The “there’s an app for that” era of mobile has long past, making way for a new one: the era of ecosystems and experiences, in which consumers expect to retain a constant connection with brands in all moments and hours of the day.
Mobile devices serve as the fulcrum that connects each of the touch points that consumers engage with, serving not only as their primary connection to social interaction but also as an increasingly significant tool for spending thanks to the rising popularity of digital wallets. With these insights in mind, brands that seek to innovate in their mobile marketing should meet their customers through experiences that not only engage on the mobile screen but extend into the world around them.
Experiences & Design are Key to Loyalty
The key to achieving the kind of mobile experiences that users crave relies on a brand’s ability to design differentiated, fresh experiences that enhance users’ interactions with the brand. In fact, great user experiences and design directly impact user satisfaction and loyalty: according to a report from McKinsey, organizations that employ top-tier design enjoy 32 percent higher revenue growth and 56% more returns to shareholders than their industry peers.
Still, many brands easily lose sight of the emotional core of such experiences—and in an age of “digital diets,” in which users are encouraged to limit the time within apps or devices, brands don’t have time for second chances when it comes to cultivating long-term audience relationships.
Even programs designed with loyalty in mind can fall short. According to a Forrester report on customer loyalty, “66% of US online adults who belong to a loyalty program agree that programs save them money, but only 41% agree that programs make them feel more loyal to a brand.” A key reason for this, according to the report, is that brands equate loyalty with volume and frequency of purchase, which puts a focus strictly on transactions rather than building an emotional connection. If your mobile marketing strategy is built around achieving loyalty, you’ll need to rely on a better strategy than the transactional incentives that everyone else is offering.
"The key to achieving the kind of mobile experiences that users crave relies on a brand’s ability to design differentiated, fresh experiences that enhance users’ interactions with the brand"
Use Mobile to Add Real Value to the User’s Everyday
By enabling users to keep their favorite brands at-hand, mobile offers several opportunities for brands to offer differentiated, fresh experiences that leave a mark on consumers and keep them engaged. A recent intelligence report from Gartner on loyalty asserts that “best-in-class brands combine incentives with experiences” to achieve greater loyalty and experiences for their customers. Rather than simply dangle a carrot in front of users’ faces with incentives, tiered gamification systems and the like, brands can use mobile to closely align themselves within the context of users’ everyday habits—helping users achieve their goals and reminding them each day of the brand’s value to their lives.
New Balance and social fitness app Strava came together to achieve a best-in-class branded experience activated via mobile. In the months leading up to the London Marathon, the Strava app offered a series of running challenges. When users completed each, they received points saved to a digital wallet. These points were redeemable at a New Balance-branded pub, offering runners a space to relax and discuss their hobby. Translating runners’ fitness goals to points and pints via a fitness-tracking digital wallet—how’s that for a “new balance?”
Bridge Online and Offline Experiences for Impact
There are a few things this mobile marketing example does well. First, it cleverly brings together the everyday mobile experience—tracking one’s fitness routine via an app—with a personalized social experience that’s sure to get people talking. Second, the experience goes beyond simply goading the users to engage more, instead of positioning itself within behaviors that they already perform and making a value offer in the process—in this case, free drinks in exchange for miles run.
Finally, it’s exemplary of how brands can use mobile marketing to unlock lasting experiences that exist beyond the screen. Not every brand can afford to open a pop-up pub with free drinks, but they can certainly seek out opportunities to lend value to everyday moments in users’ lives. It’s exactly these micro-moments that distinguish a brand and achieve lasting impact in consumers’ minds.