Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Less than one in five marketers has fully integrated and aligned mobile marketing to their overarching marketing strategy, even as more invest in mobile programs and engagement, according to a new CMO Council report.
The Getting in Sync with Mobile Customers whitepaper, produced in partnership with SAS, found 61 per cent of marketers have some form of mobile engagement in play. Of these, 45 per cent said their organisation has adopted a mobile-first mindset.
Just over half also said the mobile channel has become vital to customer interaction, retention and brand differentiation.
However, only 17 per cent reported mobile strategies that are fully integrated and aligned with overarching mobile strategies, and 10 per cent admitted they didn’t have a strategy at all. Twenty-one per cent have some campaigns running in mobile but again, they didn’t have a wider strategy.
In addition, 22 per cent of the 250 marketers surveyed said mobile is still an area of new exploration, while 15 per cent is an area of confusion with no clear owner in the business. Surprisingly, 15 per cent believed mobile was the latest ‘shiny new toy’ for marketers and 18 per cent believe mobile is just a campaign mechanism.
The majority do view mobile as an opportunity for much deeper engagement with their customers. Fifty-five per cent believed mobile is a mechanism for more personalised experiences for customers, and 40 per cent have found mobile a valuable insight gathering tool.
“Savvy marketers are still perfecting how and where mobile integrates with their strategies, yet a number of them have figured out that mobile is the channel their customers have defined as critical,” CMO Council senior vice-president of marketing, Liz Miller, said.
“Therefore, it must lead as a business strategy and not simply remain a less expensive, faster, readily available advertising vehicle.”
Core elements either in place or being invested in by respondents already actively embracing mobile marketing include mobile-optimised sites (64 per cent), mobile apps (66 per cent), outbound SMS/MMS campaigns (53 per cent) and mobile search (56 per cent).
Notably, 40 per cent are also using geotargeting, and 27 per cent are looking to deploy this in the next 24 months.
Nearly one in four also reported mobile comes first when their organisation plans customer experiences.
The most popular performance metrics used to understand mobile’s effectiveness include overall revenue growth, quality of lead flow, customer satisfaction, customer loyalty/advocacy, and clicks, views and impressions. Yet only 12 per cent of respondents believed they are very effective at assessing customer satisfaction around existing mobile engagements, and 30 per cent admitted mobile was still an unproven channel for their brand.
In response, the report authors said measurements used by marketers must continue to take on a stronger business hue in order to match the strategic opportunity inherent in mobile.
“As mobile devices continue to grow in importance for how customers live their lives, the way they engage with brands will continue to evolve,” the report authors stated. “As a result, integrating a comprehensive mobile relationship marketing strategy into the overarching customer experience strategy will quickly become the norm, rather than the exception.
“Pursuing the ideal of full strategy integration will involve closer, more personalised relationships with the customer that will likely deliver short-term competitive advantages, which will evolve into table stakes in the long term.”
When asked to nominate a brand that’s doing a good job of utilising mobile for customer engagement, no clear standout emerged, although Starbucks and Amazon received several mentions.
The report also found 48 per cent of respondents saw mobile as an underfunded area.
“What is so clear from this research is that mobile is a big game-changer for marketing organisations that can see mobile as a business strategy and not as just another channel,” SAS principal marketing strategist, John Balla said.
“Mobile is digital – it generates data that is too valuable not to analyse because whether you use analytics or not, your competitors surely will. And the multifunctionality of mobile devices and the advent of wearables provides marketers with an unprecedented opportunity to personalise engagements and be relevant in ways that evolve into lasting relationships.”
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