Mobile Apps & Cross Channel Marketing
Mobile applications for smartphones have added another important channel to the mix of digital marketing channels available to businesses.
As smartphones have become a major force in their own right, how to manage them in conjunction with existing marketing channels has become a challenge. This article explores some of these challenges.
Different Points of View
There are two common terms used to describe this situation: cross-channel marketing and omni-channel marketing. Some take these terms to be interchangeable; effectively they mean same thing.
One way to differentiate them, it to take cross-channel marketing as an organisations’ view of the world from their perspective. Whilst taking omni-channel marketing to mean a view of the world from a customers’ perspective.
This isn’t just semantics, some marketers believe that making the customer central to their thinking resolves some of their multi-channel marketing issues.
To save repeating this, what I mean by multi-channel marketing are all of the ways a consumer can come into contact with an organisation.
These include: websites, emails, YouTube, social media, blog posts, advertising, direct mail, podcasts, articles, trade shows, mobile apps, retail outlets, catalogues, flyers, online forums, word of mouth, sales people, telephone, SMS messages, bill boards etc.
How do customers get to the point of purchase? This is known as a customer’s journey.
What customers need is consistency, in terms of experience and what they expect. How to deliver that consistency throughout multiple channels is the first major hurdle organisations face.
Design consistency is one feature of this. For instance, does a mobile app use the same fonts and colours as a company’s website? Messages across different social media platforms need the same look and feel.
To achieve this design consistency an organisation has to have a top-level control on both user experience and user design strategies and actions.
One Journey: Many Touch Points
As we can see from the above multi-channel definition, a customer can and does come into contact with a company many times and in different contexts. These are called touch points.
What mobile apps helped to bring into focus is that customers have many different reasons for interacting a company. For instance, to contact customer support, to find out where a retail outlet is, is find out about the latest special deals or to make a direct purchase.
What this means is that these different reasons and phases of a customer’s journey have to be managed and monitored. With monitoring, consumer behaviour can be better understood and catered for.
Within the mobile app world, for example, consumer behaviour can be a trigger for in-app messages to advise a user on a special offer or a forthcoming event.
Multi-Channel Data Management
The channels talked about here are primarily sales and marketing channels. This means the overall campaign management systems needs to factor in how they will play out across these diverse mediums.
However, it goes further than that. With all of this digital media comes a lot of data. Examples of this data include website traffic, mobile app behaviour, surveys, sales results and social media statistics.
This information is often in different data forms, so how will it be collated and rationalised.
Who owns and manages this data? It is likely that IT are responsible for its’ collection. But since it gives a detailed insight into the beating heart of the customer, surely it is a companywide resource.
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© David R. Durham,
Digital Marketing Education.