This month we have an extra special edition of 4 Q’s on the 4 for you.

Recently, we linked up with Localytics – a mobile engagement platform that gives companies the insights and tools they need to improve their mobile app acquisition, engagement and retention efforts – for a Q&A session about some of the challenges brands and retailers are facing today with their mobile strategy and why personalization can lead to better individualized shopper experiences. Here comes the extra special part; ShopAdvisor, joined Localytics in the hot seat answering questions about the state of mobile marketing campaigns in today’s mobile-centric world and how contextually relevant data is not a question, but rather the answer to achieving optimal marketing campaign results.

Josh Todd, Chief Marketing Officer at Localytics

1. What is the biggest challenge for retailers when it comes to mobile?

Many retailers are struggling to keep up with their customers as they become increasingly mobile. They’ve yet to differentiate the mobile shopping experience from its desktop predecessor and properly exploit the unique features and functionalities of the mobile channel, like location marketing and push messaging.

One reason for this struggle is that retailers are not fundamentally well organized to attack mobile. Mobile enables a bidirectional, interactive, dynamic experience with users unlike the one-way, one-directional, static delivery of content on the web. Too many retailers still view mobile as an extension of the web and create unimpressive apps that are more likely to push users away than keep them.

We do know that mobile can be a powerful catalyst for their business if they focus on where it fits into their customer’s buying cycle.  It has to be integrated and should not be siloed or seen as a disconnected experience. Often times it is the same customer, so they need to be sure that they are listening to behavior signals their customers are sending and then focus in on how their apps can add value – that may be through reducing friction, alerting them to special deals, or keeping them up to date on the latest product lines and trends.

2. What are individualized experiences and how are they different than personalized ones?

Individualized messages, which are messages that take into account a user’s actions within the app as well as if the user fits into a particular audience based on their profile attributes, are very effective at creating a more user-specific experience. Individualization takes messages into new territory beyond personalization, which was more focused on using basic user information like their first name or language preference.

By individualizing the mobile experience, marketers are breaking down the technological barrier and making a strong connection with their users. The competition is only getting tougher and the retailers that thrive will be the ones who effectively drive engagement on their users terms.

Bill McLaughlin, SVP Sales & Marketing at ShopAdvisor

3. What do marketers tend to overlook before the launch of mobile-focused campaigns, such as proximity marketing campaigns?

We hear it a million times – preparation is the key to success. Ben Franklin said it best, “failing to plan is planning to fail.”  Unfortunately, so much focus is put on how campaigns will execute “in flight,” that we often fail to do sufficient pre-campaign analysis to ensure that a campaign has the foundation in place to be successful.

The New England Patriots phenomenal success can be largely attributed to their incredible planning and attention to every detail.  They leave nothing to chance in examining their competitor’s tendencies in specific situations. The players always talk about how much their coaching staff prepares them for every possibility and what they can expect. The same holds true for rolling out a campaign. A great looking, well designed campaign is no guarantee for success.  Great pre-campaign planning and analysis can tell a marketer a lot – from where their products are in-stock to which platforms (ie., desktop search product finder, mobile app, social) their consumers are coming from to where to buy and run ads – so they can have a gameplan for a successful outcome.

All of the strategy in the world can fail if you direct shoppers from their smartphones into stores that do not have your product. Not only do you waste advertising dollars but, you potentially lose a sale and worse yet, a customer’s trust.

4. What is one of the most critical components in a drive-to-store marketing campaign?

With the endless amount of avenues to target consumers today, contextualization has become increasingly vital, especially on mobile. Thanks to mobile app technology like Localytics, we are now able to pinpoint movements of shoppers through specific data points, which enable us to customize messaging and analyze the best times to push that messaging.

However, as technology and data get smarter, so will your perpetually connected consumer. They will expect better messaging, more relevant notifications and shopping experiences that are convenient for them. A shopper’s habits, brand preferences, location and even price sensitivity can be very fluid. External factors such as weather, time of day, seasonality, commuting timeframes and much more effect shopper attitudes.

Your goal as a marketer is to pay attention to their behavior and be at the forefront of their shopping pursuits. Having the tools to analyze shopper data, craft a perfectly tailored message, and then deliver it at a time that matter’s the most, will ultimately set you apart from your competitors and put you in front of the shoppers who actually have a need and desire for your product.

Well, that was double the reading pleasure, double the fun right? While smartphones have totally changed the way we shop, learn, locate, watch, connect, produce, and heck, even find our soulmate, platforms like ShopAdvisor’s Intelligence Suite and Localytics’ Mobile Engagement Platform can help marketers better channel the whereabouts of their mobile consumers and discover what messages are sparking their interests.

So, if you’re looking to find your ace in the deep, dark mobile hole, it’s time to take a look at your mobile strategy and start working towards having the best hand in the mobile marketing game.

Additional questions were originally published on Mobile Commerce Daily. You can check out the full article here!

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