With the widespread adoption of mobile devices, particularly smartphones, marketers and PSPs are striving to engage with consumers in the digital and physical worlds. The true key, however, is providing users with mobile experience marketing. This goes beyond sending an SMS text message or clicking on a QR code that links to a mobile-friendly website. An effective mobile experience will make it easier for a consumer to do what they want while simultaneously delivering promotions and offers that are contextually relevant and valuable. There are a number of readily available mobile technologies that help service providers incorporate mobile and print technologies. Each of these “mobile plus print” combinations has its own characteristics in terms of consumer convenience, technical challenges, and actionable data. While all of these technologies can work, delivering an effective customer experience can be a real game-changer. This experience must transcend the digital and physical worlds to truly engage the customer. The Table below provides a synopsis of some of today’s mobile technologies.



Augmented Reality

The overlaying of digital information to create an enhanced version of the user’s reality, often with 3D content.

Digital Watermarks

A covert marker embedded in a noise-tolerant signal such as an audio file, video, or image. For mobile engagement, the digital watermark is typically embedded in print collateral that can be scanned using an appropriate app.

Image Recognition

Software used to identify objects within an image. Mobile applications involve takinga video-streamor photo of an object using the mobile device’s camera.

Mobile Barcodes

A data-dense barcode of varying formats that can present the user with data when scanned, or redirect him/her to specific online destinations.

Near-Field Communication

A wireless technology that utilizes short range radio-frequency identification (RFID) to enable devices to interact within close range (typically 10 cm or 3.9”). For print applications, a read-only NFC tag is applied during production.


Transforming Mobile Technology to a Mobile Experience

The benefit of mobile technology is that it interacts with the consumer at the most contextually relevant time and location possible. Marketers have concluded that mobile can and will work when it is used properly.When mobile marketing first emerged, marketers and service providers simply migrated traditional techniques and processes into mobile capabilities by creating mobile-friendly sites or replacing a personalized URL with a QR code. Although this was a start, it takes more to deliver a mobile experience.

In today’s world, putting the customer first is the best way to create an interactive mobile experience. Mobile technology is an integral component in taking a customer on a journey with a brand. The journey begins with some combination or print and mobile, but it must be contextual and relevant to his/her immediate needs. One of the best mobile campaigns was delivered by Target Stores during the 2014 holiday season. It took the customer on a journey by adding significant value to the overall holiday shopping experience. Target Stores kicked off last year’s holiday season by mailing out a “Wish Book” that was packed with coupons. 

Target paired its catalog with a “Wish List” App, creating a modern way to help kids build their own lists. By combining an easy-to-use mobile app with its printed catalog, Target provided a fun way for kids to communicate what they really wanted from Santa.

Parents were able to create profiles for up to 10 children. After choosing from a selection of avatars, the child was able to visit a virtual Santa’s Workshop and build a wish list of desired items. Using a mobile device, they could add catalog items to their holiday wish lists. These lists could then be shared with friends and family members via e-mail, Twitter, text, or Facebook.

The journey didn’t stop there—Target also simplified the process for parents, grandparents, and others who were interested in purchasing merchandise in-store.Target showcased its top 20 toys using prominent in-store displays, making it easier for time-strapped holiday shoppers to find that perfect gift. For added convenience, each of the top toys had a QR code that could be accessed to purchase the toy directly using a mobile device. These products could be shipped free of charge to anyone across the United States. 

Target was able to create an improved experience by meeting the consumer at the center of his own world with on-demand marketing at his fingertips. The customer journey included a printed catalog, combined with a mobile app that helped adults understand what kids wanted for Christmas. Mobile was integrated in all facets of the shopping experience, regardless of whether consumers chose to shop via catalog or in-store.


The Fundamentals of the Customer Experience

Mobile experience marketing isn’t about the device—the device is simply a vehicle that enables consumers to connect with the brand. The Target campaign followed a number of principles that made it successful, and service providers can consult these same ideas in their own campaigns.

Target mapped out the customer experience and developed an understanding of what its audience members typically went through during the holiday season. Armed with this knowledge, the retailer enabled consumers to engage with the brand using a blend of mobile and print technologies.

The campaign effectively blended print, mobile, and social components and seamlessly moved customers from a printed catalog to a bricks-and-mortar store to redeem coupons.

The campaign served as a mechanism for gathering data. Target was able to learn about kids’ toy preferences, and this knowledge will likely prove useful during future holiday seasons. Target was also able to learn about the spending levels of friends and family members based on the items that were purchased from a particular child’s wish list.

The campaign went beyond the device and transformed it into an experience. In addition to helping relatives make a decision about what to purchase for a child, the retailer also simplified the in-store purchasing process.

Mobile is here to stay, and it is now an integral part of our everyday lives. In today’s market, it is no longer enough to add a QR code to a mailer, push out a text message, put an NFC tag on a sign, or use augmented reality within a transit shelter. Marketers must work together with service providers to deliver experience marketing. When properly executed, this strategy can increase customer engagement, satisfaction, and conversion. It’s about delivering relevant communications in context to drive consumers to act!