Mobile Engagement Channels Preferred By Consumers

Mobile needs to be treated as a marketing mix to appeal to all consumer preferences. If you’re not using all available channels, you may be marketing too narrowly.

Today we have more platforms and data available than ever before to best help us choose and reach target consumers. Is it possible, though, to zoom in too narrowly? Are we potentially missing opportunities to reach customers because we are not using enough channels, especially when it comes to mobile marketing?

CodeBroker found some intriguing and valuable answers from its recent Consumer Mobile Engagement research. The survey polled 1,552 American consumers, 53 percent of whom were female and 47 percent were male. Before getting into details about the results and what they mean, it can be helpful to take a step back and remember a few things about best practice marketing.

In an article in, Ryan Ayers, a consultant to Fortune 500 companies, said that while marketing has changed significantly through the years, some basics have not. He reminds us that among other things, marketing requires a balance between what is best for consumers and what is best for advertisers. He uses the example that free products may be terrific for consumers, but giving away merchandise may not work for an advertiser (ignoring free samples, of course).

We should listen to consumers and do what will be most effective in getting them to take action, as long as their desires fall within our own goals. That’s where knowing consumers’ attitudes toward mobile can help. Consumers remind us that mobile is a multichannel platform and each consumer has her engagement preference – some may respond best to text messages, while others to mobile email or app. To reach the broadest range, we have to appeal to each individual’s preferred mobile channel. If we don’t use all the available channels, we may be marketing too narrowly.

One example of this possibility was shown when survey respondents were asked, “What is your preferred way to receive retailer messages promoting sales, discounts, and coupons on your mobile device?” While mobile email comes out on top at 41 percent, significant numbers prefer text (38 percent) or an app push message (21 percent).

Here’s another way to look at the data: If you were to rely solely on mobile email marketing, you would forgo 59 percent of available mobile options. Likewise, if you just utilized texting to reach consumers, you’d be ignoring 62 percent of available outreach options.

The survey digs even deeper, asking participants, “Which type of promotional text messages do you find most valuable to receive from a retailer?” More than half said they found receiving mobile coupons most valuable, whereas 35 percent said they prefer “sale or discount information,” and the remaining 12 percent said they liked to learn about new products and special events via text message.

The CodeBroker survey may provide the answer to marketers and advertisers who are not getting the desired results from their rewards programs.

When asked, “How do you prefer to access loyalty rewards from your mobile device?” survey participants chose a wide variety of channels, with a “link in a text message” leading the preferred way at 37 percent. An additional 32 percent of those consumers polled prefer accessing loyalty rewards information through an app, while 29 percent mostly prefer email. It may be good to point out that most companies believe that they have mobile loyalty covered with an app – but they’re missing the majority of the market with an app-only mobile strategy.

Yet many loyalty reward programs only offer a single channel to access loyalty rewards. That may be easier or more self-serving for marketers or retailers but does not offer the “balance” Ryan Ayers discussed in his article mentioned earlier. It also may be the reason why a rewards program isn’t performing to expectations.

The survey may also hold the key for retailers looking to build their text message marketing lists. When asked, “Have you ever opted into a retailer or brand text message marketing list?” a whopping 60 percent said yes. While that 60 percent is impressive, it may be more impressive that 100 percent of millennials who responded said they have opted in to a text message marketing list.

Key takeaways

  • Mobile is a platform with multiple channels; consumers have a range of channel options for engaging with retailers over mobile.
  • Retailers can drive higher consumer engagement by employing a channel marketing mix over mobile.
  • SMS/text has surpassed both mobile email and mobile app push as consumers’ preferred mobile communications channel, including accessing loyalty rewards.
  • Though many retailers and brands make their loyalty programs available through a mobile app, many consumers indicate a preference for multiple mobile channels to access rewards.

In short, consumer preferences vary, therefore retailers must be able to address them all. When it comes to mobile marketing, give consumers a choice. If we focus too narrowly on the single best way to reach consumers, we may lose sight of the mark. Use all available mobile channels to reach and market to your desired audience.

Full contents of the Consumer Mobile Engagement research can be downloaded here.