The buyer journey is one of the most important things a business can understand, yet still too many do not.
Case in point: While most marketers recognize that mobile devices are one of the most powerful channels for engaging with consumers on their path-to-purchase, many are still not getting the most out of the channel.
In a rush to embrace the latest technologies or dive headfirst into the latest social platform, more tried-and-true marketing tools available on mobile devices are being swept under the rug in favor of newer, sexier mediums. A recent study by Kitewheel, a cloud-based software platform that allows agencies to orchestrate omnichannel customer journeys across multiple touch points, proves this point, revealing email remains perhaps the most powerful tool in a mobile marketer’s toolbox, yet is often an overlooked gem.
The recent study, released earlier this week and detailed by VentureBeat, finds that email still reigns supreme when it comes to a proven method for interacting with consumers via mobile devices on their path-to-purchase. Email has successfully made the move from desktop to mobile with little engineering required, which has perhaps allowed marketers to focus more on the content of their campaigns and less about the implementation of a new technology. By comparison, other channels, like couponing and loyalty programs, have struggled to develop user-friendly mobile interfaces to gain the same traction.
The Kitewheel study looked at data from over 1 billion real-time, cross-sector brand and customer interactions, captured via Kitewheel’s Customer Journey Hub. What were the main takeaways from the study? As VB highlighted, while brands are investing more heavily in omnichannel campaigns, they have not steered away from email. That’s a good thing since the greatest return on investment is still coming from email interactions.
Email accounted for 23 percent of total buyer journey interactions examined by the study — that’s an increase of 270 percent year over year. Not surprisingly, retailers are leading the way in email marketing, accounting for 50 percent of the total journey interactions tracked by Kitewheel in the study. But, as PYMNTS recently pointed out, there is a fine line between relying on the channel and overusing it. If relied on too heavily, consumers can feel overwhelmed. How many emails a week is too many? According to a survey conducted by First Insight, which polled 1,112 Internet users in the United States regarding their perspectives on emails they receive from retailers, “too many” equates to five or more marketing emails per week.
The Kitewheel study also found that the fastest-growing channel in the customer journey is mobile apps. From 2014 to 2015, app-based consumer interactions grew 10 times. VB goes on to note that while the overall percentage of mobile app interactions is still relatively small, compared to email, it holds great promise for brands in 2016. To truly take advantage of branded apps, marketers will need to embrace mobile apps and create compelling experiences within them for consumers, connected with the rest of their online and offline journey to purchase.
Kitewheel President Mark Smith agreed with VB’s take that, despite so many marketers being tuned into mobile as a delivery channel, very few are truly using the full power of the platform.
“I think that we were surprised to see such low volume of truly mobile-specific experience management — i.e. through a brand app rather than a mobile Web experience or a social mobile experience,” he recounted to the outlet. “Given that the majority of interactions are now taking place on a mobile device, many brands are not taking the most advantage of that and using the medium to its maximum effect but are ‘making do’ with their content and programs built for other channels, just being deployed via mobile devices.”
But what about social media, you might be asking? Surely, that is a mobile-native experience that is driving immense customer engagement and increasingly more mobile purchases — isn’t it? Surprisingly, the Kitewheel study found that while a large percentage of consumer interactions occur on social networks (roughly 48 percent), social media marketing’s overall share of interactions actually declined 23 percent year over year.
It seems that the savviest marketers may be those who can make new friends (with branded mobile apps) but keep the old (email marketing) to engage customers and drive purchases from mobile devices.