Mobility: Customer Engagement Stories

Mobile reached a tipping point in 2014. According to a recent Pew Internet Research Study, nine out of every 10 Americans have a mobile phone (with an increasing percentage of those being smart devices). As mobile usage soars, so does its role in driving exceptional customer engagement.

Mobile apps will fuel business growth and innovation over the next decade. People can serve themselves, in the moment, to accomplish tasks like find an expert, receive an alert, make a purchase, share an opinion and much more. The access and convenience of mobile apps and devices shifts more power from institutions to individuals than did personal computing (and arguably, even the internet). Adoption levels and growth projections of mobile devices and investment are staggering.

The opportunity to create meaningful customer engagements is everywhere, when it’s common knowledge that 90 percent of mobile phone users keep their devices within arm’s reach at all times. In every industrialized nation, where marketing has the ability to influence intent, the closest channel to a human being is now their smartphone.

But have marketing strategies really kept up with the explosion of mobile? It used to be acceptable to adapt an existing website to function on a mobile device. It’s no longer acceptable, let alone beneficial to the business or to the consumer, to have a side project called mobile marketing.. Today’s digitally savvy consumer is not engaged by generic marketing. We tune it out. More and more we expect tailored brand experiences.

Engaging mobile apps create a more intimate and targeted brand experience by using mountains of information and analytics to make each connection relevant. Whether it’s through location-based data, or information on how specific consumers prefer to interact with the brand on their smartphones, mobility can inform entire marketing communications strategies.

The power of mobility also enables marketers to drill down and deliver messages to consumers in the context of where they are. Whether walking past a store, catching a game at the local stadium, or exiting an airport, marketers can tailor the right message to a customer based on where they are and what they’re doing at any given time. These solutions rely on time of day, user responsiveness, real-time location and customer segmentation to ensure delivery of relevant content when consumers are most likely to act on it.

So what does mobility look like in action? Sun Life Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins, welcomes more than 75,000 fans into the complex for every home game. By leveraging a cloud-based mobility engagement solution, the stadium now has a consolidated view of its operations to provide a better fan experience. Prior to each game, Sun Life Stadium advises fans via their mobile devices on where they should park based on their seat location and open parking slots.

Hot dogs, popcorn and beer are as important a part of the experience as the game itself (and they deliver high profit margins). No one likes to stand in line while the game is on, so the stadium uses real-time turnstile data to direct fans to the shortest lines and appropriately staffed concessions. Thanks to a personalized, real-time approach, delivered through analytics and mobility technologies, Dolphin fans receive an engaging customer experience1.

How do organisations move from just shrinking their websites to fit smart phone screens to delivering truly engaging mobile brand experiences? The journey requires decisive actions and a sophisticated approach to solution development. Start now. It’s inevitable – mobile apps and smart products are the way companies, governments and institutions will:

  • Improve satisfaction, stickiness, and trust. Walgreens reported in 2012, that 40% of its online transactions come from its then one-year-old mobile app. And it’s the company’s most profitable customers tapping their way through drugstore tasks: refilling prescriptions, locating flu shot stores and shopping for personal care items. Investment in mobile apps that anticipate your customers’ needs pays off in metrics that matter, starting with revenue.

  • Serve customers at the lowest possible cost and instill in them a self-service habit. Mobile apps and smart products offload people-directed service to self-service channels. Instead of picking up the phone to call, a customer taps a smartphone to solve the problem in her moment of need. If you decode your customers’ task-oriented needs, you can be in their pocket every step of the way. At insurance provider Aflac, the equivalent of 25 million customer calls has been handled through its mobile app. These systems of engagement bring material benefits to the bottom line.

  • Increase business productivity and drive cost out of internal processes. Mobile devices front systems of engagement that drive efficiency, including collaboration solutions that tie directly into an expert’s mobile inbox, and data dashboards that put information into executives’ hands just when they need it. As an example, IBM uses social engagement among sales, marketing and product staff to cut proposal development times in half.

  • Create significant new revenue sources from smart products and services. Smart products create annuity revenue streams and value-added capabilities for turbines, cars, thermostats etc. Smart products are created by imbuing them with intelligence in the form of sensors, connectivity and computing, and then adding APIs to give an ecosystem of developers access into that intelligence. Developers have hacked the unpublished APIs of the new Nest Learning thermostat to enable control from a mobile device2.

Executive Summary

In a world where engagement with the individual customer rules the game, mobility allows marketers to give the customer what they want, when and where they want it. Through this sort of marketing transformation, marketers can drive deeper personalization and create moments that matter – which not only benefit the customer but, ultimately, the bottom line. Customer engagement via mobility, when done well, results in almost fanatical brand loyalty.

1 CIO Review – Mobility: The Key to Customer Engagement
2 Forrester research paper – Mobile is the New Face of Engagement


Rowan Schaaf

About Rowan Schaaf

Rowan has been in the technology sector for over 20 years in business development, strategic planning & business analysis. He is co-founder of Pattern, a software development firm based in NZ. http://www.pattern.co.nz →