Four Ways Mobile Will Boost Your CRM Strategy

Many companies have realized that a great way to reach and engage with customers, regardless of their location, is via mobile phones. More advanced companies realize that the mobile phone can even drive customer engagement and offer insight into customer preferences, ultimately securing brand loyalty and additional revenues.

CRM software implementations are often large-scale corporate initiatives run from the top down. However, properly managing customer relationships can (and should) be a daily focus for many constituents across business channels within an organization.

With this in mind, many companies have begun tracking Twitter and Facebook for mentions of their company. Smart organizations are using these social channels to drive interaction, boost customer service, and stay top of mind.

However, when it comes to mobile, many organizations have focused on managing touch points and transactions and have looked at mobile as primarily campaign-driven and rarely integrated into bigger marketing initiatives. In today's mobile and socially integrated world, we must move beyond merely focusing on the transaction and establish ongoing interactions with customers as a necessity moving forward. Because it is everywhere, mobile is incredibly critical within this evolution.

Now is the time for marketers to take their campaigns to the next level. When running a promotion, why interact just once? If you are already reaching and engaging with customers and prospects, integrate mobile into your CRM strategy. It has the opportunity to become a critical part of all interactions as you realize that the key to building long-term brand loyalty lies in relationships.

Some companies even focus on "mobile first" within a multichannel marketing strategy, tying in CRM whenever it is appropriate. Knowing which channels push customers to purchase (or not purchase) will only help in the ongoing quest of knowledge regarding customer behavior, habits, and preferences.

Here are four reasons you should implement mobile within your CRM strategy:

1. You'll be relevant and timely. Mobile marketing platforms ensure your messages are always up to date, and if they aren't, they can easily be changed and disseminated to your audiences on the fly to optimize your budget. We know this is the fastest way because research has shown that 97 percent of consumers open an SMS message within four minutes of its receipt. Mobile marketing platforms help you interact with customers in real time, and the benefit of leveraging that timeliness and cost-effectiveness is also shown when gathering consumer feedback at less cost than more traditional methods.

2. You can multitask and leverage context. Cross-sell AND improve your customer relationships (both at the same time). By including mobile in your traditional CRM initiatives, you'll have a more complete picture of each customer. By understanding a customer's cross-channel behaviors, we're able to better cross-sell and upsell by offering exactly what the customer wants, when he or she wants it.

3. You can be ubiquitous. Marketing campaigns are all about reach. Marketers are asking: How can I extend everything I need to say to my customers to every platform? The answer? Facebook, Twitter, and more. A survey by Hipcricket in 2011 showed that 40 percent of consumers use their mobile phone to broadcast brand experiences, albeit good or bad, to their friends and social networks. Why not be proactive?

4. You can remarket. If I haven't sold you on mobile yet, let me tell you about one more huge distinction this channel has over others. In-store signage or other calls to action on traditional media (think TV, radio, and print) should drive consumers to receive coupons, discounts, or whatever other incentives you create, and with exceedingly high success rates. Doesn't building your loyalty database sound great?

We're all fighting to be everywhere, timely and effective, so do yourself a favor and focus on channels that satisfy the bottom line. You will see true, long-term value when you build customer relationships, and ultimately brand loyalty, through mobile campaigns and interactions that keep your customers coming back time and time again.

Eric Harber is chief operating officer of Hipcricket. He has more than 20 years of industry expertise spanning mobile, e-commerce, media, entertainment, and advertising. Hipcricket has twice been named a pioneer by CTIA—The Wireless Association.

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