Effective personalized marketing is the Holy Grail. Unfortunately on a personal level I have rarely ever experienced real personalized marketing. Maybe it is because I have only downloaded one of the thousands of retailer mobile applications available and I didn’t use it? Why, because after I downloaded the application, it started asking me for a number of permissions and if they could turn on my Bluetooth, etc. Quite frankly I did not see what was in it for me for all that potential intrusion? I do get zillions of emails daily from retailers but always feel like I am getting spammed. I now delete them or unsubscribe (which is sometimes painful) without reading the content. Smashing Magazine states “95% of downloaded apps are abandoned within a month and 26% of apps are only used once.” What this tells me is two things. The big one is there are too many applications to consider downloading on your phone even retail specific mobile applications and two if you are going to download a retailer mobile application it better be good! How many retail mobile applications provide the customer experience and personalization that keep you coming back and even using the application for an in-store experience aka opting in? Why have most retailers not figured out how to provide relevant and personalized marketing, the kind that makes a customer feel trust, that you know who they are, and have a real desire to create a great experience with them? Oh, and also give them a great deal!
I believe the main issue is that most retailers cannot truly offer a relevant and valuable promotion due to the lack of real and timely insights. I am not talking about a bunch of data points (Big Data) that provide no predictable relevance or true insights about the customers behavior and buying decisions. Insights are the science and art of analyzing many data sources which only together can predictably guarantee a high percentage of purchases from targeted offers. These insights are not just a mashing of data but also an understanding of what the data is telling you specific to your audience. What is a relevant and personalized offer? Very simple, you create an emotional reaction which makes the customer purchase what you offer. There are many use cases but having timely, relevant and accurate information to analyze and develop effective insights from all of your data sources is key. The concept of a “360 view” is like Jello to me. Having a bunch of information without the ability to predictably sell something is a waste.
I am very concerned that retailers in their desire to engage their customers will because of poor or no real customer insights create a spam war unlike we have seen. You know how it goes, when in doubt do more! If you market directly to a customer via a mobile phone it better be timely and with relevant context. As the numbers state above, if you do not show immediate and valuable impact your application will be abandoned. You do not get many if any second chances. I wonder if there is now an opportunity for a mobile commerce offering consolidating all of this marketing for retailers. Frankly I cannot see customers going to the mall for example with 50 applications running on their phone? Maybe someone can help me understand this concept?
We all know we are now in a tremendous wave of innovation in retail. This will all be sorted out over the years ahead, but the journey is going to be filled with trial, error and chaos. I for one feel fortunate to be in the middle of this storm!
Please tell us your thoughts and where you think personalized marketing is being done well.
About the author:
Will Roche has a career in retail technology that spans four decades, starting in 1978 with IBM, managing small swat teams building new offerings for IBM retail, and later going on to develop the distribution channel for IBMs retail and hospitality offerings. After IBM he moved to Microsoft, in Retail and Hospitality for Dynamics within North America, developing and delivering world class end to end enterprise solutions Will is semi-retired and occasionally weighs in with pithy observations.
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