At Swrve, we work with some of the world’s largest enterprises across a breadth of industries to power highly relevant, highly personalized experiences that are customer-centric while driving measurable business results. What our customers consistently tell us is that, despite (or sometimes even because of) their size and scale, creating a compelling CX strategy is a common business hurdle. So our team spends much of our time applying our collective decades of experience to help big brands shift from email-centric engagement models to mobile-first and connected-device-centric approaches. That shift from email to mobile and connected devices is big—and powerful. In this guide, we’ll discuss how we approach it.
Strategy vs Solutions vs Tactics
Some fundamentals: When we say “strategy,” we mean a plan to achieve a major objective. A good strategy provides a clear set of principles that govern the achievement of a clear goal: the course a business should take (or not take) and the things they should prioritize (and not prioritize).
A great mobile strategy must take into account the mobile technology ecosystem, and the strengths and opportunities of mobile platforms and user psychology. This is why mobile strategy is fundamentally different from email-first strategy. Attempting to tack mobile onto an email-centric model leaves the greater mobile opportunity off the table.
The average mobile user has 35 apps installed on their mobile phone, and only 9 of those apps are used consistently. Most users don’t come back to an app after downloading it—making your brand nearly invisible to your customer and ultimately, impacting your bottom line because you’ve spent the funds to acquire them and then can’t activate or keep them. To overcome the odds, you have to create a great experience that adds value for the user. That is to say, you need a customer experience strategy for mobile.
Driving engagement, creating stickiness, and encouraging behaviors that lead to your desired outcomes—whether that be revenue or app store ratings—requires insight, planning, testing, and iteration. It’s a process and a journey for both you and your users or customers.
Importantly, this strategy should take into account the advantages and disadvantages of the platform without going deep into specific actions and solutions. A great strategy should still be great even if the underlying tactical opportunities change or the solutions that enable it evolve over time.
Your Strategic Framework
With more and more options for mobile interactions, businesses all too often get their digital strategy wrong — or don’t reassess it often enough.
At the highest level, digital initiatives should revolve around a clear plan about what to build and why. Assess a few fundamental questions—the who, what, how and why you want to connect with your customers. Let’s focus on the why and the how. Here are a few thought starters:
- What are we aiming to accomplish?
- Have we mapped out our customers’ digital journey?
- Will our mobile offering solve a real problem for our customers and deliver a unique, mobile experience?
- Do we need specific mobile capabilities to deliver or improve the experience?
- What cross-channel customer behaviors can mobile help impact and influence?
At Swrve, we think through each of these questions, and so many more, to begin to understand why your business needs a customer engagement platform, and by extension, a customer experience strategy. What does a customer experience strategy mean to your organization, your apps, and your users? Once we’ve explored some of these questions, we begin to map out the elements to frame out a strategy: your Executive Priorities and The Business Situation, Strategic Objectives, Value Metrics & KPIs, Target Audience & Key Segments, Channels & Tactics. These different elements come to life through our value pyramid. These primary five elements are the building blocks for us to be able to understand the why and the how. Let’s break down these elements:
Your app may serve multiple strategic purposes, but knowing your priorities focuses your team on understanding what’s most important. Identifying which of these executive goals apply to your app will help define which strategic or operational objectives are most important, and which are secondary. This is the first step in defining your strategy. Consciously answering these two basic questions can have a big impact on the clarity of every decision that follows.
- Why do you have an app? What purpose is the app serving that you cannot serve via another channel or platform?
- What are the primary business challenges and/or opportunities that you are hoping to address through mobile campaigns?
With high-level executive goals to frame your focus, your strategic objectives then define the outcomes your CX program will achieve.
Concrete objectives will ensure that your company knows what its strategies are expected to accomplish and when a particular strategy has accomplished its purpose.
In other words, without objectives, strategy decisions and all that follows will take place in a vacuum. Ask yourself:
- What are your main objectives for including mobile marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy?
- Keep your objectives SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely)
When setting out to establish objectives, most experts agree that the logical approach to the difficult task of setting objectives is to proceed from the broad to the specific. Start with a general statement, and then map that to something specific, something actionable. At that point, you’re ready to think about metrics.
Defining Key Metrics
Once you know what you want to accomplish, how will you know you’ve accomplished it? Metrics.
Each strategic objective should have at least one clearly defined key performance indicator associated with it to ensure we’re working towards our predetermined goal for the business, and ultimately, having a positive impact on the organization. By defining out measures of success through the lens of metrics like revenue, day 7 retention, time-in-app, campaign engagement or # of songs listened, we can justify our strategy to the business. Here’s some thought starters:
- What are the 3-5 specific KPIs we’ll use at the end of our effort(s) to determine if our campaigns successfully achieved the objectives?
- Which KPIs respond to the strategic objectives listed above, and are they a direct measurement of the objective, or indirect?
- How will they be measured and analyzed? Do you have a GA Instance that you’re using for analytics? Will Swrve be your primary measurement tool?
Once you know how you’ll measure success, you can begin architecting programs that will achieve those metrics. Within a program, you’ll define campaigns composed of specific tactics (such as messaging or A/B testing), and you’ll track your performance metrics with reporting.
Once you know what you want to do, and how you’ll measure it, it’s time to get down to the nitty gritty of what your customer experience should be. Here, we begin the shift from strategic planning to tactical planning with a vision of the actual programs that will constitute the customer experience. For many large organizations, this phase is a make-or-break moment, and adhering to the prior strategic choices is the difference between success and chaos.
Not only should the program you’re about to craft align to the organizational objectives you’ve agreed upon internally, it must also serve as the guiding light for interacting and engaging with your customers, and furthermore, highlight the reasons that users should be engaging with you—what value are you providing to your customers. This is both an art and a science in the sense that you’ll need to hypothesize and test engagement programs to ensure your strategy is impacting your customers and brand positively. Developing strong engagement programs will serve as the framing that supports your campaigns and tactics.
Your engagement programs will incentivize your users to stay sticky, reengage and monetize your app—driving your KPIs forward as a result.
Your goal is to establish rules for engaging with your end-users at meaningful points in their lifecycle, while ensuring those engagements are meaningful and encourage continued interaction with your brand. This is where our engagement programs come into play.
Again, some thoughts:
- Who are the key audiences you want to target with this mobile initiative?
- You may have one or multiple personas that you would like to target with your mobile marketing.
- Are you targeting new users, existing users, lapsing or churning users?
- Do you have established segments of users that engage with your app and your brand?
- How does your target typically engage with your brand—what is their relationship with your brand, and do you expect that to be consistent on mobile? What channels do users engage with, how often, and how long?
You may be asking yourself, what types of programs can I build to help me realize my objectives and show measurable impact through our app’s KPIs? It’s a good question, and there’s no hard or fast rule to it, but you have to start somewhere. Look at your overarching objectives and use those as a platform upon which you can build the framing for your programs.
An engagement program must be able to operate seamlessly across channels in order to be effective—to maximize value, it should be consistent, synced, and concerted with your other marketing efforts.
Now that we understand what our engagement programs are and what they’re expected to achieve, how do we see those programs come to life? Well in order to build the framework we just outlined in the form of engagement programs, we need a set of tools to construct the framing—these come in the form of tactics, or program tactics.
As we’ve mentioned, each layer is connected and should cascade down from the executive priorities we’ve discussed previously—our tactics will be the delivery methods for our aforementioned engagement programs—ultimately they’ll be what our target engages with.
These tactics will help define how your customers engage with the brand, learn new information, and receive recommendations—all of which should be relevant, personalized and real-time.
It’s not about individual messages or individual campaigns, your tactics should drive a consistent conversation with your customer, nurturing that relationship over time. Some of the mobile tactics you can use through Swrve, with their associated use cases are: In-app messages, Conversations, Push notifications, Resource A/B testing, SMS.
Talk to Us
If you’d like to learn more about how Swrve can help you in developing a mobile-first, customer engagement strategy empowered by a dynamic, data-driven understanding of your customer, drop us a line and request a demo.