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Strategy will beat out tactics for 2015 mobile marketers

Industry experts gave confident nods to the assumption that mobile consumption and mobile marketing strategies will continue upwards in 2015 and become more sophisticated and strategic.
During the ?Mobile Outlook 2015: Up, Down or Flat?? webinar, the experts discussed emerging trends in mobile, such as chat and messaging apps, native advertising, mobile payments and the tablet channel. Panelists agreed that the key to successful mobile executions is knowing the audience and their behavior habits.

?When you take a look at mobile, it really matters where you are in your initiative,? said Sheryl Kingstone, research director for mobile leadership strategies at 451 Research, Boston. ?It?s not about tactics anymore, it?s really strategic. 

?Make users want to use the app over and over again,? she said. ?Marketers need to work best to acquire, service, maintain and grow relationships with their customers.?

The two other panelists during the webinar were Andy Maskin, program and platforms director at FCB Garfinkel, New York, and Doug Platts, vice president of search strategy at iCrossing, Dallas.

What to expect
Apps are mostly forgotten due to lack of upkeep and loss of user engagement. Therefore, 2015 will likely see more progressive attempts to keep apps updated, personalized and unique to marketers? audiences to maintain engagement and meet their needs.

Experts predicted which mobile channel will be the ?breakout star? in 2015. Channels discussed were apps, tablets, native advertising, chat and messaging apps and mobile payments. 

Ms. Kingstone believes the app will still remain dominant for proximity marketing efforts. Combining the physical and digital worlds for bricks-and-mortar stores will deepen the impact of the customer journey.

Omnichannel changes
Mobile is changing today?s shoppers in different ways, and the difference between average and advanced users remains stark.

Even though all consumers are tapping mobile in some way, frequency and dedication remain huge variables. Ms. Kingstone believes marketers developing mobile loyalty and engagement strategies should consider today?s advanced users to determine what will work best to keep those users engaged.

While mobile was stronger than ever during this year?s Thanksgiving weekend sales, it is still believed that consumers are more frequently using mobile than brands. Mr. Platts referenced Web site crashes, which caused interrupted service and huge loss.

However, panelists attributed multiple marketers that have done well this year in mobile, such as Delta, Starwood Hotels, Coca-Cola, Target and Walmart.

Lessons learned
Despite many successful pilots this year in mobile customer engagement, many remained in small geographical regions. To be most effective, it is imperative that mobile strategies reach large numbers of consumers to truly understand the priorities of those consumers and what they expect from their coveted brands on mobile.

Consumers are willing and ready for mobile experiences. Therefore, infrastructure technology, such as cloud-based servers, need to be leveraged to manage high volume surges of traffic.

Consumers are not just looking for rich mobile experiences at the point of purchase; post-purchase is also crucial for maintaining relationships.

Given the strong results regarding mobile from this year?s Thanksgiving holiday weekend, mobile should not be an after-thought. Many brands, surprised from these high numbers, will likely think differently next year.

Using the data that marketers have on their customers in regards to mobile habits will help drive mobile-first initiatives.

?Understand your audience, leverage your data and supplement this with relevant third-party data,? Mr. Platts said. ?Understand the functionality of different devices and look for ways to leverage this to become part of the consideration set at conversion and during post-purchase experience.?

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York