technology required to deliver the desired customer journey. This should be based on user requirements, not on the available product features. Brands too often fall into the trap of taking a software-defined approach rather than a user-defined one. A brand’s communication needs determine the technology required, not the other way round.
Perhaps SMS or push messaging is required, which means this capability needs to be added to the technology stack. If near field communication is planned, a mobile app will be needed along with a listening service to determine the appropriate content and push such content to the device.
It’s unlikely that one product suite will provide all the functionality needed for a truly consumer-centric journey. This makes the planning phase even more important because integration between multiple technology products must be considered.
Nivea uses technology innovatively in advertising. The Nivea app allows consumers to track their kids at the beach via a disposable bracelet provided in a magazine ad. To fully take advantage of the campaign, and the new app users, integration across the organization and the technology stack is required.
Tracking users across all channels is key. Analytical data planning and implementation must align with strategy. Otherwise optimization and success measurement becomes difficult.
In the Pandora example, if robust analytics are not incorporated, ad format change impact can’t be measured. Similarly, Patagonia can compare engagement and purchases on its new mobile website with those of the decommissioned mobile app.
The possibilities for using ‘mobile’ in your customer journey are endless. Careful consideration is required at each step of the customer journey. Your plan must be flexible and reviewed often, based on complete, accurate data.