Mobile best practices: challenges and success metrics

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Mobile devices and applications - from smartphones and tablets to wearables and RFID are literally changing functions in the enterprise and transforming whole industries practically before our very eyes. It's a game-changer for how people live their lives and engage with brands, which makes it a game-changer for marketers as well - in a good way. A very good way.

CMO Council Report: Getting in Sync with Mobile Customers, Best Practices in Engaging Mobile Customers.With mobile, marketers now have access to real-time data that allows them to have highly relevant engagement with customers. And they can do it in real time. Whether through smartphones, tablets, wearables or any other form of mobile device, we are closer to tailoring customer experiences that meet expectations and fulfill our organizational purpose like never before.

The flip side is that mobile makes it harder for marketers to stay in sync with the customer journey as the digitally empowered customer now has new expectations for a fully connected, personalized, relevant and mobile experience. Using the data from mobile, however, is how marketers can learn more about customer preferences without being intrusive, and inform product development, packaging, pricing, distribution, contact policies and more.

That potential and the game-changing quality of mobile is what motivated us to partner with the CMO Council to study the opportunities and challenges presented by mobile and how marketers are responding to it. That research provided many great insights into how organizations around the world are adjusting to engaging with mobile customers, including the degree to which it's very much a new area for most. And nobody's yet "cracked the code," but the executive interviews they conducted revealed some emerging best practices.

In this post, I'd like to zero in on the challenges surfaced in the survey and those identified with great candor by these executives, as well as the metrics that are being used to gauge success.

Challenges
Participants' responses to the survey revealed that the variety of devices and operating systems, which create distinct user experiences, is what's driving the biggest challenges. High on the list is not having the right skills and talent in-house to effectively develop and optimize the mobile relationship marketing strategy. Other issues include aggregating the right data and insights to deliver valuable engagement, keeping up with the flow of content across all mobile experiences, and while also keeping up with the rapid pace of technological advancement.

Other specific challenges include:

  • For Trip Advisor, Nathan Clapton, Head of Mobile Parterships identified a big issue being that most booking sites just aren't optimized for mobile, adding that many people also don't want to enter their credit card information on mobile sites.
  • Michael Hibbison, VP of Integrated Media at Home Depot, cited the constant expansion of mobile as a challenge to keep up with, comparing it to social media. Their goal, which can be considered a best practice, is to optimize the customer experience for each device.
  • Hallie Harenski, Chief Marketing Officer for Consumer Lines for AIG in the U.K. highlighted how privacy regulations in the insurance industry puts constraints on their ability to gather and use mobile data.
  • At Wells Fargo, Chief Marketing Officer Jamie Moldafsky pointed to systems constraints and how they impact their desire (and need) to reconcile real-time interactions with secure data that needs to flow across all touchpoints and channels. Interestingly, she also flagged the fact that it's now infinitely harder to map every customer journey because they can start in any one channel and then continue in multiple other channels.

Measures of Success
Success metrics reflect the business priorities. which of course, is a maxim that applies to business in general (not just mobile). By considering the approaches of the executives interviewed, what emerges is the best practice of not just treating mobile as another channel. Other specifics that came from the interviews include:

  • At Cisco, mobile is managed as part of a global "GSM" strategy of global, social mobile. Jeanne Beliveau-Dunn, Vice President and General Manager described how they track customer behavior to determine their customers' mindset and to gauge whether or not the customer had a seamless experience.
  • Trip Advisor's Clapton said they measure performance based on revenue, conversion rates and repeat visitors to see how engaged their users are and if they're attracting the right kind of users.
  • Robert Pearson, Director of Digital Marketing at Men's Wearhouse said that increased revenue attributed to mobile and more in-depth metrics have shown the company's efforts to be a great success. The growth in content consumption via mobile can now be shown in terms of bottom line impacts both from an ROI/revenue standpoint and in terms of returning users. Mapping the customer journey remains an elusive goal they are working toward.

Greater detail about challenges, metrics and more are available in the full CMO Council report, Getting in Sync with Mobile Customers: Best Practices in Engaging Mobile Customers. The next post in this series will be to look at engagement and the customer experience at these leading firms.

In the meantime, stay tuned and let me know what you think with a comment. And as always, thank you for following!

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About Author

John Balla

Principal Marketing Strategist

Hi, I'm John Balla - a digital content strategist here at SAS, and co-founder and former Editor of the Customer Intelligence blog. I like to find and share content and experiences that open doors, answer questions and maybe even challenge assumptions so better questions can be asked. Outside of work I stay busy with my wife and I keeping up with my 2 awesome college-age kids (Go Quakers! Go Tarheels!), volunteering for the Boy Scouts, keeping my garden green, striving for green living, expressing myself with puns, and making my own café con leche every morning. I’ve lived and worked on 3 contents and can communicate fluently in Spanish, Portuguese, Hungarian and passable English. Prior to SAS, my experience in marketing ranges from Fortune 100 companies to co-founding two start ups. I studied economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and got an MBA from Georgetown. Follow me on Twitter. Connect with me on LinkedIn.

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