The New Battlefield for Brand Engagement: Mobile Moments

True friends don’t care about your income, gender, race or religion. It’s the ones who know and understand who you are – how you feel, what you need and how to help in the moment  – that really count. It’s a lesson mobile marketers would do well to learn.

With all the insights contained in our mobile footprint, it’s somewhat remarkable how little of it is tapped by marketers. Even when attempting to forge genuine connections with consumers, many brands approach consumers less as someone to relate to and more as a census taker. Gender, name and date of birth say precious little about who we really are and yet it’s frequently the only data against which mobile marketers activate.  To truly engage consumers, the onus is on brands to find the person hidden within their mobile footprint. They must be there when each person is most in need of their help and advice. They need to get to know you as much as you’ll let them.

According to a recent study conducted by Kleiner, Perkins Caufield & Byers, Americans check their phones 150 times a day. Combine that with another study from Comscore that says we spend 177 minutes on our phones per day, and it starts to paint a picture of a fragmented journey where consumers consume information in repeated 70-second snack-sized bites. And while some of this time includes texting a friend or emailing a coworker, there are plenty of times when someone is trying to solve a problem or make a decision. Nearly two-thirds of smartphone users agree that when conducting a search on their smartphones, they look for the most relevant information regardless of the brand providing it. So brands have an incredible opportunity to heed that call with empathy and relevant information, even when the user is not specifically calling (or searching) for them.

Here’s How:

Start with the need:  To be present and useful, brands need to first understand the consumer need at each phase of the journey. For example, if a new mom is researching digestive issues that her newborn is experiencing, it’s probably based on symptoms she has observed.  If you are an infant nutrition brand you should start by looking at search volume, trends and top phrases relevant to your category to focus and prioritize the information you provide .   This is critical because a new parent might search for information around digestive discomfort using terms as diverse as “colic” and “tummy trouble.”  Ask yourself If you are there for them at both of these moments?  You may also want to look at the competitive results to identify opportunities where there is a gap between supply and demand to help identify an opportunity to fill an unmet need.

In addition, it’s important to extract social listening data from the social conversation to identify opportunities for a brand to bring value to a consumer’s life at precisely the right moment.

Layer in context: Through mobile location awareness we can tell where a consumer is at any given moment, which provides critical context for determining the right information in the most appropriate format.  For example, if we identify that a mom is on her mobile device at home during the hours of 1-4pm, it may indicate that she is searching for a solution during her child’s nap time and may be open to reading an article or watching a video from a credible source.  However, if she is at the pharmacy or grocery store, she is more likely in immediate need of consumer reviews or pricing information.

Personalize messaging based on brand affinity:  Mobile data allows marketers to tailor messages and offers based on consumer choices and preferences, applying the new source of data to a proven loyalty segmentation.  For example, that infant nutrition brand might use mobile data to understand what retail location mom typically shops and then partner with the retailer to provide a tailored offer on specialty formula at her closest location.  A study by conducted by Google and IPSOS, found that 85% of consumers would be more likely to shop in places that offer personalized coupons and exclusive offers in-store.

Mobile’s robust, rich data offers brands a more three-dimensional view of who we are than demographic data could ever hope to provide. Weather data can activate a battery brand to target locations where storms are forecast to place a video or display ad reminding people to stock up (and direct them to the nearest location). Hotel brands can use flight data to identify opportunities to serve stranded customers.  Entertainment platforms are actually ahead of the game: iTunes curates mood-generated music playlists while Movie Twist makes film suggestions based on a person’s current emotional state.

More than ever before, brands have the opportunity to offer that much-needed helping hand  – to be that someone we count on to help us soothe our crying baby or assist us in bracing for the storm rolling in. The companies that seize those moments will win the battle for brand engagement.

James Riess

SVP at Catapult

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