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Mobile and CRM: Time to turn up the volume

July 9, 2012

Alan R. Sultan is senior vice president of business development and channel sales at Hipcricket

Alan R. Sultan is senior vice president of business development and channel sales at Hipcricket

By Alan Sultan

Too frequently, brand marketers work entirely in silos – one silo includes mobile marketing and advertising, and the other has customer acquisition and retention.

However, savvy marketers have learned that the greatest success comes from integrating efforts on both sides of the house and capitalizing on mobile and customer relationship marketing for an optimized program.

Sound advice
Think of it like this: years ago, listeners were accustomed to monaural music. But once they heard the all-encompassing effect of stereo music that is blended and hits you from both sides, they realized it was incomparably superior.

In the same way, merging marketing channels that were once separate only amplifies your sound.

Generally, brand mobile marketers are focused on getting users to download their applications, browse their offerings via the mobile Web or develop push messages.

Conversely, CRM specialists are focused on loyalty programs, opt-in emails newsletters and mailings. Both are extremely important, so why choose one or the other? Moreover, why not combine them for stereo surround sound-quality mobile CRM?

Typically, mobile engagement follows this sequence:

1. Your customer makes a choice. Does she want to engage with you? Mobile is entirely opt-in, as opposed to other advertising strategies which sometimes reach unprepared recipients.

Once you get the customer to respond to your call to action – SMS, click or download – your job is not done.

CRM-driven mobile engagement solutions are only as good as the acquisition strategy powering them.

Data is typically collected by multiple vendors, all carrying different features and functionality, with little knowledge about what to do or what happens next. You should not stop here.

2. Click … now what? Like I said, the post-click engagement piece is incredibly important if you would like your user to engage with you again.

Create a conversation, share information with them, provide them an offer and create a reason for them to come back.

In an environment of gaming and deals, you can compete in this space by offering contests, rewards, quality content, unique landing pages and loyalty programs. All of these provide unique ways to unite you and your consumer on their mobile device.

While these vendors have great data-collection services, they rarely know what encouraged users to engage and, therefore, what works and what does not. But do not stop here either.

3. Put it all together. CRM is typically kept in the back office, without having access to the rich data that is being generated by your mobile advertising efforts. But when CRM is kept separate from opt-in and post-click engagement data, you can completely negate your efforts.

Use ERP and CRM systems for managing post-sale interactions—both once the transaction is closed, as well as during pre-sales leads and prospect interactions.

Mono tune
Herein lies the problem: mobile marketers are often listening in mono-mode, only focusing either on acquiring leads or kick-starting engagement, while a different department is measuring analytics, tracking success and trying to bolster that engagement.

Real-time aggregation of customer data – anything from location to psychographic information – will help to optimize mobile marketing and advertising campaigns.

Marketers often shudder at their legacy CRM/ERP systems, which are not equipped to blend with other customer data.

If mobile marketers had access to a uniform, centralized management platform they could optimize mobile programs and learn from their efforts with the data in legacy ERP/CRM systems. The next phase of converged media demands the integration of all mobile advertising and engagement efforts.

It is time to move beyond mono. Solutions exist that manage every step of the process – acquisition, engagement, measurement and retention, and you do not have to lock into a single ad network.

If you explore this option, make sure your mobile marketing platform provider can accept and manage data from third-parties and complement your mobile presence. You will end up with a platform that leverages the same audience-targeting segmentation across acquisition and engagement.

So, sit back and enjoy the experience of stereo sound. The all-immersing experience is sure to please your ears and your business.

Alan Sultan is senior vice president of business development and channel sales at Hipcricket, Kirkland, WA. Reach him at

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