The wireless age is upon us, but as many of you know, it's plagued with challenges. Chief among those challenges are limitations in bandwidth and costs for developing applications and supporting infrastructure. One start-up, Roamable (www.roamable.com) is attempting to work around those challenges by leveraging the infrastructures that most organizations already have in place. Roamable's technology platform allows an organization to offer content to users in a format with which they are already familiar-e-mail. Best of all, the content can be delivered on virtually any e-mail compatible device-from a RIM (BlackBerry) Pager to a Web-enabled phone.
For marketers, this technology, like many others can improve value to customers by providing such services as updates on order status, access to purchase history, and current sales promotions. However, what's different, and perhaps most intriguing about this technology its ability for dynamic interaction. Unlike most wireless content that's pushed from a business server to a user, this technology allows content to be pulled based on a user's request-enabling information to be provided both on demand, and with personal relevancy. Let us look at a couple of examples of how this might work.
I am on my way to the airport for a flight from New York to London. It is a particularly long flight and I'm bushed so I want to upgrade my coach seat to First Class, or at least Business Class. I want to use my frequent flyer miles for this upgrade, but I'm uncertain as to how many miles I have available. Using my web-enabled phone, I press a predefined number to send a message request to my frequent flyer account. Within a few seconds, I get a response that provides not only my available miles, but also the length, if any, of the wait list. If I so desire, I can then acquire the upgrade or be placed on the wait list-all done easily and within a few seconds time as I travel to the airport.
Another example might involve applications for a direct sales force, such as dynamic lead presentation by a specific geography ("I'm on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and have a few hours to spare. What other prospects or customers are within walking distance of my current location?"). Another may be the ability for a salesperson to determine up-to-the-minute product inventory availability while closing a deal in a customer's office.
Roamable's technology platform provides an interesting opportunity for marketers to build applications and services designed to improve customer acquisition and retention in what is becoming an increasingly mobile society. The question is, can we figure out a way to leverage this technology while maintaining the privacy levels we all so desire.
Here are a few thoughts to ponder:
What are some of your ideas on how marketers can use this technology? Are their potential opportunities for building revenue streams using this technology?
My thanks to Tom Feegle, VP, Business Development at Roamable for providing clarification and validation of the examples used here.
David Harkins is a business strategist, speaker, and teacher.
He is the founder and executive consultant at David Harkins Company. In his spare time, he writes hikes, explores, and creates art. Although, not necessarily in that order.
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