Today, we’re announcing the results of a survey on mobile messaging in the enterprise that Message Systems commissioned Harris Poll to conduct. The survey has a focus on who is embracing mobile messaging, how they are using it, and what they are spending on it – presently and in the future. We moved forward with the assumption that most business were aware of the marketplace changes being driven by mobile, and that most were already adapting their marketing, engagement and customer service practices to address the new messaging environment. But to what extent? That is what we endeavored to find out in our mobile survey, and we’ve outlined five key takeaways from our survey below.

 

Survey Finding #1

At least eight in ten customer messaging decision-makers report that their company currently has or plans to adopt the following in the next year:

  • SMS text: 89 percent
  • Mobile-optimized email (responsive design): 89 percent
  • Mobile apps: 86 percent
  • MMS text: 86 percent
  • IM chat: 83 percent
  • Push notifications: 80 percent

Key takeaway: The move towards mobile

In our view, sizable majorities of marketers realize that the communication landscape is rapidly changing toward mobile channels, and they are acting accordingly to accommodate their mobile customers. Not surprisingly, text and mobile email – the longest established messaging types – are leading the way as channels for reaching mobile customers. At nearly 80% adoption, push notifications are not that far behind, however. We were a little surprised to see 89% of customer messaging decision-makers say their companies have adopted or are planning to adopt mobile optimized / responsive design for email. Our very unscientific personal experience is that the vast majority of commercial email today is still produced in standard HTML. But it’s great to see such a high number of these companies understanding that mobile optimization is a concern to be addressed. 

MessageSystems-Most-Popular-Enterprise-Mobile-Messaging-Types-Aug2014_600x315

 

Survey Finding #2

Ninety-one percent of customer messaging decision-makers report that their company currently supports, or plans to support in the next 12 months, time-sensitive reminders and notifications through mobile channels.

Key takeaway: Time-sensitive messaging (reminders and notifications) will be a key mobile tactic

In our view, we see this widespread intention to adopt time-sensitive notifications as a realization that mobile is a more time-sensitive environment than the desktop web. More so than with TV or the PC / laptop experience, timeliness and immediacy are key to the mobile experience. Marketers understand that getting information in front of customers at the most opportune time is critical, and they are embracing mobile messaging as the ideal channel through which to do so.

 

Survey Finding #3

Seventy-two percent of customer messaging decision-makers say that their company currently uses location-based mobile strategies or plans to use them in the next 12 months.

Key takeaway: Location, location, location

As with timeliness, our belief is that marketers understand that location adds an important dimension to communicating with customers on the go. Fewer customer messaging decision-makers say their companies are embracing location-based strategies than those embracing timely reminders and notifications, but the percent is still a strong majority. It should be noted that these customer messaging decision-makers were from a very wide range of customer-focused industries. Based on how it’s usually depicted in the media and analyst reports, location-based messaging would seem to always revolve around retail scenarios or service-oriented interactions, such as with banking. But even while the survey found variable and not necessarily large percentages from each industry (but rather collectively a large number) it’s clear nonetheless that customer messaging decision-makers from various industries such as publishing, media, telecommunications and e-businesses also perceive location-based messaging as potentially valuable for their businesses. 

 

Survey Finding #4

Large percentages of these marketers say their companies either are now or are planning to send messages to customers based on each of the following types of information:

  • Preferences (e.g., a customer has indicated, through a preference center, that she would like to receive snowfall prediction alerts from the local ski facility, but on weekends only. When snow is predicted for Saturday, send her a message on Friday.) – 78% currently plan to deploy; 50% currently do
  • Context (e.g., a repeat shopper could be offered a discount, or if inclement weather is predicted a store could promote umbrellas and raincoats) – 7% currently plan to deploy; 48% currently do
  • Location (e.g., when a shopper walks by a store location, send them a coupon for a limited-time offer available at that particular store only) – 73% currently plan to deploy; 47% currently do
  • Behavior (e.g., a shopper who abandons an online shopping cart could be sent an incentive offer) – 73% currently plan to deploy; 39% currently do

Key takeaway: New options for relevance

The marketers surveyed understand that they have many new techniques and possibilities for reaching customers, whether in retail situations, service situations or conditional situations, e.g., weather.

2014 Mobile Survey Finding 4

 

Survey Finding #5

Eighty percent of customer messaging decision-makers consider it a critical/high priority for their company’s mobility and engagement strategy to support a wider variety of mobile devices and platforms over the next 12 months, with 31% calling it a critical priority.

Key takeaway: Device compatibility is a major concern

Our takeaway is that the rapid pace of change in mobile is generating a high level of concern among these marketers that they could get left behind the curve, and potentially not be able to reach their customers as freely as they can today. Device vendors, OS platforms and messaging infrastructure providers would be wise to ensure that the mobile Internet continues to evolve as a standards-based environment. Vendors that can remove complexity from the mobile equation are likely to be at an advantage.

What’s Next?

Clearly, the changes to the customer communication landscape being driven by mobile technologies are top-of-mind for a healthy majority of the customer messaging decision-makers participating in the survey. It’s worth repeating some key finding from the Meeker Report we mentioned in the previous post on this survey: 25 percent of all global Internet traffic is now traveling over mobile devices, and most emails are now opened and read on mobile devices also. The odds are strong that these figures will continue to grow in the years ahead. The marketers we surveyed, in large part, indicate that they are adopting or plan to adopt the mobile messaging strategies that they will need to get out in front of these changes.  Overall, it’s Message Systems position that companies that don’t already have a mobile messaging plan in place today are likely find themselves playing catch-up at a later date.

Methodology

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Message Systems between April 23 to May 19, 2014 among 208 US full-time employees of companies with an annual revenue of $100M or more, who are employed at the director level or higher in key departments (administrative/executive, customer service, e-business/e-commerce, production/operations, IT, marketing, communications, or advertising), and have at least a major influence in decisions regarding their company’s mobile messaging efforts. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact mobilesurvey@messagesystems.com.

Start leveraging on mobile technologies to executive more effective marketing campaigns. Here’s quick start guide:

10 Steps To Mobile Messaging

My colleague Irina Doliov and I were fortunate to attend a seminar on push notifications earlier this month put on by Urban Airship, one of the leading providers of push notification / messaging services for mobile app developers. It was a highly informative look into the world of mobile app developers, and the central role that automated messaging is playing in the smartphone / tablet revolution.

Urban Airship CMO Brent Hieggelke discussed the most important practices for earning your way onto a consumer’s screen, and how to keep engaging once you’re there. We also heard from Chris Sweis of JunoWallet, who recounted how his company courted disaster when it had to disable push notifications for a short period of time due to server issues. And finally we heard from Scott Michaels from Atimi, which is a leading app development shop for leading consumer brands and sports franchises.

Coming from the world of email and mobile text messaging, it was fascinating to hear firsthand of the challenges companies face in mobile app development and push notifications. Some key takeaways:

  • Push is growing faster than any other messaging channel – by a lot. [Tweet This!]
  • The smartphone/tablet screen is now seen by major consumer brands as the most valuable real estate in the world. Not TV. [Tweet This!]
  • If it hasn’t happened already, it will soon become the case that consumers spend more time interacting with mobile apps than they do watching TV.
  • Push is essential to mobile app engagement. [Tweet This!]
  • Apps without push have only half the retention rate of those with push. [Tweet This!]
  • Apps with push have four times the engagement rate of those without. [Tweet This!] Chris from Juno related that when they had to turn off their push capability for a few months (they were running an in-house server that couldn’t scale) and the outage drove engagement rates into steep decline. Essentially, an app without notification capabilities just will not drive the kind of engagement rates you need to establish a successful app business.
  • The key engagement metrics for app developers are:
    • App downloads
    • Push opt in
    • Location opt in
    • When app developers get all three, it pretty much opens the Pandora’s box of marketing possibilities – location is a whole new world.
    • Apps have an average lifespan of 1 month. [Tweet This!]
    • Apple leads the way in the app business and everyone has to play by their rules: eg, no sales pitches in your notifications!
    • Google/Android tends to follow Apple’s lead within a 3 – 4 month lag time.
    • Apple Passbook is seen as the next evolution in the app / push world.

Maybe the most important point that I walked away with came from Scott from Atimi who said (paraphrasing): anyone who claims to know what’s going to happen with the apps/mobile business beyond 12 months is blowing smoke. Everything is just moving too fast to know with any certainty what’s coming down the pike.

Want to read more about mobile messaging? Get The New Communications Standard white paper!

The New Communications Standard whitepaper

Weekly Email Marketing News Digest

In this week’s news, consumer dependence on email is seen through mobile behavior as determined by two separate studies. We also take a look at the missing link in big data strategy and  email marketing best practices that every marketer should take note of before launching a campaign. Oh, and DMARC continues to be in the spotlight! Now that the preview’s over let’s dive in!

Why (And How) Marketers Should Follow DMARC

The DMARC standard now protects almost two-thirds of the world’s 3.3 billion consumer mailboxes worldwide, and was responsible for blocking 325 million unauthenticated messages in November and December 2012 alone. Message Systems Chief Revenue Officer Ralph Lentz dives into the reasons why it’s going to be the industry standard going forward.

Big Data’s Big Omission

Customer identity management is crucial to big data strategy. Customer identity and relationship management is built upon the foundation from three pieces of data: email addresses, postal addresses, and phone numbers. While cookies are important, they are not the be-all and end-all in big data. The crux?

When it comes to big data strategy, email is a necessary component.

85% of Smartphone Users Would Rather Give up Water Than Mobile Apps

Give up mobile apps? Not a chance. 82% of respondents in a mobile app survey say there are critical apps they can’t go without — not even for one day. Those include email (57%), Facebook (41%) and alarm clock apps (31%).

apigee_infographic

7 Don’ts for Email Marketers

You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But you can teach email marketers to optimize their campaigns according to these best practice guidelines:

  • Don’t forget the channel changers. Help your customers send information to another device, set reminders, or use email content while in your store. Cross-channel messaging anyone?
  • Don’t drop the data. Collect device usage data and develop a plan to associate opens, clicks, and conversions to specific mobile devices.
  • Don’t write a book: You can’t expect subscribers to consume massive amounts of text on their mobile devices.
  • Don’t overlook transactional messages: Order and shipping confirmations are sent during a peak engagement period of the customer life cycle. These are highly personal. Consumers are excited over their purchases and open these emails.
  • Don’t short the shortcuts: Test your messages to confirm that mobile subscribers can easily click through to track their orders, call customer service, or get directions to your nearest store.
  • Don’t put prices in pictures: Putting essential information such as pricing, deadlines, and calls-to-action inside images is a big mistake in the mobile age.
  • Don’t say the word ‘blast’ in regard to email marketing.

68% of people use their smartphone for email, 26% for shopping

Want to see how smartphone usage in the US and UK differs? The Nielsen Mobile Consumer Survey has the answer.

In US, the percentage of people who use their phones for:

  • Text – 86%
  • Mobile web – 82%
  • Email – 75%
  • Social networking – 63%

In UK, the percentage of people who use their phones for:

  • Text – 92%
  • Mobile web – 66%
  • Email – 75%
  • Social networking – 63%

As you can see the biggest gap lies in the use of mobile web, where common use is higher by 16% in the US. Text messaging in UK is higher than in the US by 6%.

nielsen-devices-we-use     nielsen-apps-we-use

What do you use your smartphone for? Let us know in the comments below! And if your business is embarking upon a mobile-centric drive to attract new customers, we’d encourage you to have a look at our white paper on mobile messaging – it brings up points of consideration to make your mobile marketing strategy a success.

The New Communications Standard