Crafting Mobile Content to Enhance Customer Engagement

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Customer Experience
Customer Experience
Just as smartphones and tablets have become an undeniable force in the way consumers transact, companies must integrate mobile into their current content strategy in order to drive continued customer engagement.

Today's consumers want an on-the-go platform that works as speedily as their lives progress, and, thanks to the advent of the mobile device, society has picked its poison. For many, their smartphone or tablet is the last thing they look at before bed and the first thing they reach for when they wake up. Yet, while these personal devices offer the opportunity to consistently engage, entertain, and enlighten consumers, marketers across industries are having a difficult time establishing a mobile content strategy that satisfies and informs.

"With mobile, you must excite, involve, listen, and entertain if you want to maintain communication," says Dave King, executive vice president of mobile solutions at Confirmit. "To ensure success, mobile content must be evaluated against four key criteria, which in combination are universal to mobile. If your content isn't personal, relevant, timely, and easy, people will disengage."

Through responsive design, mobile strategies must become part of every company's overall multichannel strategy. Brands now recognize the need for unified content and data, as each contact channel must offer the same personalized approach, inevitably enhancing the customer experience, reducing call center volume, and deepening relationships, value, and loyalty.

Integrate the Personal Device and the In-Store Experience

As Michael Hennessy, vice president of marketing at IntelliResponse, notes, the biggest driver behind mobile content strategy comes from the need to satisfy customers and stay ahead of the competition. When mobile customer service options fail to satisfy customers during the purchase process, companies can no longer assume that the customer will simply enter another channel to complete the sale. Today, customers are more likely to abandon their purchasees and buy from a competitor, resulting in the potential loss in revenue for the brand in question.

"If customers spend more time searching for answers rather than finding them, most will abandon their shopping carts, online and in-store, escalate to a more expensive channel such as voice or email, or worse, flee to a competitor," Hennessy says. "To support the purchase decision, sometimes the best marketing is helpful, timely self-service support."

Thus, brands must put themselves in the customers' shoes and help them quickly find the information they're looking for using a clear, easy path to the answers they want. For brick-and-mortar retailers, mobile becomes an extension of the in-store experience, allowing customers to self-serve using the tool they typically turn to for immediate assistance.

"Shoppers want what's in their best interest, and that often means the lowest price possible," says Kim Ann King, CMO at SiteSpect. Brick-and mortar retailers must learn to engage customers via mobile at the right moment. "If they are in a store and see something they like, they'll use their phones to shop online for a better deal. Retailers can now target those in-store shoppers who check in and offer them deals right on their phones."

Ideally, traditional retailers might allow customers to leverage mobile devices to see what options are in stock in the store, in which aisles they can find an item, and then alert an in-store expert for assistance. This would enhance the overall in-store experience by keeping them engaged within those four walls instead of losing that potential sale to the competitor. For instance, the MyLowe's app keeps track of various paint colors and past purchases organized by project so consumers can quickly access their history via mobile in order to match paint identically or recreate any given endeavor from scratch. Customers can easily track their previous behaviors, establishing a potentially long-term relationship with the brand as they lay the groundwork for trust and loyalty.

Develop Content for Context and Consistency

For companies to successfully execute their new mobile content strategy, they must also take context and consistency into consideration. While marketers will want to be sure the information they deliver via mobile will engage and delight, they also want to ensure that the content remains consistent, accessible, and reliable across every platform.

"Our mobile content has to be relevant, engaging, and serve the needs of the consumer, whether watching a game, going out, shopping, or looking for some entertainment as well as information," says Hugo Hanselmann, director of digital connections at Anheuser-Busch InBev. "For mobile in particular, content is king, but context is his queen. As a brand, you have to have or win the credibility to deliver the content and the acceptance to do so in the right context."

Based on Hanselmann's experience, mobile content is not only a must-have, but also the starting point for dynamic content creation strategy. Mobile offers new opportunities to engage consumers, going beyond images, text, and video to create this connection. Mobile also means remaining conscious of the company's social presence, for entertaining, experiential, and service-based content will likely be shared, amplifying the brand's message and increasing the level of consumer engagement.

Florida Blue also uses mobile to interact with its client base, providing customers with relevant information pertaining to their health insurance policies when and where they need it. Because mobile demands continue to grow among Florida Blue's 4.2 million members, including seniors, the insurance company has launched a mobile application that allows users to access their accounts, view claims, compare health plans, and assess procedure pricing. The application aims to help customers understand their options and save money, thus offering timely, relevant healthcare information just as they would find via Florida Blue's actual website.

"Content should be like water," says Lori Cohen, CMO at Mobiquity. "Create great content and let it fill the vessel it gets poured into. Content should be the same, only the form differs. Just because you have a small screen doesn't mean consumers want less content. A paperback book is smaller than a hardcover, but you'd be angry if they took out chapters." By continuously striving to present relevant, consistent content across platforms, companies will strengthen the customer experience across channels and boost brand loyalty overall.

Make Time for Mobile Measurement

Mobile devices have become personal extensions of the customer, allowing marketers the opportunity to glean in-depth insights into actions they may otherwise have never understood. Yet, while it is essential to observe mobile activity, brands must first determine how to effectively gather data from this channel and use the insight to improve customer experience.

"Across the world and in diverse industries, like financial services, media, manufacturing, and travel, not only is mobile traffic increasing, but so is the level of engagement, whether measured by return frequency, time on site, or conversion," says Loni Kao Stark, director of product, solution, and industry marketing at Adobe Systems Incorporated. "Brands and marketers want to see their revenue graph follow that of mobile device adoption-onwards and upwards."

Brands must find out what customers are doing, what they're asking, how well the company provides the desired information, and use this feedback to improve overall operations. Stark believes companies should see where people are navigating based on visits through mobile and start there, elevating the most widely searched pieces of content to the top and making each easily accessible. However, nothing replaces measuring and testing, as such methods enable brands to really hone in on what works and what is most timely, talk to customers, test the top requests, and use the resulting feedback to improve and expand.

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION