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Forrester analyst: Majority of customers will engage via borrowed mobile moments

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Reaching mobile users on third-party platforms is essential

NEW YORK – A Forrester Analyst speaking at the Mobile Research Summit: Data & Insights 2014 said that marketers will see only a portion of their customers engage on a branded mobile application and, therefore, need to be thinking about how to reach them via borrowed mobile moments.

With mobile users spending significant amounts of time every week on a variety of third-party apps across messaging, commerce and other categories, reaching customers on these apps could be the way that marketers reach a majority of their customers through what Forrester calls “borrowed mobile moments.” These will be complemented by loyalty moments with dedicated customers who have downloaded a brand's app and manufactured moments in which marketers address a specific mobile need or motivation of their customers.

“Borrowing mobile moments may actually be the majority of where you interact with customers on mobile,” said Julie Ask, San Francisco-based vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research.

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“Not all of your customers will download your mobile apps,” she said. “You will be lucky to even get to a majority of adoption on mobile apps.

“As you think about going forward, you need to think about how to engage on third-party platforms. We call this borrowing mobile moments - where else are my consumers and how am I going to engage with them based on where they are. You need to think about content on third party sites, services on third party sites. Why can’t they make a purchase from you on WeChat?”

Mobile Commerce Daily organized Mobile Research Summit Data & Insights 2014.

Unique user experiences
With mobile adoption continuing to grow as well as consumers owning multiple devices that they are interacting with throughout the day, marketers must recognize that their customers are always addressable. Especially as mobile phones see consistency of use in all the places that consumers are throughout their day compared to tablets and laptops, where use is typically limited to a few locations.

However, many marketers still operate with the perspective that consumers are looking to do the same set of things on all devices and offering the same experiences because they are not mature enough in their strategy to find out how the needs are different across devices.

As a result, the use cases are going to diverge over time.

“As we look forward, more companies will get more savvy about identifying the unique user experiences on mobile,” Ms. Ask said.


Julie Ask, vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research

Curated apps
One way marketers are trying to address the growth in the number of screens that customers are engaging on is with responsive Web design. Per Ms. Ask, this strategy will fail at delivering compelling experiences on the go.

Instead, apps need to be more a curated experience designed for customers’ needs on the go. Some marketers such as eBay are already doing this by having a bunch of different apps to meet the needs of different customer groups.

Still, only a small portion of customers – around 20 percent, per Ms. Ask – is likely to download a brand’s app and engage with it regularly.

Therefore, it is important for marketers to be looking beyond app downloads to measure their mobile success.

“A company we work with doesn’t measure success based on whether or not a customer opens an app,” Ms. Ask said. “That is a failure rather than a success because they haven’t anticipated customers’ needs and pushed out the experience or information they need.”

Wearables
The multiple screen scenario is only going to get more complex as wearables gain ground. While usage is still relatively low for wearables, Ms. Ask is optimistic about the category because the mobile phone is an overly complex tool for most of the things that users want to accomplish, such as checking to see whether a call or message has come through. Wearables are more convenient, enabling users to quickly check for messages.

The wearables experiences that are closely integrated with mobile phones will continue to proliferate.

The growth in adoption of mobile devices reflects how consumers have gone through a mobile mind shift. Consumer expectations have changed, with immediacy becoming more important and consumers being very task oriented on their phone. The expectation for contextual relevancy is also growing.

As a result, businesses need completely change how they do sales, marketing and their business model.

In terms of the key trends on mobile, Ms. Ask pointed to the importance of data, which she expects to the next source of competitive advantage.

Amazon’s introduction of a smartphone this week is an example of the importance marketers are putting on data, with gaining data about its customers a key reason for the move.

“As you go forward, you have more and more places where you need to engage with your consumers, on Twitter, on media sites, on mobile apps like SnapChat,” Ms. Ask said. “Data has become messier at a time when if you don’t understand customers well you will be a disadvantage.”

The starting point
Another key trend in mobile is the use of location information, with one of the hottest trends is the use of iBeacons in stores. However, location information alone is not enough to effectively market to consumers on mobile. Marketers also need to know what a consumer’s purchase intent it and what their state of mind is – are they leaning back at home or on-the-go with an immediate need?

Other trends are the use of third-party platforms to reach customers and the maturation of the mobile advertising.

Additionally, it is getting harder to hire mobile talent because qualified mobile employees are in such high demand.

Marketers should also keep in mind that Asia is increasingly an important source of mobile innovation as the market there rapidly grows.

“Mobile moments are present throughout the customer journey,” Ms. Ask said. “It could be the big opportunity in mobile is about influencing sales and not transacting.

“Thinking about what is their need, their motivation, what is their context - that is the starting point for winning in mobile minutes,” she said.

Final Take
Julie Ask is a San Francisco-based vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research

Associate Editor Chantal Tode covers advertising, messaging, legal/privacy and database/CRM. Reach her at chantal@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Strategy, mobile moments, Forrester, Julie Ask, mobile marketing, mobile

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Comments on "Forrester analyst: Majority of customers will engage via borrowed mobile moments"

  1. Ryan Hendricks says:

    June 20, 2014 at 8:43am

    Marketers who still think they can simply target and push their way to success aren't paying attention. Consumers have regained control of the sales and marketing engagement process with an arsenal of mobile tools. Don't call us, we'll call you.
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