The right mobile messaging is critical to a brand's marketing efforts
From left to right, Kashif Haq (Apigate), Kaela Kucera (Skogen’s Festival Foods), Lisa Ajdini (Caesar's), Desmond Overstreet (McDonald's) and Haseeb Tariq (Guess?) participate in a mobile messaging panel at CONNECT: The Mobile CX Summit.
Mobile messaging is arguably one of the most critical elements of a successful mobile app or marketing approach.
If done correctly, mobile messaging can morph into the preferred communication method for most consumers.
But if a brand pings a consumer with the wrong messaging, they risk losing that customer in the sea of mobile apps found on most smartphones.
So, what is the best approach? That is what a panel of executives at last week's CONNECT: The Mobile CX Summit attempted to answer in Chicago.
The answer varies merchant-to-merchant, but the end goal should be the same: to send consumers relevant messaging that will drive specific actions.
Caesars Entertainment has one of the most unique situations when it comes to how it markets itself to consumers via a mobile app.
With properties in both Atlantic City and Las Vegas, Caesars' mobile app users depend on the channel to track rewards points, book restaurant reservations and view nightly events, among other features.
Caesars had faced a challenge with proving its mobile app's worth to patrons in between visits to the brand's properties.
"We have to prove the value [of the mobile app for our customers] to keep it on their phones even between trips," Lisa Ajdini, director of mobile strategy at Caesars Entertainment, said during the panel discussion. "We will give you a very different message depending on where you are. The combination of the message and location is very key for us.
"We learned early on not to send messages to the masses, but those who are most engaged."
McDonald's encountered similar messaging issues in the past, particularly when it was trying to find a balance between national and regional promotions when it debuted a mobile app in 2015.
"We try to be sensitive to specific regions," Desmond Overstreet, the global digital product marketing head at McDonald's, said during the panel. "There has been some experimentation, too, as far as the right messaging from a promotional standpoint."
Overstreet said the fast food chain's popular Free Fry Fridays promotion began as an experiment "to see if it was a growth opportunity, and that turned into a formal campaign of sorts."
While brands such as Caesars and McDonald's conduct mobile messaging campaigns via a mobile app, supermarket chain Skogen's Festival Foods at the moment relies on traditional SMS to market to consumers.
Skogen's Mobile Club enables shoppers to receive exclusive savings and mobile coupons texted directly to a mobile device.
Kaela Kucera, communications coordinator at Skogen's, echoed Ajdini's stance on relevancy, particularly given the supermarket's approach with an SMS-based system.
"We came up with strategy to make sure the offers and messages are engaging," Kucera said. "If we hit at least 30 percent of our club in terms of engagement, that's a win for us. We've seen engagement go up when the level of quality of the messaging is at its best."
The panel also briefly discussed various elements of a successful mobile app.
The following are key points that came from that discussion:
- Overstreet from McDonald's: "Listen to the data. Leverage data points to help make decisions that need to be made." Overstreet said McDonald's uses data from different metrics to assess what works best for its mobile app.
- Haseeb Tariq, mobile marketing and e-commerce director at Guess?: "As a channel, mobile is not a big revenue generator, but the people on our mobile app are most engaged customers." Tariq said Guess? is still trying to figure how best to present a great checkout experience on its mobile app. The majority of its customer browse clothing and accessories on the mobile app, but buy from a desktop.
- Ajdini from Caesars: "When we first started, we weren't concerned about downloads. We looked at active users and active sessions." Ajdini said app activity is naturally at its highest when patrons are on Caesars' properties.
Will Hernandez has 14 years of experience ranging from newspapers to wire services and trade publications. Before becoming Editor of MobilePaymentsToday.com, he spent two years as the content manager for PaymentsJournal.com, a leading payments industry news aggregator and information hub published by Mercator Advisory Group. Will spent four years covering the payments industry as an associate editor for multiple publications in SourceMedia's Payments Group based in Chicago.