The Smarter Option

Updated: Aug 19 2014, 10:13am hrs
Smartphone technology has undergone a progressive change over the past few years, and it has enhanced and even altered the way we spend our 24 hours. In this digital era, we often work or communicate on different screens, right from tablets, PCs to smartphones. We not only use these multiple screens for getting in touch with one another but also use it as a medium to keep us updated on current news, latest trends in fashion, music, advertisements for new products, etc. Even while watching TV, smartphones continue to remain the first screen and hence the accessibility of mobile devices remains strong. According to Milward Brown, smartphones are the most used screens globally and with the consumption of content on the smartphone on the rise, many companies and brands see it as a leveraging tool to market their products to the end consumer in an effective manner.

With the smartphone explosion, advertising agencies have also started developing campaigns that reach out to the smartphone users. Today, marketers are looking at working towards creating a 360-degree marketing plan which comprises all the relevant touch points to reach the consumers. Advertisers have to now think beyond ad banners and start leveraging interactive and engaging mobile advertising formats; this could mean building ad experiences for smartphones or more effectively monetising mobile content to the consumer.

Given the popularity of social media applications on smartphones and the increased consumer dependency, marketers are creating branded applications to increase their consumer outreach program. For example, fashion and accessory retailers have tapped social media in a big way to drive conversion rates and increase profitability; they are now investing in mobile marketing to make sure that their brand is present on the platform which will further result in reaching out to the consumer faster with quicker return on investment (ROI). Therefore, the opportunity for advertisers is surely big provided marketers become innovative and find ways to ensure that people watch the content.

For every marketer, location is a significant quotient in reaching out to the target market. With the availability of various location based mobile applications and the large presence of social media on smartphones, marketing to the end-consumer has become easier. But the inevitable question always remains as to how to reach the end-customer on a real-time basis, as it is a crucial factor in increasing consumer engagement and improving customer experience. There are various channels for real-time marketing and brands have adopted social media on a large scale. Another very important factor to be considered by marketers is pushing the right content, to the right person, in the right place and at the right time. Here, more sophisticated data and geo-fencing technology comes into play by allowing retailers to customise their messaging and attract consumers on a more personal basis. Apps such as Zomato and FourSquare are enabling marketers to reach out to their consumers at the right time, the right place and with the relevant information, at the same time helping consumers to make the right choices. This technology has been highly beneficial for food and beverage marketers where timing and location of a restaurant plays a key role in consumers decision making, hence advertisers have to push content at the right time, thereby increasing the probability of becoming the consumers choice. Another very unique method of target based marketing is BBM Channels which allows brands to reach out to the end user in a more effective manner by interacting with them on a real time basis; it is a classic example on first screen marketing.

Witnessing the transition from traditional marketing to reaching directly to the consumers smartphone and giving her a real-time experience about product or services is truly a remarkable innovation. Marketers now understand that the mobile device is the door to the customer which can be opened anytime, whether she is on-the-move or at home. It is also important for them to customise content for multiple screen users and, more importantly, smartphone users. In the coming years the opportunity for marketers is endless they will make mobile the focus of their loyalty strategies to create a unique experience in the smartphone screen that delivers value and strengthens the consumer-brand experience.

Sunil Lalvani

The writer is managing director, BlackBerry India