Conference Review: Mobile First Look 2013, NY – by Ken Kraetzer

The arrival of mobile marketing as a major driver of consumer activity was evident at Mobile Marketer’s January 17th conference in New York City entitled “Mobile First Look 2013” hosted by Mickey Alam Khan.

Some Highlights from the Conference:

Mobile / Retail Intersection
Johnna Marcus of Sephora, a women’s cosmetics company with 1,300 stores worldwide, discussed the phenomenon of customers using mobile extensively at various stages of the buying process in depth.  In speaking of the mobile and retail intersection phenomenon, she described the ways customers use a combination of mobile, tablets and desktops to research and complete purchases as a “Butterfly Trail” to research product information while in-store.  She also pointed out that Cyber Monday is largely irrelevant as customers are researching and shopping on-line constantly, “until they sit down to eat” on Thanksgiving Day.  

Customer Engagement
Several speakers discussed the value of engaging customers wherever they are through mobile. For example, Scott Cottick of Nissan described the product launches his company is able to conduct on-line and the involvement campaigns that can be run on “Second Screens” while customers are watching broadcast events such as an auto race on a big screens. Pointedly, he described the challenge of maintaining the quality of presentation across a variety of screens sizes and resolutions.  

Similarly, two well-known beverage marketers spoke of the opportunity mobile provides to engage customers and drive traffic to retail partners.  Tom Daly of Coca-Cola advised to “think across the mobile opportunities across the entire business” while admitting it can be a struggle to “crack the code on mobile apps” that generate prolonged activity.  Steve Mura of Miller / Coors described how their target market of 21-34 year old males now use smart phones as a “social planning tool.” Their percentage of website activity coming from mobile is now up to 27% and they found that 75% of the usage is coming from Android devices.  Miller / Coors is “leveraging Twitter and FourSquare” to drive customers to retail partners and keep them “in community afterwards.”

Creating Convenience
Lizzy Klein of Seamless, which serves two million customers in 13 metro areas, addressed the need to provide convenience to customers via mobile as a way to select meal delivery. In three years, orders coming from mobile grew from near zero to 40% totaling 4.5 million orders in 2012.  “Taking orders on-line is more accurate,” she noted when and continued that the consumer convenience of mobile ordering “provides better security for the account number billed as well.”

Building Relevance for Customers
“Always accessible, always on, always informative” stated Richard Char of Citibank as he described the value of mobile marketing to bank customers. He spoke of the value of Life-Event marketing, offering services to customers at the time they are changing habits such as when moving or getting married.

More to this point, Jonathan Stephen of Jet Blue supported the need to be personal and relevant through mobile. Mobile helps the airline “interact with customers when they are not on the plane” he said.  JetBlue expects that by 2015 “Over 50% of self boarding and bag drops will be done over mobile.” Stephen added that marketers must know what equipment customers are using so that the content they send works over a “multitude of devices, and is accessible, and consumable.”

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