Marketing continuity when customers cross channels

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By: Wise Marketer Staff |

Posted on November 3, 2014

Marketing continuity when customers cross channels

The first step involved in creating true 'marketing continuity' across all your channels is to build a comprehensive customer identity and the types of data that go into it, then consider the systems that make use of that data, and plan the necessary strategies for creating completely omni-channel customer experiences, according to Russell Loarridge of Janrain.

Global mobile data traffic grew 81% in 2013, and the total number of mobile devices grew to 7 billion - or the equivalent of about one connected device for every human being living on the planet. When nearly 60% of consumer time spent online is spent on a mobile screen, why is it that marketers still struggle to capitalise on that traffic?

The answer lies in the persistent disconnect between the way we think about the relationship between our digital properties and the constantly shifting realities of consumer behaviour.

To be fair, smartphone growth has outpaced even the growth rate of Internet adoption after it arrived on the scene, and the most adept marketers with the most enviable budgets have struggled to keep up with the complexities of building mobile websites and apps that play nicely with multiple operating systems, while also incorporating increasingly advanced features that meet customers' ever-growing expectations.

'Mobile first' was a great way to think about designing front-end workflows that allowed users to transact on a smaller screen, rather than just translating a website as is into a smaller version of the same experience. 'Mobile only,' in turn, is a well-meaning way to emphasise mobile's growing share of digital time spent and the importance of having a strong strategy in place.

The reality is, however, that desktop is here to stay-for the foreseeable future, at least-and most tracking and analytics tools still disproportionately optimise for that environment.

Losing Customers Between Browsers and Apps Tracking and attributing customer engagement on mobile devices can be problematic, and especially in native apps where cookies are useless and many traditional methods for tracking an individual's activity are rendered ineffective. Although mobile-optimised web experiences are still a critical part of a comprehensive digital strategy, apps make up the lion's share of consumer mobile activity: consumers now spend 52% of their total digital time in native apps alone.

While mobile analytics can provide a detailed view of customer behaviour within those apps, their usefulness is necessarily limited to that environment. The challenge to solve for is connecting mobile activity with the rest of the customer journey in order to understand the entire spectrum of influences and touchpoints that lead a customer to take a desired action. When websites, mobile sites and apps all identify customers and track their behaviour independently, it's virtually impossible to truly know the extent of the interdependencies between these experiences.

Registration and login is one critical step in enabling customers to identify themselves across your digital touchpoints, allowing marketers to knit together insights from these isolated interactions. Encouraging a logged-in state on both web and mobile through gated content, 'members-only' features and other incentives increases the likelihood that customers will take the time to create an account with you and subsequently log in during future visits.

Because desktop and mobile experiences occur on distinct devices, including those that aren't always necessarily owned by the individual using it (think friend's iPad, work laptop, or even in-store kiosk), it's highly unlikely that analytics tools will ever find a way to track an individual across the number of different screens they might use to interact with a brand.

Until that day comes, user registration and subsequent login is the most effective way to connect a user in a mobile app to your stored identity and associated data for that user.

Understanding the Cross-Device Journey Digital experiences no longer exist in isolation, just as 'having a website' is no longer a sufficient digital marketing strategy. To add to the complexity of the multi-screen journey, devices like smartphones and tablets have enabled consumers to engage with products, services and brands in ways that weren't possible when digital was confined to a desktop computer.

Features like always-on 4G connectivity, inherent mobility, GPS integration and push notifications have blurred the lines between bricks and clicks, offering marketers countless opportunities to introduce innovative experiences and differentiate themselves through value-added offerings.

Technologies like iBeacon now enable marketers to deliver real-time and right-time messages wherever customers are, and the real-time nature of social media paired with the mobility of a handheld device allows those customers to broadcast their dissatisfaction immediately to their networks (and yours) when they have a negative brand experience.

Understanding that customers are always connected and consuming-be it content or product-allows marketers to think of both their digital and offline touchpoints as one fluid and integrated brand presence.

Designing marketing programmes that are aligned with how customers want to interact with your organisation's content, product or services in contextual ways that make it easy to engage is a new imperative in the age of multiple connected devices.

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