Mobile marketing is changing everything. With app usage now mainstream and both the number of apps and time spent on them skyrocketing, it's time marketers get serious about push notifications. That means finding and selecting the right partner to help you connect and engage consumers using this channel.
For brands, push messaging maximizes the power of mobile marketing including its intimacy, immediacy and context. When done correctly, push can drive engagement, retention and conversions. As a result, push messaging has increasingly earned its place in the marketing mix.
However, to really do push right, it needs to be integrated with other digital marketing efforts such as email, SMS and even display and mobile advertising. To do that, marketers should be certain that their partner of choice aligns to their needs in terms of push-specific features and functionality, but also has six critical capabilities to execute marketing orchestration well.
1. Robust campaign management and personalization
Message creation for marketers is table stakes, but supporting advanced personalization in a medium known for its intimacy and immediacy is essential. To do this, marketers must link app users with existing CRM systems to utilize the full power of their first party data. Matching can often be done using the App/User ID and registration information that captures the email address.
Look for providers who offer a system flexible enough to pass this information and tie user identifiers to a customer record. This will enable you build and execute highly personalized messages within the app and across multiple channels.
2. Reporting and individual level data
If your provider can support a link to CRM systems, you'll want to make sure that data and activity within an app makes its way back to your database. Look for providers who can facilitate and support individual level data feeds, as opposed to aggregate data and reporting results. Understanding activity at the individual level within an app can help determine future offers and cross-channel messaging for identified users. This data can also be used to optimize follow-up messaging.
3. Location history/triggers
Geofencing is powerful, but you need more. Look for vendors who can share location history and support real-time location triggers based on a geofence. Doing so will enable you to coordinate highly targeted multi-channel messaging/marketing based on customer actions (i.e. location) and/or channel preferences. Well orchestrated messaging throughout the customer journey can significantly not only impact the customer experience, but provide a dramatic lift in conversion.
4. Apple's identifier for advertisers (IDFA)
Tying an App/UserID, registration information from in-app loyalty sign up and the IDFA is marketing nirvana. With the IDFA tied to the customer record, marketers are able to find users across apps via in-app advertising. With consumer behavior shifting more and more to mobile, mobile advertising represents a large and important channel to embrace. IDFA not only gives marketers the opportunity to find these known users but to orchestrate those efforts with highly coordinated marketing messages across multiple channels.
5. Web push
Recently announced at the Apple conference in October, web push is Apple's new push notification solution for the desktop browser. Available with the release of OS X Mavericks, web push is available now on the Safari browser. This raises the bar for browsers such as Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer, who will likely look to get more aggressive with their own notification efforts as adoption increases. Users opt-in, just like they do with iOS, but web push offers marketers yet another opportunity to connect and engage with users in a highly personalized way on the web. Current brands using this at launch include the NBA and NY Times.
Look for web push adoption to accelerate quickly over the next 12 months. To take advantage of this emerging opportunity, make sure your provider supports or has plans to support web push, in addition to push notification via an app.
6. Controls/frequency caps
Given the personal nature of mobile, providing users the ability to opt in and out of push messaging is paramount. Consider creating multiple alert types and frequency control options to further improve satisfaction. Look for providers who also offer robust multi-channel preference centers that enable consumers to not only control push notifications and frequency, but control the type and frequency of communications across all digital (ie.: email) and offline channels (i.e.: direct mail).
There is little doubt that apps and push messaging will play an increasingly important role in mobile marketing. To create the best experience possible in and outside the app, marketers need to think about the customer journey and the marketing orchestration required to provide a highly relevant and differentiated experience. To do that well, be sure to use these six criteria as a core part of your evaluation process.
Note: Originally appeared in ClickZ