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Making mobile marketing work

A mobile first strategy can pave the way for intelligent marketing by making use of rich consumer and enterprise data

Prashant Sharma 

is at the core of value creation, a wave that is impacting us in the way we do business, the way we receive services and also the way we run our finances. Much as the internet has created, and continues to offer, a seemingly limitless set of opportunities for companies, adds yet another set of emerging possibilities into the mix.

For businesses, has become an imperative. and enterprise collaboration will be increasingly on the agenda for companies. Businesses should put in place a mobility strategy, in line with IT strategies and business objectives. Putting mobile first should be the core part of a company's philosophy. This, however, demands innovative thinking. An important area for consideration is new generation of intelligent applications based on convergence of mobility, big data, social media and cloud computing.

These applications have the potential to create a new model of engagement between companies and their customers. Research already shows that users prefer to interact digitally with companies via apps. Interactions via desktops and laptops will not disappear but if the systems are not designed based on the concept of mobile first, companies run the risk of becoming obsolete and fail to create client value.

From the design of new customer applications to the integration with existing legacy systems and the development of new uses for data and analytics, mobile solutions are forcing information technology executives to make difficult choices regarding their skills.

How are CIOs reacting to the trend? With more businesses using mobile solutions for better efficiency and customer experience (as well as to improve the return on investment), a recent report published by MarketsandMarkets revealed that the enterprise mobility market, will grow to $285 billion in 2019 from $72.34 billion in 2013, aided by the or bring your own device trend.

The rise of has put business leaders on the hot seat, forcing them to find ways to deal with one of the biggest business challenges today. Most companies recognise the importance of building mobile capabilities but lack a well defined mobile strategy. Today, enterprises are facing the challenge of embracing multiple personal devices as part of enterprise assets accessing corporate information. Employees want to conduct business transaction as well as personal activities from the same device. IBM MobileFirst Secure platform helps adopt the culture of by enabling the use of personal digital technology in a safe, secure and tested corporate environment. The solution mitigates risk associated with allowing personal devices to access enterprise systems, data and strategic information without compromising privacy of end user.

While the chief information officer (CIO) is heavily involved in today's mobile activities, leaders tap the wisdom of the chief officer (CMO). Mobility in is going beyond mobile and has presented CMOs with new platforms to connect with customers as individuals. It enables large segments of the global population to access information and engage with others on a scale never seen before. Mobility is paving the way for intelligent by utilising the data it collects.

According to a report, the global smartphone subscription is projected to grow to 5.6 billion in 2019 from 1.9 billion in 2013. The number of mobile subscriptions for mobile PCs, tablets and mobile routers is expected to grow to 800 million in 2019 from 300 million in 2013.

This means that companies have a great chance to reach consumers through mobile interactions, as has been confirmed by the growth in mobile advertising, mobile applications and text message marketing. Intelligent companies are providing location-based marketing based on where you go and where you have been. For example, a high-end shopping mall in New Delhi is using an innovative mobile-phone based solution that channels data insights from customers visiting the mall. Once a user opts for the service, the solution performs deep analytics to understand consumer preferences based on location and interests in order to provide customised services via a mobile app. The mall is now using the solution to allow retailers in the mall to extend sales deals to shoppers via the app, based on footfall heat maps.

Companies are also looking to enable their employees to provide better customer service through mobile. For example, mobile application can be useful for a retail firm's order process. A salesperson can tend to a lot more customers in the same time period.

Such cases, reinforce one of the key strengths of an effective mobile environment: the timely delivery of information and insight to service customers regardless of location. Whether it involves allowing a customer to check on the status of a service issue via a self-service app, accessing social networks to find an answer to a difficult problem, or allowing a salesperson to access an updated product inventory or providing a repair technician with access to diagrams and subject matter experts, mobility can reduce the time and effort it takes to resolve a customer challenge.

It would be an irony to say that mobility is shifting the enterprise. The truth is this technology is transforming business and IT in thoughtful and permanent ways. But it isn't only smartphones and tablets that are driving the disruption.

As we enter a new era, mobility promises to bring new capabilities and manage opportunities that increasingly centre on a consumer-centric approach.

  • Connected devices will generate newer ways to gather data by linking all kinds of technology to the internet.
  • Companies are transitioning from enterprise apps to customised apps to create new communication models and bring data in more unified ways.
  • Acceptance of disruptive technologies among customers is much faster than companies.
  • As customers use various devices to access data, personal clouds will grow in significance in the enterprise.
  • An increasing number of vendors are arming employees with smartphones and tablets and also enhancing in-store amalgamation with mobile devices.
  • Marketers are overhauling the way they use Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and looking for more ways to connect to consumers.
To sum up, mobility can help organisations transform their industry models by aiding entry into completely new businesses or even defining entirely new industries. Mobility is not simply an enterprise, a programme, a distinct channel or a transitory institutional trend. Rather, it is becoming an ubiquitous lens through which the organisation must consider its fundamental beliefs - how it interacts with its customers; how it develops and delivers products and services; and how it applies its physical, human and digital assets.

is not a lateral assignment anymore. Mobility should be the fundamental of your marketing plan and your overall plan should mirror that fact.

Prashant Sharma
Country Leader, IBM MobileFirst, India/South Asia

First Published: Mon, July 14 2014. 00:12 IST