A Marketer’s Guide to Mobile Conquesting

More and more marketers are talking about conquesting — and making it a part of their mobile arsenals. This is an emerging practice I’ve talked about here in the past, because when done properly, conquesting is a powerful method for reaching new customers.

However, I find most marketers are contemplating only the most primitive version of conquesting. Yet, at its best, conquesting represents a truly advanced approach to using audience behaviors to target and engage your best possible prospects, in a competitive scenario. To help you realize the full potential of conquesting, you need to understand the range of possibilities. To that end, I’ll provide a quick synopsis of some of the evolving options along with a set of key questions for marketers or agencies to ask when evaluating partners to support your mobile conquest.

Defining the Primitive Version

At an entry level, there is the simple geo-fence to conquest, which is serving mobile ads to competitive locations, when an audience is physically at that location. This is an improvement over its desktop predecessor, which most likely served ads to a browser that had visited a competitive website. As with all things mobile, given the personal nature of the mobile device, you have a much higher likelihood of reaching your intended individual target, versus someone in the family who may or may not have been the user browsing a competitor.

How you map your geo-fence is also important. At the simplest level, and as often executed, this involves plotting a point on a map and a radius around that point, so it is by definition imprecise. More advanced providers follow a methodology I advocate, and draw a precise shape representing the boundaries of a target location.

A More Advanced Range

If you take conquesting a step further, imagine being able to identify and serve ads to users who have been to competitive locations in the past, and essentially retargeting them at the time they are most likely to engage. This may be later that day, the following week, when they are relaxing at home, or doing weekend shopping. By understanding much more about the user than simply their current location — their interests, present mindset, or typical activities — you are able to retarget at precisely the right moment capitalizing on that consumer’s current mindset.

Taking it to yet another level, we can engage our audience with competitive audience data conquesting. This is serving ads to users identified by purchase history data indicating a competitive association. For example, a maker of luxury vehicles can identify consumers who have purchased a competitive make and model, including insight into how long ago they made that purchase, whether or not they are in-market for a new vehicle, and even the likelihood they would defect to a new brand. By leveraging this data alone, or in conjunction with location, advertisers have an exponentially powerful tool for reaching the most valuable prospects. We’re seeing a great deal of success with this right now in select industry categories, such as auto and anticipate similar success in retail and travel.

Know You’re Getting Advanced Conquesting Support — a How-to Primer

Clearly a provider or partner has to have the appropriate data technology capability to support a more advanced conquesting approach. Geo-fencing alone does not make for a complete methodology. In order to evaluate whether a potential provider or partner is equipped to execute advanced conquesting, a marketer should ask the following questions. Think of this as a primer to assist your process of vetting potential partners and their capabilities.

  1. How do you define conquesting? If they are simply using geo-fences, or using a radius, this may not be the right vendor for you.
  2. Are you able to serve ads to my audience when they are at a competitive location? 
  3. If a member of my target audience has been to a competitive location in the past, are we going to be able to retarget them and serve our ads? 
  4. Do you have conquesting experience relative to my industry segment (auto, QSR, retail, and so on) that we can apply? 
  5. How are you going to identifying the most likely to engage consumers within the targeted locations to conquest? If the potential vendor doesn’t have a method to identify consumers likely to engage, they will waste impressions and greatly reduce your return on investment (ROI). 
  6. For targeting, do you use standard marketing segments or behavioral data and advanced audience models? 
  7. If the latter, what kind of data points factor into your models? And does this data include point-of-purchase data? 
  8. Do you use radius or precise polygon mapping of the boarders of the locations to target? That is, do you use a shape that represents the accurate perimeter of my target location? 
  9. Do you have a pre-campaign observation period that would allow us to set some parameters on targeting, based on relevant behavior? 
  10. Do you have access to data that would allow me to reach audiences who clearly have an association with my competitors and serve ads to them? 
  11. What kind of competitive behavioral data is your system that we are able to utilize? 
  12. What are the creative implications for me? What kind of creative do I need to have on the ready? 
  13. How are you going to help me refine our efforts over time to retain the population we target and conquest? 

In addition to evaluating and identifying the right approach, technology, and partners, the conquesting marketer would be well served to evaluate their own strategy and intent. Is your motive, “I’m going to steal away my competitors’ customers?” Or is it, “I believe my product is something in which my competitors’ customers would have benefit or interest?” The closer you are to the latter (my ongoing mantra — are you standing in the customer’s shoes?), the more likely you are to develop an effective conquesting strategy. Consumers don’t like to play into the hands of the marketer’s self interest — but they do like to be informed about new things that will meet their needs or desires.

As a closing thought, conquesting is not only for prospecting new customers. It can be an effective tool for nurturing lifetime value in your existing customer base. As much as marketers like to talk about loyalty, consumers are, as a general rule, not all that loyal.

Conquesting tactics like those described above are likewise great tools for continuously reminding your existing customers why they should choose you again and again — effectively capturing market share from your competitors.

Image via Shutterstock.

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