What Mobile & Analytics have in common: The Consumer

Ten years ago, when stuck in an airport lounge for an extended period of time, you probably would have read a book, a magazine, or opened your laptop to get some work done.

Nowadays, you’re just as likely to attend conference calls, pay utility bills, conduct banking transactions, purchase clothes for the kids, and connect with family and friends through social media, all through the use of your smart phone.

A mobile device can be anything from a smart phone, to a tablet, to wearable technologies such as smart watches and fitness trackers,  And they all have four characteristics in common:

  1. They are portable.  Where you go, they go – whether that’s to the office, up in the sky, to the kids’ swimming carnival, or sitting on the couch watching TV.
  2. They are always connected – to the Internet, to Enterprise applications, to our family and friends.
  3. They are intelligent – they can receive information, perform operations and share information.
  4. And they are personal – most mobile devices are for a single user (unless of course you have young kids, in which case everything belongs to them!)

These characteristics make mobile devices the perfect medium in which to engage consumers, however many organisations today still view mobile as just another channel in which they can offer the same products and services they have today.  For example, many banks see mobile as just another channel in which you can transact.

But let me cast your minds back to the time in which the Internet went mainstream.  Similarly, many organisations saw the Internet as just another channel in which to offer their products and services.  Companies like Borders saw the Internet as just another channel in which they can sell their paperbacks, and then the introduction of eBooks completely revolutionised the industry and sent them into financial distress.  Similarly, companies like Blockbuster saw the Internet as just another channel in which they can rent DVDs, and then the introduction of streaming movies (both legal and illegal!) completely revolutionised the industry and sent Blockbuster into financial irrelevance.

So you have to ask yourself the question, is Mobile just another channel?

This is why Mobile is not just another channel

Mobile is not just another channel

Fortunately, in IBM’s survey of C-Suite Executives, 84% of CIOs rate mobility solutions as critical area for investment to get closer to customers.  And 94% CMOs agree, ranking mobility apps as a critical part of their digital marketing plans.

In this year’s survey of over 110,000 consumers around the world, results showed a steady increase in our love of digital shopping – both online and Mobile.  The percentage of consumers whose last purchase was made online was up from 15% to 18% in Australia, closer to 29% when we look at the global consumer base.  No surprise that younger demographics (generations under the age of 40) were the biggest users of digital shopping – which means as our population ages, we can expect the proportion of digital shopping to steadily increase year on year.

Contrast that to the fact that 27% of Australians (and 43% globally) told us they had a preference for shopping online – and that presents a unique opportunity for organisations that offer a superior digital shopping experience to tap into a market that wants to shop online but haven’t yet found the right retailers to serve their needs.

Now, let’s say for arguments sake that you manage to get your customers to come in store.  Guess what they bring with them?  Their mobile device!  When we asked consumers to rank who they would most trust to give them information and advice about products and services, retail employees and sales staff were ranked last on their list!

  1. Friends/family
  2. Product experts
  3. Reviews on retailer websites
  4. Reviews on independent sites
  5. Manufacturers
  6. Retail employee / sales staff

The second message we heard loud and clear is that consumers want “My Message, on My Terms” – they want personalised interactions and offers, when and how they want to receive them.  Given Australia has such a high penetration of smartphones (78%) it makes them an ideal medium to engage and provide personalised offers and services.  However, a generic message sent to a personal device is still perceived as spam – so there is a need to know your customers better so you can serve them better.

Many organisations I work with are still hesitant to ask for too much personal information from their consumers for fear of crossing that “creepy” boundary – so how do you know when personalisation becomes professional stalking?  We asked consumers a series of questions to better understand what they were prepared to share with a trusted retailer, and 63% said they would happily share personal information in exchange for personalised offers.  That includes 24% who will happily let you track their location, and 31% prepared to share their mobile phone number.

The most important think to consider, is that 50% Australian consumers (43% globally) want to be in control of this identification process.  They want to be able to “opt in” for personalised services, and therefore, also have the option to “opt out” when the relationship is no longer serving their needs.  This is compared to 24% who don’t mind if organisations automatically recognise them by matching Enterprise data with social profiles.  So for those of you that are still worried about whether collecting personal information about your customers will have a positive or negative impact on your brand – you simply need to ask them!

Given that by 2019, it is predicted that 49% of all online physical goods purchases will be made with a mobile device – now is absolutely the time to ensure you have a successful mobile strategy in place to capitalise on this growing market.

Of course a successful mobile strategy requires more than just an app, especially since 80% of all apps fall under the category of “throw away apps” – used once and then deleted.  You may only get one chance to install an app on your customers personal device – if you miss the mark, you miss the opportunity.

A successful mobile strategy requires:

  • A good understanding of your customer base – not just their demographics, but their spending patterns, information about how and when they interact with your company, and their appetite to use mobile technology.  Predictive customer intelligence requires behavioural data about what they purchase, descriptive data about who they are, interaction data about how they engage with your organisation, attitudinal data about what they think about your product and services, and the analytic tools that allow you to uncover the hidden trends and patterns that will give you insight into how your customers are likely to behave in the future.
  • A comprehensive analytics platform that will allow you to not just understand the customer and know what offers they are likely to accept, but also know whether the rest of the organisation is able to deliver to expectation.  Imagine running a successful targeted marketing campaign, only to have customers show up in store to find there are not enough products on the shelf to fill their orders.  An Enterprise analytics platform supports all parts of the business – from Finance, to HR, to Sales, to Operations.
  • An agile mobile platform to support the end-to-end delivery process for new and existing apps, making sure your mobile interface surfaces the right offers to the right people, engages them when and how they want to be engaged, and most importantly has the scalability and Enterprise-level security behind it to ensure you meet their expectations with privacy and responsiveness.
  • A customer engagement solution to makes this type of personalisation possible at scale: across thousands of clients and millions of customers all using multiple devices and channels, with insight into how mobile interactions are working (or not working) so you can continue to adapt and innovate to meet their changing needs.

So what’s the best way to start?  First and foremost you need to accept that it is a journey, and that you can’t just flick a switch and go from generic to personalised mobile engagement in a single step.

  1. First you need to identify the high-value opportunities in your organisation – focus on the use cases that will get you a quick win.
  2. Establish the right architecture that will meet the agile needs of the business, as well as the scalability and security requirements of IT.  Plan for the future so that any technology investments made today can be used for additional use cases across the business.
  3. Prove value to business leaders through pilot programs – measure the return on investment to grow confidence not the value that analytics and mobile can bring to the customer engagement.
  4. Scale by expanding to additional use cases, and in doing so, transform to a data-drive culture.

Remember to leverage what you have – both in skills and technology, add what you need, move at your own pace (but always faster than your competition) and always, ALWAYS, act with governance and security in mind.