Not only are people spending more time on mobile devices, much of it is dedicated to using apps. Because of the intimate nature of mobile, marketers have to take on new ways to effectively target consumers both for in-app and mobile website engagement.
Push notifications or messages only happen if mobile users opt in to activate them. These notifications focus on very specific purposes: relevant / requested vendor offers, customer service alerts, new content availability, social updates, various reminders, or notifications tied to current consumer location. Push messages require an immediate action, which has compelling value to vendors:
- In-the-moment marketing that is simple but with lots of room for creativity
- A new way for delivering memorable customer experiences
- An inexpensive way to keep in touch with already interested customers
- A highly detailed targeting and metrics tool
But marketing through push notifications comes with a serious warning. Marketers must be very respectful of the trust mobile users are extending by giving vendors access to their mobile devices – and their attention. Similar to marketing automation and content marketing, mobile users expect highly personalized relevant content. The difference is that push notifications are extremely targeted to very specific interests and actions of individual consumers, often related to the exact moment or current location. If marketers fail to deliver what consumers want in push messages, the messages are ignored and deleted – and the consumer is likely opt out of future push notifications as a waste of their time.
A recent JiWire study found that 75 percent of shoppers act after receiving a location-based message.
Consumers who are heavy app users are also the most interested in push notifications:
According to a report from Maz, consumers spend 40 percent more time reading content in apps than on Web sites, but marketers are still hesitant to ramp up in-app ad spend. At the same time, Juniper Research just put out a report that predicts that in-app advertising spend will grow to almost $17 billion by 2018, so that reality may be changing in the near future.
While in-app marketing is growing in importance, not all customers want to interact with a vendor through apps. Mobile websites continue to draw customers. Consumer actions on mobile websites can dynamically set off the display of personalized content, as a "push" response. And push notifications can be used to drive consumers to specific web pages.
Push Notification Relevance Depends on Continuous Analytics
As with marketing automation, a robotic one-size-fits-all won't cut it for consumer-personalized push messages. And as with content marketing, marketers must avoid anything that smacks of blatant sales propaganda. The focus has to be on the consumer perspective, what they need and want.
This is an interesting new direction for effective marketing. Push notifications require personalization on steroids to generate the right timely targeted offerings. This calls for continuous advanced analytics, detailed segmentation, and location-based services. Vendors should already be constructing well-informed segmentation and profiles of customers for marketing automation, content marketing and product development. Push notifications now take it deeper and add new dimensions to customer behavioral data.
Push notification processes introduce the opportunity for very detailed metrics to determine the engagement quality of the communications: what specific actions were taken, which messages were opened immediately, how many app opens occurred, the amount of time spent in the app. The preferences set by mobile users also generate useful data, particularly if the options are quite granular.Marketers have immediate intelligence about what works and what doesn't, and can make quick changes to approaches.
Beyond the specific needs of continuous improvement of push messages, this new customer intelligence should be shared with all other customer-related functions in the company. Push notifications should never exist in a vacuum, but must be part of an integrated cross-channel strategy for customer engagement.
The Omnichannel Customer Experience
While mobile is a unique world, mobile marketing still needs tight integration with all multichannel strategies such as a direct marketing. Push marketing must exist as a consistent component of the omnichannel experience for each customer. It should complement messaging tactics on all digital devices for orchestrated actions and engagement across channels.
The consumer intelligence gained from understanding how mobile users react to push notifications should strive to relate the impact of such messages to subsequent cross-channel behavior. As the sophistication of push notification analytics grows, many possibilities should emerge for highly engaging and creative push interactions anywhere anytime.
Image source: 99mobileapps.com
This post was brought to you by IBM for Midsize Business and opinions are my own. To read more on this topic, visit IBM's Midsize Insider. Dedicated to providing businesses with expertise, solutions and tools that are specific to small and midsized companies, the Midsize Business program provides businesses with the materials and knowledge they need to become engines of a smarter planet.
About the author: Julie Hunt understands the overlap and convergence of many business processes and software solutions that once were thought of as "separate" – and how this impacts software Vendors and Buyers, as well as the strategies that enterprises implement for how technology supports the business and its customers. Julie shares her takes on the software industry via her blog Highly Competitiveand on Twitter: @juliebhunt For more information: Julie Hunt Consulting – Strategies for B2B Software Solutions: Working from the Customer Perspective