The mobile age has changed the interactions between consumers and marketers forever.
The intimacy and ubiquity of mobile devices allow brands to gather audience data that is unprecedented in its scope and specificity: each customer’s preferences and interests; where they live, work and spend their free time; how they navigate through a brand’s app or website.
When combined with the powerful messaging channels that mobile supports (including push notifications, in-app messages, and mobile email), a new norm of personalised, targeted customer communication is born.
This might be an in-app message telling you that since a snowstorm is coming, your favourite clothing brand is offering deals to help you beat the blues. An email letting you know about a free event in your city that’s exclusively for loyalty programme members. A push notification that says you’re within £100 of your card’s credit limit.
Once consumers have experienced this kind of data-driven, individually customised relationship with the brands they patronise, they come to crave it. In fact, Appboy data shows that personalised marketing campaigns can increase conversions by as much as 200%.
That’s a big deal. Not only does the mobile age allow marketers to satisfy customers’ growing appetite for individually customised brand experiences, it also supports the sorts of mutually beneficial customer-brand relationships that real, long-term growth is built on.
But this kind of intimate, responsive relationship between brands and their customers doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It has to have a starting point.
Push notifications are a great way for a brand to engage customers, but they only work if a customer downloads that brand’s app (or opts in for web push notification on its website). Other mobile messaging channels have the same function – they’re ideal for turning new users into loyal customers, for building relationships that pay dividends over the long haul, but not for bringing new customers into the fold.
Paid advertising, on the other hand, excels at that.
With the right paid strategy, the right ads in the right places, brands can introduce themselves to new people and prospective customers, and convince those people to explore their website, try out their app, even make a purchase.
But this kind of marketing can’t support the one-to-one intimate relationship that so many of today’s customers expect from their favourite brands. Not the way that mobile messaging can. And, while paid advertising is often an effective way for brands to gain new customers, it’s not sustainable without a real mobile-messaging strategy to support it, to keep those new customers around.
According to Fiksu, it costs $4.14 to acquire a new mobile user – a cost that increased by 84% between 2014 and 2015. When you consider that most apps lose 95% of their new customers within three months after installation, according to Quettra, that means that acquiring a new, loyal customer can cost up to 25 times that amount.
Without a thoughtful mobile-messaging strategy to help engage, retain, and monetise new customers, brands will find themselves spending significant amounts of money on mobile acquisition without anything concrete to show for it.
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Daniel Head is vice-president and general manager, EMEA, and Matt McRoberts is vice-president, partnerships and channel, at Appboy
Photographer: Charles Aydlett