In my past two columns we explored the increasing importance of mobile data and predictive decisioning. Together these essential elements enable marketers to flex their “sense and respond” marketing muscles to create real-time hyper-relevant communications that meet and exceed customer expectations. But with mobile platforms accounting for more than 60 percent of time spent on digital media, according to comScore, delivering these hyper-relevant messages to the consumers at their precise moment of need requires coordination across multiple mobile delivery channels and throughout the customer journey.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the last several years looking at various solutions in the mobile industry. What struck me most was, while there was an endless supply of point solutions, no single provider has attempted to build a holistic solution from the ground up with the mobile customer and journey in mind. For me, next-generation mobile platforms cannot sit in a silo. We as an industry must rethink, reimagine and re-engineer around the growing need for marketers to connect with consumers across digital and physical channels at their moments of need. We must incorporate customer-focused capabilities and controls, offer multiple mobile execution opportunities, and provide speed, scale, and flexibility. So here is my list of essential customer-journey must-haves for the ultimate next-generation marketing platform:
- Multi-Channel Mobile Support: Next-generation platforms should include support for mobile execution across multiple channels. Marketers want and need coordination and orchestration. Frustration continues to build with multiple SDK implementations for push, analytics, and beacon providers. Next-generation solutions must support a broad range of mobile channels including SMS (the work horse of mobile), push, and mobile advertising via apps – where consumers are increasingly spending their time. It’s also not a matter of adding a channel; marketers need well thought out platforms and UIs that are easy to use and support the growing challenge to meet consumers at their mobile moments of need.
- Customer-Focused Capabilities and Controls: If we learned anything it is this: Consumers are in control and platforms need to recognize and embrace that. Features should include both marketing and consumer friendly functionality such as:
- Campaign Categorization: Meeting the consumer’s expectation means orchestrating messaging throughout the customer journey including pre-visit, visit, and post-visit.
- Segmentation and Message Personalization: The ability to hyper-target and personalize individual one-to-one messages to each consumer’s interests, needs, location, and behaviors.
- Segmentation Preview and Testing: The ability to preview and test messaging to assure the best, most optimal experience.
- Marketing Automation With Location and Linger Awareness: The ability to trigger hyper-relevant messaging based on a customer’s location/proximity and behavior, such as linger time, will become increasingly critical to creating exceptional experiences at every touch point, across both digital and physical channels and throughout the customer journey.
- Frequency Caps, Message Prioritization: Marketers will need to be increasingly aware of customer thresholds and tolerance towards message bombardment. The best platforms will enable marketers to not only craft hyper-relevant messaging but to prioritize messaging and frequency to minimize fatigue, and optimize the experience and results.
- Optimization: Scheduling to a user’s time zone and individual behavior (time most likely to engage/click) will help create a better experience and improve results. A/B testing with winning select can also help assure program optimization and increased performance.
- Convenience: Getting to the content you need quicker and more easily matters. Deep linking and content optimization give users the access to what they need when they need it.
- Multi-Channel Orchestration: Open, real-time APIs will provider marketers with greater flexibility to coordinate and orchestrate multi-channel messaging across existing providers and other digital/direct channels. As an example, leveraging an in-store visit including departments visited in real-time to power a follow up emails or direct mail campaigns, will enable marketers to create better experiences across both physical and digital channels while also growing performance.
- Analytics and Machine Learning: Growing our “sense and respond” marketing muscles require a constant analysis of customer data and behaviors. The ability to make sense of this data, review the customer’s path to purchase and use machine learning and predictive analytics to continuously optimize will become increasingly important.
Marketing continues to evolve, so why also shouldn’t the platforms by which marketers are looking to reach and engage consumer? The truth is they will, as cloud/marketing service providers look to re-engineer and reinvent around the customer journey in an increasingly mobile-only world.
Until next time.