High time for customized marketing

Isn't it time that marketers stop shooting for the average and start maximizing their ROI? To do so that would mean no longer targeting segments of customers with the "winning" offer, but instead determining the best message for each customer. Carriers have the opportunity to leverage hundreds of behavioral and demographic attributes to target a customer. So why would a "winning" offer ever be the best offer for you, me, and 100 of our closest friends? It wouldn't if you're looking to maximize ROI on every customer communication. 

With traditional A/B testing you might see that offer A gets a 3% response and offer B gets a 2.5% response. So, you roll out offer A, the "best offer," to everyone. But, what if you dig deeper and see that males respond at a 4% rate with offer A (vs 1% with offer B) and females respond at a 5% rate with offer B (vs 1% rate with offer A)? By applying just one demographical trait and delivering offer A to males and B to females, your overall response rate increases to 4.5% - a 50% lift.  Now what if you could determine the best offer for each and every customer? 

With a shift in strategy from customer acquisition to customer monetization, mobile operators are being challenged to increase the success of their campaigns. The benefit of true one-to-one marketing is clear - personalized, relevant offers lead to higher conversion rates. But how many carriers are equipped with the tools to rapidly determine what works best for whom, when, and where? 

According to a study by Aberdeen Group, "Marketers are focused on delivering a clear return from their investments. And to demonstrate strong program results, one area reins supreme - accessing and understanding customer data." With mobile, the quantity and quality of customer data easily surpasses that of any other channel. But how does a carrier effectively consolidate, analyze and act on the data, without a team of 2,000 marketing and analytics experts?

Although traditional campaign management tools are effective for executing segment-based campaigns, the manual intervention required and dependencies on other systems (and other teams) for data and analysis can limit the potential for true one-to-one marketing. Instead of focusing on determining which customers are right for the latest new product or service offering, carriers need the tools to determine the best offer for each individual customer.

The fact is that campaign management systems can be easily enhanced with automation and machine learning capabilities to do the work of an army of analysts, allowing a marketer to rapidly sort out which offers work best for whom. With these tools, marketers are able to move smarter and faster while driving better results. 

Determining the best offer for each customer is the first step, but how do you further improve your marketing success? By delivering the offer in the right context. Someone's needs on Friday afternoon when they're about to leave the office are very different than their needs on Tuesday morning when they've just woken up. Someone's response probability to a 10% discount offer on pay day will be different than a $10 free top-up offer while they're commuting to work on Monday morning. The ability to target a context means understanding, for example, whether someone has just powered up their device, is at home on a Monday night or just about to leave work.

And operators have all of the data to know this. 

By not incorporating contextual intelligence when communicating with customers, marketers are missing an opportunity to be relevant. Mobile consumers have come to expect that carriers understand their needs and only deliver messages that add real value. 

Carriers must shift from blasting large segments of customers to delivering highly personalized communications at the moment customers are most receptive. Every offer presented to the device must be full of relevance and value to the customer. Only then will carriers increase sales and truly satisfy customers. 

Tier 1 carriers that are taking advantage of contextual marketing to increase mobile data usage, migrate customers to higher rate plans and increase prepaid revenues through top up frequency and amounts are seeing anywhere from a 25% to 100% increase in performance. 
Mark Sten is co-founder and SVP global marketing & carrier relations for Globys