Monday, August 20, 2012
The 7 S's Required for Success in Mobile Payments - Week 4 - Social
By Randy Smith, Mobile Wallet Media
Monday, August 20th, 2012
Week 4 of 7-Week Series
The media focus seems to have been mostly on enabling technology, security and savings, but retailers need a 'Clear-Cut Vision' on how Mobile Wallets will drive more traffic to their stores.
Social will be a key driver of traffic.
Social networks provide the reach retailers are looking for, and one of them is a Droid (please tell me you got that joke referencing Star Wars - Episode 1 + Google's phone). Yes, I know if I have to explain it, it only makes it worse. Welcome to my world of humor. My friends still love me, despite this.
Social has no borders or boundaries and all channels connect to it and serve it. Social networks provide, other media channels, the ability to interact with their customers. Social also has unparalleled depth of data on it's users. Of course each channel each has it's own unique data analytics.
TV, radio and even websites can gather information about their customers to better know and serve them, but this data is limited. Social data is 'Organic Data.' Facebook 'Likes' pinpoint what each 'Social Surfer' is interested in. Try that with any other marketing channel. You want to communicate and allow for 2-way engagement with your ALL of your customers at once. Just post a poll, pic, video, promotion or contest on your Facebook page. Now, I don't want to leave out 'Social's Super Side-Kick' Twitter. One without the other is definitely less engaging in reaching your total audience. Nor should one ignore any of the other prominent Social Networks such as Youtube, FourSquare, Pinterest and Yelp.
Other media channels freely and without choice promote social networks. Why? Because in the end the 'Customer is King.' If any advertising channel wants to run on all cylinders, it has no choice but to engage social with all it's heart and might. Marketers must do it with passion and purpose or quickly be exposed or ignored as not being 'with it,' or worse becoming irrelevant.
Last week I shared that a 'Heat Seeking Missile' is required to hit our target. To make this missile fly it requires social and the right kind of social. If you ever have seen the movie October Sky, you would know that launching a rocket requires a perfect mixture of fuel. This fuel must burn smoothly and not be full of 'Hot Air Pockets' or the rocket will explode in flight. So am I saying you must be a rocket scientist to carry out social? Yes, but it will require those proficient at Social Media and communication in order to conduct reliable, safe and successful social engineering.
Placing a 'Social Badge' on ones website or ad does not make one Social. Brands must be social, like nice and extroverted people. Customers may come for your product, but will return if a relationship is built. Social Media is about relationship building and adding value to your great product or service.
In a world where customers have a multitude of choices of where they may buy a product or service, they will not as often be so stingy on price or buying elsewhere if they enjoy their shopping experience. This is a key part of brand building and being profitable and via Social, you have the opportunity to take your brand and the relationship to a deeper level. You may share about what, as a brand, you care about besides your product and services; be it saving the planet, feeding starving children or funding college scholarships. But be careful to be very proactive and collaborative with customers and non-profits to achieve the right results. The last thing you want to do is have a 'Cause Marketing' program lacking in real sincerity and purpose. People will see right through this.
In order to accomplish and carry out a successful Social Media campaign companies must hire social, friendly, fun, funny, rational, realistic, intelligent, talented, mature and very creative people that understand their product and their customer. These representatives must also care about what your customers care about and they must care about the causes you partner with. There is no going backwards here! Just like there is no reverse gear in technology, such is the case with social.
Social is most assuredly moving and trending with mobile technology. Mobile of course is changing everything as well (By the way, very soon we will examine in depth how these trends parallel). Merchants and advertisers must meet their customers where they are at and this is where social and mobile meet. If a marketing channel fails to do this, it would have been like the auto industry saying no to fuel injection or Hybrid Electric Vehicles. Social, along with mobile, are media channels that are in hyper drive and will drive growth wherever it is properly plugged into.
Speaking of 'Hyper Drives,' let's tie in social with the Mobile Wallet. Social is also one of the core suppliers of 'the gasoline' that will enable Marty and Doc's Delorean to reach 88 miles per hour. If you remember from week one, the 'Flux Capacitor' for the Mobile Wallet is the connection between mobile to POS and is what makes mobile payments possible. So if Social in the gasoline, what is the uranium to power the Flux Capacitor?
Retailers, of course, are the 'Uranium.' Without retailers participating, the mobile wallet will be stuck in neutral and really serve no purpose. But thanks to Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, upcoming ISIS pilots and the 'new' Google Wallet, the prospects are looking good for the supply of uranium.
Social is the 'Gasoline' to drive forward mobile payments!
Retailers are the 'Uranium' that power the 'Flux Capacitor.'
Mobile Wallets provide the Flux Capacitor > POS Technology.
So, let's venture back into the 'Data Goldmine,' that the Mobile Wallet will soon be the 'Mother Load' of them all. We know that social without retail, without mobile, is a Lose-Lose-Lose proposition. And now with the addition of the mobile wallet, the data loop may be made complete, well sort of.
Up until the mobile wallet, the transaction data of customers, for all their purchases at various stores, was exclusive to networks and banks. Each retailer has exclusive SKU data and thus purchase history data, but not necessarily, if rarely ever, tied to card data. With the mobile wallet, the transaction data for all purchases is not limited to just one card brand, but will be expanded to include all payment methods; cards, ACH, gift, daily deal vouchers and virtual currency. Mobile Wallets enable customer tracking without loyalty cards. With Mobile Wallets, retailers can now track customer purchases and thus deliver personalized offers.
Also, as the wallet is paired with shopping carts, and perhaps filled with UPC codes, it could contain the entire data chain. Retailers also parse out their data archives to data aggregators in exchange for gaining even better data so as to market with more precision and better ROI. These data aggregators will also want to buy data from mobile wallets so they may complete their data chain. And last but certainly not least the product OEM's may finally be able also tie sales to individual customers, also enabling product personalized product promotions and even 'Automated Product Registration.' We'll complete this conversation in coming days or weeks in an upcoming article on data analytics and the Mobile Wallet.
So, we strayed a bi into data analytics today from the focus of Social, but that is because Social is the 'Prince of Data and Reach.' The bottom line is retailers can not afford not to embrace Social, wherever it goes. Retailers tune into, as do we all at times, WIIFM Radio: 'What's In It For Me' and tune out if the song playing on the radio is not "Show me the Customers or Money.' There is nothing wrong with this of course. Making a profit is the main goal of any business and without ample traffic coming through the doors, it will not matter if you have the best products and the coolest and most contemporary looking store in the world (well this alone could drive traffic via word of mouth - but we'll leave that to another discussion), if you have failed to build an off-ramp and display bulletin boards along the busiest digital and mobile highways and byways, your best customers will be crickets and the bill collector.
About Mobile Wallet Media
Mobile Wallet Media is a media, analyst and consulting firm focused on the future of mobile commerce. The company mission is to highlight industry innovation and provide insights and opinions that will be relevant and forward-looking. The author, Randy Smith, is the primary founder, inventor and former CEO of MobilePayUSA, a TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Alley Winner.