Mobile Engagement Marketing Is Essential in B2B, Too
Gavin Finn, president and CEO, Kaon Interactive
Most mobile applications—especially B2B apps—are abandoned soon after they're downloaded. After 90 days most mobile apps retain a dismal 35% of their active users. With most people downloading and disengaging, it's simply insufficient for marketers to just measure the number of downloads. Marketers need to pay a significant amount of attention needs to be paid to sustained user engagement and ensuring that their marketing investment is providing continuous value to their customers and sales channels.
Investments in mobile devices and apps are among the top priorities for digital marketers in 2014. A new breed of mobile marketing apps has the potential to radically improve sales effectiveness and marketing efficiency if they're “done right,” which is to say that they leverage the interactivity, engagement, and intimacy that a mobile device offers to customers. In this competitive environment, organizations must provide personalized, engaging apps that deliver a smarter mobile experience, resulting in more effective salespeople and the relevant transfer of knowledge and enthusiasm for a company's products to the customer.
Engagement marketing, by definition, captures a customer or prospect's attention and “invites” them to participate in the process of building a brand's image. This happens thanks to customers' ability to “interrupt” the brand's communications to experience only those aspects of the message that are relevant. This removes the feeling of a canned, one-size-fits-all pitch or advertisement, which can distance or even alienate prospects by making them feel undervalued—as if they're just another mass marketing target. Whether it's through interacting with a virtual 3D product model on a tablet or a conversation on Twitter, it's the individual involvement aspect of engagement marketing that captivates users and makes it far more likely that they'll remember useful information.
Tracking user engagement, instead of simply counting app downloads, allows marketers to measure how often the apps are used, to what end, and in what way. As a result, marketers can ensure that their marketing investment is truly being used to its fullest potential—and is leading to effective sales encounters.
Personalization: Intimate, non-linear engagement
Mobile devices are quickly becoming ubiquitous sales enablement tools, due to the intimate one-to-one touch-driven experiences they provide. However, these devices are actually most effective when the user, rather than the sales representative, drives them. Sales teams should use devices that customers can engage with and “drive” during meetings. Digitally delivering the same standard video, PowerPoint presentations, and brochures to your sales team on mobile devices is simply not enough to captivate buyers. When prospects interact with user-driven tools themselves, it's possible to capture analytics on their interests. Marketers should create a self-driven, non-linear user engagement application that results in a personalized experience every time, delivering a relevant transfer of knowledge to each individual in the buying cycle.
Consistent engagement, cross-device
It's become clear that the multiscreen world is upon us, changing the face of marketing rapidly, and B2B marketers must adapt to this evolution. They must immediately create engaging applications with relevant content once that can be reused on all of the devices that buyers are now accustomed to using in their everyday life (tablets, smartphones, laptops, and other interactive touchscreen technologies.)
The key however, is to make sure marketers are leveraging universal “application delivery networks” that allow them to easily disseminate and repurpose their interactive content, without paying redevelopment fees per device or operating system. Doing so will allow marketers to put consistent experiences into the hands of prospects, customers, sales teams, channel partners, and marketing personnel, without paying to redevelop or reformat the applications. As a result, they'll cut needless expenditures and increase the reach of each marketing effort.
No internet required
Develop content native to your mobile device—offline and online. The mobility of tablets/smartphones allows for presentations and customer buying research to take place literally anywhere, at any time. Unfortunately, the need for an Internet connection (that many B2B apps require) can seriously hamper this mobility—as many hospitals, factories, airplanes, and offices have strict firewalls or limited access to Internet. Don't let your sales or marketing success rely on something as unpredictable as a strong wireless connection. Applications that run natively on a mobile device allow for customer engagement anywhere.
Creating engaging interactive marketing experiences excites prospects and also optimizes marketing expenditures, while significantly increasing sales effectiveness. With interactivity proven to increase product knowledge retention by 78%, it's no wonder that companies are turning to digital engagement marketing strategies that put the customer in control.
Gavin Finn is president and CEO of Kaon Interactive