Mobile Marketing Automation: Insight Driven Consumer Engagement
Mobile devices are ubiquitous and people glued to their phones throughout the day account for more than half of all internet traffic. Influencing the mobile consumer requires understanding the “context” in real time to make an impact and add value to their life. Four facts about him/her are necessary to engineer unique experiences:
- Who is the consumer?
- What do they want (to meet both her emotional and functional needs)?
- What have they purchased in the past?
- When and where do they shop?
The Rise of Mobile Marketing Automation (MMA)
The state of the art in digital marketing is the integration of social, local, mobile — or frequently called mobile marketing automation (MMA). MMA is a hot emerging areas that leading Chief Marketing Officers are focused on for mobile apps, precision targeting, and test & learn campaigns.
What makes MMA different is the focus on the propensity to purchase coupled with location intelligence. Segmenting and reaching audiences based on demographics, psychographics, content or cookies has its uses, but these methods don’t make the association that matters most – propensity to purchase and actual purchase behavior.
Just a few years ago, the category didn’t even exist. The tremendous migration of consumers to mobile as their primary interaction channel has fueled the need for new sophisticated B2C marketing tools. CMOs focused on digital consumer engagement are aggressively piloting new initiatives in this area.
Why? Because Digital shifts power to Consumer. Mobile isn’t the future – it’s the present. With over 2 billion Smartphone users and growing, mobile channel usage is growing exponentially. Consider these statistics….the number of Facebook mobile daily active users recently crossed 800M; the number of mobile-only monthly actives is 600+M users; % of users who only login from mobile devices crossed 30%.
Mobile-first, mobile-only are new behavior patterns in consumer engagement across all demographics.
Consumers – Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers – all expect brand interactions to be relevant to their immediate context. Established brands are scrambling to appear relevant in this mobile-first world, and brand-specific mobile apps are popping up with never-before-seen speed. Marketing requires meeting consumers where they are with laser-like targeting of offer & message – and mobile is a key place to do so.
It’s interesting to see that mobile marketing automation is now learning and picking up techniques from mobile advertising. The insight that is driving mobile marketing automation: People (especially millenials) are more than willing to share data if it’s going to be used respectfully—if it’s used for what it’s collected for, and they’re part of the value proposition. The technology fueling mobile programmatic marketing has grown exponentially in sophistication, with big data analytics that enable micro-targeting. Reaching, steering and influencing effectively on mobile devices along the path-to-purchase is the new frontier.
Adapted from Shopper Marketing – 2014 Guide Digital Shopper Marketing
What is Data Driven Mobile Marketing Automation (MMA)?
- More internet access via mobile apps than desktop PCs (as of 2014) – ComScore
- 46% of 18-34 year olds name mobile as ‘primary screen’ – WEVE
Shopper marketing is evolving with millennials. At the same time, with big data, targeting and segmentation are more precise than at any other point in history. The challenge, of course, is bringing it all together as an integrated solution. Mobile marketing automation is the technology that allows mobile-focused companies to automate, personalize, and measure mobile shopper activities so they can increase relevant user engagement while simultaneously enhancing the real-time user experience.
MMA has evolved considerably in the past decade.
- Spray and pray approach… email based marketing
- Push Notification Services + SMS and In-App Message Delivery Services… We went through the broadcast phase… random and intrusive push messages and alerts that tend to alienate users.
- Simple personalization… We then went through simplistic “personalized” customer experiences that are based on shallow data, such as purchase history, gender, whether you’re single or married, where you live, etc.
- Dynamic Personalization… Now we are entering a new phase focused on optimal message + optimal channel + optimal timing + optimal device. This is largely driven by predictive analytics (e.g., Next Best Offer), machine learning, interest graphs, location-aware context-sensitivity, and personalization at scale.
Mobile marketing automation allows companies to meet concrete business goals (activation, reactivation, fulfillment of offers etc.) through audience identification and segmentation, intelligent targeted messaging, enabling brands to reach consumers across all platforms, channels, and levels of engagement. The technology is characterized by an understanding of each individual mobile user and the ability to engage in an automated, personalized, and optimized way.
An entire new breed of startups are converging around data driven Mobile Marketing Automation. They include Kahuna, Urban Airship, MobileROI, Intercom, Juice Mobile. The major vendors, ExactTarget (now Salesforce Marketing Cloud), Marketo, IBM and HubSpot, who are focused on large enterprises are also racing to add MMA features.
Adapted from Parse (firm acquired by Facebook)
Enabling Shopper Marketing: Core Features in MMA Platforms
How to drive shopper engagement throughout the path to purchase? There are five core concepts behind every MMA platform.
- Integration & Understand: components that ensure the system is able to understand your mobile users across devices and platforms. Understanding customers means leveraging transaction history, behavior, content views, profiles and preferences (360-degree customer view).
- Analyze & Discover: Fully understand multi-touch attribution, which assigns values to different touch points of the customer journey, to inform intelligent campaigns.
- Leverage Insights & Engage: components that allow the system to intelligently engage users wherever they are—mobile apps, mobile web, social networks, and wearables. Communication channels include push notifications, in-app messages, web messages, email, and more. Customization of engagement requires sophisticated real-time analytics that leverage location, timing, user preferences and prior transaction history.
- Act & Automate: components that enable the platform to send personalized and automated messages based on a set of campaign business rules, real-time user behavior and location parameters. Ensure customers are receiving the right offer via the right channel at the right time. Every time.
- Optimize, Test & Learn: components that allow the system to track and optimize campaign results (via A/B test design, messaging and timing of campaigns) to achieve specific KPIs.
The new data driven MobileFirst Marketing Automation (MMA) platforms helps companies deliver highly individualized mobile experiences, messages, advertisements, and offers using interest graphs, live signals, and current customer context.
These platforms leverage predictive analytics, context-sensitivity, and personalization at scale and taps into the growing number of smartphone sensors and other external data signals to give brands a periscope into the lives of their consumers, ensuring every brand interaction is delivered when it’s highly personal and relevant to the individual customer’s immediate situation.
The more sophisticated firms create the closed loop (analytics and engagement and machine learning) seamlessly. They leverage real-time signals like the customer’s identity, location, current activity, physical situation (weather, traffic, etc.), purchase history, movement patterns, implicit and explicit intent signals, and social graphs.
Several firms are incorporating predictive analytics into the mobile marketing platforms. By analyzing multiple real-time data streams against historical data, algorithmic models anticipate future trends, user preferences and actions to let brands know what customers are going to do before they do it, like abandon their shopping cart, churn or share their experiences? The objective is to intervene with the right message or offer to motivate or change their behavior.
Programmatic Shopper Marketing is the New New Thing
For years, marketers have focused on creating strong and recognizable brands by promoting products and services through various channels and creating campaigns to support and advertise their offerings. But customers in today’s mobile first economy want something different. They expect a positive, seamless, and personalized engagement no matter how — or when — they choose to engage.
To deliver, marketers must harness their massive datasets and use the wealth of insights available from digital and traditional channels to engage customers and prospects in highly personalized, intelligent, one-to-one messaging, regardless of channel.
Just programmatic advertising has changing online advertising. I am anticipating that data-driven mobile marketing automation is creating the foundation for programmatic marketing. “Programmatic” ad buying typically refers to the use of algorithms to purchase digital advertising, as opposed to the traditional process that involves RFPs, human negotiations and manual insertion orders. Through programmatic technologies, advertisers can automate the buying of ads for most effectiveness.
The same underlying concept is coming to mobile shopper marketing. By triggering campaigns to automatically launch based on consumer’s real-time intent, immediate context or actions, brands can intervene with the right offer, message or functionality at the precise moment customer needs it.
Programmatic shopper marketing and targeting enabled by mobile marketing platforms, predictive analytics and machine learning is next big thing.
Additional References and Notes
- Digital Architecture 101
- Digital Integration – Why do you need a new breed of innovation vendor/partner
- Digital 101 – The Basics
- Multi-Channel Engagement Platforms
- A/B Testing
- In-App vs. Out of App Notifications (Source: SWRVE)
- The Notification Economy… Learmer and Simmons determine that American consumers are overwhelmed by an avalanche of over 3000 marketing messages daily.
- Precision Marketing
ShopperTrak is a provider of consumer behavior insights and location-based analytics. Shopkick is a shopping app and has beacons in various retail stores. Their partnership aims to deliver superior in-store experiences and rewards for mobile shoppers, while also providing the retail community with an analytics tool to optimize the shopper’s experience in the store.
How is this done? By integrating ShopperTrak interior analytics solution with Shopkick’s in-store beacon technology, the companies will provide retail customers with actionable and anonymized in-store analytics, allowing them to understand in-store shopper behavior, including where customers are going and how long they are staying. This analytical insight enables retailers to shift in-store strategies and operations to match shopper interest and behavior, leading to increased customer loyalty.
Shopkick’s shopBeacons, which are already deployed at more than 8,000 large stores, including Macy’s and American Eagle, welcome shoppers entering a store via mobile alerts and share location-specific deals, discounts, recommendations, and rewards (called kicks) –- all as you enter the store’s front door. The Shopkick app can also tie at-home browsing to in-store benefits— if a shopper “likes” a specific product in the app, shopBeacon reminds her when she enters the store that sells it. ShopBeacons have a five-year battery lifecycle, and have fully encrypted signals.
Additionally, retailers can utilize the shopBeacon network to engage with customers through their own apps, gain rich insight into consumer behavior and, most importantly, deliver more interesting consumer shopping experiences.
The end goal is: new ways to increase shopper traffic, conversion rates and average transaction size.