The mobile device has become an increasingly important and valuable tool to marketers notes Ross Elmsly, country manager, Singapore, Sybase 365.

“Our vision when it comes to mobile CRM (mCRM) is simple and focused, he says.  “We are looking at services across the whole mobile chain with mCRM integrated into it to enable the whole mobile economy,” he elaborates.

A veteran in the mobile commerce and banking spaces, it was only a matter of time for Sybase 365 to turn its attention to mCRM. The company launched its global mCRM initiative in Asia at the end of March 2010 in Barcelona.

Elmsly notes that there is a lot of interest in mCRM as it’s a very natural progression but he states that lots of companies don’t have a strategy in place to harness it and are in general, very unprepared here. However, this should change as mCRM impacts the whole marketing mix. “The key when it comes to mCRM in the marketing mix is that marketers use the right channel for their campaign/message. mCRM doesn’t and shouldn’t replace other marketing mediums like the Internet. Instead, they should go hand-in-hand,” he says.

According to Sybase 365’s observations, mCRM’s key advantages are the fact that the mobile is a low-cost medium, a very personal device which thereby makes it always relevant and connected; location relevance is also beginning to make a huge impact and finally, response rates are very good.

However, it’s still very early days for mCRM and a lot of market education is still needed here, but Elmsly shares that Sybase 365 has already seen a few very good campaigns around. He cites a case-study of a diaper manufacturer in South East Asia which Sybase 365 helped in implementing a loyalty campaign via the mobile. SMS was used here for customers’ registration and details. “This company ended up gaining 8% market-share with this campaign. It shows the increasing relevance and power of the mobile and mCRM and right now, companies can do even more here than simply SMS,” shares Elmsly.

He adds that the global financial crisis has helped spur the growth of mCRM globally as people look for different channels to reach out to their customers. However, there are still challenges that the mCRM market has to address.  For one thing, consumers are not really willing to pay for a lot of the services rendered via mCRM such as state service broadcasts and loyalty programs. In addition, there is a general lack of awareness when it comes to mCRM especially amongst companies who want to use it. “Many organizations do not know exactly what they want or can get out of a mCRM campaign. Moreover, many don’t understand mCRM privacy issues and what to do in order to ensure they are not breaking any laws here. This is why a lot more education is needed,” Elmsly says.

Sybase 365’s mCRM solution consists of the following:

Mobile Coupon/Discount Voucher Module

  • Digital delivery of coupons/vouchers via SMS
  • Vouchers processed with existing EPOS infrastructure – therefore no additional hardware is needed; uses existing POS terminals, uses Visa or MasterCard payment; minimal requirement for software development
  • Service is network agnostic and therefore reaches any customer on any mobile operator’s network
  • Reach any customer on any mobile operator’s network

Mobile Loyalty Module

  • Loyalty Program Subscription Management - captures all key customer data (e.g. name, address and age) at initial registration. Is fully customizable to capture any desired attributes
  • Loyalty Points Management - loads points from existing programs and from package-label campaigns. Also manages points balance and allocation including double points. In addition, it provides customers with points redemption opportunities. Tracking provides prevention of code re-use
  • Personalized Product/Service Alerts – these are value added alerts such as product usage tips, reminders driven by key dates, offers and promotions
  • On-Package Code Generation - Allows consumers to engage with brands through on-package codes and enables the generation of unique codes. In addition, codes can be exported to print for manufacturing

Mobile Research/Survey Module

  • Integrated questionnaire builder, allows surveys to be created within the system
  • Supports multiple question types, open, closed, range, informational messages and those for collecting postal address
  • Surveys can be run over SMS, WAP or WEB - or multi-modal
  • Complex routing can be applied within a survey to allow future questions to be asked to those to be replied to with specific responses.
  • Detailed real time reporting is available online, as well as being able to download the response data in CSV or Triple-S format.
  • Surveys can be issued to a sample group at a scheduled time, or triggered by a keyword (allowing for self-selection).
  • Cyclic survey questions can be used to rotate a subset of questions over the whole sample, reducing the effects of coloration.
  • Additional survey types such as reoccurring surveys can be issued automatically on a scheduled basis. Diary surveys allow an individual to take part in the same survey many times before it expires.

Elmsly describes Sybase 365’s mCRM portfolio as holistic and a complete offering but he emphasizes that customers can even choose modules they require.  “As can be seen from our portfolio, the relevance and personalization involved changes the marketing game exponentially,” he declares.

There are a number of reasons why Sybase 365 feels it stands out in the mCRM space. For one thing, Elmsly points out that the company has the reach needed here especially with mobile operators and also with its extensive customer base globally. In addition, he stresses that mobile is their core business and mCRM is a key focus that is driving the company forward. Next, Sybase 365 is an enterprise player which means that they are ahead of the curve when it comes to security and the quality of their mCRM service.

Elmsly states that Sybase 365 is aggressively rolling out its mCRM strategy across Asia and that we should expect 1-2 big deals this year on top of even more innovative services. “Telcos should be engaging heavily in mCRM, but many are still not doing so, and therefore a lot of opportunities abound. We believe that in the Asia Pacific where some of the world’s largest operators reside, mCRM can really transform the face of the CRM landscape,” he concludes emphatically.

By Shanti Anne Morais