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How well do you know your mobile marketing cloud?

By March 27, 2014Guest blog

Amy King EvidonIt’s a paradox that even as mobile usage becomes increasingly targeted by malware and security intrusions, consumers are spending more time using their portable devices to accomplish a greater variety of activities, with younger users ever more willing to share their activity and information with marketers. Amy King,  MEF member and VP of Product Marketing at marketing intelligence company Evidon, explores the opportunities and challenges the changing pace of mobile presents and outlines what businesses can do to to keep up.

Last year, articles were filled with predictions that mobile devices would replace desktop computers, televisions and other less portable technologies.  However, as marketers begin to fully embrace the hyper-targeted opportunities of mobile – for example, offering customers a detective novel on their tablet while they are watching Sherlock Holmes on television – it has become apparent that the multiplicity of devices has instead created a multi-channel world where customers integrate numerous devices into daily activities, often switching between more than one device to accomplish a single activity.  Already, in the UK, 40% of online adults were found to start an activity on one device and finish it on another. The race is not – as it would first seem – about which device type dominates a consumer activity; instead the competition lies with a marketer’s ability to reach customers across multiple devices and to best understand how they migrate from one device to another during their multi-tasked days.

Complexity is our new reality and with the advent of portable computers on our glasses, cars and wrists, the landscape of location services, targeted marketing, and cross-platform segmentation will only increase.  An August 2013 poll by the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) and Nielsen found that 48% listed cross-platform campaigns as very important to their efforts that year and 88% expected it to be very important in 2016.

Marketing technology innovation is outpacing consumer understanding, creating a rift between marketers’ goals and customer comfort.  Consumers have become accustomed to retargeting on their desktops, but to be offered a t-shirt on your mobile phone the moment you enter a clothing store could be considered creepy and may leave the customer distrustful of the store’s practices.

So how do brands and advertisers capitalise on the multitude of effective new marketing solutions across mobile platforms while maintaining customer trust and protecting their data security?

This is the key question that all enterprises need to address – and soon.  Kapersky Labs, a global security company, recently cited a malware increase of 197% across mobile applications in the past year.  The security risks, combined with the lack of consumer knowledge, pose a threat to successful mobile marketing.  New, groundbreaking marketing technology tools are introduced every day and offer enormous potential for enterprises, but companies need to facilitate customer comfort through better education, disclosures and security practices.

In order to retain customer trust and protect their data, businesses need greater transparency into the third parties running through their mobile applications and mobile websites.  In the past year, the management of companies in the website and mobile marketing cloud has become a major area of business analytics for large enterprises.  Each third party is part of the mobile marketing cloud and each can collect customer data, could be a malware gateway, and could interrupt user experience.  The best path to security and performance optimisation involves knowing which third parties are present, their function and data sharing practices, along with any latency that they may cause to site pages and applications.

Here are three simple steps that businesses can undertake to gain greater control over their data assets:

  • Businesses need a good understanding of who each of these vendors are, how they get to mobile pages and applications, and what data they can collect and share.  An outside company – ideally one that does not add more tags to pages, but has insight into all the third parties that flow in and out of mobile websites and applications – best provides this knowledge.
  • The next step is to offer secure tools to customers that offer privacy options and allows them to better understand the mobile marketing cloud and enable them to have control over their data sharing.  These tools should be easy to use, read and comprehend on a mobile device, and optimised for each operating system.
  • Lastly, it is important to continually monitor applications, websites and opt-out tools for new vendor presence, latency or any user experience disruptions.

The good news for enterprises that want to build a forward-thinking marketing stack, which does not drive away suspicious customers, is that it is not too late.  A majority of mobile millennials are more comfortable sharing their information with marketers, and even more so when there is a small incentive offered. Mobile ad spend in the UK surpassed print for the first time ever this year, as this trend continues, give consumers the transparency and tools they need so that they engage and inform to deliver marketing success.

 Amy King is VP of Product Marketing at Evidon. Follow Evidon on Twitter.