Embracing the connected consumer: Does your mobile strategy prepare you for the future of omni-channel marketing?

Written on 2 Oct 2014

Osborne Clarke and Mubaloo, a mobile app development business, brought together a high profile panel on 30 September 2014 to discuss what’s driving change in the mobile strategy space and how is this shaping the future of omni-channel marketing. An overview of the event is set out below.

What is omni-channel marketing?

John Davidson-Kelly (Commercial Partner, Osborne Clarke) kicked off the evening by asking the speakers this question with responses concluding that omni-channel is a multi-channel approach that allows the client or the consumer to feel like they are only using one interface. The intention is to create a seamless experience for the consumer through all available channels.

Mobile and the consumer – where next?

Paul Lee (Head of TMT research, Deloitte) gave an overview of how consumers’ relationships with smartphones has developed over the past few years. Smartphones are now reaching maximum adoption, with approximately 70% of the population of developed countries now owning a smartphone.  There has also been a dramatic rise in the number of people that own a tablet over the past 3 years, although Paul raised the question of whether tablets can be classed as truly mobile devices, given the size of most tablets and the extra expenses involved with 4G capabilities. Paul also explained how data allowance was quickly becoming the most important consideration for smartphone owners when purchasing a new phone or tariff, signalling an important change in consumers’ needs.

Making the connection in an Omni-channel world

Oliver Bareham (Head of Mobile, IPG Mediabrands UK) hit home with further impressive statistics regarding smartphone uptake in the modern world and how consumers are quickly becoming increasingly engaged with (or should that be inseparable from) their smartphones. One of the aspects that Oliver focussed on was the alarming bond people now have with their smartphone, explaining that nearly half of us sleep with our mobiles on loud so that we don’t miss any notifications. The importance of these statistics show there is now less of a divide (if any) between the online world and the physical world. This symbiotic relationship also means mobile marketing is no longer a niche channel, it has instead become the heart of the ecosystem in which consumers now operate. Given consumers’ increased engagement and knowledge, data privacy should form an essential part of a business’s central policy. Oliver recommended that brands should be focussing on getting consumers’ consent to personal data usage, asking questions of their consumers, using personal data to offer a genuinely personalised experience, and ensuring that consumers receive genuine value from this increased engagement.

What are the key considerations when developing an integrated mobile strategy?

Tom Harding (Senior Associate, Osborne Clarke) focussed on the changing legal requirements for consumers purchasing via mobile.  He highlighted that distance purchases are now subject to new EU wide legislation (the Consumer Rights Directive) and that digital content is now specifically regulated to give consumers rights in respect of the quality of apps and remedies where those apps cause damage to their devices. Juan Pablo Luchetti (Director of Partner Relations, Mubaloo) went on to address the importance for businesses to build a clear roadmap to assess exactly what they need from a mobile strategy, explaining that the approach of businesses should be to address specific user problems, keeping the app or web content as slim and streamlined as possible. Paul Anning (Payments Partner, Osborne Clarke) addressed the legal pitfalls and the benefits of mobile payments  and discussed the objectives guiding the regulatory framework, such as consumer protection, competition and stimulating innovation. Stephen Groom (Senior data Consultant, Osborne Clarke) gave an animated and interactive discussion on the topic of data privacy in the world of mobile apps and beacon technology. Stephen explained that many apps still fail to provide a sufficient level of detail in an appropriate form for consumers, with only 15% of apps giving a clear explanation of how they collect, use and disclose personal data.

Is Beacon technology set to transform the retail experience?

Mike Crooks (Commercial Director, MiBeacons) gave a demonstration and informed discussion around the exciting opportunities that Beacons can offer. Beacons are small Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) devices that enable apps to deliver contextually relevant information based on a users’ proximity to the beacon. The implications and opportunities for brands to use beacons and location-based technologies are vast. Not only do beacons allow brands to deliver content and interact with a consumer based on their physical location; but, most importantly, they empower businesses to close the gap between digital activity and the physical environment. More than anything, these two technologies provide businesses with valuable data that helps them become more efficient, improve services and drive new revenue. Although the potential for beacon technology is increasingly being recognised for he value it brings to the enterprise, the use case in retail has received a fair amount of attention. Mike spoke in detail about the opportunity to engage retail customers to improve the customer experience and drive sales.

However, Mike’s parting message was perhaps the most important of the night: Location-based technologies provide a unique opportunity for brands to engage with their consumers – but just because they can, doesn’t mean they should. Use of the technology should be strategic and drive real value for the consumer, assisting them intelligently along their journey. 

About the event

On 30 September, Osborne Clarke and Mubaloo brought together senior executives and lawyers at this interactive event to trial the latest innovative, location-based beacon technology and explore the practical and legal steps needed to build your brand and boost audience engagement through mobile strategies. The panel included:

  • Paul Lee (Head of TMT research, Deloitte)
  • Oliver Bareham (Head of Mobile, IPG Mediabrands UK)
  • Tom Harding (Senior Commercial Associate, Osborne Clarke)
  • Juan Pablo Luchetti (Director of Partner Relations, Mubaloo)
  • Paul Anning (Payments Partner, Osborne Clarke) Stephen Groom (Senior Data Consultant, Osborne Clarke)
  • Mike Crooks (Commercial Director, Mibeacons)

The evening was chaired by John Davidson-Kelly, a digital media partner at Osborne Clarke.