Whether it be in a personal, B2B or B2C capacity, our communication behaviours and the devices we use to interact have evolved significantly. The way in which we communicate has fundamentally changed – previously we required a range of static devices to make phone calls, send emails and search the internet for information. Now, the evolution and widespread adoption of ‘smart’ mobile devices has freed us of these boundaries, making it possible to access the online world at any time and from almost any location. Using our index finger mouse to drive our palm sized devices, how we communicate, who with and the channels that we use have significantly changed. Whether it be sending emails, posting on Twitter, updating Facebook or checking in via Foursquare, smartphones have become our communication solution.
Silverpop refers to this growing use of mobile devices and social networking as ‘Mocial’. The emergence of Mocial redefines the consumer engagement and marketing framework, creating a number of new challenges for retailers, brands and marketers.
Firstly, the way we approach multi-channel marketing needs to evolve. In today’s highly connected market, in-store promotions supported by direct mail and online advertising no longer passes as effective multi-channel marketing activity. Rather, today’s multi-channel marketing efforts must consider and include the growing number of channels that have recently emerged, requiring marketers to think creatively and strategically to integrate and support each channel with the other. But this is not an easy task. Like all effective marketing activity, tackling the multi-channel Mocial challenge requires strategic thinking and planning, and sadly the activity many brands have in place isn’t quite cutting it.
A recent Silverpop study into the effectiveness of Mocial acitivity in UK marketing highlighted a clear breakdown when it came to integration with only 13 per cent of marketing programmes being integrated across mobile, social and email. Further to this, the Mocial research found that less than half of UK marketers have clearly outlined goals for social media ‘likes’, followers, subscribers or app downloads. Even less had put in place processes for evaluating the frequency and reach of consumer engagement and sharing across these channels.
Further research by the Radicati Group found that, across the world, there are almost a billion more email accounts than social network user accounts. It also identified that users are becoming more specific about the types of activities they use certain channels for.
This paints a clear picture. It is now as important as ever for marketers to get their message targeting right. While email might remain the most widely used channel, marketers must increasingly look to integrate it with mobile and social media activity.
We are continuously seeing brands and retailers operate marketing communication channels in an unconnected way. This kind of activity risks both fragmenting and confusing messages, as well as hindering the growth of each channel. Silos need to be joined, integrating mobile, email and social in a way that ensures each channel supports the other, boosting clarity and cut-through across the entire campaign.
This Mocial landscape has freed consumers of static devices, allowing them to communicate with a brand when they feel like it, and via whichever channel suits them best at that point in time. Brands and retailers must invest time and effort into learning a customer’s communication preferences to ensure they are targeting them with the right messages, via the right mediums, at the right times.
It is also important to note the style of communication used over Mocial channels. One of the large attractions for consumers is the informal and social nature of channels such as Facebook, which gives them control over the content they receive. This provides opportunities for brands and retailers to create engaging content that will be shared amongst a relevant audience. But while this is the case, it is essential to ensure recipients see the benefit in sharing these messages. Creating ‘shareworthy’ content helps turn customers into an extension of a retailer’s acquisition efforts for relatively minimal time and cost.
While the ongoing growth and adoption of Mocial channels brings about a number of new challenges for marketers, it also creates a number of exciting opportunites. But to capitalise on these requires brands and retailers to have a clear and measurable plan focused on integrating these growing channels with existing activity. By acknowleging the importance of Mocial and using these channels as the basis for their multi-channel marketing plan, we can ensure that investment into this new marketing arena produces impressive and measurable returns.