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Oct 02, 2002
Interview

Nokia's Matt Wisk on Wireless CRM

SUMMARY: Is wireless really the ultimate CRM channel? Matt Wisk explains how wireless changed the world (or at least the power structure of the Philippines), and how it will change CRM. Read his detailed tips for making sure your company is well positioned to deliver.
As VP of Marketing, Matt Wisk has played a critical role in making Nokia the fastest growing, most preferred brand in the US. His job isn’t without glamour.

Recently named Brandweek’s Marketer of the year, he leads the team that manages product launches, marketing analysis and communications, and the Nokia Sugar Bowl. He even handpicked Niki Taylor as spokesperson for the “worlds most fashionable phone.”

After a two-year stint in the UK, Wisk is back with tips that other marketers can use to tap into the power of wireless. Although he is relearning his phone behavior here in the US (“People in the UK call to mobile phones not to desk phones”), he says wireless technology will take CRM to the next level.

We contacted Wisk to find out about the role wireless technology plays in marketing to the 1 billion mobile phone users abroad.

“How did the Philippines government get overthrown?” asks Wisk. “Everyone got together on their phones and sent messages back and forth to each other, agreed to meet at a certain place and time, and overthrew the government.”

“Wireless literally has the ability to change the world and you can take that same power and apply it to CRM.”

While in Europe and elsewhere the penetration rates of mobile phone users are 80%, they still haven’t broken 50% here. “But generations of people are coming up through the ranks that are comfortable with personalizing communication via wireless devices.”

That means one thing: If the cost and the richness of the
experience is the same, wireless is always better.

-> 3 Ways Marketers Can Prepare for the Future of Wireless

1. Gather enough information so you can customize your
delivery vehicle.

“Build a database so it can be robust enough to capture the
consumer information from a variety of consumer touch
points.” Globally, Nokia has millions and millions of
customers in its database. It gathers consumer information
from call centers, 25,000 points of sale across the US,
warranty cards, website interaction, and response to
advertisements.

2. Aggregate all those touch points into one robust database.

“Use software that’s smart enough to add information
regardless of where the customer comes into the
organization, and keep on building the portfolio depending
on the touch point.”

3. Assess the level of involvement of each customer.

“Use e-editorial tools that allow you to take advantage of
your database. The tool we use at Nokia is quite efficient
at extracting the information and plugging it in to our
newsletters and personalized communications as it is deemed
appropriate.”

-> 3 Tips for Contacting the Customer:

1. There is nothing better than personal information that is
also timely, what Wisk calls the “deeper, richer wireless
experience.”

People are already passing personal messages this way.
After a recent A Level test (the UK’s version of the SAT),
close to 500 million messages passed from wireless to
wireless phone using SMS (short message service).


2. Provide customers an easily accessible place to indicate
their preferences on when they are sent message, the topic,
and all the contingent variables.

3. Make it financially interesting and informational. It
should also be entertaining, and make their life less
complex. It has to add value in a variety of ways.

“CRM isn’t traditionally associated as a great brand building technique because it can be a relatively sterile environment.”

More and more companies are starting to enrich the experience with graphics and games. At a recent developer conference in Singapore “Infotainment” was the common denominator between the airlines, banks, and software companies looking into wireless applications with their members. “The future CRM applications aren’t just about delivering the information, like a bank account, wirelessly. They’re trying to make it a more charismatic experience, to entertain you as they deliver the information.”

“It is the company that can create 'an emotional tattoo' by offering a brand experience, a good deal, and a clever and creative surprise along the way that will win at the end of the day.”


-> How 9/11 Affects Wireless CRM:

Wisk says it can cut both ways. “Wireless communications can’t be another flavor of spam done in a more creative way. People will see through that and they will say their privacy is worth much more than giving out their wireless number.”

While more people appreciate the urgency of communications, they also want to be dealt with in a more respectful, low-key kind of way. “CRM can easily get out of hand and be intrusive, that’s the exact opposite of what people want these days.”

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