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Varick exec: Segment mobile tactics to different consumer groups

During the “Holiday Recap: Analyzing Mobile Marketing and Mobile Commerce Over the Holidays” session, executives from Varick Media Management and McCann Truth Central took a look at the recent holiday season and pointed out what worked and what did not work. The panel was moderated by Chantal Tode, associate editor of Mobile Marketer.

“I think there’s an opportunity for mobile marketing to do customer segmentation,” said Jack Southerland, senior vice president and director of client services at Varick Media Management, New York. “We talked about Passbook, push notifications, email, but different consumers based on their demographics or geo may find a different mobile function best suited for them during the holiday period.

“It is a fast, fleeting period of driving to drive sales,” he said. “Consumers want use, utility. It’s really just taking this device, looking at it from a larger picture and figuring out what elements really work for said target group.”

Looking back
The panelists started by pointing out some key successes and failures in mobile over the 2013 holiday season.

Mr. Southerland found that the most exciting thing about the recent holiday was the increase in mobile email marketing. Brands assume that the basic mobile marketing tactics are mobile Web and applications, but mobile email is a key channel for marketing, especially over the holidays.

India Wooldridge, vice president and deputy director at McCann Truth Central, New York, noticed an interesting trend in how consumers viewed mobile devices during the holiday season.

Most Americans saw their smartphone as a tool that helped them shop in a more efficient and almost military way. Alternatively, consumers in emerging markets viewed mobile more as a fun and exciting part of holiday shopping that was akin to winning the lottery as opposed to a military operation.

Both Mr. Southerland and Ms. Wooldridge agreed that Macy’s was a definite leader in mobile over the holidays. With its efforts in Passbook, mobile email, push notifications and SMS, Macy’s integrated mobile in a holistic way to enhance the entire consumer experience during the holidays.

Ms. Wooldridge also singled out Ikea Norway for a photo-based SMS campaign, Topshop on pinterest, Target’s Awesome Shop, Best Buy’s loyalty app and Oreo on Instagram for their holiday mobile efforts.

Looking forward
One way in which Mr. Southerland believes that mobile can grow is in segmentation.

Marketers have already been experimenting with segmenting messaging based on consumer location, behavior and time of day, but Mr. Southerland advises expanding the principle of segmentation beyond message to actual tactic.

With so many different mobile tools available, marketers should let the consumer receive messages in the way they prefer.

If a consumer prefers push notifications, marketers should send that consumer messaging via push notifications. If a consumer prefers mobile email, marketers should listen.

Looking towards the next holiday season, new technology such as the beacon will help marketers learn more about consumers so that they can better target and segment be it through messaging or mobile tactic.

“We’re only starting to use [data] properly,” Ms. Wooldridge said. “I think we’re going to get more sophisticated, more personalized, more tailored.”

Final Take
Rebecca Borison is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York