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Cross-functional collaboration fuels mobile ROI

August 21, 2014

21804Approaching mobile initiatives such as application development and mobile-influenced commerce in a holistic manner that involves multiple teams within an organization yields the best results, marketers said in various presentations at eTail East 2014 in Philadelphia last week.

Whether brands are focusing their mobile strategies toward modernizing the in-store experience or toward strictly ecommerce efforts through online and mobile devices, they are individually channeling their own goals to benefit from mobile technology and dedicated mobile teams. Aligning all teams within an organization can help execute more effective mobile marketing strategies and move a brand towards the future of business in a mobile-centric world.

“Many organizations realize that cross-functional collaboration is necessary only after they have launched their mobile app,” said Nathalie Reinelt, analyst at the Aite Group, Phoenix. “All too often, tools such as mobile apps are developed in a silo, which can cause important gaps with regard to data collection which should be used for marketing, risk management, and data analysis purposes.

“These components aren’t always intuitive to software engineers who are developing the mobile apps and can cause more work in the long run when other departments finally realize the impact to their business unit.”

Closing the gaps
Similar to mobile, marketing teams within companies that are trying to push social efforts have found it to be tough but ultimately rewarding.

Successful social efforts are executed when all teams of a company are involved, agreed representatives from Amtrak, U-Haul and Alex and Ani during a panel discussion at the Social Commerce Summit at eTail East 2014.

Gaining the attention of higher executives and CRM and product teams was an initial struggle for Amtrak and U-Haul but the development of those relationships has led to higher success rates for social campaigns following periods of education and loads of patience. Once social teams were able to present live data, consisting of KPIs or user-generated content, partnering teams realized the potential in social investments and became interested in learning further (see story).

Though an initial struggle, once data shows a strong usage of mobile among a brand’s audience, all teams within a company can unite to promote those efforts.

“They should never branch off completely, though I do think there should be a dedicated mobile team which collaborates cross-functionally with the affected business groups to develop an app, for example,” Ms. Reinelt said.

If a business believes there to be a positive ROI from investing in the development of an app, all teams within the company can certainly be used to execute a valuable product.

“Apps are merely an extension of the ecommerce experience and many consumers expect to have the same, or at least similar, user experience on both platforms,” Ms. Reinelt said. “The only distinction should be made in analytics, where departments can analyze differences in their mobile traffic versus their desktop traffic.”

TV networks such as QVC recognized a need for a team solely dedicated to mobile initiatives.

“We have a separate mobile team in the organization, and they work with the digital commerce team but also independently,” said Todd Sprinkle, VP of content and platform integration at QVC, Philadelphia, during a session at eTail East 2014. “It allows them to operate at a pace that is necessary in mobile.”

By recognizing that its audience is constantly finding more uses of mobile devices, QVC used video sent via email to follow up with consumers post-purchase (see story).

In-store versus online
Some brands benefit from mobile efforts incorporated in the in-store experience, while others dive headfirst into ecommerce or apps. Depending on the nature of the business, brands can make that choice to respond to their audience’s presence and needs.

“Depending on each organization’s initiatives, some merchants are focused on creating an in-store mobile payments element, while others want to capitalize on the fact that many consumers are using their mobile devices, both smartphone and tablets, more than they use their desktop devices,” Ms. Reinelt said. “I feel that all companies will benefit from exploring both, but at the end of the day, each organization has to determine which initiatives best achieve their goals.”

A representative from RetailMeNot spoke on this, as organizations are quickly learning their place in mobile and responding to customer feedback.

“We are hearing from some retailers that mobile teams are being pulled out of the ecommerce teams and being put in the store teams,” said Keith Duncan, vice president of sales at RetailMeNot, Austin, during a session at eTail East 2014.

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon, editorial assistant for Mobile Commerce Daily, New York

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