What Mobile Consumers Want NOW — And How to Deliver!

by Nate Smith

posted on 01-17-2017

I’ve been pondering the meaning of mobile lately — or, more specifically, what comprises a “mobile experience.” Does it revolve around the device? Is it the user’s location or context? Or, might it even be the service the user is trying to access? Recently, I counted 14 screened devices in my home. In addition, I counted two smart devices in my home that are controlled by voice rather than screens — definitely not the case a few years ago! And, I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg in comparison to where we’ll be 5 or 10 years from now.

Interestingly, as the definition of mobile and the landscape it encompasses has evolved and expanded, consumers have ceased to view certain experiences, extensions, and capabilities as luxuries or nice-to-haves. Now, some of the most sophisticated, relevant, and high-tech mobile experiences are simply expected.

What Can Brands Do?
So, what can brands do to meet consumer expectations in a constantly changing mobile landscape? I think it comes down to managing three key expectations from your customers.

1. Brands Must Do More Than Know Me — They Must Value Me.
Today, consumers expect brands to know them and value them tremendously — so much so, in fact, that those brands are able to deliver meaningful, personalized experiences, touchpoints, and content immediately. It’s not a customer/brand touchpoint anymore. Today, it’s a spectrum of relationships. And, as brands, stakeholders, and marketers, we need to be all-in when it comes to cultivating and deepening those relationships, which means analyzing data through a customer paradigm and associating engagement at this level.

Nowadays, brand building is essentially a never-ending loop. The deeper we dive, the deeper customers’ relationships become and their expectations skyrocket — and the cycle continues.

2. Content Must Be Relevant!
Those personalized offers had better be relevant — and, I’m not just talking about the content being consumed! I’m also referring to how it is consumed. Consider this: Gartner conducted a study on how individuals consume content by device. Following are the results based on the average number of sessions daily and their typical lengths:

When planning for the smartphone experience, eliminating friction to achieve target goals is critically important. A key component of mobile success is how you construct experiences for short bursts versus long sessions.

Here’s another example that highlights the need for integrating cross-channel data. I love golf — I’m not good at it, but that doesn’t deter me. When it was time to pick up some new equipment (because talent sure wasn’t elevating my game), I headed to a local sporting goods store and had a fantastic experience. The pro came right over and helped me select the right items to improve my game while keeping me comfortable and within my budget. Awesome. As a thank you, he even tossed in a great bag and a few packs of golf balls — also awesome.

When I was ready to check out, he asked whether I wanted to sign up for their email newsletters, promising I’d receive updates on sales and promotions. Of course, I did — I was thrilled he even asked. A week later, I received my first email — offering 25 percent off the driver I had just purchased. Because they didn’t have an integrated profile for me, my view of the relationship with this brand turned a little sour.

3. Do It All in Real Time!
A key component of success will be run-time actionability. That’s lovely marketing speak that means machine-learning algorithms will kick off engagement experiences by utilizing real-time data.

There’s a real contextualization to mobile, and location plays a key part. Your consumer could be using his phone while waiting for a flight, walking past a coffee shop, or watching a video — but, because of the nature of mobile, it’s a moment. And, once that moment passes, it may never come again. Utilizing machine-learning and automated actions by customer-engaging technologies will be musts for organizations that want to stay ahead.

Maximize Your Mobile Analytics.
Done right, analytics unlocks mobile value for your brand, allowing you to assess how users interact and engage with your apps as well as how those apps perform. You’ll be able to discover what mobile users find valuable and what misses the mark — both in a macro-audience view and on an individual (or segment) level. And, you can create hypotheses, launch tests, and develop ongoing iterative processes for optimizing your brand’s mobile experiences so consumers obtain the level of real-time relevance and personalization they crave. That also means greater engagement, added conversions, higher retention and advocacy, and more access to the data you need to continue repeating, expanding, and delivering even better, more meaningful relationship-driven experiences.

What’s Next?
Mobile is no longer a channel or platform, but instead, the nexus of a customer’s journey. But — and this is really part two of the conversation — mobile isn’t the entire journey. There are still websites, ad networks, and stores — all of which feed into the total picture. It’s what we’re talking about when we discuss cross-device behaviors — and, it’s the next frontier for all of us.