Engage Not Inform – what to look for in a marketing messaging platform

Mobile marketing messagingMy experience founding and running a company with over 10 thousand customers has taught me that marketing messaging is a very tricky idea. It is very easy to overdo, and you need to segment your customers very carefully in order to achieve an overall positive result. Also loosing some customers just because of your marketing messaging is unavoidable.

So when we decided to extend our Mobsted Mobile Suit into marketing messaging, I have formulated the most important issues, which were dealt with in practice. I also came to a conclusion that these issues generally relay to both marketing and service messaging, i.e. a “buy it now” type and “your order is ready” type.

To select a system correctly you need to look at – what customer data to feed it, how often to run and how integrated with your IT it needs to be, how results are to be measured and what goals must be achieved.

Incoming Customer Data

Mobile marketing messaging-6How uniform is your data? If there are e-mails for some customers and phone numbers for others, you need a system, which automatically works with both. Do you have landline or cell numbers? The system must be able to separate and engage only cell phone numbers and to report on others for alternative actions. Which of the cell numbers are likely smart phone users? The system must be able to determine with at least some certainty and engage each group with a different message. Do you have data do you have for customer segmentation? The system must be able to segment customers and address each group with a different message. Do you have names as well? The system must be able to make every message as personal as possible.

How Often Used and How Integrated

marketing-messaging-2Do you need to have a one time campaign or engage with some pre-set regular logic. If it is a regular business tool then the system must either have it’s own customer database management tools or integrate with your existing CRM, Accounting systems or at least with cloud spread sheets (Google Tables). What if any of the customer’s info changes? The system should allow auto sync or manual edit of the database. What if a customer changes a buying pattern either down or up? A system must have automatic triggers reacting to that with either re-engagement messages, like personal promo offers, or switching to more informing and to “thank you for being with us” type of communications. To create such reactions you either need to integrate with your IT or store and manage customer information on a marketing messaging platform.

Measuring Marketing messaging Results and Segmenting for Further Actions

marketing-messaging-3The marketing messaging platform must tell you IF and HOW messages work for each customer group. Same as with online ads- you cannot just fire it all and wait for a jackpot. Well, maybe a one timer, but the results will quickly deteriorate if no measurement and segmentation is done and no timeline developed for groups with different reactions. A simple example, – a Dry Cleaner sending the same message with 10% discount once a month will not work. Instead, a 10% offer at first, then 15% offer for those who opened a first message but did not come and 20% offer for those who did not open at all. Or a 10% offer for a suit dry cleaning if somebody has brought only shirts before. And a limited time offer of 20% for those who did not open the first message and a 10% for both shirts and a suit for those who did open, but did not come. Marketing messaging will not work without measuring and segmenting. I must be done in whichever way, manual in most platforms or automatic in some platforms.marketing-messaging-5

Checking on the Goals

The goal should always be some specific action taken by a customer. Starting with a scroll through your message and there on through a funnel onto the most desirable, i.e. an order and a payment. Goals should be broken down into funnel steps and tied with a segmenting from a previous paragraph. Two things that a marketing messaging platform must do:

  1. Measure effectiveness of messages through funnel steps, and
  2. Cut the distance to the last step allowing desired actions right from the message, i.e. making a payment.

So basically the marketing messaging platform must be about instant engagement leading to any kind of action, not about mundane notifications. This goals map should be revised on a periodic basis to make sure you keep using the best ones and let go of the rest. Also it is not often recommended to measure goals in absolute money terms, as it can mislead on messages quality, but rather in relative quality of funnels and sent/actions ratios.

The Conclusion

marketing-messaging-4Surely, making a choice of a fitting marketing messaging platform is not simple as it seems and greatly depends on specifics of every case. It is important that all the points above should be given a thought. The decision should be based on how often or how integrated usage is needed, on what results should be achieved and from the need to measure results. It is really is a lot of consideration and tinkering, but in a hindsight, I would rather spend a full couple of days making sure everything is done right from the start in a powerful system, then to go in circles gaining experience with several incapable ones.


By Alex Burlitsky, CEO, Mobsted.com