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Behavior, context and interactivity unlock mobile, local and social marketing: Forrester

August 10, 2012

The Nike+ Running iPhone app

With consumers using multiple devices to access content, marketers need to focus more on user behavior before technology for effective marketing, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

Forrester’s “Always Addressable Customer” report outlines how mobile, social media and location have blurred together for consumers, causing marketers to think more strategically about digital marketing initiatives. Additionally, the report pinpoints examples of brands that are successful at connecting with consumers on all three of the mediums.

“To me, the speed with which connected behaviors is increasing is the big takeaway, paired with the fact that it’s not limited to millenials,” said Melissa Parish, an analyst at Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA

“When I talk about this research, I like to point out that in 2010, the most compelling data point I could’ve shared was that, of people who own cellphones of any kind in the United States, 17 percent of them had smartphones,” she said. “So in 2010, we couldn’t even define the trend of the always addressable customer.”

“2011 is the first year we’re able to define that trend and it was already at 38 percent penetration among U.S. online adults.  So we went from no definable category to 38 percent in one year.  That’s crazy-fast.”

Plugged-in consumers
The Forrester report outlines four areas that marketers need to plan for in order to create value in campaigns – context, needs, technology and person.

Per the report, two-thirds of consumers under the age of 45 in the U.S. are classified as always addressable, showing that with the growing smartphone adoption, brands now have a larger audience to target mobile initiatives to.

With close to one-third of U.S. adults accessing the Internet from multiple devices by the end of 2011, marketers need to realize that consumers are already accessing a brand from mobile platforms.

Forrester predicts that by the end of 2012, 53 percent of consumers will own a smartphone, showing how feature phones are gradually being phased out by users. This means that marketers should look at their mobile strategy with initiatives that will eventually hit the majority of the market place, such as applications, QR codes and augmented reality.

In order to engage mobile users, the key is to add value to an initiative that takes into account how consumers interact with their devices.

For instance, the term SoLoMo marketing is thrown around by man. However, SoLoMo focuses more on the technology versus a consumer’s behavior, per the Forrester report.

“The most surprising thing to me was what seems to concern marketers the most when I talk about this concept with them,” Ms. Parrish said.

“The most frequent question or push-back I got was, ‘But how do we figure out what our customers’ needs are?’ It’s a fair question, but one that I didn’t expect because the answer is one that I think most marketers really do intuitively know – you ask them,” she said.

“You use data, you use surveys, you become best friends with your company’s customer intelligence department.  None of that is easy, but it is absolutely imperative.”

Brand examples
The Forrester report pinpoints Nike and Heineken as brands that mix local, social and mobile into campaigns successfully.

For example, the Nike+ Running app uses technology with a consumer-first approach. The app has a specific demographic – serious runners – and takes context into account by letting users track their exercise from their mobile devices while on the go.

The app also has sharing elements where runners can share tips and encouragement to others.

On the other hand, Heineken’s Star Player program used television, mobile and social to connect with sports fans during the UEFA Champions League. Consumers could download an app to play games that were synced to a real-time televised broadcast of the game.

The Heineken Star Player iPhone app

By making the brand part of the way that consumers interact with the event, Heineken was able to tap into an experience that already existed with sports fans and use mobile and social to help connect the experiences.

“One of the most important things that social and mobile have in common is that they’re more intimate ways of engaging with customers than marketers have previously had.  As a result, I think social and mobile marketing are going to become more personal, more personalized and therefore of higher value on both sides,” Ms. Parrish said.

“A lot will have to happen to make this a reality – perhaps the most complex of which is developing a truly unified single view of the customer across all touch points,” she said. “But if marketers can get that right, social and mobile will become the primary delivery mechanism of truly personalized, high-value service.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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