Neither mobile marketing nor loyalty programs are new ideas when it comes to increasing share of the customer wallet, but the strategy behind both has evolved dramatically in the past few years. This evolution is set to explode in 2017 because 2016 data shows that the number of people accessing the Internet through mobile devices worldwide surpassed those using desktops.
For brands and marketers, their strategy needs to go beyond just having an application or a stagnant paper-based or physical loyalty program. There is a multitude of mobile channels, methods of communication and personalisation capabilities that can be leveraged to really engage consumers through their mobile devices.
Here are my top predictions to help steer both brands and marketers’ mobile and loyalty strategies in the year ahead:
· Mobile will bring about real world interactions
With more connected devices than ever before and the slow but increasing prevalence of the Internet of Things, the smartphone’s dominance now extends into the offline world as well. Today a smartphone is the primary connected device for most consumers. In 2017 mobile’s ability to assist with real-world interactions and transactions will really come to the fore.
· AR and VR set to dominate the next 20 years
According to CES, one of the largest global consumer electronics and consumer technology tradeshows AR and VR will be the primary disruptive technologies for the next 20 years. In 2016 Pokemon Go and Snapchat have shown how brands can effectively capture consumer attention and monetise augmented reality experiences at scale. Recent news from Digi-capital showed that in the 1st quarter of 2016 investment in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality grew to $1.1 billion (compared to $700m total in 2015).
· Mobile shopping just keeps growing
From coupons to receipt processing to promotions, brands will increasingly adopt mobile as the platform of choice for their consumer marketing efforts. According to the DMA, today 80% of millennials use their phones in-store as part of their purchase process, providing marketers with plenty of opportunities to appropriately target these consumers and affect real-world purchases. 94% of smartphone users that currently use a mobile wallet said they are likely to save personalised mobile wallet offers and coupons, and 82% agree that digital coupons are much more convenient than their paper counterparts.
· Ease is the new loyalty
We have seen such a huge rise in mobile usage because it makes life easier. You can now get anything you want with the tap of a button. We are becoming loyal to the brands that are smartly using technology to simplify every aspect of our lives. The brands that do it best will create experiences that have you asking how you ever lived without them. We should also expect things to change in 2017 for loyalty schemes. Personalisation is a higher priority for driving loyalty with Generation K and Millennials, than it is for Generation X and Baby Boomers.
· Mobile video will dominate
Let’s face it, websites that don’t offer a mobile option are a relic of the past. To try to differentiate between the two is to ignore the fact that your audience slips between traditional and mobile seamlessly and demands the same of your marketing. Indeed with the launch of Facebook Video Live, the growth opportunities with video will only grow and the demands on marketers, too. In fact, mobile video is expected to grow by 30% this year. We will see more innovation in pre-roll, live video and video embedded directly into email which will “pop-up” on our screens.
· The growth of app messaging
I think one trend to definitely watch is the continued proliferation of messaging and how messaging services and messaging platforms are creating value and disrupting the industry, often where you wouldn’t expect. Last year Slack, Facebook Messenger Service and What’s App took off and I think we will see more this year. According to Business Insider, more people use messaging apps today than social media, and adoption continues to increase rapidly. Further, messaging apps are slowly but surely evolving into full-fledged marketing and commerce platforms. In 2016, Facebook slowly opened up Messenger to chatbots and the ability to natively pay for services, but the experiences were undercooked and overhyped. As chatbots become more sophisticated and prevalent, expect to see click-throughs become further devalued as advertising currency and become replaced with more end-user, action-based payment structures such as purchases.
· One single view
Companies need to have a single view of online and offline systems across multiple channels so that they can build single, operational profiles for each customer. 2017 will pave the way for becoming more agile and making data real-time and actionable in a mobile-first world. Behavioural and transactional data and syncing individual profiles will be the only way to reach customers, not through campaigns built for large masses.
Finally, I think it is most likely that 2017 will be the year of Artificial Intelligence enabled platforms. Imagine a phone that knows you so well it launches your favourite app before you're able to tap the icon or it launches Google Maps knowing where your friend lives and has your route ready waiting for you! ΑΙ technology has been and it is on a continuous evolution that will offer amazing capabilities to users.
So whatever trend you think will be the biggest one thing is sure, brands and marketers will have no choice but to get on board with mobile in 2017 – and they need to get on board fast!
By Matthew Winters, CEO at Veoo
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