Customer Experience Four Ways to Instantly Join the Mobile Revolution
Mobile usage is at an all-time high. And right now, at this very moment, your customers are on their smartphones looking for anything that will help them have a better brand experience with you. But the real question is: what are you, as a brand, doing at this very moment to connect to them?

U.S. consumers now dedicate one-fifth of their media consumption time to mobile. In fact, consumers are spending as much time on mobile as they are on desktops and laptops. This means that with so many opportunities for you to connect to customers via the mobile channel that even if you are doing something, you're probably only scratching the surface.

Luckily, there are a few stand-out ideas that can help you get instant gratification, even if your company as a whole is still perfecting its mobile approach.

1. Social Mobile

Facebook and Pinterest have reported tremendous growth in their mobile-only user base. In fact, Facebook's mobile advertisements now represent nearly 41% of its ad revenue. Social media has unlimited potential for consumer engagement, the trick is using it to engage consumers in a meaningful and personalized way. Using social to call attention to specific activities -- or even a bigger picture campaign that feels special exclusive, and friendly -- is the way social media was built to work in the first place.

Take Victoria’s Secret PINK for example. PINK gave its mobile application users exclusive access to the “Ultimate Shopping Night,” an in-store back-to-school event at 300 stores across the country. They used mobile content to promote both the event and the brand’s loyalty program while also connecting to event messaging on social media. The exclusive mobile campaign took advantage of the best of mobile to offer customers a mobile-specific experience, such as being invited to the August event via push notification in mid-July, directed to an in-app landing page that used geo-locating capabilities to identify the nearest Victoria's Secret store and offered good-for-one-night-only coupons for in-store shopping.

2. Mobile Video

Not only are consumers watching more videos on mobile devices overall, but they're also sticking to their mobile devices for longer periods of time. And it’s no surprise, really. As consumers viewing habits shift from the long-dominant TV to mobile devices, broadcasters and publishers are rolling out more on-demand video, streaming and exclusive mobile content to appease them.

Successfully using mobile video -- or any content, for that matter -- means making it good, relevant and available when audiences want it. How? Make your video content exclusive to mobile. Repackage the great content you're delivering via other media into video content delivered directly to mobile. Capitalize upon your audiences’ known interests to create demand for video content. In fact, 60 Minutes does this by using on-air advertising to whet the appetites of their viewers with advanced access to a preview of their next episode.

3. Mobile Gaming

Fact: In 2012 the number of U.S. mobile gamers surpassed the number of traditional online gamers. From "Fruit Ninja" to "Candy Crush Saga" (I'll admit it, I'm addicted) to “Angry Birds,” mobile and gaming go hand-in-hand. Consumers use them to feel connected and engaged, discover new things, be entertained and otherwise fill the unoccupied (and sometimes even occupied) hours of their days. So why would you get in on the mobile gaming explosion?

One word: retention. If your consumers are already gaming, why wouldn't you offer something fun as a means to retain them as a customer. American Airlines started using gaming via their iPad and mobile apps to offer value-add for their flyers, and otherwise offer a choice of entertainment while in-flight. Now the airline uses games to enhance sponsorships and partnerships, such as with Disney's Planes movie, and offer exclusive discounts and extra miles to winners. It's easy, fun and engages a very on-the-go audience in a different way, while increasing brand loyalty.

4. Local Mobile Search

Seventy percent of consumers use their mobile devices to look up nearby store locations which points directly to yet another evolution in consumer behavior. Location-based marketing practices are still a mystery to the vast majority of industry players, but putting yourself in the location equation is certainly an achievable goal. By connecting local advertising or promotional efforts to the mobile experience, you can bridge the gap between awareness and action.

How? Give users a way to opt in to relevant, targeted offers and promotions -- delivered to their mobile device in real time. If your product's value proposition differs by audience geography, use users' locations to segment your offers so they appeal specifically to the audience at hand.

Yelp is a prime example of a catalyst for increased local-mobile searches. Yelp's global mobile-user base climbed to about 10.4 million active devices in June, and their mobile app has become the illustration of a true location-based services app, shifting itself into a local search engine for nearby restaurants and businesses. Local-mobile search will drive new opportunities for location-based mobile services that find a way to attract large and loyal followings.

It's time to think beyond mobile as just another channel, because the reality is that mobile itself provides consumers and brands multiple avenues in which to connect to one another.

Title image courtesy of koosen (Shutterstock)

Editor's Note: Get more of Ashley's mobile insights in The Dial Pad Isn't Dead: How to Make Mobile Count Across All Channels