When I think of an industry that has taken mobile tech in stride, it’s the fast food industry. Think about the apps you have on your phone: I guarantee you have at least fast food app that you use weekly (mine is definitely McDonalds–their Coke is my weakness). But think about all of the things the restaurant industry is doing with mobile–order ahead, integrations with third-party delivery services, rewards programs…the industry really does take to new mobile tech quickly. That’s why I was so excited to talk with Dave from Mobivity. Mobivity is helping companies provide personalized marketing in the real world, largely through mobile efforts, so Dave is definitely on the front-end of some really cool new mobile tech that they’re helping big brands implement. Here’s a bit of our conversation:
Lumavate’s VP of Marketing, Stephanie Cox: You started your career in mobile in the late 90’s. What do you think has been the biggest change that you’ve seen?
Mobivity’s SVP of Product Marketing, Dave Galante: Well I think that the hardware has definitely gotten really interesting. Recently things like NFC being built into the hardware makes it easy for companies to extend the mobile experience besides just the camera or even Bluetooth. So I think combining a lot of really interesting hardware advancements in the platform and then creating easy to use SDKs to access that really made some interesting use cases come to life.
SC: I know you’ve mentioned that Starbucks is a stand-out for mobile engagement in the restaurant industry. What do you think they’re doing that puts them ahead of the pack?
DG: Starbucks came back with a technology that people really thought was dead, and that was QR codes. I think they’ve really broken the mold and said, “We can do this right if we have a great experience,” and they’ve been continuously innovating ever since. Whether it’s for payment or loyalty or customer feedback, they’re really the brand and experience to match. So I think they’ve got a great head start.
SC: Well I love QR codes, and I’m glad you mentioned them. I know a lot of people thought they were dead, and I was in the same boat! But I think we just started with QR codes and didn’t even understand how to use them. It was too much. Now I think what Starbucks has done, and what Snapchat has done with Snapcodes, and Spotify with their share codes…so many major brands are using them, and it’s really changing how people activate mobile experiences.
DG: With iOS 11 the camera now has a QR reading built into your native camera, so that solves a huge problem that we had as marketers to get the adoption of QR codes to accelerate.
SC: So where do you think the future of mobile is headed?
DG: I’m really excited that RCS, which is Rich Communication Services, is really kind of taking SMS to the next level. What’s really interesting about RCS is that it’s actually an experience that lives inside the native messaging app on your phone. So for example for Android, the default SMS application that you have on every Android device will actually support RCS. And so what we (at Mobivity) have built for Subway is that order ahead experience, and we used RCS to completely integrate it within the native messaging application. So that means I could have a transactional or market message come onto your phone as a text, and then convert that to a purchase from the messaging app. They can go ahead and customize their order, find a Subway, and have it ordered right from their phone without downloading anything.
SC: I love that you guys are all in on RCS. What do you think the biggest challenges are for a company when they think about RCS for the first time and how it can fit into their overall strategy?
DG: Well, I think it’s just right now awareness. One of the things about being an innovator is you’re talking about things that aren’t mainstream yet. You have to be patient, you have to explain that this is where the market is going, and find innovative companies to join you on that journey, like we did with Subway. They have large aspirations to grow in mobile, and they want to be in on that vision of making a futuristic mobile experience.