How to Market to Customers with Mobile Messaging

March 24, 2017
Contributor: Chris Pemberton

Identify mobile messaging approaches that serve your marketing objectives.

Evan, a busy executive, was stuck in traffic and about to miss his flight when he remembered a friend’s advice to use mobile messaging apps for customer service issues. He pulled out his phone and messaged his airline with his app. The airline knew his flight’s details and Evan received a personalized response in 5 seconds through a branded chatbot experience. His surprise quickly turned to delight and relief — delight when the chatbot booked him a seat on the next flight and relief that he didn’t have to wait on hold for a service agent.

“Customers prefer mobile messaging as a means of communication and interaction,” said Charles Golvin, research director, Gartner for Marketers. “So, it makes sense for marketing leaders to use mobile messaging to engage with them.”

According to Gartner’s 2016 Personal Technologies Survey, 89% of adults in mature markets own a smartphone, specifically in the U.S., U.K., and Australia. Reaching customers on their mobile devices is both an opportunity and a challenge for organizations. The opportunity is to engage customers via their preferred medium and provide context to organizations. The challenge is to determine which mobile messaging approaches best align the customer’s preference with marketing’s objectives. To fully realize the opportunity, marketers must overcome this challenge.

Organizations can use mobile messaging to reach consumers through SMS/MMS, in-app communication, or through consumer messaging apps such as Facebook Messenger, Line or WeChat. To ensure an effective campaign and select the right messaging approach, marketers must take the time to figure out what type of mobile messaging best supports their business goals.

Marketers have choices when it comes to engaging with their customers via mobile messaging. The key is to define business goals to determine the most effective engagement tool.

Multichannel marketing

Multichannel marketing teams rely on mobile messaging as a brand extension and promotion channel. They rely on usage and location data to provide contextually relevant messages to customers. In-app push notifications encourage a company’s more loyal users (those who have downloaded a branded application) to engage with an organization. According to the Gartner 2016 Digital Channel Survey, 30% of marketers use or are piloting push notifications today and another 45% plan to invest in the next 12 months.

Digital commerce marketing

Digital commerce teams are familiar with reaching customers through their branded apps, which provide functionality above and beyond that of traditional websites. Alibaba Message Center uses digital commerce applications that have messaging capabilities for vendors and sellers to communicate. In the WeChat app, consumers can purchase railroad seats through e-ticketing and make other purchases because the app offers a wide variety of relevant services to users. To truly capitalize on mobile messaging, digital commerce marketing leaders must look beyond their traditional app models and pursue a messaging strategy that presents additional upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

Customer service

According to the Gartner Digital Channel Survey, 65% of social marketers report that marketing is primarily responsible for managing customer care interactions on social channels.

Read More: Marketers Take on Social Care

Evan’s experience rebooking a flight while in transit is an example of how mobile messaging provides an opportunity to increase customer care efficiency, deflect phone calls to the less-expensive messaging channel and grow customer satisfaction. Gartner expects that by 2019, customer service inquiries received through consumer messaging apps will surpass social media service requests. Make mobile messaging, and consumer messaging apps in particular, a priority.

“Expand your mobile marketing strategy by identifying mobile messaging approaches that both serve your marketing objectives and meet customer needs,” said Mr. Golvin.

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