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Mobile applications for corporations - a strategic approach

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By : Article Distribution    29 or more times read
Submitted 2010-04-07 00:00:00
When considering mobile marketing it is easy to not know where to begin, what to look for, and what will deliver the maximum benefit for your organisation. This article will take you through the top 5 drivers to optimise the benefits of mobile, through our unique Mobile-Application Corporate-Strategy™ approach, and provide practical examples to illustrate the 5 points.

Moving to the world of mobile involves a degree of change. Changing internal processes, changing the way customers interact with you, changing the way data flows and so on. So inherent in implementing a mobile strategy should be consideration of change management. With that said let's crack on.

The ultimate starting point, whether you are a manager in a multi-national corporation or an owner of a local company is to consider your current strategic objectives and goals, in the context of mobile technologies. The wider you cast your net initially, the more likely you are to emerge with 2 or 3 really significant ways forward. Review at a really granular level. Considering 'Increasing Sales 10% in 2010', is perhaps to top level. However, 'Creating 150 (or 150,000) new customers to trial XYZ service/brand in the 3rd Quarter' is more like it.

The top drivers for the implementation of mobile marketing technologies are, in our opinion:

* Cost reduction * New revenue channels * New customer acquisition * Brand image strengthening; and * Competitive pressures

COST REDUCTION Every marketing action costs. Look at the major elements. For example a local pizza franchise will probably employ more extra folk for the 3 evenings of the weekend to cope with incoming telephone orders. Converting that order flow to mobile would immediately reduce call volume thereby saving staff costs. And provide an alternative order channel for customers, some of whom may prefer it to phone, email or web.

Certain workers complete written forms for routine, if important tasks. For example, Insurance Damage Assessors. These often need to be sent to a processing office, by fax or post. A simple template on the employee's mobile/cell handset could save significant transport cost, retyping costs and much time.

NEW REVENUE CHANNELS A high fashion online business took the unusual step to survey customers asking how the customer accessed their web site to place orders. A significant, though small percentage, had ordered directly from their iPhone on the web browser. The website is configured for a large PC screen so tricky to navigate on a mobile screen. How do you think launching the website in an iPhone optimised version would be received by iPhone users? Clearly they'd be delighted. If they battled through the tough previous version, a user friendly one would attract more custom. It will, for you too.

Some businesses sell their services, goods, tickets or events by promoting sales face to face, in shopping malls, offices and so on. Using a mobile phone as a Virtual Card Terminal opens up taking payment from the customer by credit or debit card - no longer will genuine would be buyers be turned away because they do not have sufficient cash on them - the buyers would be able to complete the purchase through the use of their card instantly.

Mobile offers diverse routes for prospects to order from suppliers, in many cases creating new customer segments and channels.

NEW CUSTOMER ACQUISITION One of the ultimate strengths of mobile. Say you are a mom & pop restaurant in the USA or a local pub in the UK. Offer an incentive involving sending a relevant key word (say 'beer') by text/SMS to a number set up to receive such messages. The customer gets a message back on their mobile in plain text or varying degrees of sophistication by way of a bar-code. That message is a coupon entitling the customer to whatever you have offered - free garlic bread with their meal, 10% off their entire bill today only, and so on. The business gets the customer's mobile number. And twice a month thereafter sends out new promotions to all of those mobile customers, such as: Tonight only - 2 for the price of one. Or Charity event at the Brass Monkey pub Saturday evening. Keeping your brand top of mind with your customers, all of whom have given you permission to send them mobile messages. Offering all recipients an opt-out is good parctaise.

From diners to gambling mobile offers strong customer acquisition potential, in general with higher response and conversion rates.

BRAND IMAGE STRENTHENING Mobile is very hot. 2010 has seen the emergence of mobile applications for a variety of reasons, after several false starts - that is the subject of a separate article. Suffice to say that using mobile is not only good sense for inherent reasons, such as those outlined above of cost reduction or revenue enhancement. Using a relatively innovative approach adds to a brand's identity and the overall corporate image. Many customers welcome the use of mobile in their relationship with suppliers.

So, consider the tin of baked beans sitting on the store shelf. On the label is a message that says text 'bean' to 123456 and receive 20 cents off at the cash till. The customer immediately receives an on-mobile/cell discount voucher valid only for the next hour, redeemable at the point of sale.

Or on a bottle of your favourite soft drink, fruit juice or mineral water there is an offer to send in a text/SMS describing how XYZ brand is adding to your enjoyment today. The top 100 entries receive a case of the beverage monthly for the next year. Suddenly, loads of those remote, previously unidentifiable consumers are sending you their mobile number, and are ready to receive their next promotional text from their preferred beverage provider.

Simple marketing promotions, sale promotions, loyalty programmes, to enhance your brand, and achieve other mobile campaign objectives too.

COMPETITIVE PRESSURES Sooner or later your industry will be subject to the adoption of mobile technologies. Right now, the early wave of consumer applications are coming to the fore ... consumer banking and big retailers are making waves in early 2010.

You may think that you are immune .... but as surely as one adopted the fax, the PC, the internet, one will inevitably look at mobile. Remember when mobile telephones were first introduced and some companies had policies not allowing outgoing calls to mobile numbers? How silly we look now.

OK, so perhaps you are in one of those industries which you think may be one of the last to go mobile. Let's take car manufacturing. If you are the first car brand who automatically wakes up an application on your customer's mobile, 4 weeks after they took delivery of their brand new Exec model, with a message that says something like:

Barry, we at BMW hope that you are enjoying every minute of driving your luxury 730i. Please text or call Sue on 077000000 if there's anything we can do to further enhance your driving pleasure. By responding to this message, we'll ship to you a pre-release BMW Seven Series cap with our compliments.

Just another small step to cementing that relationship ... and making it more difficult for any other car brand to switch this buyer to their product.

CONCLUSION Have you got any ideas for mobile applications yet? Yes, you probably have several in mind by now! These 5 drivers can be used over and over again in your quest for growing, sustainable profits. Remember to look with an open mind. Go deep into your processes. The approach may be as simple as complimenting an existing print, TV, poster or online campaign, or be entirely, uniquely mobile. This is a new landscape - enjoy being a pioneer, safe in the knowledge that the tools are well proven, cost effective and are the most widely used technology around.
Author Resource:- The author is a Deloitte's trained Chartered Accountant, former GM - SAB Miller and CEO MasterCard SmartLink. He has been involved with mobile for corporates since 2005 and formed Mobile Strategy Consultants in 2009.For more information go to:
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