News Column

Mobile engagement best practice tips for businesses

July 9, 2014

Mbugua Njihia -1

Three days to the much anticipated Saba Saba date, millions of mobile consumers received a message from the Inter Religious Council of Kenya approved by the Communications Authority.

The lash back on social media was expected but in my opinion misdirected as most of the "feedback" was laced with emotion due to the historical and current sensitivities surrounding the date.

It does, however, offer the opportunity to dissect best practice when it comes to the mobile channel with education to consumers, businesses and even government as an imperative.

Life is indeed mobile, with the device having become part of our daily lives. For any intrusion into this life to be tolerated, it must be anticipated and approved making consumer on boarding the most important element of any mobile strategy.

There are multiple channels through which the mobile consumer can be brought on-board a marketing and communications ecosystem.

These currently include; SMS, Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD), voice and other over-the-top (OTT) channels. In a world where we leave digital footprints, many may be tempted to take shortcuts and harvest user data from a myriad of online sources.

While cheaper, with the refining of regulation and application of legislation this can easily turn very costly for any business that dares to engage in this way, as consumers are now more aware of their rights and the regulator ever more eager to ensure alignment.

Mobile advertising, for example, at the tail end of a mobile recharge confirmation message, the leverage of ad services layered on top of social networks such as Facebook and even traditional media advertising with a direct call to action are triggers that can be used to initiate the consumer approval process.

I have a preference for platforms that offer better targeting and measurable metrics for a return on engagement monies.

While frowned upon as a step that can see attrition, double opt-in ensures that as a business, you have a second confirmation from the target user on their approval to receive messages from you. This can be by way of a PIN served via SMS or voice or any such action that requires active participation and awareness of the consumer.

To tie it all together, it must be easy to opt out or pause the receipt of future communication, except of course as guided by your terms and conditions those critical to the delivery of a product or service that your customer has signed up for.

From government, enterprise to small and medium-sized businesses, playing by the book aligned to best practice will dramatically increase the returns on your mobile strategy.

Mr Njihia is CEO of Symbiotic. Twitter: @mbuguanjihia.

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Source: Business Daily (Kenya)

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