Spend 30 minutes wandering around the meeting rooms and common spaces of any decent-sized B2C organization and likely as not you’ll hear someone talk about the ‘single customer view’. And chances are – they’ll be complaining about a lack of it.

As the ways in which consumers are able to interact with the brands they love has multiplied, so in turn have the data sources that an organization has to integrate in order to get a clear picture of what exactly those consumers are doing.

That in turn creates what is now a familiar paradox: whilst the organizations themselves spend a considerable amount of time, thought and money in figuring out how best to manage the interplay of those channels, the consumers themselves simply couldn’t care less. Tesco or Target are all the same to me whether online or in-store – and I expect everything I receive from that source to be relevant to me. Not ‘online me’ or ‘real world me’. Just good old me.

The Importance Of Relevance

Just in case you are laboring under the illusion that the only cost of single case of irrelevance is a single ineffective marketing campaign, take a brief look at this data from Gigya. Specifically, note the fact that 43% of consumers who received an irrelevant communication ignored future communications from that organization. 20% never purchased again.

A poorly targeted and clearly irrelevant piece of spam (let’s call it what it is) tells the consumer that you don’t care about them or their preferences. And although we know it is difficult to join all the dots when it comes to customer data – the consumer either doesn’t know or doesn’t care.

Enter Mobile

Sucks doesn’t it? And the really great news is that things have just got worse. The mobile app isn’t so much ‘a’ new channel for most consumers, it is ‘the’ channel. In verticals from banking, to gambling, through retail and games, consumers are migrating to the mobile app in their droves.

And they are specifically moving to native apps. As the mobile audience matures, more and more organizations are realizing that mobile internet doesn’t cut it anymore. Sure, it’s easy for us to keep things on mobile internet, but consumers appear hooked on the quality of interaction and performance they get from native apps. At the moment, it’s a brave business that isn’t at least planning a move to ‘full native’.

That, of course, creates all sorts of problems – mainly because native apps are something of a black box when it comes to user data. Of course – and here we go again – the consumer doesn’t think like that. The mobile app is, as far as the man or woman on the street is concerned, just part of the website. So we’ve got the same issue of something the consumer expects being in actual fact awfully difficult to deliver.

But that isn’t necessarily so. Let’s end on three pieces of good news.

  1. Things aren’t quite that bad. In most cases the mobile app is integrated into some central system of record that means the really key moments (registration, purchase and so on) are recorded. I say this is good news – but of course this doesn’t happen without some effort and purchases are only the beginning. Truly relevant communication demands an understanding of everything the user has done on each channel.
  2. Things are getting simpler. Yes, here’s the Swrve plug – we work with a number of ‘traditional’ marketing automation providers to ensure that mobile and desktop events can be shared across channels and so create that single customer view we all care about. What these integrations mean is that whilst ultra-granular data relating to user behavior is collected within each channel, it is then shared across and accessible to all channels. So on desktop, emails can be sent based on mobile data insight. Whilst on mobile app experience or push campaigns (for example) can reflect user behavior on the desktop
  3. Mobile opens up in-store behavior. It has long been an ambition of retailers to connect in-store and digital data and customer profiles. Mobile makes it possible. Nobody took their laptop into the store with them, but by providing ‘added-value’ apps on the phone, it is possible to connect the digital and real-world experience (and share data between the two). One interesting example – it is now possible to modify digital experiences (in-app or on-site) based on dwell time next to specific items in store. That’s relevance!