Choose The Appropriate Channels To Connect With Your Customers

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Jeremy Deaner, CEO at Brainstorm

The capabilities are coming together for marketers to reach the core audience— as defined by their location and location context — that truly matters to their brand or business. However, recent research from the MMA and Brainstorm Mobile Solutions, a global provider of mobile engagement solutions, highlights the requirement for marketers to use location data responsibly.

The findings, which draw on a survey of 1,000 mobile phone users in the UK conducted by Lightspeed GMI, reveal that the majority (74%) are happy to share their location based data with third parties provided there is a tangible social benefit like fighting crime or improvements in health care, or that there is a personal enticement such as a money-off voucher.

At the same time, 72% believe that companies are not taking adequate steps to ensure the responsible use of location data, and that further regulation is needed to ensure its responsible usage. Predictably, the under 35 age group expressed a more relaxed attitude regarding these concerns than mobile phone users over the age of 35.

For those willing to allow location their data to be collected, 32% want their details to remain anonymous, and 27% want transparency into the proposed usage of the data. Finally, 25% insist on actively opting in first to ensure they won’t be bombarded by adverts, or worse.

When probed about what concerns people had about sharing their location data; both security (34%) and privacy (34%) were top of mind followed by a worry that information could be shared with third parties without their explicit permission (21%).

Whilst the survey shows that the vast majority of us clearly appreciate the personal and social benefits of sharing our location data, it’s not surprising in this post-Snowden era, that there is a demand for further reassurances and transparency surrounding the privacy of location based data.

Businesses, brands and governments should be encouraged by the fact that the public largely embraces the use of location data, however, these same companies must strive to find ways to prove their value to their customers and citizens, and reassure them of the appropriate stewardship of their data.

Driven by consumer demands for communications entirely on their terms (via SMS, MMS, mobile Web, mobile app, push notifications, chat apps — or a mix), and the customer expectation that all communications will be personal, relevant and responsible, the burden is on brands and businesses to determine the appropriateness of the channel and the context.

Brainstorm powers engagement for clients that include 100 of the world’s largest brands, organisations and mobile operators. Our aim is to maximise the opportunity that mobile presents, by driving meaningful engagement at every stage to build brand loyalty and create operational efficiencies.

At the core of this effort, enabling companies to conduct automated conversations with their customers, is Brainstorm’s technology which equips companies to deliver (and track) contextual and real-time communications through a single multi-channel platform, called Dragon.

The best outcomes result when companies orchestrate their complete communications capabilities to sequence customer outreach based on a variety of digital ‘signals’. It’s all about developing the capabilities to choose the appropriate channel, or appropriate channel sequence, that suits the context and the aim of the communications in the first place.

But harnessing relevant and appropriate communication channels to power customer engagement at every stage presents a real challenge. It’s therefore key for brands and businesses to bake this approach into a full end-to-end contact strategy with one supplier that can execute these messages across multi-channel options.

A prime example of this strategy in action is MBNA, Europe’s largest credit card lender and part of Bank of America. It has harnessed precisely this approach to combat fraud, enhance customer experience and drive incremental sales. Marketed by MBNA as the Digital Communications Hub (powered by Brainstorm’s unified multi-channel platform, Dragon) it has been credited with revolutionising the way MBNA communicates with its customers. The Hub contacts customers via multiple digital communications (email, SMS and voice broadcast) from within a single system.

This approach has received high praise from the industry. As Card and Payments magazine writes: The Customer Delight score mined from customer surveys includes a question about fraud alerts and following implementation of the system reached a first ever 100% for a digital service, fully attributable to The Hub.”

This example and many others show that the opportunities for meaningful customer engagement across all verticals increase exponentially when brands and businesses accompany the consumers every step of the journey and harness appropriate channels to remove friction, increase convenience and build trust in order to keep customer engagement relevant and contextual.

(This article is an excerpted from Mobile: The Great Connector (Volume 2), a comprehensive eBook authored by Peggy Anne Salz, chief analyst and content strategist of MobileGroove, in collaboration with the MMA EMEA and member sponsors Inspired and Brainstorm. Register here to download your free copy of this essential marketing resource.)

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