Forbes asked me how brands can be relevant, engaging, and useful on mobile.
Here’s what I told author John Koetsier:
Koetsier: We see some brands building massive engagement on mobile, like Starbucks. But many brands aren’t sure where to start. Where should they begin?
Hasen: Everything and nothing has changed with mobile. We still need to sell stuff. It’s the how that is different. The common thread we see with successful mobile marketers is that they are pragmatic and using the channel to attain business objectives and to address pain like churn.
Successful mobile marketers are also open-minded, collaborative, good listeners and risk takers. Those who fail often are selfish, impulsive, illogical, timid and inattentive.
The relationship with the mobile device is so personal that brands need to enhance the experience. Otherwise, three is a crowd.
Koetsier: 75% of people who download an app don’t become long-term engaged users, and that’s probably higher for brand apps. What’s the key problem here?
Hasen: Several factors.
There are too many apps, too many mediocre to bad experiences, and consumers have no patience to see if you will provide value. It needs to begin from the get-go: help the stressed parent with recipes, show them that the train is on time, give them reason to believe that you are out for their personal best interests.
Koetsier: Many brand apps are not daily drivers … they’re not like Facebook that you open multiple times a day. Instead, you use them weekly or monthly as you interact with your airline, for instance. How can you maintain a connection in those times?
Hasen: For some apps, their value is in the knowledge that they will be there for you when and if you need them.
Of course, these days push notifications are the rage. In some instances, like when someone has entered a mall and has opted in to receive pushes, you can send them a notification that reminds them and incents them to open the app.
Another way to engage is by providing offers, special content or the like and promoting it in other interactions with the app users.
Koetsier: Push messaging is huge and there’s a lot of good things brands can do it with. Should push messages be sent only in response to users’ queries or preferences or requests?
Hasen: Push messages shouldn’t even be talked about until you’ve provided some value to the user.
A major mistake seen often is a brand asking for permission before gaining the trust of the consumer. Even when done correctly, brands should treat the relationship as precious and not believe that they can enter someone’s house, put their feet on the furniture, eat all the chips, drink the beer, and stay all night.
Koetsier: Once users are in the app, how should brands use in-app messaging? What’s it best at?
Hasen: When used to its fullest, in-app messaging produces even more value to the user and is personal and within context.
An airline should ask me to rate its app after it gives me an upgrade to first class, not after my flight was canceled. That’s why it is so important to use tools like mobile marketing automation to have a healthy, rich view of a consumer to know his or her likes, dislikes and interactions with you.
Koetsier: How should brands cohort or segment users? What should they be looking for?
Hasen: You and I might shop at the same store but have very different buying patterns. I may need an offer every three months for you to monetize me to the fullest. You may return on your own and never need a prod or a buy-one-get-one.
Group audiences through identified traits that make communications feel like a one-to-one experience – and drive business outcomes.
Koetsier: Is a brand app even useful at all if it’s not tied to the company’s back-end systems for customer and order management, and maybe support/service?
Hasen: There are lots of uses for apps (and also more than a few misuses).
Often the most successful apps engage the loyal customer with even more value as delivered through such things as exclusive content, access to sales and merchandise earlier, and to engage and become part of a user’s life. Nike is the perennial leader at this.
Koetsier: How important is it for a brand to have its own mobile app?
Hasen: Ah, the question that still gets asked after all these years.
It’s about a businesses’ individual customer insights. Does its audience carry smartphones? Are they apt to engage more deeply than what they could do on the mobile web? Can the business make its app stand out among a crowded space or should it tie into a more popular app as many retailers do today. In general, the mobile web is the foundational piece, then an app is layered on if it could enhance the experience.
Mobile users will punish a brand for a crappy experience and reward one that delivers.
Koetsier: Any great stories about brands driving high engagement on mobile that you want to share?
Hasen: The most successful mobile marketers are the ones who are pragmatic. Take the case of a large wireless carrier that uses personalized mobile video to reduce churn.
One way is through a custom welcome video that is the very first point of communication with a new customer. Sent to mobile devices, this personalized welcome video acknowledges and thanks the subscriber for his or her business and summarizes the details of the account and what to expect when the first bill arrives.
As a result, the carrier has seen:
· Significant reduction in churn (customers leaving in the first 30 days), saving what it says is tens of millions of dollars
· A decrease in calls to customer support
· The highest recall of any other touch with the customer (over 50 percent measured at 90 days post-video delivery)
· Significant increase in revenue (ARPU or average revenue per user and lifetime value)