What is a Mobile Marketing Platform?
Mobile Marketing Platform (MMP) is a term for any software solution that is purpose-built to facilitate and optimise mobile marketing communications.
MMPs are mobile-centric, excelling in core capabilities like real-time communications, dynamic content, customer segmentation and usage analytics across handheld devices. They leverage mobile-specific technology such as GPS and channels like in-app messages and push notifications to deliver customer experiences that drive brand engagement.
Mobile Marketing Platform or Multichannel Marketing Hub?
MMPs are not to be confused with Multichannel Marketing Hubs, which traditionally focus on email as the primary engagement channel. The main differences between them are down to the weight of emphasis placed on mobile channels, especially the depth of capabilities MMPs offer on these channels. This is not a hard and fast rule by any means, however, and there are certainly some overlaps between MMPs and MMHs.
Enterprises who are looking to enhance or build a mobile-first marketing strategy will predominantly choose a Mobile Marketing Platform over a Multichannel Marketing Hub (MMH). These companies believe that mobile devices will eventually be the primary method of engaging with customers and prospects.
According to Gartner, the world’s leading IT consultancy, clients who choose purpose-built MMPs report far greater levels of satisfaction with their purchase than those who opt for MMHs (as per the Gartner Market Overview for MMPs 2019). This is because MMHs typically don’t have the same depth of features for mobile channels, leading to long-term disappointment and sub-optimal campaign performance.
Are all Mobile Marketing Platforms the same?
No, not by a long shot! There is a huge amount of differentiation between providers who have been lumped together as Mobile Marketing Platforms.
In particular, there is a great deal of variation in terms of the number of engagement channels offered by each provider. Some will only offer a bare minimum (usually app push notifications and in-app messages) while others have an extensive range that includes web channels like browser push and on-site pop-ups as well as more traditional channels like email and SMS.
And whilst two vendors might technically offer the same channels, that doesn’t mean that they can guarantee the same levels of service and deliverability! And that’s before we get into the nitty-gritty of valuable features like segmentation or automation.
It’s a confusing landscape for buyers. That’s why we’ve identified the essential components and features that you should be looking for as part of your initial fact-finding. This will help you to narrow down your choices before issuing an RFP or getting to Proof of Concept phase.
The essential Mobile Marketing Platform use cases
MMPs should be capable of delivering results in three distinct campaign categories; acquisition, engagement and retention.
MMPs vary in terms of their ability to help you achieve each of these goals, however. To find the right fit for your brand, it can be beneficial to approach vendors with particular use cases in mind.
How can the vendor help you to convert interested prospects who have engaged with your brand in some way but are yet to make a purchase? This category can also include campaigns designed to successfully onboard new customers or app users. Genuine real-time messaging capabilities are vital here.
These are campaigns geared towards increasing wallet-share from existing clients, encouraging repeat sales and upselling additional products. It’s crucial that the vendor has advanced segmentation capabilities, allowing to target your database at a granular level.
These use cases cover abandoned cart recovery campaigns and all efforts to re-engage lapsed customers. Segmentation is again important, but you also should be investigating the vendor’s analytics.
Key features of leading Mobile Marketing Platforms
Wide range of channels
Naturally, you will want a vendor who can provide all of the channels you are currently using as well as some new ones to boost your reach. You can future-proof your customer engagement needs by choosing the right vendor. Some vendors will also provide SMS and email, which means you can potentially run all of your engagement channels from one single location.
Why is this important? The more channels that a vendor provides the fewer point solutions you need to use. The knock-on effects here include the elimination of data silos, effective cross-channel campaigns, significantly reduced costs and less time spent creating the same message for each individual channel.
A modular Mobile Marketing Platform is one that allows you to use as many or as few of its channels as you want.
Why is this important? Some vendors will try to insist that you take all of their available channels or none at all. Obviously, this doesn’t make sense for brands who are tied into existing contracts for point solutions or are certain that a particular channel isn’t right for their strategy. And from a practical point of view, trying to stand up 6 or 7 channels all at once is going to be a lengthy, complicated process. Ideally, you want to find a vendor that will allow you to address your primary needs quickly and then move on to other channels as the need or opportunity arises.
A vendor should be able to point you towards existing enterprise clients and their approximate message volumes.
Why is this important? Whether you are currently executing massive campaigns or you have aspirations to do so, make sure you investigate the vendor’s ability to match your requirements. The last thing you want to do is to invest resources in a solution that isn’t right for you in the long term.
Real-time engagement continues to grow in importance for brands across every industry. We’re talking about a message being delivered as soon as a tagged event (or user activity) has occurred. This could be anything from a page visit, to dwell time or an incomplete action (cart abandoned at the check-out or a failed attempt to log-in).
Why is this important? There are some messages that you want your customer to receive immediately. The value here is that you can address their issue, or capitalise on a sales opportunity, as it occurs. The important questions to ask a vendor are the number of possible event hits they can actually support (usually per month) and what the cost is (including the overage fees).
Multichannel Journey Builder
Some level of automation is essential. Ideally, the vendor should offer a robust tool that gives you the ability to quickly create customer journey maps and workflows.
Why is this important? Intelligent campaign automation is the goal of every enterprise B2C brand. It’s the most efficient way to drive results at speed and scale. With a sophisticated journey builder behind you, it’s possible for a small team of one or two people to automate massive campaigns. Unfortunately, not every Mobile Marketing Platform can support things like cross-channel campaigns so this is definitely something to investigate.
We’ve written about dynamic content before. It’s the lifeblood of personalised engagement at scale. And yes, it goes beyond including the customer’s first name! That’s good, but so much more can be done. The best brands are using dynamic content to engage their customers intelligently with offers and material that are individually relevant.
Why is it important? It’s a “show me you know me” world; as consumers, we expect our favourite brands to understand our interests. Dynamic content is a way to do this en masse across your most effective channels. If this is something you’d like to achieve, then it’s important to query the vendor’s ability to support it, and on which channels.
What you’re looking for here is a varied list of possible segment conditions. For example, you might want to segment your database based on criteria such as their location, their on-site or in-app behaviour, inactivity, app version used and so on.
Why is this important? The more conditions you have available to choose from the more options you have when it comes to targeting. This will help you be more specific with your communications, which in turn will lead to better conversions and goal completions.
Finding the right Mobile Marketing Platform
As you can see, there are many things to consider when you are researching providers. Hopefully, now you have a clearer idea of what you’re looking for and the questions you should ask. There are a lot of companies out there who are overstating their abilities, so be sure to check out reputable guides like the Gartner Magic Quadrant, which you can download below. This contains a detailed analysis of 18 different vendors.
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