Kyle Keith , SVP - Digital Strategy, Marketing Technology & Creative Services, Cadence Bank (NYSE: CADE)
Two decades ago, the widespread adoption and popularity of the internet ushered in the era of digital marketing. Today, we’re entering a new phase of digital marketing that’s not unlike what happened 20 years ago.
This new era is focused on marketing to customers using their mobile devices. Eight out of 10 people in the U.S. now have a smartphone, according to the Newzoo Global Mobile Marketing Report 2019. What’s more, the number of mobile website users has surpassed the number of desktop users globally, according to Morgan Stanley Research, while mobile commerce now accounts for more than one-third of all e-commerce sales.
Video-sharing app TikTok is one of the great mobile marketing success stories of this year. TikTok is surpassing all expectations by generating unprecedented revenue through in-app advertising and purchases, all while becoming the most downloaded mobile app in the world.
The Key Strategic Element
When you consider statistics like these, it’s not surprising that savvy marketers today are embracing mobile marketing. The fact is, many customers today are starting conversations and relationships with businesses and brands in the online, not offline, world. That’s one reason that I believe mobile marketing is the key strategic element of a robust marketing technology strategy in 2020 and beyond.
But what exactly does “mobile marketing” mean? Here’s my definition of mobile marketing:
An extension of traditional digital marketing with an emphasis on reaching customers and prospects via their mobile devices. These can include smartphones, tablets and wearable technology like smart watches.
The beauty of mobile marketing is that it allows marketers to reach individuals with highly personalized, time- and location-sensitive information wherever they might be at any given point in time. Customers can be targeted with specific offers based on where they are physically located right now.
Mobile marketing also enables marketers to implement data-driven strategies by collecting and segmenting users’ information digitally. This, in turn, enhances the ability of customers to interact with the business digitally and vice-versa.
Executing a Mobile Marketing Strategy
There are several different ways to execute a mobile marketing strategy. These include app-based and in-game mobile marketing, QR codes, mobile search ads and image ads, SMS- (or text) based mobile marketing, and location-based marketing.
The latter strategy is especially effective for many businesses today. For example, a retailer or restaurant can send coupons or other offers to people as they are walking or driving near their location. Or here in the banking industry, we can send customized offers on mobile devices to consumers or business leaders who happen to be near one of our branch locations.
Looking ahead, voice and visual search (think Alexa and Google Home) are two of the biggest technology advancements that I believe will affect mobile marketing going forward. Augmented reality (or AR) is another one. In the banking industry, for example, some bank branches have opened that aren’t staffed with any human beings. Instead, customers use their mobile devices to interact digitally with virtual bankers.
Mobile Marketing Isn’t Just for Millennials
There’s a misconception among some marketers that younger demographics (like millennials) are the main ones they should be targeting with their mobile marketing initiatives. But in the banking industry, mobile usage is spread across all customer demographics. Banking customers of all demographic categories appreciate the convenience of being able to access core banking services on their mobile devices.
For example, most mobile responsive banking websites allow customers to check personal account details, shop for new products and services, apply for a business loan or line of credit or even get directly in touch with a banker using a mobile device. Not only does this make banking more convenient for our customers and prospects, but it also enables us to fully track and report our digital business results and ROI.
By taking a data-driven approach, we’ve been able to provide a highly tailored mobile banking and mobile marketing user experience for our customers and prospects alike. For example, we can track how customers are interacting with our advertising and using our mobile website in order to send them personalized offers and promotions that they’re more likely to engage with.
We take a bundled services approach to our mobile marketing initiatives, creating personas and customer journey maps that help ensure a top-notch customer experience. Higher mobile engagement by our customers also drives more website traffic, social media interaction and in-branch activity.
Looking Ahead: Mobile Marketing in a Post-COVID-19 World
Like many businesses, our bank has experienced a huge uptick in mobile engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic. This reinforces my belief that mobile marketing and engagement are among the most important keys to insulating businesses from economic downturns and other major disruptions in the future and ensuring business continuity.
With our robust mobile and online presence, we’re always open. Customers are going to demand this kind of 24/7/365 access to companies they do business with in the post-COVID-19 world — in fact, many already do.
Focus on the Customer Experience
Finally, remember that as important as fancy “bells and whistles” are, mobile marketing is really all about the customer experience. We are thoughtful in our approach and take special care to consider every click and scroll users must make to interact with us online or on a mobile device. As you design your mobile marketing initiatives, do so through the eyes of your customers. This is the best way to make sure you achieve the business results you’re looking for — whether this is boosting new customer acquisition, reducing customer churn, increasing customer engagement or some other objective.