Your Customers Don’t Need Pepperoni Pizzas When They’re Sleeping


It’s 3 a.m. and you’re sending notifications to your customers’ smartphones telling them to check out your latest sales or use discount coupons to purchase your products.

I hate to break it to you . . . but that’s just nuts. Your customers don’t need printers or tablets or coffee or yogurt – or pepperoni pizza when they’re sleeping.

If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll believe some consumers. Marketers miss the mark when it comes to sending relevant, personalized messages, which frustrates consumers, according to 1,202 adults in the US surveyed by Hipcricket in April.

According to the survey:

  • 52% of the respondents say the messages are “intrusive or spammy”
  • 46% say they’re not relevant to their interests
  • 33% say that they don’t offer any value

But there’s good news:

  • 41% of survey participants indicate they would share more information with companies via mobile in exchange for relevant coupons or offers.
  • Location data (20%) and demographic data (19%) were the most common forms of data people were willing to share.

All this means is that you have to deliver relevant, location-based, personalized campaigns if you want capture a piece of the pie.

Companies like Microsoft, Starbucks and Pinkberry understand the concept of relevant and personalized marketing and are taking it to whole new levels. And they’re doing it by combining the data they’ve already captured about their customers with GPS technology to serve relevant ads, messages or push notifications.

Geo-precise targeting, which uses mobile’s ability to target users based on their specific locations, provides a much higher ROI for companies than standard geotargeting. In fact, mobile advertising campaigns using audience targeting performed 14 percent above industry standards, according to xAd’s Mobile Location Insights Q1 2014 report.

“By combining local consumer visitation behaviors and demographic cues, marketers can understand the full context of an audience – who they are, where they’ve been, and where they’re going,” according to xAd. “In addition to signaling a user’s location at the exact moment advertisers are trying to reach them, location also acts as a real-world cookie, recording past visitation patterns.”

Here’s an infographic from Adweek that shows exactly how it works:

Microsoft, which just opened its 100th retail store, is planning to use location-based mobile advertising to drive shoppers into stores.

The company tested the technology at the end of 2013 by setting 10-mile geofences – geofencing location-based service that sends messages to smartphone users who enter a defined geographic area around 75 Microsoft stores, according to Adweek. It then created different sets of ads to target shoppers.

And the ads were successful. That mobile campaign program generated an 89 percent lift in store visits from targeted shoppers compared to a group of consumers who not served the ads.

The program was developed with NinthDecimal (formerly JiWire) to target shoppers looking for specific items like Father’s Day gifts. Microsoft recently used the technology in a month-long location-based – it ran through June 15 – mobile ad campaign to promote a new store opening in Miami, notes Adweek.

Here’s location-based ad Microsoft ran during last year’s holiday season:

For its part, Starbucks is known for location-based marketing. When a customer crosses a Starbucks geofence – approaches or passes one of its locations – he receives a real-time offer based on his purchasing history and preferences (e.g., “Come in now and receive 25 percent off a Mocha Cookie Crumble Frappuccino.”).

Take a look at a location-based mobile ad from Starbucks in the UK:

Last year frozen yogurt chain Pinkberry launched a location-based ad campaign to target consumers to visit the store as well as generate awareness of its Pinkberry Greek yogurt.

Using xAd’s SmartFencing technology, which combines accurate location signals with real-time mobile search behaviors, Pinkberry served relevant ads to mobile users within a one-mile radius of its locations. The result: mobile ad performance doubled within just two weeks of launching the campaign.

Here’s what one Pinkberry location-based ad with an exclusive offer looked like:

There are any number of ways marketers can make use of real-time data and cloud-based analytics tools to send relevant messaging and offers to customers and prospects.

If you want your mobile messaging campaigns to be successful take a page or two from the big guys who know that personalized, location-based mobile advertising done right will definitely increase business.

About the Author: Linda Rosencrance is a freelance writer/editor in the Boston area. She has written about information technology for over 15 years. Her articles have appeared in such publications as Computerworld, ITWorld, CIO magazine, Tech Target, and others. She has over 20 years experience as an investigative reporter, writing for many newspapers in the metropolitan Boston area. She is also the published author of five true crime books. Rosencrance can be reached at

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