As consumer behaviors shift so must marketing strategies. Mobile is no longer the second screen, so why is mobile still at the bottom of business’s marketing plans? Salesforce’ State of Marketing report revealed that 90 percent of marketers agree that it’s increasingly important to “create a cohesive customer journey.” What is the most effective technology to enable a complete journey? Mobile.
There are a number of ways to implement mobile marketing into your strategy. At the very basic, all websites should be mobile responsive. A poorly designed mobile website will disrupt your customer’s journey by providing a poor user experience. For example, if a customer wants to make a purchase on their smartphone, being unable to do so because of a poor design or experience could result in not only a lost sale but a lost customer if your competitors have already optimized for mobile.
What can you do integrate mobile into your marketing strategy? Almost half of surveyed marketers use SMS, push notifications, mobile apps or location-based functionality — up from 23 percent last year. Mobile apps are one of the most expensive option but can be great for news sites and web services. For e-commerce businesses, mobile ads might be a simpler option to drive users to their website. Retailers have many innovative opportunities to integrate not only mobile ads and apps into their website but location-based technologies like iBeacons, push notifications and geofencing. Right now, only 18 percent of surveyed marketers are using these technologies.
As marketers continue to understand the power of mobile tactics, they should no longer be part of a separate strategy but an integral part of overall marketing plans.
The Internet of Things has exploded over the last couple of years as smartphones and the ability to be always connected has become an increasingly integral part of our lives. Bonnie Cha at re/code describes the Internet of Things as “the connection of everyday objects to the Internet and to one another, with the goal being to provide users with smarter, more efficient experiences.” You can see her “Beginner’s Guide to Understanding the Internet of Things” here.
Google’s acquisition of Nest last year set the stage for IoT to expand this year and the conversation about IoT’s impact on everyday life was discussed widely at CES. Consumers are increasingly aware of connected homes and cars. A study by Affinnova showed that consumers mostly want connected home appliances and products like refrigerators that enable remote viewing of your contents and recommends recipes, smart light bulbs that notify you when a bulb has gone out and connected sprinkler systems.
But how is the Internet of Things impacting retail? First, connected home sensors that send notifications to your phone to indicate when you out of a product like washing detergent, milk, or light bulbs are great for retailers. Creating a easy way for consumers to order these products right from their phone means that retailers have the opportunity to improve customer experiences and loyalty.
Next, connected technologies like beacons and NFC will likely increase in 2015. These technologies enable retailers to communicate with consumers in a meaningful way based on their location, delivering deals and notifications that are relevant in real time. The iPhone 6 and ApplePay will also influence retailers to adopt NFC technologies for easy checkout experiences.
The most important thing for retailers to take advantage with the Internet of Things right now is data. Whether connecting your products to home sensors or using in-store location technologies, analyzing data will enable retailers to better understand their customers. When are they shopping? Are they accessing your app while in store or at home? Do they prefer app notifications, or SMS? The more brands and retailers understand their customers, the more they will be able to connect with them at the right time, place and in the right manner.
How do you see IoT impacting retail this year?
More and more brands are recognizing the value in adopting mobile marketing and location-based technologies to reach consumers. For brands new to these tools, it’s important to understand the different options available and the best scenarios to use NFC versus beacons. Choosing the right technology for your campaign and brand is critical in reaching your consumers in the most meaningful way, and achieving desirable results.
Cary Stemle has one of the easiest breakdowns of different location technologies:
“Think of it this way: Cellular communications provide wireless coverage with a footprint measured in miles; WiFi’s footprint is measured in yards; BLE’s is measured in feet; and NFC’s in centimeters.”
Let’s talk about beacons first. Beacons work on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) which communicates a signal between a bluetooth-enabled device and the beacon’s transmitter. If you want to reach consumers in a wide, general vicinity, beacons are the way to go. You can push coupons, store promotions and messages at very inexpensive prices. Using the Tactify platform, you can easily update your messaging and branding, and measure engagement and conversions. Beacons are great for high traffic areas, entertainment venues and events.
NFC, on the other hand, is a more personalized experience. NFC tags communicate with mobile phones only when the phone is in extremely close proximity – usually a few centimeters – which gives consumers more control over when they get notifications (and who can see their data) . NFC is best for payments and specific tickets and access cards. For example, you could place an NFC tag on an event poster. Interested consumers would be able to tap the tag with their phones and access more information. With beacons, every bluetooth-enabled phone that passed by would receive a message about the event, which may be overwhelming. Another use case is handing out NFC-enabled rewards or business cards.
There are a number of creative ways brands are using both beacons and NFC to market to their customers – and reach them right on their phones! Check out Tactify’s solutions here – load, update and track your campaigns from one central dashboard.
We have seen some amazing breakthroughs and innovations in the mobile space during 2014. Brands have embraced the power of beacons in campaigns, ads have become more relevant, and ApplePay could potentially revolutionize mobile payments. Businesses are beginning to understand how mobile marketing and tactics can increase sales and build a better relationship with their customers. So what can we expect to see in 2015?
ApplePay could make mobile payments mainstream. Brands and apps, especially those that are retail-focused, can now make the user experience even more seamless. Eighty-six percent of shoppers use their smartphone to compare prices and browse sales. Connecting these with the ability to make a purchase without entering credit card information, or by just using their phone in store, will make an easier and faster shopping experience, in store and online.
More Location Based Marketing
Major retailers like Lord & Taylor and Walgreen’s have rolled out major pilot programs to test the effectiveness of using iBeacons for in-store marketing. In 2015, expect to see more brands using iBeacons, geofencing and push notifications to engage with customers and create innovative campaigns. About half of consumers say they are open to sharing their location and information in order to join a rewards program.
Better Content & UX
With the ability to use location and big data to better understand users and customers, expect to see better content and more intelligent UX. Advertisers, marketers and publishers recognize the effectiveness of delivering more relevant content using these tools, and are using new methods to understand how to connect better. Expect apps, ads and content to become more engaging and relevant.
What trends would you like to see in 2015?
Location based services, specifically beacons, have raised some privacy concerns recently. Due to recent hacking and tracking controversies, sharing their location doesn’t appeal to all consumers — though most are willing to share their location in return for discounts, coupons or other rewards. When it comes to using beacons for marketing campaigns, there are a few key points for consumers and marketers to understand in order to calm any privacy concerns.
First, beacons work only when a user has installed something – either an app or a Passbook pass. If neither of these are installed, beacons will not communicate with your phone.
Second, bluetooth needs to be turned on in order for beacons to work. If bluetooth is disabled, then beacons are unable to transmit any messages. (more…)
Beacons are taking mobile to a new level. They are helping add location and context to mobile communications and therefore, delivering more relevant information to consumers. What does this mean? More useful information, higher brand awareness and more innovative campaigns. These are some of the coolest beacon campaigns we have seen and worked on.
Hillshire Brands showed everyone how to increase sausage sales. Consumers who had the Epicurious or Key Ring apps received branded notifications from Hillshire when they were in supermarkets that work with the apps. There were also banner ads for the sausages within the app. The results? Purchase intent increased 20 percent and brand awareness increased 36 percent.
The Melbourne Writer’s Festival worked with us to put together a choose-your-own-adventure storytelling app using beacons and it was one of our favorite campaigns to date. Consumers could walk through the city listening to original short stories that referenced places and landmarks, and literally choose different endings based on the direction they walked. Check out the video here.
Lord & Taylor, Hudson Bay, Walgreens & Duane Reade are all testing pilot programs with beacons in store. Lord & Taylor and Hudson Bay stores are sending notifications based on where shoppers are within the store, giving a more personalized flair.
Last, a number of airports have introduced beacons to make traveling more easy. Passengers can receive notifications on the status of their flight, gate changes and look up nearby shops and eateries.
In addition to these innovative uses, we have seen and read about a lot of beacon scavenger hunts at conferences and in-store promotions.
What are some of your favorite beacon campaigns?
Have you ever wished you could choose the outcome of your favorite story? We’re excited to announce Twists and Turns, the first-ever choose your own adventure storytelling app, is now available for the Melbourne Writer’s Festival! Created for advertising agency, JWT, Twists & Turns uses beacons located throughout the city to determine a variety of storylines told within the app based on which street a user walks down.
There are three fictional stories that reference key locations throughout Melbourne, each with four different versions. Using a network of beacons placed throughout the city, the app maps physical locations to specific chapters of the stories. Depending on which street a user walks down, different storylines are triggered. You can see the stories come to life and determine which direction you want the story to go as you “twist and turn” throughout the city. (more…)