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How data-driven initiatives can reach mobile users

Paul Newman Archive

It seems natural that companies should seek to ensure data quality as they reach out to consumers with new marketing initiatives. Every firm wants to attract new customers and ensure the long-term loyalty of its existing patrons, and it's impossible to accomplish either of these goals without accurate contact information. That's why companies use address management tools and email verification apps to make sure that all their data is pure and free from typos and outdated information.

This endeavor gets trickier, though, when dealing with customers who rely heavily on their mobile devices. For consumers whose tablets and smartphones are their primary means of getting in touch with their brands, physical location becomes less important, as mobility is everything.

According to Wired, this is a growing trend. The news source cited survey data from Morgan Stanley showing that mobile users will surpass desktop computer users by 2014.

Mobile e-commerce is another story, however. Wired also relayed data from eMarketer?, which shows a vast disparity between shopping on computers and buying via mobile apps. The firm found that 87 percent of people are willing to make purchases online using a desktop PC, but only 14 percent want to buy using mobile apps.

The engineers of today's mobile solutions are actively looking to close that gap, and there's a growing belief that big data can hold the key to a changing mobile marketplace. Marketers have many questions to answer - what demographics are using mobile apps today? What apps are they using? How much money are they willing to spend?

If marketers have more precise information, they can improve their strategies for serving mobile customers in a variety of ways.

Geo-specific advertising
If eMarketer is correct that the majority of shoppers are resisting mobile e-commerce applications, then perhaps marketers should try a different approach: Instead of imploring people to buy products on their phones, they should direct them to brick-and-mortar stores in convenient geographic locations. This would require accurate, up-to-date information about people's addresses and their shopping tendencies.

Better apps
Perhaps one reason shoppers are resistant to shopping on mobile apps is that the apps themselves aren't well-designed. Nelson Estrada, a marketing analyst at MapR Technologies, argued in Wired that more must be done to improve apps so that they're better tools for mobile marketing.

"Right now, many apps are just an adapted version of a company's website," Estrada wrote. "This format is often awkward for the consumer, as clicking on links and using a search bar on a tiny screen without a keypad gets frustrating before the customer even finds something they want to purchase. Big data can solve these issues by providing predictive search."

By designing better mobile applications, companies can improve their shopping numbers and get more from their marketing campaigns. Plenty of people are using apps, but not enough are willing to spend their money on them - with better engineering, this could change.

Improved shopping recommendations
It's common for online retailers to target shoppers with specific recommendations. These algorithms are often fueled by information about past purchases, demographic data and other factors that can help predict shopping choices. By collecting more data via mobile devices, marketers can improve their recommendations and entice shoppers to spend more.

Companies are already gathering a great deal of information about people's contact information and shopping habits, but not much of it is geared specifically toward the mobile customer. By placing more emphasis in that area, marketers can appeal to a broader swathe of the population in their future endeavors. Quality data and effective marketing strategies can go hand in hand.