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.