Mastering mobile marketing: Three best practices

By Lisa Loftis, SAS Best Practices

It is indisputable. Mobile is rapidly becoming indispensable – to our customers, to our marketing departments and to our customer experience initiatives. According to recent research, two-thirds of the US population own smartphones and this year 30 percent of US retail sales will be influenced by the mobile channel.

Marketers simply can’t afford to sit this one out. Unfortunately, despite mounting evidence that consumers use their mobile phones for everything from store location searches to in-store product research and app use, many marketers still treat mobile as an independent channel. This is a failure to understand the significant role mobile plays in the multichannel experience.

A recent study of digital trends by Econsultancy found that while optimizing the customer experience ranked at the top of 2016 marketing priorities, reaching and understanding mobile customers was second to last. What’s more, the research also found that a whopping 80 percent of marketers lack the budget they need for mobile marketing.

A man is known by the company of the phone he keeps.

Junaid e Mustafa

Lady scheduling appointment on phone

Target gets it right

Not all companies are falling into this trap. Retailer Target has adopted a true multichannel strategy with mobile as the cornerstone. Its mobile apps provide in-store navigation, notification of deals and door busters, couponing, personalized recommendations (based on history), wish-list generation and even entertainment-focused movie streaming.

This forward-thinking multichannel view is paying off. Their apps are very highly rated – landing in the top 100 overall apps. CEO Brian Cornell has reported a substantial increase in sales attributed to the strategy and their stock has soared 14 percent in the past year.

There is hope though for the majority of companies that fit into the ”underbudgeted in mobile” category. Following a few key steps while setting your mobile marketing strategy can help make the most of existing budgets and ensure that mobile initiatives can ”ring in the customers.”    

Mobile marketing best practice: Journey maps

Journey maps are visual representations of interactions as customers move through the buying cycle. They highlight touchpoints, customer objectives and possible outcomes while providing a great way to understand how customers move through the buying cycle.

The key to using these effectively for mobile interactions is to understand that customers can and will use a myriad of technologies and channels during their journey. This means the maps must span organization silos and contain both traditional channels (store or call center) as well as mobile and other digital interaction types.

Some mobile activities to consider include downloading and using a mobile app, sending or receiving SMS messages, visiting a website, scanning a QR code and even viewing a product review or other streaming media.     

Mobile marketing best practice: Identify your destination to refine your mobile strategy

Larger organizational goals should play a crucial role in setting mobile marketing strategy. Tying mobile initiatives to strategic objectives will ensure that the focus stays on advancing the company toward its goals while avoiding bright- shiny-object syndrome where the latest marketing fads and trends drive kneejerk reactions.     

First, identify the objectives that depend on customer experience – goals such as increase customer engagement, improve net promoter score or increase share of wallet.

Next, use the digitally inclusive journey maps to highlight areas where mobile initiatives can facilitate goal achievement. Adding real-time offers or in-store navigation functionality to an existing mobile app may by the next step to increasing share of wallet; while push notification reminders via SMS for appointments or bill due dates may raise satisfaction rates and improve net promoter scores.   

Mobile marketing best practice: Measure twice, tweak as needed

The modern take on an old adage ”measure twice – cut once” is critical when it comes to mobile initiatives because the medium is intensely personal and unappealing or negative experiences can send customers fleeing. Identifying and monitoring relevant success measures can have a significant impact on mobile’s ability to move a company forward.

Measures of customer engagement, for example, should move beyond app downloads to incorporate frequency and time of use, participation in satisfaction surveys, and participation in programs and contests. Net promoter score measures should consider areas such as breadth of ”social influence” networks, social media mentions and Facebook likes.    

Lisa Loftis

Lisa Loftis is a thought leader on the SAS Best Practices team. She focuses on customer intelligence and was co-author of the book, Building the Customer Centric Enterprise, with a focus on modernizing marketing. She can be reached at


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