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Consumers are driving need for contextual mobile experiences: Token exec

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May 14, 2013

NEW YORK – A Token executive at the MMA 2013 Forum last week said that as consumers become more bombarded by messages, brands that are looking to create a seamless path to purchase have four new precepts to uphold with mobile.

Executives from eMarketer and Token spoke about how mobile is changing both marketing and shopping for consumers during the “Mobile, Social, Ambient: Mcommerce and the New Customer Journey” session. According to the session, the four new p’s in marketing – portability, proximity, preferences and presence – overlap with the three spheres of mobile commerce in marketing, merchandising and CRM.

“Probably the most interesting thing about smartphones and tablets is that as consumers, we are starting to move away from this one size-fits all mindset, hence the trend towards mobile-first, progressive enhancement and now responsive design,” said Rachel Pasqua, cofounder of Token.

“There’s a trend towards – and it’s very much driven towards meeting the needs of the consumer – to create a more contextual, personalized user experience, and a lot of that is driven by preferences,” she said.

The new rules of digital marketing
According to Ms. Pasqua, marketers traditionally thought of marketing in terms of price, place, promotion and product.

With digital though, the new P’s are portability, proximity, preferences and presence.

Portability means thinking about making content across multiple devices or touch points.

Over the past year, responsive design has become a hot topic with marketers.

According to Ms. Pasqua though, it is not enough to only design responsively. Instead, brands need to behave responsively by contextualizing content based on a device and the consumer.

As consumers become more comfortable with mobile and digital wallets with ubiquity and usability, the concept of the traditional shopping cart will go away, per Ms. Pasqua.

Presence is similar to a custom status that relays a sense of receptivity. For example, consumers are willing to receive messages from particular brands at specific times and under certain conditions.

Invigorating the in-store experience with information via mobile to make educated choices is key. This includes everything from kiosks, custom messages delivered via Wi-Fi or geofencing.

Additionally, the key with using mobile for merchandising is to keep it simple to drive a purchase.

Proximity is the idea of bringing relevant content based on a user’s location to advertising, loyalty and messaging.

“We believe that the trend we are going to see over time, perhaps sooner rather than later, is brands using volunteer data and inferred data to create a more contextually-relevant experience,” Ms. Pasqua said.

Challenges with mobile
EMarketer projects that mobile will make up 15 percent of total ecommerce transactions this year. That number will grow to 25 percent by 2017.

For consumers, price and savings are one of the biggest selling points of mobile commerce. However, time and convenience are equally as important.

There is also an additional opportunity to look at how mobile influences transactions, such as through researching or price comparing.

This means that brands have a big opportunity nowadays to tap into a consumer’s preferences to influence part of the shopping experience.

However, with the greater number of screens available to marketers, it is also becoming more difficult to meet consumers at the right time with the right offer.

For example, brands need to think about how to activate print media and how to use a payment system to trigger a sale.

Whether it is advertising or brand content, all delivery of content will take place at a faster rate and the cycle has been sped up because of mobile.

“The big pitfall here is that as a marketer, you don’t move fast enough to keep up with the audience that you are trying to reach,” said Noah Elkin, principal analyst at eMarketer, New York.

“It’s not just a question about all those different screens and all those different media channels,” he said.

“If you think about TV, the only thing you can do as a brand is advertise on TV. But when you think about mobile or all these mobile-enabled channels, there’s all these kinds of activations.”

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

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