The UK is now officially a ‘mobile nation’. For the first time, smartphones have become UK consumers’ primary internet device, according to a survey from Ofcom. The research revealed that a third of British internet users see their smartphone as their ‘go-to device’ for going online, beating laptops to the top spot. Our own research into mobile insights reveals that even in the busiest time in the retail calendar, only one third of consumers use desktop devices for purchasing, with a third predicted to use their mobile devices more than last year.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the smartphone has become the most important tool for consumers to connect with the digital world. It allows consumers to navigate their lives on the go, providing quick and portable access to online banking, ordering food, gaming, email, and more. With mobile payments now in the mix, savvy brands should be capitalising on the opportunity it presents, ensuring integrated, multi-screen campaigns are front and centre of marketing strategies.

Knowing your audience

Beyond the ease of providing consumers with a new, quicker and more secure way to make a transaction, mobile payments will have an impact on how brands connect with consumers, providing the key to a truly multi-channel experience. Starbucks is a brand making waves in this area, recognising the need to connect with consumers at multiple points before their purchase. As a result, the coffee giant processes almost nine million mobile payments each week, accounting for a fifth of its in-store transactions.

Ease of payment is just one piece of the puzzle. Savvy loyalty schemes, partner add-ons and a seamless mobile experience help to keep customers coming back. By investing in digital technology and engaging with customers on their journey – not to mention collecting valuable data on the way – Starbucks has built up a better understanding of its audience. The brand recognised early on that a large portion of its customer base is ‘on-the-go’ – the morning commuter, the weekend traveller, or the time-poor worker on a flying lunch break. By deeply understanding these particular customer profiles, the brand can tailor its marketing content more effectively, cater to precise requirements more efficiently, and ultimately build greater customer loyalty.

Right place, right time, right customer

This tailored approach is the key to reaching and engaging with mobile payment customers, communicating at the right time and in the right place to influence purchasing behaviour. Locational targeting should always be considered, and will go a long way to encourage engagement. More than half of consumers using mobile devices in-store are researching and comparing purchases on the go, and marketers need to reach them at that critical point of the journey.

If consumers see marketing content that’s relevant to where they are, with the information they need at that point, then they’re far more likely to interact with the brand. It goes without saying that content must always be the relevant to both the brand and its customers – one side of the equation isn’t enough. Location-based targeting is all about incentivising the consumer to action. For example, offering relevant time-limited rewards can often make them feel valued and encourage them to make a purchase then and there.

The move towards mobile payments is a positive one for brands, but they need to quickly capitalise on this change in payment behaviour. By combining it with a robust mobile marketing strategy they can build greater loyalty and leverage demand.

As mobile payments continue to rocket, my advice to advertisers looking to thrive in this new landscape is to focus on reaching the right consumers wherever they are. Mobile usage is only going one way and if the consumer-brand relationship is to be maintained, it needs to be present in all places and across all devices, not in silo.

Mark Murrin

Mark Murrin


Mark Murrin, Director, Business and Publisher Development, Mobile at RhythmOne.