“What's Next?” is always the most common question when you talk about the future of business and digital customer experience. Digital leaders look at the years ahead, ready to change their point of view and embrace the power of emerging technologies.
Too many brands are missing the importance of mobile in the everyday life of customers. It is our duty to trace the seeds of evolution and outline the top mobile marketing trends that will leave their mark on your strategy from 2016 on.
While mobile marketing still remains a relatively young field of study, the smartphone has become so relevant in shaping business success that mobile can’t be considered just another channel. And yet it is, more often than not.
In the digital era, mobile technology beats the time of our daily lives and reshapes the most critical touch points in the new customer journey. The constant changes in customer use of digital channels and new technologies are core to understanding trends in marketing.
What we know is that today's purchase decision is getting more and more complex. Customer behavior constantly increases in complexity. The marketing initiatives we design and invest in today will soon become dated, inefficient and irrelevant.
As the mobile device usage continues to grow, so does mobile marketing:
- The number of mobile-only Internet users has surpassed that of desktop-only, and mobile platforms now account for 60% of total time spent on digital media. (ComScore)
- Mobile commerce will grow to 25 percent of the total e-commerce sales by the end of 2017: roughly one-third of customers use mobile exclusively, and more than half consider mobile the most important resource when it comes to the purchase decision. (Hubspot; Altimeter)
- Half of customers believe mobile is the most important resource in their purchase decision-making. More than a third confessed that they used mobile exclusively, and 44 percent of customers say they would be interested in receiving deals directly on their mobile devices. (Nielsen)
Thanks to the spread of the new generation of smartphones - powerful and always connected - we are literally submerged in a digital world: we rely on mobile to live, work, explore the world, connect with brands and product.
In a company’s perspective, this implies the unprecedented opportunity to understand customers, learn from their behavior and build genuine engagement. All this by providing experiences that add value to their life and are really meaningful to them.
Now that the experience has become the main differentiator in the race for relevance, mobile could be the secret weapon to engage effectively digital customers at every touch point of their relationship with your brand.
This relationship is made up of several micro moments, lived online and offline, influenced personal devices. The purchase decision may originate in any of the stages of the customer journey, not a sequence but a circular path.
In a connected world where real and virtual coexist, the journey doesn't end with customer satisfaction and loyalty. It rather starts from there, amplified by sharing the positive experience on social networks and communities. Your goal - as a business - is to reach your customers where and when it matters most, with context-aware and personalized contents.
As 2016 approaches, all major mobile marketing trends seem to focus on the enhancement of this connection between brands and people, to streamline the process, empower customers and ultimately provide relevant digital customer experiences.
The world is running so fast that you really need a compass to maintain focus. Taking note of the most popular trends that will dominate from 2016 on, you will be sure to develop a successful long-term strategy through mobile.
GOOGLE INDEXING: APP & MOBILE
Right in the middle of 2015, Google has brought panic to everyone with the latest update in the search engine algorithm, the infamous Mobilegeddon. The warning sign was evident: since mobile devices have become the main reference to access information online, 'mobile' is now the top priority for every single brand.
The urge to optimize translates in the need to create a mobile-friendly online presence, in the development of a well-designed mobile app, and in the creation of a mobile-first (if not mobile-only) marketing strategy. This trend will accelerate in the next years, when indexing will be more and more a matter of “think mobile, act local”.
ADS: SOCIAL MEDIA, APP & VIDEO
What is the destiny of advertising? Few years ago, the online world seemed to be the safety net for advertisers and publishers. Actually, the relationship between ads and the Internet has been way more complicated. Analysts point their finger against the emergence of ad-blocking software and add-ons, and mobile appears to be the only lifeline.
The future of advertising is mobile, then? Only time will tell: on the one hand, major players are working to offer full powers to users that want to block annoying mobile ads, even in-app (see Apple); on the other hand social media, mobile applications, and video will represent the last hope for brands to engage customers through ads (i.e. Google will incorporate video ads in search results).
The biggest challenge for a brand today is to recognize the uniqueness of any single digital customer, each with peculiar habits, needs and desires. In the past few years, companies have started testing and implementing location based services (i.e. beacons and push notifications) that help retrieve information about the current location of customers/prospects.
Proximity marketing is the name of this new methodology that uses mobile technologies to engage customers, offering personalized content (when they are close or inside a store) to encourage specific behaviors and facilitate the purchase decision. Location-based marketing services will grow even more in 2016, providing innovative ways for marketers to connect the online experience with the retail store.
WEARABLES & INTERNET OF THINGS
Proximity marketing is the a major catalyst for the retail customer experience revolution. The store as we know it is destined to disappear very soon, replaced by a smart shop that engages customers and implement all sorts of intelligent technologies: wearables and the Internet of Things devices represent the forefront of this revolution.
With more customers using smartwatches, activity trackers, and other inter-communicating objects, marketers will be able to more accurately pinpoint locations and deliver highly targeted contents. To delight customers (gamification), enhance their experience (augmented and virtual reality), and streamline the purchase process (mobile payments).
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