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Relevancy Isn't Optional Anymore
By: Ted Curtin
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SPECIAL REPORT: Part 3 of an in-depth, five-part series capturing key issues and emerging trends from the 2011 Mobile Marketing Association Global Forum in NY.

“Wake up…relevancy isn’t an option anymore."

Marketers used to talk about relevancy as some nebulous concept — an ideal state they would strive for in their overall efforts, or a brainstorming topic from the last creative strategy session. Now, the proliferation of mobile changes everything.  As a brand, you no longer own the media or the channel and you barely control the message. Relevancy is no longer optional.

The fact that mobile devices are so personal makes relevancy even more critical. The potential to be perceived as intrusive is a very real threat that can only be balanced by complete channel integrity, an open and transparent Statement of Intent, a firm security commitment, and a clear, concise declaration of data-sharing policies. Please, this is not the time to get lazy and simply “touch up” your ridiculously incomprehensible and often contradictory website privacy policy. Above all, the best way to not be perceived as intrusive is to provide information and offers that are nothing short of irresistibly relevant and meaningful.

As a consumer touch point, mobile is much closer to the point of potential action/purchase. This opens up new possibilities to drive sales, provide assistance, engage customers, obtain feedback, and drive repeat business.

Mobile Shopping Stats:
  • 78% of smartphone users use their phones to help them shop (1)
  • 69% of consumers want mobile coupons (2)
  • 53% use mobile to compare prices (2)
  • 51% of mobile users are willing to share location data to receive offers that are more relevant (2)
  • 26% want offers that they can still use at a later time (2)
  • 100% of marketers need to make sure they understand both the opportunities and the risks
Email Receipts Go Way Beyond Green
The growing phenomenon of opting for an email receipt in a retail transaction is just one example of both the potential opportunity and the risk of compromising the integrity of this powerful channel. If you’ve ever lost a paper receipt that you needed to return an item, you know emailed receipts offer significant benefits on the consumer side. Likewise, they offer important information and market data to retailers such as email address validation, real-time transactional data, offer redemption, and purchase history. If couponing is involved, you can tie purchase behavior to campaign effectiveness.

But at the same time, this is NOT a license to SPAM or in any way breach the customer’s existing communication preferences. Brands have to use this opportunity to meaningfully engage their target audience by providing value and enhanced customer experiences at all stages of the customer journey or you risk turning off the very customers you had hoped to draw in. 

Permission = Promise
With a new understanding of the brand/consumer relationship, we need to look at Permission-based Preferences not as a potential barrier, but as a tremendous opportunity to engage and interact with clients more deeply and successfully than ever before. The technology is just beginning to come together in ways that allow users to seamlessly move between applications and devices to share, explore, search, and promote. As marketers, it’s up to us to make our brands a meaningful part of the equation.

Stay tuned for Part 4 of this five-part Mobile Marketing Global Forum Series.

Previous MMA Forum Coverage: 
“Is That a Brand in Your Pocket?”
“Can Mobile Save Print”

MMA Global Forum

(1) – The Hyper Factory – “Mobile Landscape 2011”
(2) – Statistics presented during the 2011 MMAF in New York

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About the Author
Ted Curtin is a recognized strategic marketing leader with over 22 years experience covering online and offline marketing channels. Follow him on Twitter or at TedCurtin.com
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