You’ve probably seen the predictions for 2015. Personalized marketing, security concerns on the rise, ad fraud creating problems, marketing automation becoming vogue have all been part of the narrative. But there is one prediction that will drive my team this year: increased mobile engagement.
Think of some of the innovations in mobile technology that have taken place over the past. Some mobile developments that I am impressed with include banks that now allow individual to deposit checks via your mobile phone and the TSA who accepts mobile boarding passes from different airlines.
The mobile “revolution” began five years ago, so if you haven’t launched a mobile initiative, you’re already losing business to those who have. For instance, I saw an infographic that explained the impact of a mobile-ready website like this: “not having a mobile optimized website is like closing your store one day each week”. Even without a mobile site, businesses are seeing more traffic from smartphones, tablets, etc.
How is mobile changing the game?
First, mobile communication is rising. Mobile emails, text messages, social posts, those are the digital communication channels people are using most often during their day. Although we face tremendous challenges in ROI confirmation and other considerations, digital officers need to be communicating with consumers using a more mobile-oriented narrative across multiple devices.
According to the Pew Internet Project, “67% of cell owners find themselves checking their (mobile) phone for messages, alerts, or calls — even when they don’t notice their phone ringing or vibrating.” We’re becoming conditioned to interact with our devices constantly throughout the day. So, for those of us in key digital roles, response to this trend is critical. If I send an email to a guest, it had better be mobile-friendly or it will get discarded quickly.
But it’s more than just communicating. We’ve seen that people open their email and make social contacts via mobile devices, but they’re also playing Candy Crush and booking reservations. People are accessing services on mobile devices. Think about scheduling a business trip. Not only can I research local restaurants, I can instantly make a reservation, book a room (MGM Resorts International, right?), and upload photos of my visit to my timeline from my smartphone.
Airlines were first-in on the mobile front. They have made seat reservations, flight changes, meal selections and other tasks accessible and executable through mobile apps. Southwest Airlines has done a great job of this. Through its app, I can roll up my Southwest mobile loyalty membership while I’m in line at the grocery store, and hit ‘buy’ to book a seat for my next flight.
In my case, our audience is consuming our mobile content, researching locations, booking rooms, and communicating with our brand. We have to make the entire experience rich and rewarding. Mobile consumers are expecting to be able to perform a full spectrum of mobile activity, so we have to enable services and transactions at our resorts through handheld devices.
What are we doing at MGM Resorts International?
At MGM Resorts International, we see greater adoption of mobile access to our brand through mobile booking, mobile transactions and mobile search activity. So we’re rolling out responsive properties to attract mobile users. We’re starting our transition by making existing digital properties mobile-friendly, more visually and functionally responsive in any format. For example, our guests can easily check out via our mobile app. This way, we are able to quickly check guests out and turn around room inventory, which allows incoming guests to check in earlier.
We have kiosk stations near our checkout counters, so guests who would like to get their folios without standing in line can send a request through their device and get a printout right there at the kiosk. This provides guests with a great choice. If they didn’t think the line would be long but find a long wait ahead, they have the flexibility to get that folio without the wait.
In addition, we’re focusing on transactional engagements. Room check-out is one that we have implemented, check-in will be one in the future. We’re integrating click-to-call features that will allow guests to instantly reach one of our restaurants. We also will be offering services through our mobile sites that are more account-oriented. You’ll be able to sign up for a loyalty account, look up loyalty balances, get gambling-related tax forms, and receive special offers for loyalty account holders. I’m also looking forward to the day we offer guests mobile turn down service requests, account preference settings and more through mobile integration.
Governance is a critical issue when deploying a marketing strategy. It’s not just what we can do through mobile channels, it’s who is governing the mobile tactics. Who is monitoring the number of mobile messages being received, for example? Over saturation on mobile can be an annoying experience for consumers. If you’re getting 10 offers a day, you’re going to start tuning them out – and miss out on great opportunities. I caution all mobile migrations to establish governance principles before you jump into mobile initiatives.
Three tips for successful mobile implementation
- Have a mobile first mindset. Think about your consumers’ mobile experiences. What are they looking for? How fast are they looking to accomplish a task? Put mobile technology in place where it can be useful to serve the mobile-centric audience. (But don’t simply chase the “shiny object”. Don’t offer Bluetooth’s BLE, for example, if it won’t improve the customer experience.)
- Think about the mobile view. What marketing assets are you deploying? If you’re displaying an image, for instance, consider how will it render on a 4″ or 9″ screen. Think about the impact of mobile engagement on the digital presence you have: content (room rates), transactions (booking), features (selecting bed size). Make sure your existing services port to mobile well.
- Keep your mobile content fresh. As with your desktop initiative, have a mobile content strategy that keeps your visitors interested time after time. (Even an easily accessible mobile site will start to lose visitors if the content remains static.)
In an earlier post, I talked about the adoption of business intelligence. Targeting mobile users is a perfect example of leveraging the BI marketers are gathering. We can see through analytics the expansion and migration of mobile activities, and that tells us that this year we must focus our attention on providing an awesome mobile experience for our guests. They want to find you on their mobile devices, so get serious about mobile in 2015 or suffer the consequences! If you’ve had success with a specific tactic, share it with us below. I’m always interested in hearing success stories from the field.