As mobile becomes a key conduit through which people connect with each other and the world -- from managing calendars, finances and social networks to navigating online, on the road and on the path to purchase -- many are still treating it as ancillary to their marketing efforts.
While the technical requirements of mobile force it into the realm of a specialist expertise, the key to winning lies in realizing that mobile actually represents the confluence of four key marketing disciplines: social media, shopper marketing, promotion and CRM.
Social: It shouldn't be surprising that for more and more people, smartphones are the link to their social networks. It's the easiest way to quickly share a photo or experience -- on-the-go or at home. According to a recent Forrester survey, the number of adult respondents using mobile devices to access social-networking sites nearly doubled from 2010 to 2011. The usage grew to 43% for mobile users aged 12-17.
People are not only using mobile to tweet, check in, and update status. They're using it to download daily deals, access their networks' brand and product recommendations and share their own insights. These behaviors begin to illustrate the irrevocable link that mobile has to how and what people buy -- which is the real reason mobile is critical to marketers.
Shopper: Unleashing mobile's real power depends on understanding its role and potential throughout the shopping and buying process. From looking up store hours, getting directions and reading reviews to receiving deals, comparing prices and actually paying, mobile has the ability to function as an informed shopping assistant 24/7, and the potential is tremendous. Retailers who simply offer mobile-optimized sites increase consumer engagement by 85%, with 51% of consumers reporting they are more likely to purchase from those retailers, according to a study from Brand Anywhere and Luth Research
Moving beyond the basics, however, requires real insight into consumers' new, multiple and non-linear paths to purchase, as well as how manufacturers and retailers can collaborate. For example, consumers in our Arc Worldwide Mobile Shopper Study report that retailer mobile sites and apps have valuable information about how and where to buy, but are often short of critical product details; manufacturers offer just the opposite. This highlights the opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to work together to optimize site experiences and apps to deliver what shoppers need when they need it.
Promotion: Whether it's an app or mobile site, marketers cannot assume that if they build it, consumers will come … not to mention download, engage, opt-in and participate. With hundreds of thousands of apps and sites available, marketers' mobile offerings needs to incent engagement and deliver real value and/or utility to drive ongoing participation. Just compare the number of apps on your phone right now to the number you've actually used in the last month, and you'll see what I mean. As a result, branded games, tiered awards, targeted offers and unique experiences are important to initial trial and, often, ongoing participation. Driving successful mobile engagement is the marketing challenge within the marketing challenge, and valuable, branded offers can help.
CRM: Of course the ultimate goal of all of the above is to build long-term relationships with people who enable the marketer to garner greater insight into their wants and needs, and be better positioned to meet them. At the end of the day, mobile is a one-to-one medium, and as a result, the quantity and quality of information it can provide to marketers is staggering. Mining shared information, as well as the multiple databases generated through mobile usage, can yield insights leading to ultra-targeted programs that meet consumers' needs on a one-to-one basis.
Marketers who successfully integrate all these disciplines into their mobile offering are delivering powerfully creative programs. Tesco provides a great example in Korea.
Koreans, among the hardest-working people in the world, dread going to grocery stores after their long work hours. So Tesco used this shopper insight to bring grocery shopping to them via virtual stores at subway stops. Images of products, arranged on shelves as they appear in stores, created an inviting user experience that instantly made people comfortable navigating the "aisles."
Shoppers could place products in virtual shopping carts by scanning QR codes with their smartphones. The products would be delivered to their homes that evening. Sales soared, and excitement spread as people shared their experiences via social media. Participants received incentives to visit the Tesco website, and data was funneled into CRM programs to help shoppers stay happy and loyal. Online registrations and sales increased by 76% and 130% respectively, and Tesco became the number one online grocer and number two grocer overall in Korea.
The Tesco case is just one example, but it highlights the opportunity to move mobile from the marketing periphery to the center by leveraging its unique opportunity to bring social, shopper, promotion and CRM together to deliver creative, branded experiences people value.