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Mobile Marketing Week. How to build the brand – customer mobile relationship

Mobile Marketing Week. How to build the brand – customer mobile relationship

By Christian Louca, UK Country Manager and Head of Publishers at full service mobile marketing agency the YOC Group.

For brands, the ability to interact with customers and gain feedback on their products and services is priceless. 

Finding out what a particular customer thinks about their train journey, being able o answer an incoming query about product features, recommending an updated product or designing and executing targeted marketing campaigns are all examples of CRM.

As part of the overall marketing mix, CRM has offered marketers the potential of one-to-one marketing – giving them the chance to analyse valuable customer data and use this to further develop the brand and customer relationship.

However, although CRM has traditionally promised one-to-one relationships with the customer, it has not always delivered what it says on the tin. The clunky software solutions and tracking systems that we have historically associated with CRM have not always been able to sufficiently analyse data and relate this back to the customer.

One-to-one marketing should be about engaging with and building a relationship between the brand and the individual customer.

This is where mobile comes in. Mobile is fast emerging as a key tool for marketers to engage with their customers, build relationships and track and analyse valuable information. Never before have brands been able to leverage their relationship with a customer in such a way.

If you think about how we all use our mobile phones, it’s no longer just a tool for making calls or sending texts to friends. Consumers are now becoming increasingly familiar with using their mobile phones for other purposes.

From watching films and listening to music, reading digital versions of newspapers, books and magazines and accessing social networking sites (Facebook, Myspace, Hi5 and Flirtomatic to name a few) to making bank transactions, requesting a product sample or scheduling the recording for a programme on Sky+, the mobile is truly a multi functional, multipurpose device. As the consumer, without question, we want information quickly, instantly and on the go and mobile is the perfect platform for marketers to meet this demand.

Inherently personal in nature and always switched on, the mobile is one of our most used and most valued possessions. With larger screen sizes, high definition resolution, better web browsing capabilities and longer battery life, mobile devices have quickly developed to offer an enhanced user experience.

The mobile Internet is no longer a miniature version of the web, unflatteringly squashed into miniature pages to fit the smaller screen. It is now optimised specifically for the mobile user on the go providing tailored, targeted and relevant content.

And with the iPhone now being sold across multiple networks, operators are recognising that user demand for unlimited data bundles will continue to grow, making pricing even more competitive.

Marketers are well aware of mobile’s potential as a communication channel and the multiple opportunities it offers brands wanting to interact with the customer.

Perhaps most importantly though, mobile enables real-time communication – from the point of contact right through to the analysis of the data and resulting action. Brands can engage with their customers on an ongoing basis rather than communicate in silos, giving them the ability to build a trusted dialogue with the customer.

From mobile banking and mobile check-in for a flight to mobile coupons to push a product, mobile applications to increase brand awareness or customer feedback schemes, the mobile channel has made great strides since the banner ads and SMS campaigns of its infancy.

To see how mobile could fit into your CRM strategy, it’s important to first ask why you want to interact with your customers: Is it to get feedback and to allow customers to easily and simply contact you with a problem or is it to help them to find the nearest branch of their local supermarket and receive recommendations on specific products? Is it to promote a specific product or capture data or is it used to increase sales?

Once you have identified why you want to develop and build a dialogue, it’s then simple to see how mobile can help you to interact with your customers.

For many years, CRM has promised brands ongoing engagement and interaction with their customers. However, until now, until mobile, it has not been able to fully deliver on the promise.

Yet, with the right level of engagement with the customer and the right tools in place to analyse and process the data gathered, mobile CRM can genuinely add value, engender long term brand loyalty and improve retention.

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