Kestrel Lemen (pictured) discusses marketing apps and their role in helping retailers and other commerce-focused marketers to reach customers with personal, data-driven messages.
Thanks to the proliferation of smartphones, tablets and other portable devices, most of us are familiar with the concept of apps – small point solutions that work within an existing platform.
App usage has grown enormously over the past few years. When most of us think ‘apps’ we think about the ones for personal use that run on smartphones or tablets, but there has also been a proliferation of business apps that work with many other types of platforms and devices.
Apps have accelerated the pace of innovation across all forms of business. Whether that is for compliance, HR, finance or sales, apps have carved an impressive niche in a short space of time. Most importantly they have provided information at the point of need, removing the requirement to search through other systems or data sources or to figure out a way to take data from one place and use it in another.
It’s perhaps in retail that apps have had the biggest impact. We can all relate to being on the receiving end of untargeted blast email marketing from brands that we immediately delete. Marketing-related apps can help avoid this situation by making it easy for brands to access data they can use to target the right audience and personalise an email, making it much more likely to be read and clicked. For example, an app that makes past-purchase information from an ecommerce platform available would allow a marketer to promote similar products or automated reorders.
With more and more brands going online and communicating directly with consumers via an ecommerce site, having a targeted, data-driven approach is more important than ever.
In addition to making data more easily accessible, apps also help commerce marketers face the daily challenge of managing a range of disparate marketing tools. Apps provide a wide range of capabilities, all accessible from one place, that give commerce marketers a central digital marketing platform.
Bronto has recently launched a commerce marketing AppCenter, which includes a range of ecommerce, personalisation and analytics tools to help brands manage their marketing campaigns and interact with consumers.
Here are three key challenges for today’s commerce marketer:
- Growing need for data-driven marketing – Today’s consumers are becoming more sophisticated, more difficult to track and much harder to engage. It’s more important than ever for marketers to understand consumer behaviour relative to their brand and to use this insight to build more targeted messages and campaigns.
- Limited time and resources – Given the impressive growth of the e-commerce market, expectations for commerce marketers are high, but time and resources are scarce.
- Integrations – Properly functioning integrations can be difficult to build, and they’re often time- and resource-intensive.
With the apps model, marketing platforms act as hubs with an ecosystem of apps built around them. Apps help address these challenges by putting more functionality in the hands of the marketer faster and enabling them to accomplish more while saving time and sources. Marketing apps might include ones used for analytics, personalisation, recommendations, retargeting and social.
From an analytics perspective, retailers can use apps to track the impact of their social media campaigns and use predictive software to better plan in the future.
Loyalty apps such as Coupon Manager can be integrated into the wide platform, as well as recommendation and retargeting tools, which help segmentation and personalisation.
Post-event and campaign evaluations are an important part of any project, and ongoing development and support of apps is crucial for sustained success.
By controlling all marketing activity through one centralised platform and an ecosystem of well-integrated apps, retailers and brands can ensure they provide a more customised customer experience, which needs to be continually optimised to meet changing customer tastes and needs.
Kestrel Lemen is marketing strategist at Bronto Software Europe.