Marketers must use mobile to encourage brand loyalty

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Charlotte Russe boosted its customer participation by 300% with video in its multimedia messaging
Charlotte Russe boosted its customer participation by 300% with video in its multimedia messaging

Monitoring the mobile channel doesn't sound like a heady task and perhaps no more difficult than blasting text messages from a database. However, in analyzing what is often misrepresented as a single channel, brands must draw on a deluge of mobile-driven customer information in order to engage customers and encourage repeat business.

Paul Gelb, mobile practice lead at Razorfish, says brands should consider an array of variables to best understand their customers and, by extension, deliver relevant experiences via their mobile devices. “I would say that most companies are looking at context as a huge driver of value,” Gelb says.

For instance, before women's apparel retailer Charlotte Russe initiated its mobile “Mystery Date” campaign in an effort to boost brand loyalty, it needed to understand how its customers preferred to communicate.

The brand already knew the value of a text messaging campaign. “Our customers have told us that their preferred method of communication with their friends is via text messages — in fact, they text with their friends more often than they speak with them,” says Paul Hollowell, Charlotte Russe's director of interactive marketing. What the brand also discovered was that adding multimedia messaging services — which allowed the brand to send video to its customer base — increased customer participation by 300% compared to previous text-only campaigns. Charlotte Russe increased its mobile database 33% over the three-day course of its “Mystery Date” endeavor.

Because mobile strategies are still largely experimental, data is especially crucial for brands to understand the demographics that respond most positively to certain campaigns and use that understanding to get customers coming back for more.

“We're plugging in CRM in more places,” says William Wills, managing director of AAA. This includes extending the technology to both customer-facing mobile applications and AAA roadside assistance personnel to better understand a customer's history. For Wills, the goal is consistency across all customer touchpoints, mobile or otherwise: “Providing the same level of service regardless of [a member's] device or platform, and even in their vehicle — and synchronizing that experience across the platforms as they move from one to another is proving to be exciting for us and the member,” Wills says.

Taco Bell's “Unlock the Box” promotion posted QR codes on MTV-themed packaging; when scanned, the codes unlocked exclusive content. The key to understanding the campaign came from the vendor's analytics platform, which tracks the date and time of the scan, the type of device used, demographics and user location. This data can then be leveraged to inform future business decisions and provide targeted offers.

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