After swiping an American Express card at a retail store, you’ll get a purchase notification on your phone even before the sale goes through. That’s pretty cool. American Express has your back, because thieves can’t rack up fraudulent charges under the microscope of real-time monitoring.
These kinds of push notifications also have a message for competitors: American Express is on top of its game. Delivering the right message to the right person at the right time is the crowning achievement of a complex system of Internet of Things, marketing tech, data analytics and people working in concert.
“The use of push messaging or interactive push messaging is almost like a proxy for how sophisticated companies are,” says Forrester Principal Analyst Julie Ask.
In a connected world, the mobile phone is in the spotlight serving up magical messages that delight consumers. It’s the ultimate IoT device, chock full of sensors and customer data gathering capabilities. People will engage with brands on mobile more than they will on the desktop, if they’re not doing this already.
And messaging is fast-becoming a major channel to interact with customers, perhaps more so than mobile web and apps. “It’s clear messaging is taking off as a primary tool,” says Baron Concors, global chief digital officer of Pizza Hut. “We have to meet them where they are.”
Nevertheless, most companies have barely begun exploring messaging’s potential, Ask says. Less than half of companies interact with customers using SMS, even though the technology has been around for two decades. One out of four companies is using push notifications. Only 11 percent are using interactive push notifications.
It gets worse, as companies doing messaging blast consumers with out-of-context messages. A whopping 96 percent of smartphone owners receive some type of notification, Forrester says, and nine out of 10 owners opt out when notifications aren’t timely or contextual.
Mobile marketing content annoys people because marketers don’t understand the differences between mobile content and desktop content. In fact, 56 percent of companies describe their mobile advertising as, “at best, a bolt-on to desktop-focused activities,” according to a ClickZ survey.
Writes Walt Mossberg in his blog post Mossberg: The Tyranny of Messaging and Notifications: “A text, or short internet message… seems to demand instant attention, and may even lead to a whole thread of conversation. This can sometimes be delightful or enlightening, but it takes you away from the moment – from your thinking, reading, working. It steals your attention at a time of the sender’s choosing.”
In order to do messaging, companies have to be super savvy digital businesses. They need to have a firm grasp of data and tools to mine the data for customer insights and wield emerging marketing tech to understand the motivations of customers in their moments of need. Then they need to have the capability to proactively push contextual messages to serve customers in real-time.
Done right, it’s not interruptive.
Tom Kaneshige is editor of Five2ndWindow, an independent news channel that is part of Internet of Things Institute covering mobile, IoT, marketing and the digital enterprise. You can reach him at [email protected].