Perhaps no aspect of mobile marketing is more misunderstood, and more poorly executed, than location-based delivery of push notifications. Those of us with longer memories will recall the excitement at the ability to send push notifications to thousands of people in the same location. Unfortunately, as if often the case, the ability to do something meant that considerations about the desirability of doing it took second place. The direct result was a lot of unfocused marketing that is unlikely to take up residence in the textbooks.
But we should avoid throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The fact is that location is a vital aspect of most good mobile marketing campaigns, and with very good reason. Mobile continues to have that extraordinary (if often overlooked) advantage: it follows the individual around and tells us where the individual is. As you can imagine, used well this power can create truly outstanding experiences. Used poorly it can be irritating beyond belief.
Here are three use-cases from the Swrve archive that demonstrate how campaigns using the triggering of geofences should be done.
Customer satisfaction is an important metric for most businesses large and small. Particularly for the former, it can be hard to get a handle on - hence the significant investment in Net Promoter Score and similar programs. But as consumers move to mobile, and the mobile app specifically, it is important to ensure these types of survey follow the user into that environment. The alternative is only looking for feedback from users in more traditional channels, giving at best a partial insight into the customer base.
But mobile app based surveys don’t need to be restricted to feedback on the mobile experience itself. In this example, visitors to a bank branch are surveyed as they leave that branch. A geofence is created around the branch, and on exit of that geofence, a push notification asks the user to quickly deliver feedback on the quality of the experience. Whilst the campaign itself is entirely native mobile (and thus delivers excellent completion rates), it provides real-time feedback on the performance of individual bricks-and-mortar branches. Mobile-based satisfaction surveys aren’t only for mobile experiences!
If the example above showed us the benefits of speaking to people as they leave, this campaign brings people in - and is another great example of the power of location in multi-channel marketing specifically. It also goes beyond location alone to deliver the real power that is associated with ‘location + intelligence’.
To understand what we mean by that, let’s consider what ‘location alone’ marketing looks like. Some of this will be familiar from the early days of location-based push in particular, and it essentially means the delivery of campaigns to everyone in a given area. That’s good as far as it goes, and it was certainly exciting at the time, but as the novelty wears off and consumers tolerate interruption less and less, it no longer cuts it. This campaign represents the alternative.
For this retailer, the push campaign certainly starts from the proximity angle. Ultimately, a push notification is sent to app users within a certain radius of any given store. But mobile data, and web browsing data gives them the ability to target those messages with much greater sophistication. For example, if there is a sale event on men’s suits, it is possible to target that push campaign to individuals who have previously browsed men’s suits either within the mobile app or online.
As a campaign, this has the great benefit of being shown only to those users who have previously shown interest in the relevant item. And it delivers significantly greater engagement as a result - and less of the irritation that can be caused by unfocused, untargeted geo campaigns.
As above, we can use location to either pull people into a bricks and mortar branch, or survey them on leaving. But there is a further way of using location data that doesn’t require the existence of a physical store or branch at all.
Put simply, a user’s location can often tell us that they have a particular propensity to need a specific product or service. And if my organization supplies that product or service, now might be a good time to reach out and suggest that we can help. To give one example, it is more than possible that a user spending a certain amount of time in a car dealership may be in imminent requirement of a motor loan.
These campaigns are in fact classic examples of the move toward ‘helpful’ mobile communications rather than ‘marketing’ messages. The former can, of course, be the latter, but far too often the latter is not the former!
In this specific case, we worked with a foreign exchange provider to remind users of their service via push when they broke a geofence at the airport. As they had the app on their phone, these users were already registered with the service. However, as for many people currency exchange is only an occasional requirement, it is very easy to forget that the service is a mere click away.
By sending push campaigns to existing users entering airports, the provider was able to deliver that vital nudge - almost the classic ‘tap on the shoulder’ - that brought the service back to the top of mind at the exact moment it is required. As you can imagine, engagement rates - all the way through to currency ordering - were an order of magnitude higher than more generalized campaigns that had relied on the time of year to guess a user’s propensity to require the service.
Tom Farrell is the VP of Marketing at Swrve. Tom has over 20 years experience in consumer marketing, both with some of the world’s leading brands and in the tech ecosystem that supports them. Tom has been involved in mobile marketing for over six years and has worked with major app businesses to deliver successful campaigns and experiences on mobile.