The Personalization Potential of Mobile Marketing

Aug 01, 2017
By: Marissa Camilli

“If your plans don’t include mobile, your plans are not finished.”

-Wendy Clark, DBB North America, President & CEO, Ad Age 2017 Executive of the Year

Given the sheer volume of hi-tech solutions and digital channels now readily available, both marketers and consumers can very easily succumb to the digital age version of the paradox of choice.

In 2017, the hard truth is that technology has rendered customers less predictable than ever before.

With the very recent (and rapid) digital age rise of mobile commerce, smart devices, and the end-to-end customer “experience,” it is clear that the purchasing path of today’s consumers can be difficult to predict. In order to adapt and respond to these new consumer driven pressures on traditional markets, businesses have shifted their focus to maximizing the impact of multi-channel marketing. From websites and email, to paid search and social media, and even SMS messaging, businesses are now attempting to implement a single strategy across a variety of diverse channels.

And yet, as varied as today’s multi-channel marketing strategies are, even the briefest of channel reviews reveals one common consumer denominator…

The mobile phone.

While mobile as a marketing channel is far from the only viable option available for today’s digital age marketing gurus, as Wendy Clark has explicitly indicated, mobile is one of the most powerful and widely used channels available (with two-thirds of Americans owning a smartphone). What is the source of this ever increasing power?

The ability of mobile to get personal…

Let’s take a look at how.


The power of mobile personalization in the digital age begins and ends with data. Today’s businesses recognize the need to collect and utilize consumer data in order to enhance consumer personalization. With the digital age, consumers (especially Millennials) are increasingly spending more time online (and having less human interactions). Because there is less person-to-person interaction, the need to capture informed consumer metrics has never been higher. In fact, according to a 2016 comScore report, the amount of time the average person spends per day on their phone is trending upwards and is now near three hours a day! With so much time spent on smart devices, digital age businesses are in a unique position to not only improve the quality of the products and services they offer to consumers, but to build brand loyalty and repeat customers through personalized consumer experiences.

Multiple Points of Consumer Contact

The second way in which mobile flexes its personalization muscles in the digital age is by using consumer data to present mobile users with multiple options when it comes to their preferred points of brand contact. Customers can now easily select the smart device platform that best suits their needs for interacting with their preferred brands. Whether it is making a purchase, consuming content, or interacting with brand influencers, consumer freedom of choice proves time and again to be one of the most important catalysts for personalized brand interactions in today’s digital landscape.

Here just a few of the several points of contact available when it comes to mobile consumers:

  • M-Commerce: With US online retail sales previously predicted to reach $480 billion by 2018, m-commerce is in a prime position to become the consumer touch point staple of the digital age. Not only does m-commerce offer customers the convenience of “on the go” purchasing, but it provides businesses with the opportunity for diverse retargeting strategies and word of mouth marketing.
  • Social Media: No longer mutually exclusive, today’s social media platforms are now engineered to use smart devices as a platform for consumer influence. While this influence has the potential to manifest as a successful m-commerce campaign, it can also impact the bottom line of the brick and mortar retail location. According to Adweek, 82% of mobile users use their phones to assist with purchasing decisions when inside a physical store. Considering this statistic together with the potential impact of social proof, don’t be surprised if the “media” in “social media marketing” soon evolves into the “mobile.”
  • Apps: While potentially overlapping with m-commerce and social media, mobile apps and mobile payment solutions provide customers with additional opportunities for personalized engagement. This personalized engagement includes consumer perks/loyalty benefits, 24/7 visibility, and allows brands to get an inside look at use trends and consumer needs.

Geolocation Marketing

A final way in which mobile marketing creates a more personalized experience is through geolocation marketing, otherwise known as location-based personalization. This refers to the use of a user’s mobile data (typically via GPS satellites or an IP address) to provide a more intimate consumer experience. It typically is applied through some combination of three different types of “targeting” techniques. These techniques include:

  • Geo-Fencing: Taking advantage of the GPS and RFID (radio frequency identification) technology that comes equipped with most smartphones, geo-fencing creates a well-defined geographic boundary (i.e. “fence”) that allows businesses to communicate with mobiles users based on their movement within the boundary. This could mean a text message at Point A, an email at Point B, and a push notification at Point C, all relating to a mobile user’s specific location.
  • Geo-Targeting: Similar to geo-fencing, geo-targeting has traditionally been used to capture the IP address of website visitors. Prior to the rise of the mobile marketing revolution, this technique was used to deliver web consumers personalized content based on their browsing history. While it is used with less frequency in the digital age, it is still effective for broad targeting based on zip code or city.
  • Beacons: Relatively new to the digital marketing scene, beacons are small Bluetooth radio transmitters. They receive an incoming signal from mobile or smart devices that have their Bluetooth signal activated. These are typically found inside of brick and mortar retail locations. They go a long way in enhancing the in-store consumer experience by pushing personalized notifications and offers to in-store consumers.

To Conclude…

While this article is by no means an exhaustive list, it is easy to see how the present and foreseeable future of marketing will depend on smartphones and smart devices. Providing digital age businesses the ability to personalize the consumer experience with actionable outputs, mobile marketing is one of the most important keys when it comes to developing consumer loyalty while meeting expectations in the ever evolving digital age.

Are you a brand interested in delivering your app to the right audience for a more personal mobile experience? If so, click here to learn more.

Marissa Camilli
By Marissa Camilli
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