2010 can un-disputedly be defined as the year of the mobile. Now its come and gone and you still haven’t figured out this mobile thing. You can’t understand the hype, but you attempted to win a Range Rover, win 50 million , win a Vitz, talked to radio presenters about your marital woes, and waited for the elusive million bob call from your mobile network, all via your mobile phone.
Now it’s not too late to make sense of it all. If anything, this year has taught us that the market is still young, still underutilized and you still have the potential to win at the mobile game. But, you must have a mobile strategy. You can’t blindly copy what others are doing, unless you know why they are doing it.
If you did not get any lessons or tips from watching Kencell- Celtel-Zain,-Airtel morph, then learn this, that you have to have a plan. And a good plan. Not a reaction to what the others are doing, but a plan to achieve your fundamental goals. Have these goals clearly defined. Are they profit, customer acquisition, or service delivery?
Your mobile strategy will help you determine the customer journey. The customer journey is the most important of all your goals, because if you get it right, then you can achieve all your other goals. Mobile is the opportunity for brands to communicate directly with customers. It’s a very addressable channel, and the always on nature of it means customers are always reachable.
What should your strategy look like?
First determine what your ideal channels are going to be. Take SMS for example;
SMS is really the simplest and the best medium for reaching customers. It is said that 90% of text messages are read within 3 minutes of delivery and the recipients eventually read more than 99% of all text messages. Messaging is still a legitimate medium to communicate with a mass audience. The immediacy of SMS makes it an ideal channel for brands to communicate with their customers. Take Radio for example, it is the perfect medium for text because it allows users to be than much more connected to their favourite stations.
For other brands, SMS capitalizes on the opted-in database ,like information service subscriptions( 6667 nation mobile, 411 on Safaricom) to establish an ongoing relationship with the customer. Subscription services like these rely on the information being highly relevant to the person and at that very moment. These are context aware. Contextualizing the service to suit the audience, helps to create multiple channels that will deliver instant value to the end user.
A large part of your mobile strategy will really be about defining your customer’s experiences. User experiences for mobile are like science you can’t afford to get it wrong. It is about getting into the daily lives of your targets and how they unfold and determining the best point of interaction.
The second part of your strategy is in profiling your customer.
What do they like? When do they like to receive it? What are their consumption habits? You can’t do this randomly or assume that you know your audience. Take for example a simple information subscription service like Horoscope. If I subscribe to the idea that the stars determine the outcome of my day, then it makes no sense to send me a horoscope alert in the afternoon. Say Breaking News, it implies I want to receive the news when it breaks, before every one else. It beats logic, for you to send a news item after I have watched it on the news.
Your next step is to determine what your brand perception is going to be. How you will raise awareness and associations. You have to do your research, and think of ways to use mobile to influence the target at the moment of the purchase decision. You want the end user to associate your brand with a mobile experience, not just a promo code that can be copied by the competition. The reason for the proliferation of promotional SMS campaigns is research on the market that says, the Kenyan audience will respond to the idea of a better life by simply SMS’ing their name to a short code!
While this may work in the short-term for quick money gains, you don’t want your brand to be associated with a scheme just to fleece customers. Take mobile banking for example. You don’t think of Barclays Hello Money by their interactive code, or KCB connect by the code *522#, but for a customer they know what the brand value communicates you simply access the service via your mobile phone. The brand is perceived as convenient, and has established an anytime, anywhere transaction culture.
I end this with a quote, whose author I cant remember, but simply put, “If you are not winning, you need to change your strategy. If you didn’t have a strategy, you should get one.”