Do you operate more from a “Desktop PC” or a “Mobile” mentality (or some type of hybrid)?

Consumers have gone mobile and are engaging with both Smartphones and Tablets, while many marketers are still sitting at their desktop PCs.

The Opportunity Cost of Mobile Marketing

A recent survey conducted by Adobe revealed that 45% of digital marketers say that their company does not have a mobile channel such as mobile friendly website or mobile app. However, digital traffic from mobile devices has more than doubled in the last year and now accounts for upwards of 25% of all data collected by Adobe Analytics. As marketers, we can no longer afford to do nothing. Maintaining a “Desktop PC” mentality will only translate into lost revenue opportunity, poor brand perception, and potentially losing existing customers to competitors.

Do you want your brand to be perceived as a laggard? That doesn’t have to be the case.

How to Shift into a “Mobile” Marketing Mentality

I know. It’s overwhelming. The challenge of understanding the wide range of mobile devices, operating systems, appstores, and technology is daunting.

Allow me to help simplify this world. Ask yourself one simple, clear question: What is your business objective? Do you want to retain customers and create loyalty or are you seeking to acquire new customers? The answer to that question will drive what mobile channel you should be building or improving upon.

If you’re like most marketers you will answer: both.  We simultaneously want to create current customer loyalty while wooing new customer inside the door to our digital experiences.

Here are some steps to begin the shift into mobile marketing:

  • Organize a team to focus on mobile. 
  • Developing a business case to fund mobile development. 
  • Leverage web analytics to show the % of traffic from mobile devices (smartphone and tablet) to your desktop site.
  • Request executive sponsorship.  Your VP and CEO need to care about mobile and its impact on your business strategy.

In a future blogpost, we will provide more detail about these steps and how to effectively shift into mobile.  However, in today’s post, we will focus on the use of mobile apps to foster customer loyalty.

Today’s Takeaway | Focus on Mobile Apps to Drive Loyalty

I want to talk about one basic, simple principle that you can take away from this article and implement in your digital marketing practices:

  • Think mobile apps to create customer loyalty. 

However, if your business model is mobile only (e.g. Instagram, Waze, Uber), apps are also the channel for acquiring new customers.  Let’s learn from the real world with practical examples, as experience is always our best teacher.

Vail Resorts | Focusing on the Perpetually Connected Customer

Forrester analyst, Melissa Parrish, has written about the impact of perpetual connectivity on how we experience the world.  Vail Resorts in Colorado is the perfect example of a company that is engaging with “the perpetually connected customer”. These customers use every device possible: the smartphone, tablet, and PC. They are an “attractive” demographic as they are wealthy with the ability to spend. They don’t want to wait in line at Walmart, preferring fast and efficient service leading to a high quality experience.

Vail Resorts wondered how they might further engage their “perpetually connected customers” by leveraging social media, the Internet, and mobile technologies. As a result, they created EpicMix which includes two mobile apps, a mobile friendly smartphone website, and a PC website “to extend the social experience to the mountains.” Since skiing is a seasonal activity, Vail needed a way to drive customer loyalty and visits to their resort properties.  The EpicMix app provides the following key capabilities:

  • Track your vertical feet when skiing.
  • Earn digital pins for your activity and accomplishments on the mountain.
  • Be part of the EpicMix leaderboard. Compete against strangers, your family, or Facebook friends.

By adding gaming mechanics to the app, guests are incented to return back to the ski resort and share their accomplishments via social media.  “After its first season experimenting with EpicMix, Vail Resorts already views the project as a resounding success. During the 2010-2011 ski season, Vail Resorts reported that 15% of all guests activated EpicMix accounts—representing nearly 100,000 people and included 40,000 mobile app users. Of all EpicMix users, 45% of the accounts were public, creating 275,000 social posts and 35 million social impressions (based on Facebook’s estimate of 130 friends per user) that reported over 55 billion vertical feet of skiing and snowboarding.”  Vail is a company that understands the need to provide digital experiences that allow customers to engage with their brand both “on and off the mountain”.  See this customer video to learn more from Nancy Koons at Vail.

Increasing your Mobile Marketing Intelligence

Let’s learn from Vail Resorts.

Your brand doesn’t have to be perceived as a laggard. By building a mobile app or optimizing the app you already have to better engage with loyal customers, your mobile marketing intelligence will continue to grow and so will your bottom line.