Know, speak, and challenge for mobile success

It's seven weeks until the big day and the mobile Grinch is in town. Research this week showed that 91% of people will switch to a competitor's website if they receive a poor mobile experience ( Netbiscuits People's Web Report).

As if that's not enough to focus the mind, mobile is projected to drive 36% of all e-commerce sales in 2014, compared to 16% in 2013. In the UK, it is estimated that mobile influenced £15bn of in-store sales in 2012, double the value of goods actually sold over mobile in that year.

This trend presents two major challenges to brands and retailers, this season and beyond. Firstly, mobile experience is now as important, if not more, than the desktop experience, so it needs to be super slick. Responsively designed websites are now an absolute bare minimum.

Secondly, in this brave new world of multiple devices, numerous channels and networks, and amazing mobility, there are various routes to both gather and deliver messages to customers and prospective customers - and that allows for infinitely greater personalisation as a result.

Tackling both these challenges and creating the optimal user experience for a mobile user requires a brand and retailer to do three things exceptionally well - these are to know, speak, and challenge.


What proportion of what you could (legally) discover and know about your customer do you already know? As a brand marketer you will likely have knowledge of their residence, their gender, their age, and their previous purchase history, but what else do you know or rather, not know?

Westfield creates customer profiles for their visitors based on 600 interests, 2,000 brand affinities, and 84 demographic fields. It does this by allowing people to like or dislike brands in its mobile app. Imagine how perfectly tailored their marketing messages are to their users, and how happy their users are to receive perfectly relevant and genuinely useful messages.

Some ways to learn more about your customers and prospective customers:

Engage your users across more channels to capture more data - SMS, apps, Facebook, and others

Use one channel to trigger usage of another, e.g. an SMS message to prompt the user to download your app

Build tools and experiences on-site and in social media that capture data in transparent and unobtrusive ways, e.g. competitions, surveys and tools

Capture data in-store utilising smartphone technology in innovative ways around loyalty schemes, social sharing, and more

Use app promotion ads in Google, Facebook, Twitter, and within other apps themselves

Capture email addresses wherever possible and match them to Facebook IDs

Get a handle on attribution to understand which of your activities trigger others

Track your customer app usage and link it to your other activities

Ultimately you need to be creating one, comprehensive view of each of your consumers to allow you to communicate to them in a timely and super-relevant way.


With this abundance of data at your fingertips, you can communicate and interact with your customers and prospective customers in deeper and more meaningful ways, increasing their satisfaction with your channels and media, and maximising the commercial value of them too. You can also do so across multiple channels - Facebook, Twitter, SMS, email, and print. Mobile means that the user is always there to engage with what you have to say. For example, 62% of all emails are opened on mobile!

You can 'say' it on their birthday, on their partner's birthday, on Mother's Day, when they are at home, when they are watching their favourite TV show, or when they walk into one of your stores.

Advertising is a really underused channel to support these personal communications, messages and interactions. You can do this through:

Click to Call extensions within Google Adwords that entice searchers to speak to you in person

Google AdWords also allows location extensions to show searchers where the closest one of your stores might be to them, compelling them to come and spend more time with your brand

You can geo-fence to show display ads to people only within a geographical location, allowing you to be even more relevant and timely in your messages

Invest in iBeacon or a similar technology to drive promotions within the vicinity


With all that data, and permission from your customers and prospects to speak to them across multiple devices and in multiple ways, you can do some pretty special things. Challenging mimic-me marketing methods will make your marketing stand out. Macy's in the US has been trialling iBeacon technology to send its users targeted and relevant offers on their smartphone when they enter the store. This can increase shopper efficiency and basket size as a result, and allows for the collection of more data in the process.

Foyles in the UK this year launched a 'book search' service in their new four-storey bookshop on Charing Cross Road. It allows shoppers to use their smartphone to search for products in the store, discover whether they are in stock, and view an interactive map of the store to help them locate what they are looking for. The map can also plot and highlight new releases and new offers. Note that this is not an app - it is the initial page your browser will load if you connect to their free wifi service.

Once you have innovated, you are accumulating more useful data as a result which takes you back to know, and the cycle repeats. Jumping on the carousel just might be the smartest thing you will do this year.

First published on The Wall on 10/11/2014. 

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