IAA: You said mobile marketing is like a "gold mine". How could a company "exploit" this mine in a smart way?

R.T.: Mobile users are very demanding, and have high expectations of the brands they engage with on their handsets. This has been driven by very smart handsets from design pioneers like Apple and Samsung, and brands like excellent mobile experiences they enjoy with brands like Amazon, eBay, Hotels.com and Uber.

Great customer experience is the key to unlocking mobile’s true potential. In recent surveys among CMOs of global buisnesses, customer experience repeatedly tops the list of marketing priorities for 2016.

When you think about it - delivering a first class customer experience on mobile presents a load of challenges! This is a big management issue which requires getting the teams managing content, design, technology, data, payment and security to collaborate and deliver the company’s digital vision.

To hit the jackpot in mobile, start by building a detailed understanding of your customer, and be obsessive about the mobile user experience you provide.

Take Uber, the world’s biggest taxi company. Instead of investing in taxis, Uber’s whole business is built on a super smart, user friendly app, which handles all bookings and payments.

Everything you do should be quick, easy and intuitive. And personalised – one phone has one user, which allows for excellent targeting – based on the customer’s purchase history and location, for time based and geo-targeted engagement.

Uber and other businesses winning with mobile follow a similar approach:

Be obsessive about the user experience;

Align stakeholders behind the mobile game plan and explain how it impacts people and processes. Consider sales, marketing, e-commerce, CRM, IT and data;

Constantly test, learn and adapt based on how customers engage on smartphones and tablets. Mobile is never ‘done’.

IAA: Which are the most important aspects in developing a mobile marketing strategy?

R.T.: Our mobile phones are absoluetly essential for many areas of our lives, and the way we engage with brands. This includes search, web browsing, shopping, banking, social media. I believe it’s a mistake to develop a stand alone mobile strategy – instead, businesses should be building mobile into their broader business strategy.

Keep your consumer at the heart of this strategy. What’s their device usage? What’s their cross-device behaviour? Tracking mobile usage patterns will give you valuable clues about how your customers are likely to engage with your brand via mobile, and where you should be investing your budgets.

Mobile now plays a part in most customer journeys – considering different products, completing the purchase, leaving customer reviews or signing up to customer loyalty programs.

Delivering your strategy is all about getting people working together effectively. This involves setting a clear mobile vision for the business, communicated clearly to the teams managing content, strategy, customer experience, data, ecommerce. Think about how to build consensus for this vision, and introducing collaborative agile workstreams.

IAA: Why do you think marketers are hesitant in allocating budgets on mobile marketing campaigns?

R.T.: For many marketers, mobile is seen as a lower priority than other digital channels. This is usually a big mistake, as today’s customers are spending more time and money on their mobiles. Today’s retailers are reporting that mobile customers are over 3 times more valuable than non—mobile customers.

There are two main obstacles to budget allocation.

First – a lack of knowledge about which technologies and platforms will deliver business objectives. At a tactical level, many marketers need help seeing how to get the best mobile site search rankings or guidance on driving app downloads.

Second – unclear expectations about mobile performance and ROI for mobile investment, linked back to business goals. It’s vital to track and optimise your mobile performance using the tracking tools available.

IAA: How can Millennials be won over by a brand, using mobile marketing platforms?

R.T.: More than any other target audience, Millennials get digital. They can be early adopters of new mobile products, and also your most vocal critics using ratings and reviews.

It’s vital that you build trust by getting their permission to use their personal and location data, and respect their privacy.

Millennials will have very high expectations of the service you offer, so focus on ease, convenience and relevance. Get the basics right and there’s little risk of mobile damaging your brand.

Reward your customers – to build good will, and grow your customer base, and remember the power of personal recommendations and word of mouth. Finally, make it easy for customers to contact you – and encourage their feedback.

IAA: How do you think the mobile marketing will evolve over the next 2 years?

R.T.: There will be a lot of noise in the market about wearables, about Oculus Rift and the resurgence of truly immersive experiences using Virtual Reality. I would urge marketers to invest in new technologies and innovation only when they have clear proof that the customers will use it, and go back to my earlier comments. Top priority must be serving the needs of your customers, and making the business case for mobile investment.

I have no crystal ball! My advice is to watch out for three trends in the next two years:

Massive increase in mobile commerce – already estimated to be worth US$700bn globally by Deloitte;

Really powerful geo-located targeting based on previous movements and predictive movements (including travel based and in-store targeting);

The rise and rise or data capture and retargeting using smart API integration into apps and other mobile services.

IAA: What do you expect to find at Mobifest?

R.T.: I have great expectations for the Mobifest event, having worked already with the IAA in other markets. I’m really looking forward to meeting smart marketers working in marketing, content, communications, sales, data and tech, and hope to start building relationships which will develop after the event.

IAA: What would you like to visit in Bucharest?

R.T.: Last year I had a great trip to Bucharest, organised by a client and its international management team. The highlight was dinner on the outskirts of town, next to a beautiful lake. I’ll find the name of the restaurant and would love to return there on this trip.

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