Making Mobile Technology Work

by Jessica Ramesh

Rapid developments in technology bring new challenges, new opportunities and new ways of working. Paul Putman, CEO at Donky, navigates the new mobile marketing landscape and explains why practitioners need to be more open-minded in their approach

Following my presentation at the Figaro Digital Marketing Conference on location-based services (LBS) earlier this year, I noticed that most of the audience had a good understanding of LBS but lacked the technological knowledge to apply it. I left the event thinking about other technologies which I understand conceptually, but which I’d be unsure about implementing within my own business in order to achieve a return.

Brands are rightfully excited by new technologies. But the pace of development means they’re struggling to realise the opportunities it presents, so they remain at the beginning of the adoption curve. Consumers, on the other hand, adopt new technology so rapidly that many marketers struggle to keep up.

Who owns marketing technology?

It’s no secret that consumers’ appetite for information on-the-go is increasing. As we move into a multi touch-point society where messages are sent to a range of end-points, opportunities for marketers to communicate with audiences are increasing. From desktop to mobile through to set-top boxes and even fridges, there’s an enormous range of ways that marketers can communicate with an audience.

With all of these options available, marketing departments face a range of challenges. The first of these is the management of a multichannel strategy delivering value-led communications and demonstrating a return on investment. Two questions a marketing department will be faced with are how much of this do they want – or need – to own? Secondly, if they don’t manage all communications to multiple end-points, can they ensure everything is on-brand?

Thinking customer first?

When people talk about marketing innovation and technology they’re often thinking about the latest methods they can use to communicate with an audience. Many, however, are thinking technology first. Take mobile as an example. Brands are starting to embrace push notifications and are looking to find reasons to use these to communicate with their audience, rather than considering how push can enhance other communications.

I see this approach often. Businesses are finding ways to implement and use messaging channels, rather than deliver a message that will benefit their audience or enhance an omnichannel strategy.

With brands now looking for new ways to engage with consumers, mobile has become the channel of focus. But as with social media, it could become something to do because ‘we think we should’ rather than a way to enhance current communications.

Mobile isn’t just about marketing or tech. It’s about people. Connecting consumers to businesses (B2C) and to each other (P2P) with multiple touchpoints will ensure you embrace the nature of mobile and are not just ‘going mobile’ because it’s a new option.

Treating mobile as more than a single messaging channel and looking for an opportunity to communicate personally via multiple touch-points will create a truly significant proposition for your

Where do we start?

First of all, marketing teams need to work more closely with other parts of the business. The best marketers will understand all aspects of the technology, platform limitations and solutions available to achieve ROI.

I don’t employ a digital marketing team, but marketing technologists. To move forward, a marketer’s knowledge now needs to span IT, sales and operations. They cannot work in isolation. Marketing is cross-functional communication. It is part of the decision-making process on virtually every occasion. It takes on an even bigger role when trying to grow the business. As the implementation of marketing channels now touches so many parts of the business, the marketing team needs to be clear about how much they want to own. With multiple stakeholders required to deliver  communications, marketers can no longer silo themselves. The CMO, in my mind, is now second in command.

Success will come from choosing the correct technology to achieve your objectives, not through letting technology dictate how you communicate. Businesses must see the new opportunity to connect with an audience. Ensure that in a connected world the consumer doesn’t disconnect with your brand.

Our framework

To ensure you grasp what is required to move with the development of new technology, you need to ask some important questions. This starting point will help you get your head around the options available and lead you to select the best option to achieve your objective. You must select who needs to be involved at each stage, and decide the following.

What do you want to achieve?

What are the end-points you want to reach? (These might include tablets, smartphones, TV, car, desktop, signage). When do you want to communicate? Context: where are your audience when they’re accessing you? What are their behaviours when accessing via each end-point?

Content: what content do people want to access from these end-points? What is the purpose of your message?
What do you need to communicate to all these end-points?

How can you achieve this? In the case of mobile do you want to send an SMS, email or in-app messages?

As marketing touches so many points within the business, you need a unified solution. Your internal systems (CRM) need to speak to each other, link up existing channels (email, post, SMS) and be compatible with new technologies (in-app messaging) and future developments (such as the ‘internet of things’).

Marketing technology is moving fast, but it’s providing us with new and exciting ways to communicate with our audiences. The future for the development of marketing professionals is reliant on understanding the customer and then finding the technology. With the vast technological development of marketing tools, marketing will have to be open-minded and grasp the opportunity to become a truly cross-departmental function within many businesses.