Marketers keep inching closer and closer to mobile customers by using more precise targeting in hopes of influencing intent.
Foursquare recently added ratings to locations in its Explore tab to provide nearby customers with a 1 to 10 scale of certain venues, like restaurants and bars. Unlike Yelp’s user ratings and rankings, Foursquare bases its scale on digital breadcrumbs from people who have left tips, likes and dislikes along with popularity, loyalty, local expertise and billions of overall Foursquare check-ins.
Starbucks put QR codes on coffee packages so consumers can quickly receive additional information about the particular coffee. Vans Shoes promotes MMS sign-ups on its Web site.
All these approaches are aimed at getting the consumer to do something based on providing them with additional (and hopefully useful) information.
Although location can be tracked and is used in many of those approaches, it’s not necessarily leveraged to its fullest when it comes to targeted messaging. We’re talking about going beyond the idea of sending the right message at the right time or even the right message to the right person, which many have been refined over the years.
One mobile startup has been powering this new activity with some major brands including retailers and hotel chains such as Ritz-Carlton and Intercontinental Hotels Group. Messages to consumers from companies like these are being delivered to consumers’ mobile devices based on customer segment, location, and mobile app usage history, facilitated by New York-based mobile startup Xtify. Xtify created a platform and process to target both the consumer and message at just the right moment, at the most effective location. The idea is to target at the highest moment of relevancy. They use push messaging in conjunction with precise targeting to influence intent using the context of messaging based on location.
The people most likely to use the Xtify capabilities are those customers who downloaded a brand’s app because they already are fans of a particular brand. The technology is embedded within the brand’s app so the consumer never sees Xtify, a noticeable pattern in the mobile industry. “If you have an app, you likely are a brand loyalist,” says Josh Rochlin, Chief Executive Officer of Xtify. “This is the next-generation CRM. Influencing intent is the goal and the ability to segment and target based on context is crucial.”
Xtify’s technology uses persistent location technology, which is built into Apple and Android devices and registers a user’s location anonymously on a continuous basis.
A marketer can customize messages dependent on when they’re sent, based on time, location and frequency. For example, a person may be sent a mobile message when they come within a certain distance of a particular store. If the person opens the message, they may only receive one more message (a different one) within a four-week period. If the consumer does not open the app within 30 days, they can be sent a reminder by SMS to open the app.
This allows marketers to send consumers useful messages when they enter a predefined geofenced area. Consumers don’t have to open the brand’s app to find if there is a special offer, since it is automatically triggered when the consumer is in the vicinity. “We took the push notification and built a cloud interface using dynamic segmentation for targeting and messaging,” says Rochlin.
When mobile shoppers are viewing a brand’s Web site, different messages can be sent based on whether the consumer is at home, in the store, or even in a competitor’s store. The offers can be totally tailored to each of those locations. The idea is that no message is sent to a person more than once and every recipient has to have opted in — typically done when they download the brand’s app.
The general concept of Xtify’s geofencing approach is that if a person opens a page within a certain radius, they will receive value. It’s up to the brand or marketer to determine how best to provide that value to each individual and to influence intent. When a person receives a message of value, the system also allows it to be shared with other platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
An example of precise message targeting is that when a Ritz-Carlton guest arrives near the hotel, they receive an SMS welcoming them to the hotel and suggesting they open the Ritz-Carlton app to receive a special offer. Messages also could be tied to a brand’s loyalty program, for even more personalized messaging.
The logical next step will be to measure the power and effectiveness of influencing intent.
Chuck Martin is editor of mCommerce Daily at MediaPost and writes the daily MobileShopTalk. He is author of “The Third Screen,” “The Smartphone Handbook,” and the soon-to-be-published “Mobile Influence.” He is CEO of Mobile Future Institute and a frequent mobile keynote speaker around the globe.