Posts Tagged ‘mobile apps’

Proximity marketing…is there value?

March 19, 2016

I have been much more active lately posting and sharing on LinkedIn than on this site. I do hate duplicating content, and have not had the opportunity to do both as well as I would like.

I am going to try and work on that. Maybe I could start with a discussion thread on tracking your phone (by beacon or WiFi), as the whole issue of tracking within the store is an interesting one.


I believe (my opinion only) that in the past couple years, consumers have become more accepting of in-store proximity marketing, if for no other reason other than it has become so much better. Understanding the likely reason to be in the store (based on past interaction with that retail brand), and ability to pinpoint specific areas of the store has definitely improved. Retailers are learning what is too much (or too little messaging) and how to gauge time in store, time in a specific area, and progress through the store in sending these messages at more appropriate times.

Yet, this is a practice that is certainly still in transition, and mistakes are still made. How this process is executed may cause consumers to get their backs up. Receiving an offer after just making that purchase is annoying. Many are opposed to the practice of having competitor’s geo-fencing another store and providing competing coupons, while others find this fascinating. Getting bombarded upon entering the store is usually not desirable.

Also, consumers may not recognize that they may have opted to receive messages from the store location itself, but may also simultaneously be receiving ads and messages from other apps that they have on their phones and other sources they have previously opted to have messages from. To say the least, at times the whole process can get messy.

Here are a few data points that all the more underline why proximity marketing may the best way ahead (note: the originator of this material certainly has a vested interest in beacon technology, but interesting still the same):

  • The average clickthrough rate (CTR) for a Facebook ad is 0.119%, according to a recent Wordstream report
  • The average clickthrough rate (CTR) for an email is 1% to 3%, according to a recent report by Mailchimp
  • The average clickthrough rate (CTR) for beacon based push notifications can be as high as 80%, according to the data published by push notification technologist Kahuna (Beaconstac, 2016).

(more on this discussion can be found here: Sheehy, A. (2013, August 19). The Mobile Advertising Value Chain.  )

I do think that one of the big drawbacks to this type of push marketing is that not all consumers have their phones out at all times (I know…it varies by generation, but it still can be a pain to have your phone out in a department store sometimes).  That is why I am encouraged by some of the other ways that proximity marketing can be accomplished such as displaying digital instore signage of items that might be of interest if you have your phone on or through Near Field Communications (NFC) marketing, where you hold your phone close to the sensor to receive more information. Personally, I also like the fact that proximity marketing for that brand ends when you leave the store or certainly shortly thereafter.

What about you…proximity marketing, yea or nay?

I’m sure that I could be a movie star…

July 3, 2011

…if I could get out of this place. Billy Joel, “The Piano Man”

In many ways this is a phrase that applies to mobile apps today. There is no doubt that mobile apps are powerful. But getting out of the gate and gaining notice with the mobile consumer audience is far from a sure thing, no matter how great the app is. 

Smart phone apps can be used anytime...

For many retailers and Consumer Goods Marketers (CGM) they are highly cost effective and impactful. According to Internet Retailer, June 2011, in their article Look at Me highly successful mobile apps can be developed for $20,000 to $200,000, depending on complexity and functionality. While expenditures of this level are not pocket change, neither are they out of the realm of possibility for retailers and established CGM firms. And the impact can be significant…

The big questions with apps, given their current popularity among smart phone owners, is how to let the consumer know the app is available, how to get them to down load the app, and then how to ensure consistent, long term usage.

So, how to get them known? Unlike mobile sites, consumers cannot easily do a url search and latch on to an app. They must often search out information if such an app exists and then download from a specific sources or sources. It is also frequently the case that they must not just have a smartphone, but also have a phone with the right OS platform.

Given that reality, perhaps the best method of obtaining adoption is missionary efforts undertaken by a firm’s employees. This is particularly valuable in a retail environment, where some employees have been talking to customers about house credit programs and/or loyalty programs for years.

However, for these efforts to be successful the employees must be fully conversant in usage of the app, and be true believers in the value it adds to that customer’s experience. They must also understand what the terms and conditions around acquiring the app are: where it can be downloaded, and what are the platform and informational requirements.

As a further step, all app marketers can, and should, make the subject of their apps a primary focus on both their convention web sites and on mobile sites if they have them. The app must also be promoted in any social media channels that the company uses. Essentially, any contact method the company has with its customer can be fair game. This could even include mentioning the app on email, and even direct mail advertising campaigns.

But getting the app on a consumer’s phone is only half the battle, as most owners of smart phones end up with more apps on their phone than they know what to do with.

Reminders of potentially important events are important for keeping top of mind for your app. But these reminders must add value to that customer…apps that are just annoying message generators soon get put on the back burner or are uninstalled.

The key here is value: News about new releases that are meaningful to the audience: general industry related news, special exclusive promotions, insider product information or news about celebrity endorsers are some of the messaging tactics that have proved to provide app “stickiness” in the this market.

High Noon Shoot Out: Mobile Apps versus Mobile Sites

March 22, 2010


Tombstone and the OK Corral, circa 1908, Retrieved from Wikipedia




Every year, we hear that this is the year that mobile commerce will be coming of age. And then that year passes.

While I’m not stating that 2010 will be the year, we are certainly getting closer. However, obstacles remain. One of the issues that marketers are still grappling with is the decision on whether to enter mobile marketing using a specifically designed mobile site or rather, to enter using a mobile application program (mobile app).

This “either or” decision is often based on costs and risk aversion; marketers entering the fray want to do so with limited expenditure, yet in such as way as to not injure the brand they are seeking to promote. For those dipping their toe for the first time, there are distinct advantages inherent in both options.

Advantages of m-sites

The overall biggie: short term flexibility to adjust and more open access generally favor mobile sites.

  • The market can be entered more quickly: Mobile sites can be built to using some technology and content from the parent site. A mobile app requires a higher degree of coding and more development time and cost.
  • Mobile sites are typically entered by a phone containing a browser using the same URL as a company’s traditional site, and redirected to the mobile optimized version. Apps can only be used on the newer generations of smartphones, and only in those instances where the app has been built to coexist with the phone operating system in question.
  • Needed changes can be made on the fly to a mobile site, however, the consumer must be made aware of changes to an app and then go through actions needed to download those changes.

Advantages of apps

On the other hand, mobile apps are not without their advantages. While they can only be installed on the newest generation of smartphone, they use the full computing capabilities of these phones.

  • Integration with other apps available for that phone and operating system.
  • Better, richer graphics with higher resolutions.
  • Apps yield higher performance, more like the expectations that consumers expect from their laptop computers. Because much of the “under the hood” technology resides of the mobile device itself, the app only needs to reach out for specific information such as price.

The ideal solution of course would be for a marketer to support customers making either choice. And many do, recognizing the synergy that can be developed by having both a mobile site and an installed app.

 The largest entry barrier for many potential players is dealing with requirements of writing and maintaining different versions of your message for different operating systems. With either option, this potential incompatibility can be an issue; it is just more pronounced with apps.

This is a real hurdle for companies seeking to go mobile to overcome. For example, looking at the Target site, we can see they have both a m-site and a downloadable app.  However, even a retailer as large as Target is only willing to make a bet on the iPhone at this point. Motorola, Palm and Blackberry users need not apply.

This limitation is one of the reasons that the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is striving mightily to establish common base technical standards for mobile. Here’s to hoping they can have some measure of success in this effort.

Then, maybe we won’t have to fight after all. Instead, let’s go have lunch and celebrate the year of the mobile ad at the Capital Saloon.