The mobile user is on their phone just over 4 hours every single day. Mobile phones are checked upwards of 96 times a day. Mobile is becoming an extension of the consumer, as every part of their daily lives becomes interconnected with these devices. To reach today’s consumer, brands must treat the two as one entity — and put mobile communications at the center of their relationship marketing strategy.
Mobile is at the Center of Relationship Marketing
A relationship marketing strategy bridges the gap between data and contextual engagement, and ensures that you can easily and fluidly understand your customers, activate insights, and deliver personalized experiences across all channels and touchpoints. The result is powerful, it can drive profitability while also reducing the cost of acquisition. Mobile is a vehicle in which to create truly deep relationships with customers.
Here are four key ways that marketers can leverage mobile marketing to operationalize relationship marketing:
- Create a Value Exchange
Before any marketing can occur, you must gain consent to communicate with your audience and learn about their true interests. First, an organization must consider what their value proposition is whereby a customer feels that there is a compelling reason to enroll in a program to access its value. This is not limited to promotions, but could be for convenience, better service, information updates, exclusive access to content and the list goes on — this is called creating a “value exchange.”
Once the value has been set, it’s time for a brand to spread the word. This is where mobile plays a considerable role, as it enables customers to gain awareness and sign up beyond the laptop, casting the net further afield into any other environment. This could be adding a QR code or a short code on banners, TV, receipts, at the point of sale, in shop windows, on the hotel bedside table — simply put, mobile offers boundless flexibility to provide a doorway to value in any environment.
At the point of engagement, two “musts” that I always advise our clients to do, is to ensure that you use unique keywords when using short codes for opt-ins and when complying with U.S. regulations that you ask for a zip code on the second opt-in SMS. Now, a brand can immediately know from the keyword what the consumer specifically opted in for to remove generic messaging (which may lead to churn) and knowing the location, it can aid send times to ensure that messages are received at relevant times in sociable hours, likewise opening up the opportunity to market according to the local environment, stores or offers.
- Drive Real-Time Contextual Engagement
In the digital marketing space we have been talking about getting the right message, to the right person, at the right moment, for years. Mobile is instrumental to achieving real time, relevant, impactful customer engagement.
There are an increasing number of markets where mobile penetration is greater than 100% and with that, it provides an ecosystem whereby brands can be confident they can serve any of their customers at any moment in time. It is not just the ubiquitous nature and the “always on” accessibility that distinguishes mobile, but the immediacy it can offer when compared to other channels.
As an example, 90% of SMS are read within 90 seconds and the substantial majority of messages are delivered within 10 seconds — this creates powerful relationship between organizations and customers whereby they can be forensic with sending messages in the moments that matter with a high degree of confidence that they will be acknowledged and acted upon in those moments.
This is why time and business critical messages are sent using mobile channels. Within banking, this could be for two-factor authentication or fraud alerts; for a restaurant this may be sending a reservation reminder; or for a retailer this could include shipment delivery notifications — the list goes on, but the power of immediacy is what makes an old technology like SMS continue to have double-digit year-over-year growth.
Geolocation can aid contextual real-time engagement with customers. In a retail example, a customer approaching a mall may be sent a triggered message with a special promotion directing them to visit a specific store that day. Upon exit of a geofence, contextual messages can also be configured. This may be to seek feedback from an event/experience, and where this is positive, a future promotion is offered. Or, should it be negative, then the customer is prompted by customer services to try and retain their future custom.
Rich content makes messages more graphic and tangible, triggering a greater call to action when targeted and tailored well. At Cheetah, we’ve seen an uplift of 3x engagement when using MMS versus SMS in the markets that support it. With Rich Push capabilities, marketers are able to deliver inspiring media with greater ease, like an image of a resort or a meal personalized to a customer’s dietary needs. This all leads to higher conversion rates.
For consumers their mobile device is an incredibly personal environment, linking to friends, family, banks, work, entertainment, shopping, social networks and a health monitor. Once a consumer gives a brand consent to reach out, that unlocks a powerful channel that can cut through the noise. However, this is in the same arena as some of the closest, most personal relationships that a consumer has and must therefore be treated with responsibility to ensure that it is providing value and not disruption.
To avoid being intrusive, it is crucial that organizations leverage centralized data to ensure that they engage with a real time and total understanding of a customer’s relationship across all digital touchpoints in the decisioning process before any interaction is made.
- Unify Loyalty and Marketing
We talk a lot about channels not residing in silos. Customers’ circumstances may evolve when they have a change in geography, disposable income, relationship, preference or simply be influenced by interactions from a competitor or even your own service all resulting in a change of relationship with an organization. Simply because a customer is enrolled in a loyalty program, it does not mean that they are an advocate, nor that your brand is their first choice. This is important to understand to succeed in driving longer lasting customer relationships.
With this in mind, it is important for enterprises to continue to actively seek a customer’s feedback, listen to their preferences and continue to check in with them. As discussed, mobile is an asset that offers the ability to gain further insights, address all customers and drive real-time contextual engagements. We see brands leverage mobile apps as an impactful solution for driving customer loyalty and benefiting from the assets of this environment.
Customers who download an enterprise app and opt in for communications have actively chosen to have a closer relationship with a brand; these are some of your most valuable customers. They should be nurtured and catered to, and a loyalty program is suited for just that. A great example of this is Starbucks where transaction, rewards and personalized offers leveraging real-time customer data. This provides accessible value and convenience in a single interface for their customers which drives greater adoption and loyalty.
The mobile environment for reward programmes is not restricted to apps, but with modern customers increasingly becoming cardless and preferring to use contactless mechanisms where available, there has been significant growth in mobile wallet utilization. The adoption to using a mobile wallet for payments has been accelerated in the recent pandemic, but the change is here to stay with increased spend limits, improved security, heightened consumer trust and a touch free transaction influencing it’s ongoing utilization. In this very environment there is an opportunity for marketers using Cheetah’s technology to provide promotions, coupons, event passes and loyalty cards and offer value to the customer.
Mobile wallet should be at the forefront of the marketers’ mind. Not only is adoption increasing, but versus the issuing of traditional physical cards, there is a 10-25x cost savings through mobile wallet.
- Know All That is Knowable About Your Customers
Marketers’ ability to effectively communicate with customers is highly dependent on having ready access to key data sources and the right tools to act on that data at scale.
With the handcuffs increasingly being placed on former data assets through policy, regulation and a more data conscious consumer, mobile has a unique environment from which brands can gain great insights into customer behaviors — this is in mobile apps.
This is a fantastic environment where it is possible to see customer frequency, recency, pages visited, products clicked on and many other insights all of which can help enterprises to better understand their customer at that moment in time and serve them in the best manner possible with this data at hand (risk of churn, promote loyalty, highlight a product category, etc).
A customer’s duration in an app can help brands to understand and cater to a customer’s needs. For a bank, a short duration may be desired to make a payment and if there is an observed delay then a communication may be triggered to provide help. For a sports team a long duration in the app may be a success indice representing fan engagement and attention. However, where this is short, then that category of customer should have the beneficial features of the app such as highlights, player interviews, quizzes and games spotlighted to ensure they are aware of all that can be enjoyed in this environment.
Geolocation is an ongoing asset for enterprises to know where their customers reside when considering segmentation for proximity based services. An example of this may be for a food retailer to send promotions for perishable products, addressing customers in the local area and preventing waste of food and profitability or weather promotions highlighting iced coffees in a local heat wave and hot chocolates for the cold!
Enterprises that know their customers better and can contextually serve them according to these insights will positively differentiate themselves. Mobile offers a wealth of assets equipping brands to do exactly this, where the insights gained can then be applied across any form of customer engagement to deliver a more personalized and impactful relationship.
As Patrick Tripp (SVP Product Marketing) states:
Relationship Marketing is how brands can deliver value across the entire customer lifecycle. It’s about acting upon customer insights and ensuring that you’re always providing a value exchange and treating them like your very best customers. The result is powerful, it can drive profitability while also reducing the cost of acquisition.
Mobile is fully intertwined within relationship marketing and we would welcome a conversation with you to learn about your business drivers and how we can unlock its value. To learn more about the impact of mobile on relationship marketing, check out our latest PULSE podcast.
Check out the latest episode of PULSE, Mobile as the Key to Relationship Marketing.