It's no secret that mobile is changing the traditional marketing funnel and transforming the way customers interact at every stage throughout the customer journey. Mobile has propelled us into an environment that not only allows us to express a need through any device at any time, and also one that has customers expecting a contextually relevant response to those needs.
Last week I spoke with Michael Becker, formerly of the Mobile Marketing Association and currently a strategic advisor to the mobile marketing agency Somo, about mobile's rapid journey and its impact on companies' engagement strategies with customers. Here are three mobile trends on the rise:
BLE Will Make Every Surface Interactive
Although the traditional funnel is shifting into a one-to-one model, something else is occurring because of mobile's capabilities. Mobile is turning every surface into an interactive marketing and communication tool--a prospect I hadn't thought about until my conversation with Michael.
Because of Bluetooth Low Energy protocol and Apple's iBeacon, which essentially allows retailers to send data to iPhones from short distances, companies can transmit customized coupons or even walking directions to the aisle where a particular item is located. It can prompt a customer with special promotions or personalized messages and recommendations based on their current location in the store or past history with the company. This will enable greater hyper-location capabilities and allow retailers to become contextually relevant through mobile with customers in the stores.
One of the first experiences with this new technology will come from Mondelez, Kraft's snack food company. The brand will launch smart shelves in 2015 at grocery checkout counters that will rely on a combination of technologies, including BLE and facial recognition, to monitor individual customer engagement and deliver customized offers.
Augmented Reality Will Make Even Traditional Media Interactive
Augmented reality capabilities allow companies to leverage mobile to go beyond telling customers more about products to teaching them how to use them. For instance, Audi's augmented reality app--called eKurzinfo--allows European customers to use their iPhones to identify more than 300 parts of their cars without thumbing through a printed manual. For instance, they can scan the engine bay to see where the coolant tank is locatedvia a 3D image overlaid on the phone's display.
Customer Care Must Integrate Into the Mobile Experience
Companies need to recognize that the consumer can show up at any point in the customer journey. According to Becker, mobile can provide the ability to capture preference, enable real-time commerce, and create multichannel customer service for the omnichannel customer. The new Kindle Fire, for example, embeds an app with live 24/7 customer care that bridges the mobile environment with the contact center. And Lowes, for example, has placed 40,000 iPads into hands of its employees on the floor to help customers find items that they can't locate in the store. Service integration across touchpoints is the key for customer service organizations. As Becker explained that a recent survey revealed that when companies integrate customer care into their app experience, instances of the word "love" in the reviews goes up 50 percent.
Companies need to recognize that the consumer can show up at any point in the customer journey. Mobile is the link for providing the ability to capture customer preferences, enable real-time commerce, and provide true multichannel customer service to the omnichannel customer. The time to embrace these capabilities is now.