Integration is the only way to make the most of this opportunity. Take a customer’s search behavior and present better content when they hit your mobile website, use their in-store 2D scanning to drive them to your loyalty club and exclusive insights, know that they opened your last 10 emails on an iPhone and push them emails specifically formatted for their device behavior. If you can integrate your channels and make the data captured across these channels actionable, you have a much higher “data ceiling” to get pretty sophisticated as technology and consumer behaviors continue to evolve.
There are a number of organizations that have assigned ownership of different parts of the customer journey to different people in the organization. Integrating these parts happens a certain way, and mobile turns most of these parts and their current integrations on their ear. Things tend to get more condensed. For example, an SMS message may link to a mobile website – who owns this? Does the email person own the SMS? Does a web programmer own the mobile website? Does the ecommerce person own any conversion opportunity?
The customer doesn’t care, but oftentimes it results in a civil war for ownership of that customer. There is definitely a base-level amount of research necessary to ID key insights that will drive the overall build and deployment of a mobile effort, but the real data that matters is the usage data – the feedback you get. Your customers will tell you which way to branch out from an initial effort if you are open and honest with them about your efforts to deliver a better experience.
There is no shortage of data, especially now that most reputable metrics providers are making product enhancements that report on mobile usage. Most marketers I have interacted with (even as recently as 2 weeks ago) just don’t have a way to make all that data useful to them. It’s not connected to anything; it’s not normalized for them; they can’t make anything but high-level strategic decisions based on what they see. What they really would need to do to achieve a level of actual success with their customers is to put that data into action and continually evolve their offering. I think that if they aren’t already planning a unification of their digital and data platforms, they should take a hard look at it if they expect to scale their success in mobile.
In summary: Take a look at your customers and learn from what they are doing (or not doing) and work to ID where the unique capabilities of mobile might impact a more desirable behavior. Pick your partners carefully and don’t get sucked into a “point” solution unless it’s the absolute correct fit for your business needs over the coming 12-18 months. Make sure you have planned how to associate cross-channel interactions with an individual; have a plan for parlaying those interactions into great experiences for them and great outcomes for you. Launch, test, analyze, optimize – quickly.