Welcome to the age of pre-shopping. Consumers are no longer simply buying products and trying them out to see if they’re essentially good or bad. The digital age as we know it has bred an entirely different kind of consumer. Today’s consumers aren’t even willing to take that first risk. They research and research until they know what they’re buying is a sure thing.
According to Google’s popular marketing study, “Zero Moment of Truth,” consumers use over 10 research sources before buying. This involves finding out what others think – friends, industry thought leaders and leaders on social media – before they’ll consider buying. What’s more is that they’re doing this all from smartphones and mobile devices, which should make mobile engagement one of the highest marketing priorities for every company.
A Note About Mobile Engagement & Reputation Management
Since consumers are turning to user-generated review sites and social media outlets more so than ever before, reputation management is more important than ever. The truth is, no matter how hard you try, you’re going to get a bad review once in awhile. Whether the bad review comes from a disgruntled former employee or an unhappy customer is irrelevant.
What really matters is how customers, particularly mobile customers, can easily share bad reviews in real time over social networks. In this way, mobile engagement and reputation management work hand in hand.
Three Elements of Mobile Engagement
1. Engage People, Not Devices – The most important thing to remember for any mobile engagement strategy is that you’re engaging the people behind the devices, not the devices themselves. Set up your mobile engagement campaigns with the end user in mind.
For instance, many companies simply set up mobile campaigns that gather very little information about the mobile user – age, zip code, etc. When building a mobile engagement program, keep in mind that mobile users are well positioned to become lifetime customers if you play your cards right.
2. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize – Not everything within a mobile engagement campaign should or can be a one-size-fits-all approach. That includes engaging with current and potential mobile customers.
Strive to create a user experience specific to mobile devices. This isn’t limited to just mobile apps, but also in the way users engage with your website. Build a mobile version of your website that’s easily scalable across any type of mobile device (smartphone, tablet PC, etc).
3. Find Your Brand’s Personality – Finally, mobile user engagement and reputation management only works if your brand is likeable and relatable. This doesn’t mean copying other companies’ mobile-focused calls to action, but rather developing your own voice that mobile customers can relate to. This should be reflected in the way you engage mobile users on social media, in how your site’s content is displayed, and how your mobile apps are delivered.
For example, GPS fleet tracking is a mobile technology that’s undervalued because it’s believed to be commonplace. When it is employed, it illustrates that a company is environmentally aware, concerned with lowering costs (and then spreading the savings to the customer), is safety orientated (monitoring driving hours and routes), and is bent on excellence. That’s a positive reinforcement of a consumer’s relationship with your brand and an excellent example of reputation management.
Once you understand and adopt the idea that all customers are pursuing that Zero Moment of Truth, mobile engagement truly makes sense. You’ll start marketing to people and not devices. Then once you start thinking of mobile marketing in terms of consumers, you will begin to see tangible results of your engagement efforts.
About the Author
Joseph Baker has worked in the business world for over 15 years, specifically in management. He has led development and management teams, and implemented budget reductions both professionally and as an independent contractor. In his many years of experience within the business world, Joseph went from acclimating corporate America to social marketing trends to developing marketing/management strategies for small business. In addition, he has led strategic planning and systems of implementation for nine organizations, both public and private, and worked extensively with small businesses.
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