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How to reward the right behaviour in a mobile world [Net Prophet]

Did you know that 95% of what we do is subconscious? The human mind decides not only which products and services to buy but also how to do so. It’s the key to consumerism. Although this fact is as obvious and predictable as the human mind is, examining the consumer process with the view of mobile tech illuminates the new grip of both hands of marketing and digital — choice.

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According to according to Mobilitrix CEO Chris Rolfe, understanding the human mind is a key element to understanding mobile and more importantly how to maximize its potential.

Rolfe opened up this year’s Net Prophet 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa. As the CEO of Mobilitrix he brings word from the frontlines of mobile tech. In addition to this he has a trusty toolbox of wisdom he no doubt filled during his tenure as CEO of Virgin Active South Africa and various other digital marketing posts. Holding degrees in both the disciplines of Politics and Finance, Rolfe understands an individual’s motivations and how others tap into it.

How do you become someone’s habit and not just their choice?

This question must foster one of the most sought after answers in marketing, how do you motivate your consumers to the degree of them subconsciously choosing your product rather than going through the decision-making process each time? The immediate response of most parents and teachers of young children would be based on their experience – rewards!

Rolfe reckons that in order to get to the next level of understanding consumerism one has to understand rewards. When tackling the behavioural analysis of consumerism though, understanding the resource grab that we are instinctually programmed to do and matching the right incentive with the right choice is crucial. Are you looking to teach a short term decision that has worth for the individual and is a good idea, or are you looking to reinforce a new consumer behaviour and habit of the shopping experience for a brand?

Contrary to what many people instinctually think, rewards as the answer to creating consumer habits, according to Rolfe, don’t work. One would naturally believe that the larger the reward, the higher the performance, but he goes to demonstrate that this is just not the case. Rolfe believes that the best results are derived from better matching the rewards with the behaviour and one can achieve this by more deeply understanding your consumer.

Why rewards are not the sole solution to turning a consumer’s choice into a habit…

“The behaviour you incentivise is the behaviour you get.” If a consumer believes they can wait for a deal or a better price then they will do so. If you want to show increased sales figures you need to incentivise something like a loyalty program or another more creative mechanism that is well thought through.

When you think about a Customer Acquisition Cost (CPC), meaning how much does it cost you to get each customer into your brand, it becomes clear how important it is to not only gain new business but to also keep your existing ones happy and loyal to your product. The real winners are those that have the ability to hang onto their customers.

The three enablers in a mobile world

There are 6-billion mobile phones, now you have a device that you can use to connect with a customer and get to know them easily. You also have a brilliant Point of Sale, meaning they can purchase your product from their device.

Lastly, you can garner a great deal of consumer behaviour analytics to guide your development research for perfecting your formula in your User Experience from this device. These three things are what Rolfe categorizes as the 3 Enablers in a Mobile World, and the best part for brands is that all of this can be attained from the palm of their hands and delivered to theirs.

Rolfe says the different types of incentives can be used to achieve a goal: Financial, Product, Utility, and Recognition. The job of brands should be to discover which of these will bring the most Return on Investment (ROI) for the particular brand or product they are responsible for.

Where do we go from here?

We have a much more established supply chain from the consumer chain purchasing habits. By having more data available you’re able to manage a more efficient supply chain. Secondly, Brand Awareness is never going to be put on the back burner, “You can’t create a brand without brand awareness.”

Additionally, the Mobile Shopper Marketer is a concept that can be used by brands and shoppers both to benefit from, but how do you use this intelligently? Once you can put the pieces together on how to make this arrangement mutually beneficial for both the self-interest of the consumer and the interest of the seller your approach will be unstoppable.

One of the questions that a member of the crowd brought up is that traditional mechanisms of incentives have been brands rewarding consumers, are we not moving towards an era that the consumers are beginning to incentivise brands to perform to their standards and work to achieve and sustain their business as the consumer?

Could the argument be made that in an increasingly monopolistic global economy with corporations and government sanctions being the order of the day that mobile technology will be the saviour for capitalism and the 99%? Or will increased consumer data gathering via these devices lead us into an era where individual privacy is a thing of the past? Only time will tell.

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