"As a channel, mobile has sparked a new age of connectedness and an infinite world of highly personal marketing engagement.”
Those were the opening words that greeted visitors to the Mobile Marketing Association’s San Francisco Forum Web site last month, and they perfectly encapsulate the possibilities of mobile as a marketing channel. Always on, up close and extremely personal -- and a potential fount of customer engagement by its very nature.
Yet it’s evident that some mobile messaging campaigns -- whether push notification, SMS or mobile email -- are not boosting engagement and conversions as much as they could. Why? Because sometimes the messages lack the personalization they need to be relevant, while others are poorly targeted. Sometimes they can be ill-timed or excessive.
In fact, too many irrelevant messages simply turn most consumers off, leading them to drop marketing updates. In order to really connect with mobile customers and drive ROI, companies should be analyzing the Big Data generated by customer transactions to get a clear picture of individual consumers’ preferences and to craft messaging that speaks to their needs.
Action analytics methods -- namely, A/B split testing and retargeting -- can help marketers get to know their customers a lot better by identifying which messages work and which don’t. These techniques are not new: marketers have been split testing print, television and desktop-based Web messages for decades. Only now, this is beginning to make a mark on mobile.
Take this example: a national casual dining restaurant chain with a mobile app is offering a free movie tie-in action figure with the purchase of a kids’ meal. The restaurant could decide to A/B split test its messaging to app users who fit the profile of a mom with a grade-school child.
The difference between the two concise entreaties is small. The first message, A, begins simply by stating the offer of a “summer special,” skipping any sort of greeting. The second, B, addresses the target group directly in a casual and friendly tone -- “Hey moms!” -- before describing the offer.
In this example, while more customers (40%) clicked message A, fewer of them (20%) went on to visit the restaurant and redeem the offer. Message B had a 30% open rate, but 40% of those moms ended up taking their child to the restaurant and purchasing the kids’ meal to get the toy. In this case, the restaurant can see that speaking directly to the customer in a casual tone drives more sales. So it sends that message to the whole audience segment.
The restaurant is not finished, however. It wants to refocus its efforts to elicit conversions from moms who opened the push notification but didn’t buy and from moms who didn’t open the message at all. The company “retargets” those customers, using what the data from the A/B test says about their preferences to make follow-on messages even more relevant and boost conversions further. Simply put, retargeting helps marketers make sure they have seized every opportunity to make a sale.
Mobile analytics, as part of a well-thought-out mobile marketing strategy, can help companies gain actionable business intelligence. They can use that data intelligently to craft messages that are relevant to each customer’s wants and needs, adding value for both marketer and customer.
With mobile expected to overtake desktop as the primary point of Internet access by 2014, smartphones and tablets will be the surest way for marketers to reach consumers. Because of that, the mobile marketing field can be compared to a giant title bout, with some companies wildly throwing punches -- i.e., messages -- that they hope will connect with their audience. A/B split testing and retargeting removes the guesswork and gives marketers a real edge in this fight, delivering a one-two punch of relevance and timeliness for maximum mobile engagement and ROI.