Segmenting your customer database is fundamental to developing successful marketing campaigns. The days of mass marketing the same content to everyone is over. Companies that expect great results from sending identical messages to every customer will be disappointed. Companies should not only segment but start to use personalisation techniques to really connect with their customers.

According to an Oracle study conducted last year, 49% of people expect to see some degree of personalisation in messages sent to them. Personalisation is a big subject that takes into account things like people’s preferences, buying behaviour, friend recommendations, location, device used, gender, date of birth and many more.

With mobile marketing this is even more important because people are used to receiving content on the device of their choosing; if the message is not tailored to work on their phone, the message will be wasted. Segmenting mobile campaigns adds another layer to campaigns by introducing things like device type, size of screen, speed of data connectivity and operating system used. Companies also need to segment based on those people that will use the company’s app (if they have one) and those that will use the mobile version of their website.

Businesses should not make the mistake in thinking that all ‘connected customers’ are the same. We are moving from segments of groups to segments of one where the degree of personalisation will be tailored to the individual consumer. This is done because every connected customer is different and although they may all connect with the company using their smartphone, they may want different things altogether.

Some of these connected customers may want to use the mobile friendly version of the company’s website while some may want to use an app. Some may happily turn Bluetooth on to get messages from in-store beacons and some might think it drains battery so leave it off. Others may be happy with all their data being shared with an organisation and others may think it’s an invasion of their privacy. Some may very happily tweet about a product from their phones they love and others may never use social media. All of these different customers need to be catered for and as the digital landscape alters and shifts, businesses need to be ready to change along with it; providing customers with the opportunity to access information and receive communication how they want to.

Customers with high use of social media do not necessarily indicate high levels of brand engagement. With the explosion in mobile usage to access social media, people are always connected but that doesn’t mean they are connecting with brands. In the US only 33% of adults have ever followed a brand on social media which means that there is a lot of scope to grow.

That being said, social media does have an impact on buying decisions with 47% of people using social networks say that Facebook had the greatest impact on their buying behaviour. Recently Twitter has been trialling a buy button that lets people buy directly from a tweet. Pinterest is also exploring buying options using a Buy from Site button. With people now being able to buy things directly from a tweet or a Buy from Site button on their mobile phones, companies that embrace this technology will see an uplift in engagement and sales.

Pop-up ads are controversial but they can have a place in a successful mobile marketing campaign. A 2013 study by Insights One found that 70% of Americans hate pop-up ads scoring them on par with lottery scams. That being said though the test data from numerous companies using them is very promising.

The company WP Beginner got a 600% increase in signups by using a pop-up and there have been other examples from many different companies in different sectors. It can clearly work, but there are some very large caveats to consider. Some of these are common sense, don’t cover the whole page with the pop-up, keep track of your site visitors and if you see an increase in bounce rate right after starting to use the pop-up, stop using it and finally keep them as simple as possible by only asking for an email address and nothing more.

One of the best ways to make a pop-up work is to personalise it to the visitor. These days a number of companies are personalising the look and feel and the content of a website based on the visitor browsing it; the same can be done for pop-ups. By using cookies to track visitors and gathering data on each visitor, pop-ups can be tailored to individuals. By doing so, their effectiveness will increase even more.

With the so called decline of the high street, the retail industry has scrambled to accommodate for changing customer habits when it comes to buying things. There has been a massive increase in online sales; in 2014 in the UK consumers spent £44bn online which was an increase of 15.8%. Retailers should embrace this trend and try to find ways of accommodating all types of customers to increase sales and revenue.

Customers are demanding to be able to consume things in the format they want to; be it television, music, games, news, product information and even purchasing goods and services. When it comes to buying goods and services, some want to do it on their phones, some on their tablets, some on their laptops, some through their smart TVs, some still in shops and some using a combination of all of these things.

Using beacon technology and mobile apps, businesses can pull customers into their stores by offering them in-store only rewards, discounts and vouchers. Businesses should embrace click and collect and reserve and collect services and offer them as standard when people shop on their online stores. Many customers still want to buy goods in-store so they can test them out, feel them and be able to return them somewhere if it goes wrong so the use of click and collect is growing rapidly. Also offer free WiFi in-store for customers to allow them to look up product reviews, recommendations and gather more information about a product while being in-store. By embracing the connected customer, businesses should try to integrate all their marketing and sales channels and offer a seamless experience to these savvy customers.

With the rise in wearables such as smartwatches, buying through social media and faster data connections we will see even more connected customers in future. Savvy connected customers will not only receive messages on one device but on several, and use different ways to interact with companies. The job for the business will become even harder in trying to cater to all these different ways to communicate with individual customers.

Having said that, we will also see a push back from customers and a sort of digital detox might occur. With customers receiving so many messages from companies, people may simply switch off and stop interacting with brands. The need to personalise will be even greater when this happens in order to stay relevant and be one of those companies who ‘makes the cut’.

More customers will use mobile commerce to buy things on their phones, use social media to buy products and use click and collect services more frequently. So businesses have to make sure they are keeping pace with these changes and go to those platforms where their customers are and use those methods of selling that will make the most impact to their customer base.

Technology and social media are changing things rapidly in the retail environment. Businesses can see this as a huge challenge to overcome or they can see it as a huge opportunity that they can embrace. By embracing change and catering to the needs of their customers, companies will be seen as relevant and their messages will resonate with the people they are trying to reach.

Az Ahmed

Az Ahmed


Az Ahmed is a Senior Marketing Consultant at SmartFocus.