Overcoming Hurdles On the Road to Mobile Engagement

Do mobile consumers prefer email, text messaging, push notification or other mobile channels to communicate with their favorite brands? Do they like browsing the most, buying or getting information on special deals? And what things do they actually buy with their mobile device, and how often do they do it?

Today’s more empowered mobile users increasingly want brand engagement in real time, in context to their personal usage and they want it now. But identifying these mobile-driven expectations is just the first step in a mobile engagement campaign. Among the challenges in executing it are anticipating the common hurdles that can quickly derail various campaign components.

To shed more light on this, through my recent work with customers and experience in developing enterprise-specific mobile solutions, I’ve identified three hurdles that companies should give special consideration to. Planning for and overcoming these hurdles can greatly determine the success of a mobile engagement program.

1. Moving beyond the app: Although the app has become the centerpiece of many mobile engagement strategies, apps face several challenges. Among these, setup can be cumbersome and time consuming, with users having to find and download the right app, complete the ID and password setup, and specify preferences. Furthermore, the popularity of apps lead to oversaturation, resulting in a sea of icons battling for space on many users’ home screens and app disengagement.

Consequently, one channel that’s risen to offer a remedy to this challenge is text messaging. In contrast to the number and siloing effect of apps, messaging offers one simple, ubiquitous channel through which all companies and mobile consumers can communicate. Messaging, therefore, offers an opportune channel that companies should consider to overcome a potential app hurdle.

2. Engaging consumers through multiple channels: New channels available through apps have combined with traditional channels like email to present a range of options for consumers to choose their communication preferences. As a result, companies needing to reach consumers can face the challenge of a fragmented mobile landscape. However, new technologies enable a sequence of mobile channels to be activated to deliver messages in an escalated format, while offering consumers the power to personalize the way they want to be communicated to.

These technologies can use text messages, emails, push notifications and social media updates to be assigned priorities to various stages in the communication process, and escalated by leveraging different channels. For example, when a flight becomes delayed, an airline can use a push notification, then text message, then email and finally a phone call to ensure passengers are alerted and have options to rebook.

3. Using mobile context to offer more personalized service: As mentioned earlier, a critical challenge in reaching today’s mobile consumers is meeting their increasing demands for engagement in context to their personal usage. One new asset, called “mobile context,” allows companies with explicit opt in required to gain insight into users’ preferences, and then act on this data to present personalized offers. These preferences can include everything from where they like to go to what products they like to purchase to how they like to be contacted.

This mobile context information is being enabled by new processes that allow mobile operators to broker the vast amount of data accumulated on their subscribers with companies that wish to purchase the right to use that information. In this way, brands can overcome the hurdle to providing more personalized service, and they can better engage specific consumer segments with everything from microtargeted sales offers to special loyalty rewards to in-store events news.

Mary Clark is the chief marketing officer of Syniverse, a global transaction processor that connects more than 1,500 mobile service providers, enterprises, ISPs and OTTs.