When asked about direct marketing, oftentimes people think of direct mail. However, direct marketing has evolved for the better, thanks to both the Internet and the sheer amount of customer data we now have available.
As marketers, we now know not only demographics and addresses but also psychographics, preferred marketing channels, how consumers behave on different channels, etc. More importantly, we now have access to customers 24/7 through mobile connectivity.
For direct marketers, this presents a huge opportunity. Eighty-seven percent of American adults currently own a cell phone and, at some point in 2013, mobile connected devices are expected to top the world’s population.
Bearing this in mind, here are a few ways that direct marketers can successfully reach consumers through mobile:
As new mobile messaging systems continue to emerge and evolve, SMS is still demanding a huge chunk of messaging usage.
Data shows that, in 2012, 17.6 billion SMS texts were sent, and as mobile remains somewhat of a mystery to some marketers, it clearly leads to message visibility. “95 out of 100 of your customers who have opted into your text messaging program OPEN and READ your mobile messages within 3 mins.” This is according to James Citron, CEO, Mogreet, in a recent Forbes article, proving SMS messaging through mobile may be the closest marketers can get to a guaranteed read.
A great example comes from the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas, which almost single-handedly justifies SMS marketing. They ran a SMS campaign that offered $10 in free slots play, which allowed the hotel and casino to increase its A-list Players Club Membership by more than 13% thanks to the 70% success rate the campaign had.
It’s important for marketers to realize that while other messaging platforms may be available, SMS marketing can be an extremely useful direct marketing tactic in today’s day and age. However, because it can be perceived as invasive to consumers, SMS should be used selectively for high-value promotional and transactional messages.
Mobile apps are easy to download, easy to use, and there seems to be one for nearly everything. This likely helps explain why 80% of all time spent on mobile devices are spent on apps.
For marketers, apps present an opportunity to not only increase brand awareness through advertising, but to gather valuable data about customers, and then engage them in one-to-one, cross-channel dialogues. In-app advertising is expected to hit $7 billion by 2015, indicating marketers’ belief in the power of apps. Once marketers understand a bit about their customers through app downloads or ad clicks within apps, they then have the framework to move on to the next step of personalization.
1:1 and Location-Based Notifications
By capturing opt-ins and behavioral and device data through mobile apps, marketers can then have the ability to deliver personalized, location-based push notifications in real time.
For example, the Neolane Mobile App Channel allows brands to deliver one-to-one personalized messages and offers via mobile push notifications and in-app content. We do this by integrating brands’ mobile app(s) with their marketing database and automating the execution of campaigns using push notifications and in-app content that are personalized, contextualized, and geo-personalized to capture customers in the moment.
Opt-ins for push notifications allow marketers to run these campaigns for virtually no cost, as it is all based on user-preference, eliminating the traditional cost barrier associated with SMS. An example of successful mobile push notifications can be found with the Groupon app, which offers deals based on the mobile users’ location at the time.
Successful mobile marketing campaigns should not focus on one avenue. Marketers should also be able to drive transactions through online or in-store mobile technology:
Mobile Usage in the Store
While consumers shop in physical brick and mortar stores, 60% of shoppers have used the mobile Internet while in stores. They oftentimes do so to look up information, or to compare in-store prices with those online to see if they could find better deals, a concept known as “retail showrooming.”
For this reason, it’s important to have brand websites optimized for mobile as 40% of mobile users have turned to competitor sites after a bad mobile experience. A user-friendly mobile site will likely keep your customers loyal to your brand and away from competitors. You can leverage mobile push notifications for geo-personalized messages that engage customers in the store with special offers and other useful information.
Mobile retail sales within the United States are expected to reach $31 billion by 2017. This means marketers can engage their customers through mobile apps and push notifications (discussed above) to target one-to-one and location-based offers as a way to increase sales. However, it’s important to note that the process should by seamless from start to finish; any unnecessary friction will only deter customers.
Mobile marketing should be at the top of the list of direct marketing tactics, presenting marketers with personalization capabilities through a channel whose devices are expected to outnumber the world’s population later this year. Mobile marketing is the Swiss Army knife of the marketing toolbox, as it can be used successfully anywhere and anytime.