Published by InsideCRM
Written by Chris Bucholtz
When we talk about mobile CRM, the concept is generally understood to mean the projection of CRM into the field on the handheld device s of the people who use CRM data – initially, sales reps, but increasingly, other people, especially field service staff.
There’s one thing we’re missing, however: CRM in this day and age is no longer a one-way operation. There should be an aspect of mobile CRM that affects the customer, at least beyond informing the sales pitch or the service information he receives from someone else.
The most obvious place for this consumer connection to take place is in the marketing space – but mobile marketing has evolved in fits and starts. The idea seems obvious – reach customers right on the devices they have in their pockets! – but the opportunity to annoy was at least as great as the opportunity to positively influence customers.
One of the few marketing automation vendors that includes mobile marketing as part of its mix is Knotice, based in that CRM hotspot Akron, Ohio. Since mobile marketing has transitioned into a less intrusive text messaging-based era, “we use a text-centric approach,” says CEO Brian Deagan. “We treat it the same way sophisticated e-mail marketing is approached.”
In fact, the company’s Concentri™ marketing platform uses mobile (along with website and email marketing) as one of the three pillars of the product. Mobile marketing is viewed as an equal partner in the system, which Deagan says is very much to his company’s advantage. “Other attempts to use mobile have had problems because companies haven’t solved the data issue,” he says. “If it’s being delivered as part of a point solution, there’s a different path for decisions, and it’s hard to restore a really unified view of your marketing efforts.” The Concentri solution has an advantage because it can “interact with external systems in the context of a mobile device.”
Knotice is hoping not just to rationalize mobile and make it manageable, but it also aspires to break down the barriers between getting data from real-world sources and on-line sources – for example, using a sign in a store to indicate that customers can save 10 percent by texting a code to a number, thus starting the marketing cycle – but, says Deagan, “Education definitely has to come first.”
Once that’s been done, however, mobile marketing has the potential to infiltrate all kinds of areas of the customer relationship. For example, a loyalty program that a customer joined by giving an email address can then be used to associate that customer with what he or she had looked at in the past on the website. When that’s accomplished, the correlated information can be used to deliver personalized mobile coupons for products likely to draw customers into the store. Applications that integrate with Facebook to allow users to create “wish lists” can be delivered via email, helping bring in more customers – and more customer data. And the cycle continues.
Clearly, such strategies will work better with younger generations of consumers whose mobile phones are regular parts of their lives – but that percentage of the buying public increases every day. It may not be long before every marketing solution provider finds mobile marketing to be a critical part of their mix.