Mobile Marketing Is Not The Same As Context Aware Marketing

Context Marketing

Many brands – and software companies for that matter – claim they are doing mobile marketing. Call it what you want, mobile first, mobile-centric, what they generally mean is that they can take exactly the same content you’d find on a website or email and display it relative to the screen size it appears on.

When you boil it down to its bare elements, that’s what they are really doing – responsive design. Sorry to call it, but responsive design does not a mobile strategy make. It by no means covers the potential that true mobile marketing really represents.

Businesses need to stop marketing at users’ smartphones like they’ve simply got access to some annoyingly small desktop computing device. That overlooks the one thing that is the benefit of a connected smartphone. The mobile is mobile. It’s also cherished and checked more than any other connected device, all day, every day, wherever your customers are, a trend that is only growing with time.

And yet the way campaigns are built and executed they currently rarely take into consideration where the customer is when they are interacting with messages. Are they at home, on the train or actually in store? At what point of their day are they choosing to connect? How they react to any message will change accordingly. It’s all about context. Context is gained through location, through proximity, through weather and through likes and dislikes. Context is a big data mobile play and is the differentiator that makes mobile marketing the perfect medium for truly relevant messaging.

The world has changed; the Internet of Everything and how your customer connects to it is the great macro-trend that is augmenting and altering shopping patterns. Consumption has blurred into one seamless experience, both physical and virtual. So getting your mobile strategy right is becoming as important as even having a website in the first place.

So what’s in it for the customer? There are clearly data privacy challenges that need to be addressed when looking at context aware marketing. Every sensor in the customer’s smartphone can provide information about what’s going on in their world – from compasses providing direction and altimeters establishing which floor of a building they are on.

Businesses simply can’t help themselves to this kind of information, and nor should they want to. There is a much greater benefit to be had from a clear and prominent privacy policy with thorough opt in policies. Couple that with better service or a discount or offer and you find that customers are willing to share this information with marketers. Younger customers almost expect it – with 61% saying that they are happy to swap information in return for a more personalised experience (SmartFocus study, September 2014).

With Apple introducing Apple Pay on September 9th we’ll start to see mobile payments in store increase. The loop is then fully closed from mobile marketing to mobile in store commerce – for certain Apple devices at least. Where traditionally mobile marketing has been seen as the responsibility of the digital marketing department, payment via mobile alongside proximity marketing brings it squarely into the camp of bricks and mortar retail divisions.

It also presents a huge opportunity to combat showrooming. With almost 50% of people admitting to browsing in store then purchasing online, (SmartFocus study, September 2014) anything retailers can do to keep the sale rather than risk losing to a competitor becomes hugely worthwhile. Context aware marketing via the mobile is the best play for this scenario; messaging users when they are in the all-important purchasing mind-set.

The future of shopping rests on a few incontrovertible facts: social media is here to stay, the average consumer is mobile, increasingly local… and probably female. CMOs need the technology that perfectly connects them with this developing demographic. An actual mobile strategy does this. With big data capabilities it’s now possible to collect, store, analyse and manipulate an unprecedented volume of information in fractional amounts of time. Match that with a relevant and real-time messaging platform and business can achieve true context aware marketing, wherever the customer may be.

Since the start of his career, Rob Mullen has always been passionate about helping marketers to drive business performance by unlocking the power of complex data. Rob has an extraordinary track record in growing SaaS, personalisation, CRM and analytics businesses. Prior to joining SmartFocus, Rob served as a Director of public companies, Non-Executive Director, and has held multiple CXO positions at high-growth companies such as AGT, 3iMind, I2 Technologies, Medseek, Opera, Chordiant, and IBM. In addition to his commitments as CEO, Rob serves as a Chairman & Non-Executive Director of several early stage companies guiding their strategy and execution.