What Consumers’ Devices Say About Them—and Why Marketers Need to Figure Out How to Listen
As technology advances, we all feel like it should be making our lives simpler. Specifically, because of the rise of networked devices, we expect frictionless access to whatever we want, whenever we want it.
The most obvious and ubiquitous device enabling that is the smartphone, which can be used to watch TV, play music, surf the Internet, view photo albums, and—oh yeah—make phone calls. But we’re also increasingly turning to unlikely consumer appliances to keep us connected. Some models of refrigerators with built-in touch screens, for instance, can also be used to watch TV, play music, surf the Internet, view photo albums—and, yeah, store food (as well as help monitor consumption and keep track of expiration dates).
For direct marketers, the implications are epic. These days it’s not enough to just listen to consumers; their devices are talking to us too—and telling us things that consumers may not even consciously realize about themselves.
Of course, there’s a huge difference between a customer clicking checkboxes in a preference center (when they register at a website or sign up for an e-newsletter) and a consumer’s refrigerator telling a marketer about what margarine brand she prefers.
The trick for marketers is managing consumer expectations about what information their devices are and aren’t allowed to share—while using the available data responsibly and in ways that can make everyone’s lives (both consumers and marketers) easier. Here’s what you need to know about the new device-driven marketing era:
Catching Up: Database Segmentation
Job No. 1 in delivering relevant marketing is to understand all the data you have about a consumer and then begin segmenting it so that you can deliver more targeted messages. A very simple device-related example: If you have an iPhone or an Android app that you want to market, then isolate your audience based on the mobile devices on which they’re opening your emails. That way you can send a dedicated message like “Download our new iPhone App!” to just your iPhone-owning customers.
Take Control: Offer Management
The other part of delivering relevant messages is to get ahead of the game. You want to take what you’ve learned in the past to affect the future; you want your data to lead the consumer to make additional purchases. In the best-case scenario, whenever a consumer instigates an interaction, you want your data to “react” to the situation and provide the most relevant offer.