The State Of Mobile Marketer Tactics: 2016

I quite like this provocative sausage dog picture because it forces marketers to think differently about responsive web design (RWD). More often than not, marketers scale content down to fit a smaller screen; because they then claim that they use RWD and have some mobile apps, they think they have checked the mobile box. In fact, RWD was by far the most common tactic that marketers were using or planning to use in 2015: Only 9% of marketers we surveyed are not planning to use it. When fully implemented, RWD can improve the user experience, but more often than not, it’s implemented as a quick fix to the problem of multiple screen sizes. It often prevents marketers from thinking about the need to contextualize offerings for different devices. Customers do not necessarily want the same content across all their screens. However, a scarily high percentage of marketers we surveyed — 47% — admit their mobile services are primarily a scaled-down version of their PC services. In short: 

  • Marketers misuse mobile marketing tactics. B2C marketers often focus too much on piloting the latest mobile shiny objects and, unfortunately, do not invest enough in adapting to mobile experiences’ core touchpoints -- like email or search -- that most consumers use to engage with brands.
  • Use mobile to transform brand experiences. Too few marketers think of mobile as an opportunity to transform the brand experience. To really differentiate themselves, they should develop mobile-unique interactions delivering visible value with apps, messaging, and online-to-offline tactics.
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Back From Yet Another Pilgrimage To Mobile's Mecca

After experiencing some of the most exhausting days in the life of a “mobile” analyst, I am back from Barcelona. Here are my key takeaways from the 2016 event.

MWC 2016's "Mobile Is Everything" theme summarizes two ideas: the disruptive power of ubiquitous mobile devices and their ability to connect things and objects in our surrounding environment. This year, innovation and key announcements did not so much come from new flagship smartphone manufacturers but instead focused on solutions that enable mobile devices to activate adjacent technologies — like VR, 360-degree cameras, 5G, and the IoT — to build the next generation of connected experiences. Let's cut through the hype to look at what the headlines really mean for B2C marketers:

  • VR is really still hype. Samsung massively surfed on the VR "wow" effect and heavily promoted its Gear VR headset while Facebook's CEO insisted that VR is the next-generation platfrom and will shape the future of social. After the distribution of five million of Google's Cardboard VR Viewers since June 2014, the buzz will continue with Oculus Rift and PlayStation VR (to be launched mid-March at the Game Developer Conference), creating awareness for digitally immersive experiences. But reach will be extremely limited, as the technology will only attract a niche set of users — especially gamers — in the first two years. However, marketers at retail, automotive, travel, or luxury real-estate companies with a digital innovation agenda should keep an eye for signs of VR adoption beyond the "techno-few."
  • Use mobile to unlock IoT consumer experiences. IoT remains first and foremost a B2B and industrial play. However, B2C marketers can combine mobile and IoT to activate new brand experiences.
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What To Expect From Mobile World Congress 2016?

From February 22 to 25, Barcelona will be the center of the business world. Do not expect a specific industry focus but expect announcements impacting any industry: from payments to automotive. Why? Because “mobile is everything”.

 

 

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2016 Mobile And App Marketing Trends

In November, Forrester released its mobile predictions for 2016, highlighting how mobile will act as a catalyst for business transformation and explaining why the battle for mobile moments will redefine the vendor landscape.

Let’s now take a closer look at how mobile will impact marketing in 2016.

A year ago, Forrester argued that most brands would underinvest in mobile in 2015. This is likely to remain the case this year, since too many marketers still have a narrow view of mobile as a “sub-digital” medium and channel. This is good news for the 20% of marketers who told us they have the budget they need and for the 33% who said they know how to measure mobile ROI. In 2016, this growing minority of leading marketers will start to fully integrate mobile into their marketing strategies. These mature mobile marketers will measure the impact of mobile across channels, see a clear opportunity to differentiate their brands, and increase their investments in mobile initiatives. Here’s what else we expect to happen:

  • Integrating mobile into your marketing strategy will become a key differentiator. While most brands are trying to mobilize their ads, few are going the extra mile: serving their customers in their mobile moments by transforming the entire customer experience. Only those that do go that extra mile will differentiate their brands via mobile. Leaders will also start measuring the impact of mobile on offline channels and will end up allocating up to 20% of their marketing budgets to mobile.
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Beyond The Beacon Proximity-Marketing Hype, Fuel Contextual Marketing With Location Data

When it comes to location-based marketing and proximity-marketing, more often than not, marketers seem fascinated by the beacon technology.

With 82% of shoppers making their actual purchasing decision in-aisle, it’s no wonder that vendors are betting on beacons and indoor positioning systems to help marketers interact with consumers in real time.

A year ago, Forrester warned of the hype around beacons. Despite huge interest and numerous successful pilots, we have yet to see very many successful commercial rollouts. This is not so much about the technology (even though battery life and operational deployments raise technology issue), but primarily because reach is limited today and because few marketers can deliver smart contextual messages at scale. They must also define engagement scenarios and automated rules to deliver relevant messages to individual customers.

Location data alone is dumb. Sending someone a coupon to redeem in a nearby store just because they’re passing by isn’t enough. For ads and messages to be relevant, firms must combine location data with insights like past behaviors, preferences, needs, and situations. It is also likely they will have to combine multiple technologies to reduce the complexity of in-store operational deployments and boost the accuracy of location data.

There are many more opportunities than just pushing marketing messages in real-time. Using location data is more important than just capturing the attention of nearby smartphone owners — it’s about powering contextual marketing.

In particular, marketers should fuel contextual marketing with location data to:

  • Increase brand preference by delivering personalized experiences
  • Improve the customer experience on location
  • Advertise more efficiently
  • Unlock audience targeting and offer intention data
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How mobile will transform business in 2016

With my peers Julie A. Ask, Jeffrey S. Hammond, Michael Facemire, Tyler Shields, Christian Kane, Jennifer Wiseand many other analysts, we put together our thoughts in a new 2016 Mobile predictions report on what to expect in the mobile space next year across industries and roles.

We believe 2016 will be the most consequential year for companies on the path to customer obsession, and that includes adapting empowered customers who expect to get anything they want immediately, in context on their mobile devices.

What role does mobile play in customer obsession, and how can businesses leapfrog their competition to deliver superior customer experiences? Here are three ways Forrester predicts mobile will change the ways business leaders operate in 2016.

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2016 Mobile Predictions: Alternative Ecosystems Beyond Android and iOS Will Emerge

Customer-obsessed businesses will take personalization to the next level in 2016. By the end of 2016, Forrester forecasts that 4.8 billion individuals globally will use a mobile phone, and as that number continues to grow, customer-obsessed business leaders have vast opportunities to deliver great customer experiences via mobile.

 

Mobile moments -- a time when consumers picks up their mobile devices to get what they want in that moment of need --  are the next battleground where to win, serve, and retain customers. Many executives believe they should manufacture and own these moments through their native branded iOS or Android apps. While this is, of course, one way to serve their best and most loyal customers Forrester research found that consumers use fewer apps and concentrate the vast majority of their time in just few apps.

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Consumers Will Manage All Brand Interactions Via Their Smartphones

I spent the last couple of months interviewing marketers and vendors to understand how brands integrate push notifications and in-app messages in their marketing strategy.

Even though my research was primarily focused on mobile apps, I was convinced that there was much more at play. In fact, brands that can harness the power of contextual data to consistently deliver customer value will deliver compelling brand experiences that will build brand preference and, ultimately, loyalty.

Even with the emergence of connected objects that send notifications, smartphones will remain the primary interface in which consumers will personalize their digital experiences. Smartphones will become the hub for most interactions between a brand and its customers. In the next five to 10 years, consumers will use smartphone apps to define and control the communication environment in which brands can interact with them. In particular, we see that:

  • Mobile will become the primary touchpoint for brands to engage consumers. Mobile traffic has already overtaken desktop traffic in five major countries: Nigeria, India, South Africa, Indonesia, and Poland.No doubt this will happen across the globe in the next couple of years. B2C marketers will become smarter in engaging customers via mobile, maturing their approach and moving progressively to the holy grail of one-to-one marketing.
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Expect Faster Adoption Of Apple Pay In The UK

At the beginning of the year, Forrester made the call that the future of mobile wallets lies beyond payments. By adding marketing value beyond payments — such as integration of loyalty rewards, coupons and many other services, wallets will become marketing platforms complementing merchants' own integrated apps.

Consumers want a better shopping experience, not better payment systems. By adding support for rewards programs (from the likes of Walgreens or Kohl’s) and store-issued credit and debit cards, Apple will make this fall a first step in building a more integrated mobile wallet. The rebranding of Passbook to Wallet represents an explicit push by Apple toward a more comprehensive, consumer-friendly solution.

Less than a year after launching in the US, consumer adoption of Apple Pay is modest but encouraging, all the more Apple Pay has quickly become a trusted solution.

I believe adoption in the UK will be faster than in the US for a number of different reasons:

  • The NFC and contactless ecosystem is much more mature in the UK.
  • There is no consortium of retailers like MCX with ConcurC led by Walmart willing to launch a competing offering. That said, Zapp is likely to be main competing service when it launches in October with the backing of Sainsbury’s, Asda, House of Fraser, Thomas Cook, HSBC, First Direct, Nationwide, and Santander. Barclays, the one major UK bank not backing Apple Pay, just announced today they will also support Zapp at launch.
  • The inclusion of Transport for London as a partner is a way to raise awareness and accelerate daily usage.
  • Apple will benefit from a larger installed base of compatible devices (iPhone 6 and 6+) and from the awareness created by the media buzz from the US launch.
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Run On Smartphones Before You Walk On Smartwatches

Apple will sell more than ten million Apple Watches and dominate the smartwatch category in 2015. Despite the hype, this will only represent 1% of the 2 billion smartphones’ installed base. Should B2C marketers even care? Yes, because the Apple Watch is a good way to learn how to deliver extremely contextual experiences to a niche of early adopters and influencers. Because Apple Watch will boost sales for the entire wearable market, it is also a good opportunity to anticipate and innovate on connected objects.

However, smartwatches are a double-edged sword for marketers. On one hand, they offer unique opportunities to develop brand proximity and hyper-contextualized alerts for consumers in their micromoments. On the other hand, they risk damaging the brand by oversaturating customers with irrelevant messages and raising privacy concerns.

Most branded apps I had the opportunity to test did not deliver value. I even ended up deleting some iPhone apps that did not offer relevant messages. I think marketers should not even consider Apple Watch if they haven’t implemented a mobile messaging and push notification strategy. To differentiate among other apps, you must mature your push notification approach to deliver truly personalized experiences in the context of your overall customer relationship management.

For marketers having a more advanced mobile strategy, now is a good time to start working with app developers or their agencies to plan for native Apple Watch Apps by taking advantage of all the sensors on the device, and to build their own “complications”, mashups of data that would be pertinent for a given user at a given time.

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