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Strong mobile marketing builds relationship with customers through device: Urban Airship

NEW YORK - An Urban Airship executive at the Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus 2013 said luxury marketers should move past the one-time connection with consumers and focus more on building relationships through smartphones and tablets to make the most out of the mobile experience.

During the ?How brand leaders mature from responding to mobile booty calls to building real mobile relationships,? the executive discussed what makes mobile different from other channels and how to create lasting relationships with consumers. Luxury marketers should strive to create engaging mobile that cater to their customers? wants and needs.

?Mobile won?t replace retail and Web strategies, and it won?t match them in size, but it is the most important channel for the future,? said Brent Hieggelke, chief marketing office at Urban Airship, Portland, OR.

?[Through mobile,] consumers are allowing brands to send them messages anytime and anywhere,? he said.

?The consumer is never out of reach.?

The Mobile Marketing Summit: Holiday Focus 2013 was organized by Mobile Marketer.

Lasting relationships
The amount of time that consumers are spending on their mobile devices is around the same amount of time they spend watching TV, per Mr. Hieggelke. However, brands are not investing as much in mobile as they are in TV.

Since consumers are becoming more connected to their devices, brands must reallocate attention to this platform.

During the presentation, Mr. Hieggelke highlighted five actions that marketers can use to encourage consumers to download and keep a mobile application.

Gucci app

First, marketers should create real utility for the consumer. To do this, marketers need to know what their consumers? passions are and then find out what their consumers want from an app.

?Let your consumers tell you what they want,? Mr. Hieggelke said.

?More control leads to more participation,? he said. ?Consumers want to control and curate their own experience.

?Brands that put more detailed control centers [on their apps] see more participation.?

Next, marketers need to create a reason for continuous consumer engagement with their app.

Marketers can do this through personalized push notifications rewarding consumers after taking a certain action or letting them know when certain products are available.

Furthermore, marketers need to capitalize on location.

This can be integrated into apps through sending an alert to customers when an item goes on sale that they have previously scanned the barcode of while they were in store.

However, brands should avoid ?advertazing? by bombarding customers with messages they don?t want just because they are in the nearby area.

Another suggestion Mr. Hieggelke mentioned was to start with a mini app if a brand does not have an app yet. For example, brands can offer digital coupons and loyalty programs as the main feature of a smaller app.

Lastly, Mr. Hieggelke explained that every push notification does not need to be shoved onto consumers. To create a solid user experience, apps can create alerts to be viewed in an alert center in the app instead of sending them out through push notifications.

?People hate irrelevant, untimely, inane notifications,? Mr. Hieggelke said. ?Don?t drive people off their phone with your messages.?

Taking the lead
A few luxury brands have created apps covering the basics that Mr. Hieggelke addressed.

For instance, department store chain Nordstrom offers a personalized mobile shopping experience in its iPad app in a move that helps the brand distinguish itself on the platform.

The three main engagement functions of the Nordstrom for iPad app are the virtual dressing room, personalized homepage and social sharing. It is available for free in the App Store (see story).

Furthermore, department store chain Bloomingdale?s rolled out an iPhone and Android app to let fashion-savvy consumers shop the latest trends, as well as check prices and read product reviews.

Via the app, consumers can also locate the nearest location to learn more about in-store events and special offers. The app is available for free download in Apple?s App Store and Google Play (see story).

Overall, brands should strive to create a personalized app experience for their customers. If consumers are unhappy, they will delete the app.

?It is often easier to delete an app than it is to turn off push notifications,? Mr. Hieggelke said.

Final take Brent Hieggelke, chief marketing office at Urban Airship, Portland, OR