Opinions Targeting Wireless

Debunking the Myths of Mobile Marketing: Delivering a Personalized Offer

Posted by Glenn Pingul on February 26th, 2013 at 9:14 am

Now that we know targeting is all about understanding how one behaves, versus who they are (see my previous post), the term ‘personalization’ should take on a whole new meaning. If your marketing approach is smart enough to define and monitor individual customer behaviors, then the delivery of personalized offers should follow suit.

THE MYTH: Segmentation equals personalization.

Does everyone who falls into a certain behavioral profile have the same needs and wants at any given time? Most likely not.

Although the availability of dynamic customer data is helping mobile marketers shift their focus from demographical profiles to behavioral ones, there’s still an all too common practice that stands in the way of true personalization.

You probably know it well.  It’s segmentation.

You track and analyze how different customer behaviors impact desired actions. You define behavioral profiles, i.e. high spenders, moderate users, balance hoarders, etc.  You identify segments of customers based on these profiles.  You send offers to each segment.

That’s personalization, right?   Well, not exactly.

What about the behaviors that someone displays before they become a ‘moderate user’?  Or the predicted behaviors that may alter this classification? What about the customer’s current context?  Or their motivations for action after receiving an initial offer? What about the elasticity limits of the customer? Or their changing social graph?

In the world of dynamic mobile data, segmentation often falls short in delivering personalized offers.

THE REALITY: Personalization is only achievable at the individual level.

How often do you have the same needs in the same context as your neighbor down the street who is also classified as a ‘high spender’?  You work in the city; he’s retired. You spend based on need; he spends based on impulse. Your mobile device is for work and personal use; his mobile device is his sole connection to the Internet.

Personalization is about delivering the right offer in the right context to the right person. And although the stars may perfectly align for multiple people at the same time, it’s not likely.

It’s important for marketers to understand behaviors and needs as they change – for individual customers.  It’s also important to be able to act on that understanding with a communication or offer that’s both timely and relevant.

WHY IT MATTERS: Relevance builds trust and value.

How many pieces of mail do you throw into the recycling bin each week? What about the emails you mark as spam before you even open them?  What about the TV commercials that you mute?

Although the abundance of irrelevant offers delivered via traditional marketing channels may be annoying, we’ve come to accept the process of sifting through a slew to find the relevant few. And for email, we can pick the time when we’re up for the challenge.

Not the case with mobile. We’ve all seen the studies where people rank their mobile device as one of their ‘must haves’ – sometimes going to the extreme and ranking mobile device dependency above that of transportation, electricity or even running water. Consumers rely on anytime, anywhere communication, and with this dependency, comes high expectations – expectations for the carriers providing the service and for the brands that choose to engage with their customers via this highly personal channel.

Delivering SMS offers based on a group of ‘like’ behaviors or when it’s ‘most’ relevant for a segment of customers does not deliver on the promise of personalization via the mobile device. Nor does it deliver on your customers’ expectations of adding value to their mobile experience.

Yes, delivering offers based on understanding individual needs and behaviors at any given time does require more sophisticated analytics and advanced marketing technologies, but most marketers can’t afford to wait.

With new technologies that not only constantly track and monitor behaviors at an individual level but also leverage automated decisioning to enable action at the right time, marketers ensure optimal relevancy of each communication and offer.  And this means more value for everyone.

Next myth to debunk - “triggering an offer.”  Stay tuned!

Leave a comment