With the rise of mobile devices, marketers have perhaps the most robust source of customer insight and consumer access that they’ve ever had. Handled properly, they will also have the ability to provide the next generation of content, coupons and services for consumers. By 2014, mobile is projected to overtake desktop Internet usage globally, meaning the window into consumer online behavior is literally in the palm of our hands.

The opportunity for customer analytics is vast, and the volume of information generated is unprecedented. The age of big data for marketers is driven by smartphone data.

The mobile wallet race
As consumers become increasingly attached to their mobile devices, everyone from telcos, retailers, banks and payment networks (such as VisaMasterCard and Amex) to new media providers (like FacebookGoogle and Apple) are rushing to offer mobile apps that allow consumers to leave their wallets behind and make purchases directly from their phones.

Beyond simply engaging consumers at an app level, think of the customer insight marketers would have with the added insight of customer purchase patterns. The mobile device becomes the new credit card and window to the world, opening up a whole new vista of marketing and payment analytics.

Mobile: It’s not just another channel
For marketing analytics practitioners accustomed to mining huge volumes of channel and campaign data, mobile could be looked at as just another channel; it’s just one more component of a multichannel marketing strategy.

Marketers might even view mobile myopically as a push channel, a place to send SMS messages and offers as part of an integrated campaign. But that would just be scratching the surface of mobile’s customer insight and marketing potential.

Marketing has evolved into a dynamic exchange whereby marketers capitalize on what they know about a customer based on past behavior, combined with new insights gathered through live channels in real time. Marketing has become a game of connecting content to customers. That content could be offers, but it could also be product or service information, or a myriad of other items that help create an exceptional client experience. The marketer who does that more quickly and relevantly than the competition gains share of mind – and wallet.

And that’s why mobile is not just another channel to “push” marketing offers out. The mobile device is a digitized projection of consumer interests and intent. It’s a gold mine of data for marketers looking to serve up a supreme experience – and it’s a consumer engagement platform with unprecedented power to influence, taking a 360-degree client view experience to a whole new level.

Effective mobile strategy
Consider this: Today, smartphones influence 5.1 percent of annual US retail store sales, translating into $159 billion.2 Yet by 2016 it’s predicted that influence will climb to 19 percent, or $689 billion3, according to Deloitte.

The message is clear: If you want to engage your consumer, you need a mobile strategy. And if you want to have an effective mobile strategy, you need analytics.

That journey begins with setting up the right data hooks to better understand your customers’ behavior on mobile devices and mapping back to what you know about your customers via all other touch points – on and offline.

From there, you can use marketing analytics to understand and predict what content to present to customers and prospects based not only on their past behaviors and interests, but also contextually based on what they’re looking for and where they’re located. To do that effectively requires not only integrated marketing analytics, but also an integrated marketing system to enable that flow of content when and how the customer needs it.

The smartphone offers great potential for relevant and timely engagement, something marketers have long strived for, and consumers crave. Marketers looking to gain a competitive edge need to invest the time to capture and convert mobile data into insight that enriches the client experience. Without that, marketers will be left toiling away in traditional marketing channels that will quickly become displaced and marginalized by the power of the tiny screen sitting in the palms of our hands.

1 Source: Stanley Research.
2,3 Deloitte, The Mobile Influence Factor in Retail Sales, 2012.

Original Publication

This post originally appeared as an article in the 3rd quarter edition of sascom magazine, published by SAS. It was written by Lori C. Bieda, the Executive Lead for Customer Intelligence at SAS. As a marketing and analytics executive with 20 years of experience devoted to driving profitable business growth through the strategic use of customer intelligence, Bieda has helped Fortune 500® organizations across many sectors evolve their marketing and analytics expertise.

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