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How to strengthen your customer relationships in a mobile world

It seems every year there is a proclamation that this will be the year for mobile marketing. Well, it is just not that simple. The fact is, mobile usage is growing steadily each and every year, accounting for a larger and larger percentage of how we communicate with others, interact with brands and marketing and shop and purchase products and services.

This steady growth is best represented in the studies that look at the compound annual growth rates across varies metrics such as data usage, advertising, payments and more. The truth is this is the decade for mobile as we make the steady transition from our desktops and laptops to spending the majority of our time on our smartphones and tablets.

Don’t believe it? Take a look at the facts:

  • Mobile Data Usage: According to Cisco, mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 66% percent between 2012 and 2017, reaching 11.2 exabytes per month by 2017.
  • Mobile Advertising: According to new estimates from IDC research, U.S. mobile advertising will grow at a compound annual rate of 47% with mobile’s overall share of digital marketing advertising accounting for 21% by 2016 – up from six percent today.
  • Mobile Payments: Both Gartner and Forrester have made strong predictions on the growth of mobile payments.  In fact, Forrester believes that the U.S. mobile payments market will hit $90 billion by 2017, a 48% compound annual growth rate from the $12.8 billion spent in 2012.

So as marketers, what will it take to protect our customer relationships and, more importantly, flourish in a mobile world?

  • A Focus on the Mobile Experiences: Make Mobile Design A Priority – Responsive Design. Look at each digital channel and optimize.  While HTML5 websites and mobile landing pages are a given – particularly for retailers, more – much more – is required.  To create great mobile experiences, be sure to optimize email rendering to adjust to different device types as the majority of email (moving past 50%) will be viewed on a mobile device moving forward.  In addition, as we move toward HD Phones and tablets and retina display everything, the next logical approach for the web is to start increasing image resolution.

While retina optimization is great for the web – it is not quite ready for prime time for email as slower loads (especially on 3G mobile devices) and higher size images, increase the risk of slow load times and spam filtering.  However, keep an eye on continued advances on this front.  After all, creating a better, optimized experience can and will be a core differentiator in our mobile world of the future.

  • Data, Data, Data: Collect, Cookie & Connect. One of the knocks on mobile has been the lack of tracking – particularly across SMS messaging.  Look for many advances on this front as tracking, tagging and tying cookies to devices and device IDs becomes increasingly prevalent.  The mobile users will become increasingly known across devices and on the mobile web making them reachable by marketers who are able to tie data and orchestrate messaging across channels.

These marketers will leverage this knowledge and tie it to the first party data that resides in their CRM systems to create compelling and powerful experiences that drive ROI.  Success here will also be guided by a brand’s ability to provide increased consumer control and transparency on this front.

  • Relevance, Convenience & Value: Making Interactions More Relevant & Transactions Simple. What do consumers really want?  They want to be able to make better decisions.  They also appreciate and value convenience – product and solutions that make their life easier.  Building and orchestrating targeted messaging that takes advantage of the persistent location signal and that can be triggered across multiple channels will be paramount.

Combining and/or surrounding that messaging with rich content environments, platforms and technology solutions like proprietary Apps, Passbook offers, and digital wallets that facilitate transactions quickly and easily will distinguish winning brands in the next decade.  Look for increasing investments in these areas as brands look to further differentiate themselves in the years to come. If you’re not investing time here in building or striking partnerships with the relationship marketing companies capable of supporting this functionality it’s time to get started.

While we are still in the early stages of the decade of Mobile Madness, it’s time to get focused – think about the mobile experience, collect, cookie and connect, and finally look to forge the critical partnerships and investments in technology that will properly position your brand for years to come.

Note: This article was first published on ClickZ

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Michael Della Penna

About Michael Della Penna

Michael Della Penna is Senior Vice President of Emerging Channels at Responsys where he spearheads the overall strategic direction, partnerships, and solution offering for mobile, social and display. Prior to Responsys, Michael founded SuiteDialog, a full-service email and social CRM agency that helps brands ignite conversations and cultivate relationships with customers across the social web. He’s also held a variety of marketing leadership roles at Epsilon, Bigfoot Interactive and CNET Networks.

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