Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Mobiles Make Good Business Sense

According to a recent UN report, six of the world’s seven billion people have a mobile phone. Only four and half billion have access to a proper toilet. This ubiquitous, indispensable and omnipotent gadget is one of 20th century’s life-altering inventions. It seems to be as essential as food, water and shelter. Consequently, no marketing arsenal is complete without a mobile strategy.

I have to admit that as a marketer, I was a bit perplexed about how to reign in the beast? The obvious answers seemed suitably ridiculous. So I went about looking for examples from around the world to understand how are people making the best use of this device.

After going through loads and loads of researches and case studies, I have arrived at one conclusion that Mobile is not technology. It is consumer behaviour. People kneel at this technology’s altar not for the love of science but because this technology helps them fulfill some basic human needs such as love, safety, belonging, confidence, achievement just to name a few. Each individual, demographic, culture, socio-economic group has a unique relationship with their mobile phones. Understanding these relationships can help marketers arrive at suitable solutions to meet their business challenges.

Here are a few examples of how brands across categories have observed consumer behaviour to arrive at mobile-based solutions to help their businesses

#1: FMCG: Driving up consumer engagement with the brand
ALL, a US based detergent brand’s marketing objective was to drive up consumer engagement.

To arrive at something refreshingly different, the team observed proud homemakers - their core audience, as she went about her daily life. At the end of the research, the team hit upon one powerful insight - the 21st century moms are mobile addicted family chroniclers. With the help of her mobile phone, she constantly chronicles life’s memorable moments – big and small.

Tapping into the insight, the brand launched an app that turns mobile devices into professional quality movie making machines. A campaign called ‘Summer Play’ was launched this summer to encourage moms to download the app and shoot professional quality video featuring their kids at their dirtiest and most fun moments. She can enter her films in a content called Summer Fun Video Content where the winner stands to win a $1000 toy shopping spree.

The contest is currently on and is attracting a huge number of entries everyday from allover the country – boosting engagement scores.

#2. Retail: Enhancing Customer Experience
House of Frazer is a British Department Store group with 60 stores across UK. Realizing the growing importance of customer experience as a key differentiator, the store wanted to provide its customers a meaningfully differentiated experience.

To meet its objective, the brand closely observed its shoppers to understand their interactions at various touch points within the store. Their observation led them to discover that today’s smartphone toting tech savvy consumers are consultative shoppers even in-store. They use their mobile phones throughout their purchase journey - to discover more information about products, check out competitive retailers’ prices, read reviews and seek opinions about their purchase decision from friends and families while they shop.

Leveraging existing consumer behaviour in a way that would help provide meaningful value to their consumer as they shop, the retail chain introduced Beacon embedded Mannequins within the store. iBeaconis – an indoor proximity system that enables shoppers to look up price details, in store product location, even direct the user to the store’s website for additional items and offer rewards. It also encourages shoppers to share their favourite products on social media.

Apart from a higher customer satisfaction, the technology helps the store gather analytics about its customers and its products as well.

#3. Print Media: Increasing revenue 
In today’s fast paced life, the habit of leisurely morning newspaper reading is becoming a thing of the past. Moreover, people prefer to consume bite-sized news on the go. Decline in newspaper circulation means decline in ad revenues – mainstay of the industry. The challenge was to get back the readers.

Close observation of people’s morning behaviour led to the discovery that office commuters today are headphone junkies. They have switched from reading newspapers while traveling to listening to music, podcasts and audio books.

Tapping into this insight, Tribune, looked towards technology for help. With the help of text to speech technology, they convert news articles to audio files for easy listening. The audio content is pushed to consumers via an app called Newsbeat.

Newsbeat pulls in thousands of articles everyday from hundreds of newspapers including The Washington Post, The Los Angles Times and websites such as CNN. When setting up the app, users can pick their preferred news sources and topics they’d like newsbeat to track. While the app is free, the content is not ad free – generating the much needed revenue.

These examples have helped me open my mind about the possibilities of using mobile phones to meet business challenges. These examples also reaffirm my belief that whenever in doubt, peep into the consumers’ life as most often than not, the answer to every business challenge lies somewhere between consumers’ life, modern technology and the product benefit.

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