At Merkle, we talk a lot about the expansion of digital channels and their impact on CRM and the 360 degree view of the consumer. If you’ve read any of our recent white papers on the topic, you can see how we’re evaluating the growth of these channels and what we expect that growth to change in terms of infrastructure and attribution. Take mobile use for example. The data tracking mobile use continues to show massive year-over-year increases. Within the insurance industry alone, recent studies by Google have shown that 23% of all insurance searches are done via mobile devices.
So why are so many companies hesitating to expand or develop their mobile platforms? Sure, we see some of our clients participating here, but we also see just as many biding their time, and I often wonder why they aren’t at least building the basic platform to get started.
If you’re not convinced with just the industry trends, simply turn the tables and think about it from a consumer’s point of view. More and more consumers are using their phones or tablets for what they used to use their laptops and desktops for. It’s no real wonder, our phones are with us all day and night. The functionality of mobile phones is evolving at a breakneck speed and the experience is improving almost every month.
When was the last time you did any substantial research on a new laptop purchase? I just went through this myself, not because I really wanted a new laptop, but my old one (of about 6 years!) just isn’t holding up any longer, and my kids need something to use for school. But my research was pretty minimal as most laptops have become commodities at this point. They all have pretty much the same specs and performance. Some brands are better than others obviously, but as long as the laptop had the RAM and disk space that I require, that was about it.
But when it comes to a mobile phone, I use it so much my research is pretty extensive. Even now, I’m in a contract for another year, but I’m still looking at the new releases to see which phone I might get next. I’m already bored with my current phone and ready for the next star trek-like gadget. Why? Because the functionality continues to expand and improve beyond what a laptop can do. Thousands of apps are improving your experience and navigation. Downloading and uploading speeds are increasing and multi-tasking is supported like no other devices. As such, it’s where I prefer to be when I’m interacting online, and because of that I want the device with the best experience.
And as a consumer, I’d want to interact with the companies that are supporting that experience. So if they are not mobile optimized, it’s going to detract from how I view content and I may just stop interacting with them.
Some insurance companies are responding to this. They are developing or already have mobile apps. They’re collecting mobile numbers and developing opportunities to interact with their customers via mobile devices. Those that aren’t thinking about this are just going to miss out. Maybe not tomorrow, but the wave is on its way…