Clorox’s mobile effort is successful because it offers customers what they need in specific mobile moments. In one example Ms. Ask cited, Clorox’s app offers advice for removing specific types of stains from clothing under context-dependent conditions — whether the user is “at home” or “on the go.”
The detergent maker also continually updates the content on the app based on data garnered from customer use, and it varies the content based on time of year. It offers advice for removing chocolate stains after Valentine’s Day, for example, and for removing grass stains in the summer.
“They do a really, really nice job of keeping it fresh by adding content,” Ms. Ask said.
The Clorox app also offers opportunities to share tips from the app with friends, and provides an entertainment element as well with a special browsing feature. Both of those elements help drive ongoing engagement, she said.
“We need to think about how we will drive ongoing engagement, so that our app doesn’t become another one in the graveyard, with those other apps we just use once and get rid of,” Ms. Ask said.
More than just selling
Another panelist on the webinar explained how one company uses text messaging via mobile to engage its own employees around human-resources issues.
It is an example of how mobile can be used to provide services for customers as opposed to simply seeking to sell them products.
“We believe mobile is not just about selling, it is also about servicing customers with things like reminders,” said Catrina Boisson, director of customer communication services at Xerox Corp. “Those kinds of things are not sexy, but I would say they are mobile moments.”
Norwalk, CT-based Xerox provides services to assist business communications.
In the example described by Ms. Boisson, Xerox’s client sought to use text to drive earlier online renewals of enrollment in health insurance. More than 10 percent of the company’s paperless employees opted in to receive the texts, she said.
“Our client got a positive impact, and as a result they are looking at all their touchpoints for human resources,” Ms. Boisson said.
Location with context
One topic that arose several times during the webinar was using location data to assist in targeting communications. In response to a question, Ms. Ask of Forrester said companies need to be mindful that the location-based messages they are delivering are actually helpful to the customer.
“Too often, when I hear companies talk about tracking, it’s about what the company needs, rather than about how it can help the customer,” she said.
R.J. Taylor, vice president of mobile at ExactTarget, added that using location-based tracking can have the opposite of the intended effect. He echoed Ms. Ask’s comment that using such services, such as those offered through Apple’s iBeacon, can be perceived by consumers as “creepy.”
“IBeacons potentially can turn a customer off, if used inappropriately,” he said.
Mark Hamstra is content director at Mobile Marketer, New York.