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Top mobile technologies to watch out for in 2013

It is evident that mobile has captured the attention of many top brands, and technologies such as QR codes and augmented reality have helped pave the way. Now, marketers are looking for the next big trend that will drive customer interactions and, ultimately, sales.

Mobile is becoming the go-to medium for many companies and marketers are integrating it into their day-to-day initiatives. In 2013, marketers must make a bigger investment into the space and look at new technologies to help develop deeper relationships with consumers.

?Mobile provides marketers a wealth of creative opportunities to get their messages in front of mobile subscribers ? for example, geo-fenced advertising, scanable codes, Shazam, and interstitial ads on music and video apps,? said Tim Richie, vice president of North American sales and account management at Open Market.

?Ultimately, each of these technologies aims to do the same thing: drive consumers to action by putting a powerful message in front them when they are open to receiving it,? he said. ?This trend and the technologies that support it will gain momentum in 2013, helping marketers deliver more value.
?Businesses are facing many technology challenges today ? sharing data across systems and teams, managing multiple vendor solutions, and increasing user demands. This year, companies will look to consolidate systems, and leverage cloud-based solutions for cost savings and improved SLAs. Technology that is modular, flexible and enables a number of use cases will be most attractive to enterprises.?

Key message
To be most effective, marketers need to deliver a message that resonates with the consumer at a relevant time via the appropriate messaging channel.

The extent to which a marketer can execute on this objective dictates their success, per Mr. Ritchie. 

Marketers should aggressively seek out flexible messaging systems that facilitate their communications to consumers across multiple channels.

?Over several years, marketers have struggled to identify how mobile fits into the marketing mix,? Mr. Ritchie said. ?Initially, it was an interesting experiment, then Apple ushered in the age of mobile applications which became a key mobile strategy.

?Increasingly mobile has become a business-as-usual communication channel alongside more traditional communication and advertising methods,? he said. ?The real growth in mobile adoption for businesses in 2013 won?t be sexy.

?Businesses will find ways to leverage mobile to replace or augment existing systems and processes to become more efficient and reduce costs."

Mobile payments
Last year, many were speculating that 2012 was going to be the year of mobile payments and near-field communication.

That proved to not be the case.

However, mobile payments and NFC are seeing a great outlook this year.

Mobile payments will no doubt play a big role this year.

Consumers are becoming more comfortable making purchases using their smartphones and companies such as Starbucks, McDonald?s and Dunkin? Donuts are making it easy for consumers to order their favorite meals and beverages and pay for it using their mobile phone.

Furthermore, Apple has helped in making mobile commerce a success through its recent Passbook implementation, which helps build on loyalty.

"We should see more mass availability of mobile payments,? said Jeff Hasen, chief marketing officer of Hipcricket, New York. 

?While its ridiculous to think that the mobile wallet will make cash extinct by Tuesday, businesses will successfully compete if they make the in-store buying experience painless through Square and the like,? he said. ?The wallet hype will continue but is years from becoming a mass activity.

"Overall, mobile will get more of the marketing spend with those who succeed being more pragmatic than groundbreaking with brand new mobile products. SXSW will get lots of headlines, but it?s not the place to go to build a foundational mobile program."

Integrated experiences
According to Wilson Kerr, vice president of business sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston, 2013 will be all about mobile-triggered consumer interactions.

?Now that having an integrated mobile commerce site is established as essential, my prediction is that the next big trend will be around tracked mobile-triggered consumer interaction, at the point-of-sale,? Mr. Kerr said.

?Brands and retailers can drive incremental, secondary, add-on sales and tracked consumer engagement by tapping real-world mobile ?triggerpoint marketing? opportunities,? he said.
?QR codes mean adding mobile triggerpoints at point-of-sale is easy and economical. NFC will start to become ubiquitous in smartphones in 2013 and, as such, is something smart marketers are learning about now.?

While most brand and retailer marketing departments lag behind, consumers are thirsty for more ways to interact and engage via mobile.

?The potential of mobile is no longer the story,? Mr. Kerr said. ?The story is now the day-to-day reality, regarding the fact that mobile is poised to drive the lion share of tracked consumer interaction and related purchases.

?PayPal saw a 250 percent increase in mobile payments in 2012 and expects to process $20 billion in 2013,? he said. ?Additionally, 15 percent of all ecommerce in 2013 will be conducted via mobile and tablet commerce is growing faster than mobile did.

?A mobile site is no longer something that can be covered by a screen scraped derivative of an ecommerce site. Mobile and tablet commerce sites should be powered by an API ecommerce integration, so they can be distinct channels with distinct mobile marketing opportunities.?

Existing technology
This year we?re going to see companies take the technology that exists and make more use of it, per Vanessa Horwell, chief visibility officer of ThinkInk PR. 

?I don?t think we?re going to see an explosion of NFC, but we?re going to see more utilization,? Ms. Horwell said. ?Also the key things we?re going to see will revolve around data and analytics.  

?We know that consumers are engaged, but how are businesses and marketers going to use that data?? she said. ?They have to do something actionable with the data. 

?That?s going to be the challenge for any types of marketers. Taking action with all that information. That?s a key thing this year.?

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York