Customer engagement is about creating an emotional connection. Whether it's a clever tag line like "Let's Gap Together" or images of alluring models, the idea is to create a rapport and convert it into business transactions.
Traditionally, that emotional connection was built through 2D graphics or videos. But new communication-vectors--the Internet, mobile connectivity and social media--are changing how people make purchase decisions. The shifting landscape is driving many Hong Kong marketers towards technologies that will transform the way they build rapport with their customers.
Stay connected and relevant
One example is Sun Hung Kai Financial (SHKF). The consumer financial services company launched its iOS-based mobile trading app--eMO--in 2011, then rolled out an Android version earlier this year.
"Mobility used to be an offensive strategy, but these days, it is a defensive strategy," said Mun-Shing Cheong, head of e-business at SHKF. "It's reached the point where you're lagging behind dangerously without a mobile strategy--you need one to stay relevant," she said.
As part of SHKF's five-year blueprint for technology enhancement, eMO allows its customers to trade Hong Kong shares and access financial analysis reports. The app also allows potential customers to access market news and create a virtual or "dummy" stock portfolio.
"My favorite part of the apps is the dummy portfolio," said Cheong. "It allows anyone to create their own investment portfolio without actually investing money." She said that features like these enable the company to engage with potential customers and enhance businesses.
Besides customer-engagement, SHKF also enhances its brand through eMO. "The biggest impact and business benefit for SHKF are in the form of industry recognition," Cheong added.
The apps has brought SHKF multiple awards. It won the Best Financial Services mobile app at the 2012 Internet Advertising Competition organized by the Web Marketing Association, the Silver Award for Integrated Marketing, and the Bronze Award for Mobile Apps in the 2012 Horizon Interactive Awards.
"These awards resulted in greater visibility and brand exposure for us," said Cheong, "leading to more new business." She added that over 10% of her firm's online trading customers are currently trading via eMO--that's double the expected initial adoption rate.
SHKF is not the only business tapping the vibrant mobile market to expand their market-reach. More marketing executives are expected to leverage different technologies to create next-generation customer experiences.
IBM's "State of Marketing 2012" survey indicated that close to 80% of companies are using some form of mobile marketing tools, like apps, mobile messaging, location-based messaging or mobile ads. The study, released in June 2012, surveyed 350 marketing professionals.
A world with two views
Gartner also predicted that, by 2017, chief marketing officers (CMOs) will be spending more on IT than CIOs. But until then, many businesses still struggle with implementations of comprehensive digital marketing strategies. And many in marketing blame the CIOs.
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