Marketing in Milliseconds: Can Mobile Marketing Deliver on its Promise?

Five years ago, “mobile” sounded like the coolest thing that could ever happen to marketing, sort of like when television was invented.

Riley and his co-founding partner are software engineers who previously built search engines for businesses. “The marketing people were always interested in what we were doing; they wanted to know what the relevant search results were and fast,” he says. “That got us thinking about a tool that collected the search data and applied algorithms to this information to learn as much as you can about the visitors.”

UPS Battery Center learned quite a bit. “Using information from the search analytics, we created landing pages for products we didn’t have in stock,” Khramov says. “We found the products from other vendors, priced them properly and listed them on the site. If they started attracting more attention, we’d stock it or manufacture it ourselves.”

“Using information from the search analytics, we created landing pages for products we didn’t have in stock. If they started attracting more attention, we’d stock it or manufacture it ourselves.”

The company also found out that buyers were interested in options like a longer battery run time or stronger performance, information that changed marketing content. It also learned why some products had an unusually high return rate. Customers were searching the site for installation instructions. “We’ve since adjusted the web site to include the instructions, which reduced the rate of returns—a huge win for us,” Khramov says. “The more we derive from the analytics, the less we throw at marketing, buying keywords and spending money on research. Our orders have increased by 140 percent, revenues are up by 125 percent, and our conversion rates have improved by 116 percent.”

HotelTonight, the popular mobile app providing discount hotel rates, is leveraging a very different marketing tool, Apptimize, to optimize the app’s conversion rate. Apptimize is installed
inside HotelTonight’s mobile app to analyze “customers’ experiences inside the app,” says Nancy Hua, CEO and founder of Apptimize. When someone engages the app, “they have different reasons for doing this at different times,” Hua explains. “You don’t know if they’re just browsing or looking to get more information or ready to click and book.

The time of day and their location can be indicators of intent, alerting marketing which (promotional) deals will work better at which times.” Since users of HotelTonight’s app are booking a hotel room for that evening, this rapid intelligence can be very valuable to marketers, helping them adjust their messages to optimize conversion. For instance, as the day wears on, hotels that have not yet booked guests for that evening typically lower their prices. “Our inventory changes a lot on a day-to-day, market-to-market basis,” says Audrey Tsang, HotelTonight’s director of product.

To be sure Apptimize worked, HotelTonight tested it against a control group, using so-called A/B testing technology, in which two apps are going at the same time to determine which one performs better. The app with Apptimize inside it increased conversion rates by more than 26 percent, Tsang says.

While many marketing tools emphasize the predictive analytics, others highlight their messaging. SundaySky, for example, creates personalized consumer video messages based on a data-generated profile.

“We sit down with a client and do the typical analytics to understand their customers,” says Jeff Hirsch, SundaySky CMO. “Then, we design a scene library—dozens of different scenes that tell its story. Each scene has a different look, feel and purpose. Once we know a customer’s profile, we stitch together the scenes in a compelling narrative for that consumer.”

Atlantis Resorts uses SundaySky’s unique video platform to boost sales in its guest pre-arrival program. “The tool initiated a strategic way for us to think about personalized communications
throughout the guest lifecycle,” explains Adam Darnell, Atlantis Resorts director of CRM. “We quickly saw a 13 percent lift in pre-arrival guest spend and a 9 percent increase in overall trip spend.”

Too Good to be True?
By no means are these varied examples a stamp of approval for mobile marketing. Quick wins are rare. “The average marketer has the same chance of converting a net-new visitor into a closed-won deal as an average golfer has of hitting a hole-in-one,” says Aberdeen’s Moravick. Nevertheless, by carefully cultivating a relationship with a consumer on an individualized basis, mobile marketing has a good chance of turning the person into a long-term customer. “Historically, marketers would try to influence a sale with a visually appealing logo or a jingle you can’t get out of your head—the predator-prey dynamic,” Moravick says. “With mobile marketing, this dynamic transforms into a relationship, an ongoing exchange of information between brands and consumers. Instead of feeling exploited—marketers always trying to swindle them out of their money—consumers feel served.”

Sidebar: 5 Things CEOs Need to Know Before Investing in Mobile Marketing[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]


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