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17pc of marketers have fully integrated mobile: report

Marketers who excel at engaging customers across the entirety of their journey are setting the example for the rest of the pack who are still struggling to master the basics of mobile marketing, according to a CMO Council report.

The 17 percent of participants in a CMO-SAS survey of 250 marketing leaders who said they have fully integrated mobile within their overall marketing strategies are showing the rest of the group what they need to do to match strides with increasingly mobile-savvy consumers.

?Those who are leading in mobile are doing four important things: expanding mobile beyond the campaign and building a strategy around it, using the data and insights gleaned from their mobile efforts to create more targeted, effective, and personalized engagements, adopting a mobile-first mindset and listening to their customers,? said Mary Anne Hensley, director of content and marketing programs for the CMO Council, a 7,500-member network of executives in San Jose, CA, dedicated to high-level knowledge exchange.

?We already know that mobile is critical to consumers, and by using mobile as a channel for both engaging and gathering customer insights, marketers will be better equipped to provide experiences that delight their customers.?

Consumers in control
More than half of respondents to the survey indicated that mobile is critical to customer interaction/retention and brand differentiation, and leaders in mobile are finding it to be a true game-changer when it comes to creating valuable engagements and building customer affinity.

The problem is not in recognizing the importance of mobile. The issue is the number of marketers who have not yet developed a strategy around this channel, which they already know is critical to their customers. 

Lord & Taylor app promotes fall sale.

?More than ever, it is critical to engage customers when, where and how they want to be engaged,? Ms. Hensley said. ?Those who don?t take advantage of mobile will fall behind. 

?In this era of customer-defined engagements, listening to customers and providing communications through the device and platform of their choice is critical.?

The report points out that the strongest mobile marketers exhibit a mobile-first mindset that is receptive to new thinking, new platforms and new talent being woven into the customer journey.

?Having a mobile-first mindset first means that marketers must take mobile into consideration first when planning any campaign or marketing initiative,? Ms. Hensley said. ?Because mobile is the most critical channel of engagement for customers, marketers should always be thinking about how to plan customer engagements most effectively through this channel rather than creating a campaign and later trying to determine how mobile fits in.? 

Mobile has made the quest for marketers to stay in sync with the customer journey infinitely more complex and nuanced as the digitally empowered customer has new expectations for a fully connected, mobile, personalized and relevant experience.

Globally, there are an estimated 4.55 billion mobile phone users, with 1.74 billion representing smartphone users, according to eMarketer.

At the same time, the stream of digital data from mobile enables marketers to learn more about customer preferences without being intrusive, opening avenues to inform product development, packaging, pricing, distribution, contact policies and more. 

Sears coupon promotion on app.

Notably, the customer is advancing the importance of mobile. According to 32 percent of respondents, mobile is increasingly important because customers are using mobile and social to connect with brands. 

Marketing leaders who have fully adopted and integrated a mobile strategy view it in relation to their overall marketing approach. Twenty-four percent of respondents said mobile actually comes first when their organizations plan customer experiences. 

Of those marketers who believe they have fully integrated mobile into their marketing strategies, 45 percent said their organizations have adopted a mobile-first mindset and none consider mobile to be the latest marketing fad. 

As mobile devices continue to grow in importance for how customers live their lives, the way they engage with brands will continue to evolve. As a result, integrating a comprehensive mobile relationship marketing strategy into the overarching customer experience strategy will quickly become the norm rather than the exception.

And pursuing the ideal of full strategy integration will involve closer, more personalized relationships with the customer.

Best practices
As yet, no clear mobile champion has emerged among brands. Despite high praise in the industry for Starbucks and Amazon, the field is wide open for brands to continue to advance mobile and establish the best practices that creative real competitive advantage.

Macy's app highlights gift cards.

?Customer engagement is changing, and now more than ever, consumers are defining how they want to be engaged,? Ms. Hensley said. ?Mobile is a huge part of a consumer?s life, and marketers who fail to take this channel?s importance into account or neglect developing a strategy around it risk missing out on a very important way to engage customers.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York.