The Mobile Data Gold Mine


Imagine a display ad that communicates with a consumer’s smartphone upon their entrance into a retail environment. After a click that indicates the consumer is interested in a special deal, the consumer’s smartphone displays a coupon which the sales clerk scans, giving the consumer an electronic barcode receipt for discounts and alerts them to other nearby deals. Payments, made via mobile, would connect the consumer’s purchase data to financial transaction records enabling their credit card company to utilize spending data to tailor partner offers according to frequency and location of purchase.


That mobile data, which might also bind information regarding the consumer’s purchases to their social profile and weigh a specific ad as more or less relevant to the said consumer, would connect consumers’ on and offline identities in ways that would make it easier to gauge engagement as well as to eliminate a bulk of ineffective ad serves.


That’s similar to Google’s vision of the future of mobile display, revealed recently by Google’s mobile and location services director Marissa Mayer. It might sound futuristic, but the vision may be less than a year or so away. Versions of this scenario are being tested by retailers such as Walmart, and limited NFC mobile payment systems are being rolled out by Starbucks and others. For now, however, the retail applications of mobile payment technologies are too new and misunderstood to be adopted en masse.


Eventually, mobile payment technology will merge with location-based services and display, but brands won’t jump into a new technology without established standards in evidence or a viable, multi-player ecosystem. That will take some time.


This leaves brands and CMOs with the dilemma of needing to harness the technology as it rolls out while still maintaining a metrics-based mobile and online strategy that incorporates enhanced targeting and an ever-present retail outreach. Here are three key elements to steering marketing strategy through an ever-changing universe of options:


Create a Retail and LBS-Aware Mobile Strategy. Solid mobile strategy requires a reasonable privacy directives regarding data as well as a solid grasp on mobile ecommerce options.That means employing a privacy policy that is transparent and adaptable to new devices and data transfer protocols.


“Data concerns are all about how it’s being used,” said Mike Wehrs, CEO of Scanbuy, a mobile targeting firm. “The industry needs to be clear with how the data is being used, in addition to what is being collected. Groups and industry leaders are generating the guidelines, but developers and marketers that are not doing it yet need to take that responsibility today.”


Create A Multi-Device Content Strategy. While device capabilities evolve, data management and content connections have to anticipate platform capability adjustments and adapt rapidly. Platforms will need to communicate with consumers wherever they are, and that means that the core of every strategy needs to have an effective model for mobile data that is able to pair content with advanced targeting initiatives, while incorporating privacy protocol.


“On the strategy side, mobile is being recognized as a unique medium,” Michael Becker, Chairman of the Mobile Marketing Association told DIGIDAY: DATA. “Everyone sees now that that they need to treat it differently, that the user experience and expectations are different in mobile than with other marketing and engagement mediums.” Mobile content, including video, has garnered higher engagement rates than other forms of traditional media.


Sending the right ad at the right time is crucial to maximizing ROI, and that exercise requires a data strategy that funnels real-time data from multiple platforms and uses that information to create a personal snapshot of content impact and mobile activity. While content is still king,  the universe of data that will emerge from the rise in mobile activity and retail location-based service usage needs to be piped into a solid structure that drives audience targeting.


Make Your Social and Retail Presence Data-Responsive. Semantic, or cookie-less tracking, is hot, and there’s a good reason for it. While congress and the public mull the acceptable parameters of audience tracking, a targeting platform that utilizes data intelligence that isn’t under the proverbial axe, such as public social conversations, is a wise choice as the backbone of mobile marketing strategy.


That real-time data can be a source of guidance for the development of a responsive business model that informs content-to-ad pairings and permits in-depth content analysis that doesn’t diminish the positive effects of audience segmentation.


Audience targeting must evolve past dependence on data sets culled from practices that may be potentially subject to legislation or consumer backlash. “Consumers generally are comfortable and appreciative with accurate targeting techniques if it is only used to make their experience better, more relevant, and more rewarding,” states Wehrs. “Their paramount concern is that the information is safe and not used in any way that they are not aware of or that does not benefit them.” That means targeting will need better data and brands will need to manage that data more effectively to create more engaging content, ads and retail experiences.


The world that Google envisions will connect consumers with personalized content and services wherever they are and unleash a flow of financial capabilities that will make commerce a continual, socially-bound activity. Data will be the key driver of that world and brands will require a fine-tuned analytics strategy that connects the “here and now” with a seamless loop of socialized commerce.

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