Study: Preference centers key to mobile marketing

Preference centers for mobile marketing campaigns are crucial, said David Wachs, SVP of mobile for multichannel loyalty and promotions marketing company ePrize and GM of ePrize subsidiary Cellit, citing data from a Cellit survey released May 24.

The study, titled “Retail Benchmark Report: From Implementation to Integration,” was conducted by analyzing 1,180 retail mobile marketing campaigns released over a 450 day period throughout 2011 and the beginning of 2012, the company said in a statement. “When we find other research out in the space, it tends to be pretty rudimentary, saying things like ‘mobile markets are growing,’” Wachs said. “There isn’t a lot of actionable information in those reports.”

Unsubscribe patterns were one of the most surprising aspects of Cellit’s study, Wachs said.

For instance, the survey found that subscribers to mobile marketing programs opt out at significantly higher rates on weekends than they do on weekdays, Wachs said. According to the survey, 18 of every 1,000 mobile marketing program subscribers opt out on weekdays; that number increases to 85 on weekends.

The study also found that it is important to follow up with short-term promotions to build a CRM database around one’s mobile customers, Wachs said. Many companies asked customers to vote or sign up for a single-use promotion with their phone, but didn’t follow up to ensure continued participation, he said. “A promotion or contest to text or vote, that doesn’t build a relationship,” Wachs said. “The last thing you want to do is throw out what you’ve gotten from them.” Wachs emphasized that marketers need to leverage the first interaction to engage consumers via mobile in the future.

The study found that although only a small percentage of customers that subscribe to email lists also subscribe to mobile alerts, mobile subscribers were up to 8 times more likely to buy. Wachs believes this is because SMS messages are read 95% of the time, while only about 10% of emails are read.

Ultimately these tendencies emphasize the importance of preference centers, Wachs said, since mobile is a more intimate interaction than email, which means mobile marketers have to be careful about how they contact customers.

 “You have to communicate with the customer when and how they want to be communicated to,” he said. Otherwise, he said, “you’re going to quickly upset those users.”

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