2017 Predictions for Mobile Marketing and Loyalty Trends

Mobile marketing and customer loyalty are not new ideas or tactics, but the strategy behind them has been evolving dramatically in the past few years, and that momentum is going to continue through 2017.

Mobile marketing and customer loyalty are not new ideas or tactics, but the strategy behind them has been evolving dramatically in the past few years, and that momentum is going to continue through 2017.

According to eMarketer, the majority of U.S. marketers intend to allocate more of their budgets to customer loyalty in 2017, and about 13 percent said they anticipate significant increases in spending on such programs.

For brands and marketers, their strategy needs to go beyond just having an application or a stagnant loyalty program. There are a multitude of mobile channels, methods of communication and personalization capabilities that can be leveraged to really engage consumers through their mobile devices. Here are some predictions to help curate mobile marketing strategies heading into the new year.

Toss out the legacy marketing stack and take a look at single-view technology

The old days of mass campaign emails pushed out through legacy marketing stacks are behind us now. According to McKinsey & Co., 83 percent of marketers identify that the ability to make data-guided decisions is one of the most important capabilities, but only 10 percent believe they are effective at feeding insights about customer behaviors back into the organization to improve performance.

Measuring campaign success on whether or not an email was opened won’t cut it anymore. Companies need to have a single view of online and offline systems across multiple channels so that they can build single, operational profiles for each customer.

2017 will pave the path for becoming more agile and making data real-time and actionable in the mobile-first world. Behavioral and transactional data and syncing individual profiles will be the only way to reach customers, not through campaigns built for large masses. Companies need to make sure to integrate their technologies to make their once siloed marketing stack more agile, real-time and actionable.

It’s not just for the movies anymore … machine learning is for mobile marketing, too

Machine learning is rapidly infiltrating almost every industry today, and mobile marketing is no different–especially when it comes to the real-time needs for marketers. By leveraging advanced analytics tools, machine learning helps brands gather predictive data, detect patterns within massive databases and thereby power predictive responses for personalized marketing automation.

For example, brands could use machine learning capabilities to understand customer product preferences based on historical purchases. From there, when a customer enters the store the next time, it can allow the brand to send a push notification at that specific moment with a relevant offer–allowing for a hyper-personalized customer journey.

Omnichannel experiences

According to DMNews, 53 percent of consumers feel that it’s important for retailers to recognize them as the same person across all channels and devices used to shop, and 78 percent are also willing to allow retailers to use information from their in-store purchases to provide a more personalized experience.

Brands and marketers need to start giving consumers that they want—omnichannel, personal experiences.

Hearing it straight from the consumer’s mouth, 2017 will be a year for customers to be treated as individuals, with a consistent brand experience regardless of what channel they’re using. By creating a single view of the customer, brands can ensure that they are not only following the journey across all platforms and channels, but also reacting to it at the points of highest value.

A good example of this is if a store sees that a customer has left items in an online shopping cart. Rather than sending an email reminder in a few days about the forgotten items, a brand could, and should, instead send a push notification as the customer enters the store to remind them of the items.

It’s not just about likes … brands need to see the bigger picture through social media

It’s hard to remember the days when social media did not exist in our lives–it has become essential to everyday life for both consumers and brands.

Despite the pervasiveness of social media, though, DMA recently reported that 70 percent of companies are still not collecting data from social media channels. And I don’t mean counting likes, follows and favorites, but the actual data in the content of those social media posts.

Brands looking to strictly advertise to and convert customers on social media are missing a huge opportunity to unearth a plethora of data about consumer trends, purchase intent, product attributes, drivers of sentiment, competitors or category-level conversations.

By analyzing the social conversation across platforms, brands can respond in real-time with hyper-relevant content. For example, if there’s a spike in conversation about unseasonably warm weather in the area, a coffee chain could push a local campaign offering discounted iced beverages for the day.

Getting personal with your customers

Acquiring new customers is important, but retaining your best customers is critical. According to Forbes Insights/Sailthru, companies that increased their spend on retention in the past one to three years had a nearly 200 percent higher likelihood of increasing their market share in the past year compared with those spending more on acquisition.

Traditional loyalty programs rewarded existing or passive behaviors to try and reduce attrition, but the actual rewards are typically generic and generalized and not tied to specific milestones, behaviors or thresholds.

Moving forward, in order to have a successful omnichannel and mobile loyalty strategy, marketers need to align cross-team stakeholders to define business goals and identify what their high-value customer behaviors actually are.

With key milestones and behavior change thresholds defined, programs can offer specific rewards to customers to motivate long-term loyalty and deepen engagement. Brands and marketers can also use their data to quantitatively determine which customers are the best ones by looking at recency, frequency and spend metrics, and targeting accordingly. Each customer should have their own unique experience with individualized incentives.

Brands and marketers can no longer just check mobile off of their to-do list for their 2017 budgets. How are you leveraging mobile? Do you have an omnichannel approach? Is it personalized? Are you looking beyond your likes and reading actual customer conversations on social media? Mobile marketing is set to be a dominant marketing force over the next year; how’s your strategy looking?

Rachel Newton is the marketing director at loyalty marketing technology provider SessionM.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.