The mobile ecosystem has two distinct areas to consider: technologies that enhance and improve the consumer experience, and technologies that tie together all the behind-the-scenes data and engagement activities. Today’s leading brands use consumer data such as where you are, what you are watching, what you are buying (online and in-store) and what you are searching for. But how do we connect these dots to drive engagement and close the sale?
"Technology helps brands understand consumer activities, enabling them to make better business decisions"
In short, too many brands have a mobile problem. Around 75 percent of marketers and 85 percent of IT professionals say mobile is a definitive part of their company’s integrated customer experience. However, there is a gap as to who owns the mobile experience with 81 percent of IT professionals claiming ownership, versus 61 percent of marketing professionals.
Recognizing that consumers spend almost five hours per day on their mobile devices, organizations investing in mobile will be the winners in tomorrow’s increasingly mobile-first economy. The ‘more mobile mature’ organizations spend an average of $16.3 million per year in mobile app and web development, while those considered ‘less mobile mature’ invest only about $6.3 million per year.
Clearly, this divide necessitates strong management to explain who and what drives mobile investments. Looking at the technologies brands are focusing on to transform the consumer experience, there are four key areas in which leading brands are investing:
1. Augmented Reality (AR) - Nowhere has AR been more transformative than within retail. For example, Wayfair allows consumers to use their phone’s camera to scan a room and see how a particular item will look in a room through the app. This provides an immersive shopping experience for consumers, as it helps visualize the product in a space and even lets them purchase the product via a button in the image.
2. Facial Recognition - Consumers can address skin concerns by allowing Olay’s AI-powered Skin Advisor app to look at you. Users who download the app are asked a series of questions about their existing skin regime and areas of concern. By taking a selfie, the tool can identify skin problems and recommend Olay products to help. This innovative approach provides consumers with a useful, interactive tool, which can improve the overall brand experience.
3. Internet of Things - While this category is still nascent and will only continue to grow within the mobile space, it’s the automobile that will be very transformative. As a category, Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) have the most to gain with this technology and brands like Dunkin’ Donuts are taking advantage of this through their app’s on-the-go mobile order feature. Dunkin’ Brands partnered with GM Marketplace to let consumers purchase while in the car and mobile, literally. This provides a convenient experience for consumers, while at the same time providing additional data points and a personalized one-on-one experience.
4. Mobile Pay - Starbucks is one of the most dominant and successful mobile payment platforms in the U.S., representing 30 percent of their overall transactions. The Seattle-based company has been a leader in the order-ahead mobile payments space, although 2017 saw a leveling off as new user growth stalled. While this hasn’t diminished their belief in their platform, Starbucks is continuing to invest and innovate in 2018 by experimenting with cashless stores and expanding mobile payments to non-loyalty program customers.
Key Mobile Technologies Behind The Hood
Technology helps brands understand consumer activities, enabling them to make better business decisions. The main technologies driving the mobile machine behind the scenes include artificial intelligence, personalization and identity in the following ways:
Artificial Intelligence (AI) - While AI is transforming most industries, it’s had a huge impact in the mobile advertising ecosystem providing digital marketers with a precise, data-driven view into their customers’ journey. For example, RetailMeNot deployed AI to use consumers’ location data when running push notification campaigns to provide them with appropriate coupons when they are in front of a retail store. They would then retarget those who didn’t open the push notification to deliver them a highly personalized, relevant and authentic recommendation. Through the use of AI, brands can understand what motivates a consumer based on past transactions and pull them back into the journey, thus increasing their campaign performance.
Personalization - Beauty brands have embraced personalization across many areas of their business, such as Sephora Skincare IQ technologies designed to make addressing skin care concerns faster, smarter and simpler. Utilizing smartphone cameras, the virtual artist provides tutorials and lets customers try new products and looks. Consumers can instantly see how they look in various shades, colors and styles. It’s an engaging, interactive and personalized process that adds value, drawing consumers into their brand all via the mobile app.
Identity - One area that has seen a shift in the digital marketing landscape is marketing to individuals versus a particular segment. Signal provides contextual relevance at all engagement points, regardless of place or time. This provides brands with the ability to market to a device-agnostic identity, following the consumer as they migrate from various devices throughout their day. Brands know when consumers are moving from their iPad before work, mobile device on the train, laptop at work, back to their phone for the commute home and then a desktop or iPad at home. Identity bridges the gap between adtech and martech. Being able to follow consumers via their identity allows brands to personalize each journey, knowing when to target them and with the right message.
While the year of mobile has been a long time coming, the development of front-end and back-end technologies has pushed mobile to dominate the consumer landscape now and in the future. The mobile device has become the most personal consumer tool to come along in generations. Effective brands follow consumers where they spend time, and consumers spend more time attached to their mobile than any other device, a trend which will only continue to grow. Brands that chose to ignore the mobile marketing opportunities do so at their own peril.