MOBILE MARKETING IN THE CUSTOMER LIFE CYCLE

Mobile is no longer second screen, it is rapidly overtaking the PC and becoming the first screen. There are companies who have incorporated mobile in their marketing mix or even in the way they do business but there are a lot of companies who are still struggling .Or who are producing apps because they want an app.

It is key to look closely at how your company can become relevant for your customer via mobile and in which stage of the customer life cycle it is key to create touch points with your customer.

It is also key to know what your company wants to accomplish by introducing an app. Do you want to use it as branding, marketing or as a sales tool?

Before we take a deep dive in the mobile customer life cycle you have to know that, by producing an app, you are entering a very competitive market. Over 825.000 have been produced for the Iphone alone. And if they are downloaded, most apps will only be used once or twice.

So if you decide to launch an app make sure it is relevant for your customer. Make their life, more fun, easier or make sure you can service them better.

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Awareness

Creating awareness with mobile can be done in several ways.

Mobile advertising could be the first baby steps in mobile marketing. Mobile screens are the closest to your (potential) customer, and which could make mobile advertising feel intrusive. Research has shown that little people put their trust in adverts on their mobile. On the other hand mobile advertising is still an under explored territory which makes advertising cheap.

Location based advertising is a great option to create awareness. Creating a presence on apps like Yelp, Tripadvisor, Foursquare and similar location based app will improve the awareness among potential customers.

Instead of creating presence on existing platforms or via bought media, it is also possible to create your own app to create awareness. The downside of creating your own app is you have to create awareness for app and creating app can be expensive. Keep in mind, the app has to add a new aspect to the (potential) customers life.

A service based app created or sponsored by your company is a good but more expensive way to create awareness.  By informing or servicing (potential) customers on a subject related to your business your company can become relevant to the customers and create awareness this way.

A fun app, in the form of, for instance, a game, can be used to create awareness. But creating a game in an app could be expensive and it could easily become one of those apps, which is sitting in a folder never to be used again.

Knowledge

Once the (potential) customers are aware of your company, they need to know what your company can do for them.

AR and QR (Augmented reality and quick response code) is a good way to create knowledge via mobile. By including AR or QR into your print (in print campaigns, POS or on packaging) you can enhance the amount of detail of the information you can provide and it gives to user the opportunity to share it more easily.

Pre-existing location based apps give your company the ability to provide (potential) costumers information about you company. By adding your companies location and adding a link to your website or to your app people can read about your company.

When your company already created a presence within the mobile channel it is easier to create knowledge among your (potential customers). Through the app (service based, informing, inspiring of fun) it is relatively easy to create knowledge about your customer by linking it to the information you want to provide.

 Consideration

At this stage consumers are considering if they want your product or service and are looking in to how it will fit in to their lives.

An inspirational app will help consumers make their decision. Show them how the product or service will make their lives better, easier or more fun. Black Mana studio’s launched an app which helps people to create a 3D model of their house in which they can redecorate it.

Ikea launched a AR app, which allows consumers to see how the Ikea furniture would look in their house.

Social media is important in this stage. Consumers, especially with big purchases, like to ask their friends for advice. So make sure they can share their inspiration with friends and ask them for opinions.

Selection

The moment of truth, the consumer is ready to buy the product or service. Now your need to convince them to buy YOUR product.

If you already inspired them through your app in de consideration stage, they are only one ‘Buy now’ click away from buying your product. By including a mobile store (M-Commerce) feature in your app or link to a mobile store, it will lower the friction in the buying process and make it easier for consumers to buy your product.

If you want an app for this stage, here is some inspiration.

A review app will help consumers make the right choice. It is wise to include the similar products of competitors, but you have to be very convinced of your quality or price. It will allow the consumer to see that your product is the best or the worst.

AR and QR can be used in print and on POS to reduce friction in the buying process. Consumers do not need a PC or store to buy your product.

A great example is Bol.com, they launched an AR App, which allows consumers to scan products in stores and see how much they would cost online. This way Bol.com is using the display of every store without having to pay for them.

Bol.com also enhances site traffic through Layar and QR on their print campaigns. By scanning the pint campaign, customers would get the trailer and a 5 Euro discount.

Satisfaction

You are satisfied now, your have sold your product. But was does the customer think? What is he doing with your product? And, is he happy with it?

Although there are several moments to create interaction with your customers, this is a great stage to do so.

Customer service is a great feature to add to your app. Since people have their mobile always nearby it will be easy for them to ask questions and give feedback.  Your company can improve your product by providing great, real time, service.

The information the customer care team gathers is invaluable. It gives an insight into your customers thoughts and provides information on how you can improve your product or service.

FAQ and How to Video’s are easy to add. It will decrease the numbers of calls to customer service but will increase the level of satisfaction and thus loyalty. You do have to keep in mind that an app has to be simple, so it might by better to provide this information though using AR or QR. A QR code can be printed on the packaging or a AR function can be added to the original app.

Advocacy

Roughly 20% of your customers are responsible for 80% of your Profit (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pareto_principle#In_business). These 20% do not only enjoy your product but most of the times they tell other people about your product. So why not give these customers a mobile stage?

Tips and tricks are usually provided by a company but might as well be user generated. Tide introduced an app with user generated tips on how to remove stains.

Social media is essential in this stage. Loyal customers need to be able to share their love with friends and family. Although one always hopes they will create their own content it is wise to create content for them which they can share.

 

Loyalty

In the end you hope customers will return to your brand. When you have a loyalty scheme in place, it could be integrated in your app, for smaller businesses there are white label options to create a loyalty scheme.

Relevance is essential, as already mentioned in the introduction. Make sure you offer your loyal customers products or services, which are relevant to them. Use the user data you gathered and use location to be truly relevant.

Transparency is not common in loyalty schemes. But consumers are demanding more transparency, make sure you are one step ahead of this demand and give your loyal customer insight in their points and what they can do with them.

Social media will help your loyal customers to share their points with friends, family and colleagues and thus draw more customers into your loyalty scheme.

In conclusion, mobile is the new first screen and will be the best way to interact with your (potential) customers. But make sure you are relevant and do not create an app just to have an app.

THE HIDDEN ROI OF SOCIAL MEDIA

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Many blogs, whitepapers, and books have been written about the ROI with social media. First the value of your Social media activity is measured by the amount of friends or likes you had and what they are worth to you. Now it has switched to engagement; how many people are talking about your brand, who is sharing or has shared your content and how many people have liked your content or are talking about it.

Clearly, this is very important, especially for people who need to make their social media efforts visible to their managers or the Board; but there is also a whole other side to social media. You might call it the soft ROI or the hidden ROI of social media. This side is harder to put in to context and harder to calculate.   

I see it as the insight into your target audience. It’s invaluable. You are able to know what they are saying about your brand and you can ask them questions about your brand without having to do very expensive offline quantitative research.

Just by listening you can learn a lot. Start by monitoring the conversations online; you don’t even have to get involved. You might find that the people talking about your brand differ from the target audience you are aiming for. You might find forums where people are discussing your product and how it can be improved. You might find new channels identifying new areas where your target audience is active, or you might find the insight for your next campaign.  Listening will provide you with lots of insight, but it provides you with an arena whereby you can also actively engage with your target audience and ask for direct input.

Your target audience can help you to test new ideas, products, services and campaigns. People like to be involved and give their opinions. If you genuinely ask them for their help or opinion they will often step up to the plate. This can be done in polls or in closed groups on Facebook, with only your biggest fans/ followers taking part. But, there is always a but! You have to show them what you did with their feedback. 

After the ideas have been put in to practice listening in Social media circles can tell you straightaway if your have the right thing. Your (potential) target audience will not only say if you have done it right or wrong, they will give valuable feedback. This feedback will help you to improve or redirect your idea.

After the launch of a new idea, product, service or campaign the evaluation should not only be on the amount of money the brand made with it. The ‘Buzz’ and insight should also be reviewed. The feedback might be received directly through your own channels, but it may also be scattered through the other social channels. This feedback and ‘Buzz’ will help you to make your next move even more successful.

In conclusion, although it might be hard to measure the value of insights you gather through social media, it is definitely an asset if applied and used efficiently. It might even be the biggest asset. You can add the term return on insights to the list of return on investment, attention and interest.  

PICNIC 2012: NEW OWNERSHIP

The theme of Picnic 2012 was new ownership, which is neatly explained in a quote by Alvin Toffler’s:

“We live at a moment when the entire structure of power that held the world together is now disintegrating. And this is happening at every level of society.”

As a social media specialist my mind automatically started to wander. It didn’t seem like a “new” theme. Within Social media the power shift has been going on for years, but companies don’t own their brand anymore, the consumers do. And, because of the on-going trend of transparency companies tend to open up and let the consumers see what they are doing and let them take control.

So, I was interested how they were going to take on this theme from a new and innovative perspective.  I kicked my day off with a presentation by Farid Tabarki, director of Studio Zeitgeist. As trend watcher of the year he emphasised the importance of transparency to create new ownership. He explained this principal with examples like Recovery, which is a site created by the US Government to show the amount of tax money coming in and how it is spent. Consumers can see how much money is spent and on which project. They can see the status, and report if the project is done well. This way the consumer is able to “own” projects done by the US government and they can check if the projects are progressing according to plan.

New ownership does not only mean companies are giving the consumers more control. It is also about taking control. Cathal Garvey showed a great presentation on Bio hacking. He and a group of enthusiastic scientists aim to help make biology a worthwhile pursuit for citizen scientists, amateur biologists, and do-it-yourself biological engineers. They provide them with the necessary tips and affordable equipment. They share their findings online and in real life. For example, they found cures for diseases, which were not deemed profitable enough for study and inclusion within the product portfolios of healthcare industry majors.

New ownership is also giving people control, as seen in the presentation by Bas van Abel (Waag society). As head of the Open Design Lab he became intrigued by the recycle possibilities of new Smartphone’s, and also the detail surrounding the extraction and application of associated smartphone raw materials. He decided it was time for a sustainable Smartphone, available to everyone (especially to people in Third World countries). The project is called Fairphone, and the phone is produced with sustainable mined raw materials and is modular by nature so it is easy to repair and re-use. This was not a top down decision by the big phone producing companies but an example of an initiative by a group of consumers.

The Highlight of the PicNic festival was the presentation given by Tim O’ Reilly. He is “the founder” of web 2.0 and a great supporter of open source software. He started with one very true thought:

“Create more value, than you capture”

This boils down to the fact that every company should create more value for its customers than the owners take out of the company. In Silicon Valley many new start-up are busier finding venture capital and creating an exit strategy for when the money comes in, than creating value for their customers. In an economy where people share knowledge, more value is created. For instance, the people who create open source software create a product, which then creates value for other people, start-ups and companies. Without open source software Facebook would not have been built and Kickstarter, a crowd funding website, would not have come into existence. Kickstarter is built upon shared knowledge and is aimed at creating value for its users.

In conclusion: “If we share we all benefit”. If you only have one piece of the puzzle, share it and we might finish the puzzle together. If you have the puzzle solved, share it and someone else might use it to create value for others.

WHO WILL BECOME “LEAD” IN SOCIAL MEDIA

I’ve worked for digital agencies since 2007 and I witnessed the rise of social media. First it was a novelty but now brands, advertising agencies and media companies see the importance of social media presence. After endless interviews with Media bureau’s, advertising agency’s and brands it’s clear to me that everybody wants to take the lead in social media. Everybody wants a piece of the pie.

In the olden days it was simple, a marketer had a marketing plan, which he took to an advertising agency. The agency created a creative campaign. The Media company got briefed, bought the media and the campaign launched. But, with the rise of social everything changed. Is Facebook a media channel? Should it be owned by the brand or should it be a platform for the advertising agency? Every answer sound logical and this is where the battle starts.

Advertising agencies claim they should have the lead in social, because they have been creating content (read: advertising) and they have the experience. The media companies disagree. They see the social channels as media channels so they should own them. They have the experience, they have the big data so they have the best insights in the customer. Brands see social media as a extension of their communication means and start to hire social media specialist to set up and manage the social channels them selves.

Then there are the social media agencies who claim they have the niche experience. Most of them thrive on the fact they understand two-way communication, which is mandatory in social media. The services they offer differ from community management to developing and executing (content) strategies.

I think the most important question is: “ Should a brand outsource its social media?” Social media should be written from the heart of the brand, it should be written in the tone of voice of the brand and most important. It should be done by someone (or a team) who knows the company by hart. Can this be done by an external company?

I think there is a perfect mix and match. A brand should hire a social media agency who develops a social media strategy and a content strategy based on insight obtained by monitoring or from a third party (this might be a Media company). The social media agency “builds” the channels described in the strategy.

The social media agency trains and/ or hires people who manage the channels at the site of the brand. By managing I mean post content, respond and manage web care. The quarterly evaluation reports can either be written by the social media agency or by the employees of the brand if they are trained properly.

The advertising agencies are responsible for the campaigns within the social channels. That is, if they are able to create campaigns with interaction and engagement intertwined in the creative idea. The campaigns must be based on the Social media strategy (which is based on the brand value’s and the consumer insights).

The media company is responsible for the paid media within the social channels, although brands are able to do parts of this them self.

I think time will tell who will have the competitive advantage and who will get the biggest piece of the pie.

HOW TO CREATE A VALUE PROPOSITION FOR YOUR BRAND IN SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is more and more becoming like television and radio, every brand is present and every brand is fighting for the attention of the customer (your first have to grab their attention to interact with them). So how do you stand out, how do you grab their attention and how do you get them to like you?

Although it is easier said than done, you have to create a value proposition. What value are you as a brand going to offer your followers, friends and fans? How are you going to enrich their digital social lives? And how will you do that on a continuous base?

As said before in many books and blogs, it all starts with listening. What is being said about you and your competitors within the social channels. Listening to the consumers will not only tell what they think about your brand, it will give you insight in:

–       Who talks about your brand

–       Where they talk about your brand

–       How they talk about your brand

–       How and when they use your product or service

And it will give you an idea how you can create a value proposition, what their missing and how you as brand can help them in their (digital) lives.

By monitoring your competitors and what consumers say about them within the social media channels, you will get an insight in what the general sentiment is in your branch. It will give you an idea what competitors are doing well and more important where they are doing not so well.

By scanning the competitors (yes, it is starting to sound like a good old SWOT analysis) your will get an insight in which value propositions have been claimed by your competitors.

By combining the insights, which you gained from monitoring the consumers, and insights gained from scanning your competitors your can find your sweet spot. A value proposition which adds value to the digital social life of your (potential) customers and which will set you apart from your competitors.

This is the first step in creating social media presence for you’re your brand in the social media channels.