Big Data, SoMoLo & Targeted Mobile Advertisingsocial_mobile_local

Amex has just upgraded their mobile app and has begun testing behaviorally targeted ads in New York and LA. The app will serve up specific ads based on your proximity and spending patterns. (Source). Another reference article here.

The American Express mobile app is evolving to help small businesses

American Express understands the value at the intersection of social, mobile and local. This intersection is often labeled #SoMoLo in the online world. For years, American Express has worked hard to supply marketing power to the vast network of service establishments or SE’s as they are commonly called within the organization.

Amex provides marketing value and promotional assistance to help their small business clients (SE’s) increase revenue, a classic win-win scenario if the patrons of these businesses use the Amex card.

American Express understands how important the hyper-local market is for small business. I have written The SoMoLo Marketing Imperative, about opportunities social, local and mobile offer a small, or really any size, business in an environment where mobile apps are reshaping the way consumers buy and use products and services. I also wrote a personal example Why Local Search Engine Marketing is Important.

Mobile applications are becoming increasingly sophisticated

It’s no secret that smart phone penetration is growing on a global scale. In the US approximately 50% of cell phones are smart phones.  Increasingly, businesses are experimenting with mobile advertising. This new channel offers incredible potential for mobile geo-targeting.

What is Geo-Targeting?

Geo-Targeted advertising serves content to a consumer based on that consumer’s specific location. Targeted advertising has been a goal of marketers for many years; with increasing sophistication ads can now be presented based on proximity to a store or event.

As long as permission and privacy issues are included in the execution, targeted ads can be very effective.

How can Big Data shape advertising on mobile?

Amex understands that mobile geo-targeted advertising requires good data. For consumers using the American Express mobile app, the company knows their purchase history and possibly other preferences.

Big data offers lots of information snippets, glimpses of particular behaviors, if you will. Before embarking on a tactically-driven campaign, develop a strategy based on insights gleaned from the data. Once you have insight, then you can craft relevant campaigns that will benefit you and your consumers.

So what can you do now to get started with Local Marketing?

Learn – Amex has been experimenting for quite a while; for example they have partnered with Foursquare, a location-based platform to better understand mobile geo-targeting.

Marketing is an iterative process, by constantly testing, refining and tweaking, marketers are able to eliminate aspects of campaigns that are not productive and leverage new discovered efficiencies. American Express created “My Offers” a place where consumers can find daily deals based on their preferences and choices.

Think strategically – According to Ken Favaro, strategy is the result of the answers to three questions:

  1. Who is your target customer?
  2. What is the value proposition to that customer?
  3. What are the essential capabilities needed to deliver that value proposition?

Strategy provides the context, without it you will be reduced to playing catch up, always chasing the latest new fad because it feels like the right thing to do. Strategy creates insight from data by integrating factors like value, behavior, and aspirations to craft a relevant story that will attract and retain quality customers.

Partner – This is particularly important for smaller businesses.  It isn’t always necessary to build mobile apps or programs from scratch. Amex partnered with Facebook to create Small Business Saturday. Small businesses have access to mobile geo-targeting through companies like Think Near. Partnerships offer access to big data insight and, in some cases, targeted mobile adversting.

For more insight on how to get started, one of my past posts, Local Mobile Marketing Tips might be helpful.

Don’t ignore Mobile applications or the mobile experience

At a very minimum you need to ensure that your content and communications can be consumed from a smart phone. Research and case studies point to the increasing importance of addressing the mobile consumer. Don’t be satisfied with simply delivering existing web content on phones or tablets. Think about how consumers will be accessing and using your information. Whether in their cars checking on directions, hours, promotions, or in your store comparing prices or seeking advice from their network, you must do all you can to be a part of that experience.

Where are you in this process? Where would you like to be?