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Mobile Marketing; Understanding the Omnichannel Customer Still a Struggle: IBM Survey

By Jun 19, 2013

Marketers (40%) are finding that delivering a positive customer experience is harder in mobile marketing than on the web. That’s likely no surprise, but what may be troubling is that 70% of marketers describe their multichannel experience for customers as “okay” or “poor.

mobile marketing omnichannel customerThese findings, from a new IBM sponsored survey of more than 500 chief marketing officers and ecommerce leaders, revealed that while these leaders understand the importance of mobile, two-thirds still do not know how to define their mobile user experience.

The top three most serious issues around mobile marketing were defined as bad navigation/poor “findabilty,” screen-sizing issues and form-filling problems.

Mobile traffic continues to grow, with respondents attributing 19% of their total traffic to a mobile device. Even so, many companies continue to optimize their websites for mobile marketing and experiences, as opposed to building a mobile experience from the ground up which would provide an improved experience for the customer.

The Online Experience

While mobile marketing stood out as a key focus for many companies, the survey also found that wider customer experience challenges remain, both in terms of understanding customer struggle and also addressing pain points. Seven percent of companies indicated they have an “excellent” understanding of the overall online customer experience, a three point increase over 2012. Another 78% reported that their company has a “good” or “okay” understanding. Specifically, companies understand how customers behave during the initial awareness stages of the sales funnel, but still lack understanding around the purchase stages and the reasons behind cart abandonment.

The survey also found:

Integration still lacking

Just 4% of respondents said they provide an “excellent” multichannel experience, the others said the experience was okay or poor.

Integrating online and offline channels is a struggle. Most companies focus on basic functionality such as including information about offline locations, contact details and opening hours on their website. Other ways of integrating offline and online channels include establishing a social presence for offline products or services and mobile or local search engine optimization. When asked if offline parts of the business have visibility into individual customer engagement via digital channels, only 7% of respondents said, “very much so.”

 Investments increasing in online channels

Budgets are increasing (but not everywhere). Seventy-three percent plan to increase investment in online channels this year. With a staggering 6.9 billion mobile subscriptions globally, another 72% expect to invest more in mobile channels. Social is also seeing gains, with 53% of companies expecting to increase investment in this channel as well. On the other hand, more than two-thirds of respondents indicated they either plan to decrease or maintain the same level of investment in offline channels such as stores, shops and branches.

Big data

Most companies point to big data as the key to understanding the customer experience. Further, three in five companies consider digital experience (session) replay as very effective, however, only a quarter of companies use this method. This same method is also considered the best tool to identify problems or issues with the digital experience, with the proportion of organizations saying session replay is very effective, an increase of 10% over 2012’s survey. When it comes to social media, while most respondents consider social listening to be ineffective, at the same time, respondents do agree social gives insight “into what is working and what is not.”