By R J Talyor, VP mobile products, ExactTarget

Today’s consumers are increasingly mobile, and every digital channel is accessible while on the go via smartphones and tablets. In a market such as the U.K. where smartphone penetration is over 60%, 40% of emails are opened on mobile devices and 90% of consumers move between devices throughout the day, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV. (Google, 2012)

In this era of hyper-connectivity and multi-device interaction, how can a business increase customer engagement and accelerate sales? The answer is simple: maximise marketing communications by differentiating SMS, email, web and social channels, whilst optimising for all devices.

In a recent poll, consumers ranked texting (92%), checking email (68%), web browsing (66%) and social media (63%) among their top mobile activities (Nielsen Global Smartphone Insights 2013). Marketers are now able to reach subscribers, followers and fans across multiple channels, through one device- the mobile phone.

Before marketers make the move to mobile, they need to understand their audience and how it interacts with each mobile channel. Even in the case of a single mobile interaction, such as social media, consumers’ reasons for liking a Facebook page or following a Twitter handle vary.
For example, ExactTarget’s 2013 Global Executive Summary shows that Twitter is primarily seen as an information gathering channel. Consumers stated their top reasons for following a brand on Twitter include: product and service updates, advance notice of new products and company developments whereas Facebook is seen as a channel through which to receive notifications of discounts or promotions, or to participate in giveaways and receive “free stuff.”
By understanding consumer’s preferences, marketers can deliver relevant content across all digital channels via mobile to create a seamless customer experience.

Some simple tips to keep in mind are:
• Obtain permission: Ensure your audience has given you permission to interact for each digital channel. Consumers still draw hard and fast lines about when and where marketing communications are appropriate.

• Timing: Consider the time of day at which you send messages via different channels. ExactTarget’s Digital Kingdom research found 73% of UK consumers start their day by checking email and of those, 74% use a PC while 13% use a mobile phone.

• Ensure content is relevant: Social networking sites, like Facebook and Google+, allow for richer content, creating opportunities for organisations to engage fans with text, videos, images, etc. Meanwhile, micro-blogging platforms, like Twitter, provide an opportunity to create a dialogue with followers.

• Update frequently: While marketers should not overwhelm audiences, consumers expect to receive more regular updates via social media platforms, than they would via email. As you plan campaigns, use customer insights to determine the appropriate frequency.

• Determine tonality based on the channel: When creating content for your Facebook or Twitter campaign, be aware of those channels’ more informal, friendly tone and ensure updates are aligned with both the channel and the corporate brand.

• React to your consumers’ feedback: Look at how your audience reacts to what you send and use those insights to further hone your approach to delivering communications across digital channels.

Taking a pragmatic approach, and implementing these few simple steps, will help organisations create successful cross-channel campaigns on multiple devices. With these simple guidelines, marketers can begin to maximise their ability to engage consumers, increase propensity to purchase and increase customer loyalty.

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