Each year, CTIA Super Mobility Week brings together professionals from across the mobility landscape to feature innovation, connected life and the disruptive power of mobility. This year’s conference focused on ways the Internet transforms the physical world from a collection of “dumb” objects to “smart” ones. As AT&T Senior Vice President of Internet of Things Organization Chris Penrose aptly describes it, we are moving from a world of “us taking care of our things to our things taking care of us.” All of this connectivity means consumers are spending more and more time online, and that time is expected to grow exponentially in the coming years. Heightened connectivity is forcing brands to reconsider the ways in which they engage with consumers. From the many voices at this year’s conference, we homed in on three key strategies for marketing in our increasingly connected world.

Drive Brand Engagement through Online Communities

The importance of building an online community resurfaced multiple times throughout the conference. Jimmy Wales, chairman of The People’s Operator (TPO), a wireless company that donates 10% of your monthly bill to a social cause of your choice, emphasized the ways which the brand’s online community has encouraged word-of-mouth marketing. TPO’s online community, which shares similarities with Facebook, includes cause pages where users can engage with others supporting their same cause. This community has played a large part in the company’s success in the UK.

Under Armour Chief Digital Officer Robin Thurston emphasized the significance of the brand’s digital community called Record. Under Armour Record is the world’s largest health and fitness community, allowing participants to track, analyze, and share fitness activity and goals. The platform facilitates regular brand engagement, contributing to Under Armour’s goal of helping customers stay healthy, which in turn means they will continue to need Under Armour’s products.

Verizon’s Go90, a video streaming service targeted at Millennials, is also built around a branded social platform. Through Go90, users can share videos with friends, comment on content, and follow people, similar to other social media platforms.

Social communities help consumers rally around causes, topics or activities that are both important to them and relevant to the hosting brand. They promote engagement with the brand and help drive loyalty.

Be Present on the Mobile Device

An imperative piece of these online communities is its accessibility from a mobile app. Under Armour emphasized the various apps it supports through the app store, such as MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal, and the Record app itself. Enabling users to track information on the go has been integral to the Under Armour experience. Thurston explained that after only five engagements, whether tracking a workout or a meal within one of its apps, customers became very sticky.

Another advantage of a dedicated mobile app is the ability to use push notifications to keep customers informed. During a panel on new media and over-the-top services, network executives highlighted push alerts to letting customers know when something big is coming up or happening, and also for helping customers discover content.

Alternatively, text messages can help inform and educate consumers, while encouraging them to interact with a brand. With ad blockers becoming an increasing challenge for marketing on mobile websites, a direct connection with consumers on their mobile device through apps or text messaging will become even more important.

Have an Integrated Marketing Strategy

With more and more users online, and leaving a trail of data behind, marketers have more information than ever about their target audiences. This robust data makes targeting potential better than ever, but also presents marketers with the challenge of interpreting the data, and then determining a cost-effective media mix that will best connect with their intended audiences. As Vivaki’s Chief Commercial Officer David Penski asserted, “You can’t create 10,000 different versions of an ad.”

Integration, a word frequently used during Super Mobility Week to describe interactions across devices, capabilities and services, also applies to marketing. With consumers’ time fragmented across a variety of devices, including tablets, phones and wearables, among others, it is critical for marketers to be able to assess which combination of marketing channels would best address a client’s needs. Agencies may face increasing pressure to help facilitate integration either through broader capabilities or through better communication with other agencies working to achieve the same client goal.

Emily Groch is Mintel Comperemedia’s Director of Insights, Telecommunications. She provides omni-channel marketing analysis and competitive insights to wireless, TV, internet, over-the-top, and home security service providers across the U.S. and Canada.

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