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Geo-fencing has real potential for mobile growth, says Citi exec

NEW YORK – A Citi executive at the 2015 Mobile Marketing Association Forum New York claimed that geo-fencing specific areas to alert consumers of potential rewards gained when using a Citi credit card is an optimal solution, suggesting that location-based targeting is a hot topic for financial marketers.

During the “Consumer-first Marketing: A Peak Inside Citi’s Mobile Journey” session, the executive discussed the heavy presence of mobile in the banking sector and claimed that it is becoming a first screen for many consumers. Furthermore, offering mobile capabilities lends the brand more credibility.

“Mobile is synonymous with banking,” said Christine Dilandro, senior vice president and head of media and integrated marketing at Citi, Long Island City, NY. “We’re using mobile in all different ways for mobile, and that’s not new. What I’m thinking about is the holistic media plan and all the channels.

“It’s really important that we’re attracting consumers who want to be mobile and download the apps.”

Mobile offers credibility
Ms. Dilandro argued that mobile offers a wide reach of consumers, due to the increasing amounts of time that people are spending on their devices.

“It gives us a real level of authenticity if it’s done well,” Ms. Dilandro said. “Today, there really isn’t a brief that comes across our table where mobile doesn’t already have a use case.”

She oversees a small team that undertakes holistic planning and views all channels at once, but admits that mobile plays a key role in the brand’s efforts to connect with consumers.

“Mobile is threading through so many of the things that we’re doing,” Ms. Dilandro said.

“We’re trying to catch up to the consumer. The consumer is using the phone while watching TV; we’re thinking about how to capitalize on that.”

Geo-fencing potential
Part of Citi’s goal is to be available wherever its customers are. One of its programs offers users of its card rewards points when out at specific dining and entertainment venues.

Ms. Dilandro admitted that geo-fencing some of those venues to offer customers more rewards would be a smart move, and would certainly be relevant for consumers.

For example, of customers are shopping at Los Angeles’ The Grove, Citi can geo-fence the area and send users a notification prompting them to register their card with a specific program so that if they purchase an item which later goes on sale, they will receive credit back later for the difference.

She also advised other brands to divide and conquer their teams by splitting into pairs to find out what’s happening in certain sectors or industries.

“We sort of break it up among the team and as we develop a roadmap, we come back, and that’s shared across the broader team,” Ms. Dilandro said. “I do think we’re making some pretty heavy investments in mobile.

“If you were looking at a digital plan, it could be anywhere from 10 to 20 percent strictly mobile.”

As mobile screens become larger, more consumers are becoming more comfortable with lower funnel strategies and tactics than they were in previous years.

“You’d be surprised in how many ways [mobile] can really augment your plans,” Ms. Dilandro said.

“Be creative and be willing to build on your learnings. I think it’s a muscle that we’re working.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York