Give the people what they want? In mobile and apps, it’s not just a company courtesy; it’s a business imperative. It’s triggered by the increasing consumer expectation that mobile and apps are always-on and always ready to deliver personal, relevant and valuable advice, assistance and advertising. As a result, people have come to demand personal, contextually-relevant communications and experiences that move the needle—because that’s exactly what companies can deliver if they try.
The technology is there, but strategies are lagging behind. It’s a dangerous disconnect that Tom Farrell, VP of Marketing for Swrve, tells me doesn’t just alienate and frustrate consumers. It deprives app owners and brand marketers of an important opportunity to monetize their audience and assets.
But don’t just take Tom’s word for it. In a passionate and well-written post he highlights startling research from Twilio to show the dangerous disconnect between what people want (namely, personally and contextually-relevant communications that move the needle) and what many companies actually deliver.
Clearly, businesses are convinced they are sending customers and prospects relevant and useful communications. Consumers, however, see it differently.
So, are marketers in denial?
In a word: yes. As Tom puts it: the data shows more than a “slight mismatch of minor difference of opinion.” Marketing, he says, is “an industry that has literally no idea what perception their own customers have of their communications. And more significantly, that perception is overwhelmingly negative.”
Ironically, the issue and answer are one and the same: data.
Consumers assume companies are harnessing it to deliver personal, relevant and valuable communications. But, in reality, companies are only using data to power one-to-many advertising and communications that people perceive as noise.
“Marketers need to start listening to their customers,” Tom stresses, and in mobile and apps that means paying careful attention to the data, signals and contexts that clue marketers in on the appropriate moments, contexts and situations where messaging will engage, not annoy. “All of us in the industry need to start listening carefully to what consumers as saying, and taking steps to bridge what I call the ‘Relevancy Gap.’
Understanding that delivering valuable messages at the appropriate moment is the core capability marketers must build and master has inspired Swrve to be more than another mobile marketing platform. Calling itself an interaction engine, Swrve is focused on equipping brands to really talk to their customers and prospects. “Our vision for how this works is that the brand determines what it wants to say and the customer it needs to say it to—and the situation where it needs to say it—and we handle the rest,“ Tom explains. “So, it’s actually channel agnostic and it’s even creative agnostic as well.”
Swrve’s approach gets high marks from global research firm Gartner, which recently named Swrve a “Leader” in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Mobile Marketing Platforms. Among company strengths Gartner calls out Swrve’s “advanced analytics and machine learning capabilities designed to deliver targeted, personalized interactions at key moments.”
It’s also a plus that Swrve decided to partner with Facebook to trigger in-app experiences from Facebook ads.
Gartner concludes that “marketers seeking to optimize their mobile real-time performance should consider Swrve.” Tom takes it one step further, offering his pick of the tips and steps marketers can take right now to prepare for the journey ahead.
Steps you can take to bridge the Relevancy Gap
#1) Be there when and where it counts. The pivotal role of mobile in our lives is “a fantastic opportunity, but it can also be fantastically dangerous,” Tom says. “Messaging that isn’t helpful to the user will end up training them to ignore you.” He suggests marketers can borrow a page from the airlines and the work Swrve has done with clients including Emirates, Singapore Airlines and RyanAir. “Yes, it’s about running campaigns for ancillary revenue for sure. But it’s also important to run campaigns to help customers during travel and in the run-up to the flight with messaging that is tailored to them and is sensitive to their need for help and guidance to get from A to B—and even enjoy the journey along the way.”
#2) Offer shortcuts to what matters most. Valuable communications cut out the friction. On the Web, campaigns don’t just have a clear call-to-action; they send the consumer directly to the page where they can take action. In apps, it’s a different story. Consumers click the ad, but the ad takes them a landing page that can interrupt intent and short-circuit the conversion. “Marketers want to onboard users with the offer they advertise, not just take them to the homepage of their app,” Tom explains. “Using approaches that will take the consumer who clicks on an ad directly through to the page where they can register or make a purchase will optimize the user experience and maximize campaign results.”
#3) Be clear about where value *really* comes from. Write this one down: Collecting data alone is not a source of competitive advantage. As Tom points out, app companies are data driven by design and marketing decisions are data-informed by default. “The real advantage comes in understanding what happens after the install. It’s just as important as knowing everything that happens leading up to the install,” he explains. “New customers are amazing, and retention has always been the kind of ugly stepchild that companies have been apt to ignore—but that is changing fast.” The App Economy is maturing, and value is produced when and where marketers find ways to keep existing customers coming back and doing more.
As a mobile analyst, a top 30 Mobile Marketing influencer and a nine-time author based in Europe, I track and document the trends, companies and innovators shaping how we do business and engage with consumers across the multiple screens, devices and apps that define our daily lives. In my position as Chief Analyst and Content Strategist at MobileGroove. a top 50 ranked tech destination, I produce and promote custom research and knowledge resources for the global mobile industry and organizations including the Mobile Marketing Association (EMEA).