Engagement in a mobile world | DMA

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Engagement in a mobile world


When Santander and IBM team up, people tend to take notice.

And their recent hook-up brings in to plainview the quest so many financial services providers find themselves on as they seek to shorten the engagment circle and get closer to the consumer.

Transforming customer service

The Santander / IBM match-up will see 11,000 Santander employees benefit from IBM expertise in developing customer service apps for their mobiles. The aim is that the apps will allow Santander staff to use realtime, enterprise data to improve customer engagement performance.

So those employees working with corporate, SME, private and retail clients will be able to serve them product info and discounts, and tailor-make those recommendations to engage when their customer wants, how they want. And that means via mobile.

The future is mobile banking

What Santander are doing here reflects the direction of travel in the banking sector overall, thanks in no small part to a decision by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) that has crystallised finance industry belief in the central importance of mobile-led engagement.

Under the header of "Open Banking", by 2018 banks must offer their consumers total, unfettered access to their account information via a single mobile app. Effectively the same services must available on smartphone as can be found in high street branches - think overdrafts, loans and mortgage applications.

Few regulatory measures place control with the consumer quite so vividly - and marketers must react. Good job, then, that we're talking mobile access.

Mobile matters more than ever

Mobile isn't new, but it's not tired either. It's growing. A recent Forresters report shows how. By 2021 $152billion will be spent directly on mobile - and that's before we consider that £1.05trillion is driven in offline sales prompted by engagement with consumers on their devices.

All of which heaps the pressure on marketers looking to engage customers in any sector. How to benefit and catch the wave? Savvy brands are finding ways to develop conversational interfaces that sit within third party messenger apps, like Facebook Messenger or Kik - effectively bringing their conversation to where the consumers are already talking.

But another key element is planning: that is, planning to build a mobile app. Even if an app isn't quite your thing now, the digital present is part of a mobile future. Those cherised customer touchpoints you could find on a traditional platform, or well-known social channel, are finding new homes, popping up in new areas only a mobile app can take you to.

So are retailers ahead of the game in engaging on mobile?

Well, maybe that industry is more used to the kind of customer engagement that drives $2billion in sales on one day (Thanksgiving in the USA) alone. And crucially 34% of those purchases came from mobile.

A fact that belies the very real barriers posed to retailers engaging (and converting) via mobile. Take clothes shopping. Surely by not having the goods to hand to try on, the prospects of purchase online, via a mobile app, are slim?

And yet retailers overcome this through video: high-quality representations of clothes on catwalks, on models, size representations and all manner of informed content help retailers clamber over the "real world experience" barrier and drive engagement and sales on a huge scale.

It can't just be mobile. It needs to be great mobile.

Memorability in content is what marketers looking to engage consumers via mobile must strive for. And that means quality. Content served via mobile - and searched for, and shared - is hitting a saturation point. So that means the bar is high for marketers. High-end, professionally produced editorial will help, of course. And in engagement that must marry with relevance, personalisation and razor-sharp messaging to create the impacts and grab the opportunities marketers can find on mobile.

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