‘Tis The Season To Tailor Marketing Campaigns To Mobile-Empowered Shoppers

Ramsey Masri OtherLevelsHoliday shoppers are frequently creatures of habit, but as retailers and marketers know, shoppers’ habits are changing.

This holiday season, retail marketers are faced with the challenging task of building bridges between customers’ traditional holiday expectations (sales, discounts, holiday promotions) and the new realities of the mobile marketplace (smartphone browsing, easy-to-use shopping apps, mobile rewards programs, online offers, tantalizing text messages and more).

Indeed, for marketers who get it right, 2015 is the season for personalized, digital marketing that will boost sales, deliver satisfying shopping experiences and deepen customer loyalty once the holiday glitter is gone.


Retailers know that more than half of their online traffic now originates from mobile devices, not desktop or laptop computers. Deloittenotes that more than 36% of in-store purchases are influenced by mobile/digital technologies, with $965 billion in holiday-related retail sales projected between November 2015 and January 2016.

For marketers to connect successfully with 2015’s holiday shoppers, they must:

  • Adopt new digital marketing practices that enable retailers and brands to connect with the mobile-empowered masses in very personal ways — as personal and ever-present as the smartphones that 2015 shoppers never go anywhere without;
  • Reach customers across a variety of channels — online, mobile web, app, desktop, email and in-store; and
  • Abandon outdated marketing practices that no longer resonate with a mobile-powered customer base (if you’re pitching hard-copy 2016 calendars to Millennials, for example, stop doing so immediately; everything they need is on their smartphones).

Holiday Marketing: Making It Mobile And Personalized

Marketers assuredly have questions about this new mobile environment. How can they create holiday campaigns that are personal without coming across as intrusive, or blanketed to all shoppers? How can they send mobile messages and offers that hit the holiday note with just the right tone? How can marketers use the mobile environment to boost sales, build loyalty and deepen existing relationships with customers?

Some of the answers are found in an OtherLevels 2015 Retail Mobile Messaging Study that tracked a retail client’s mobile marketing campaigns, content and messages over an eight-week period to assess lift, engagement, activity and sales. And the findings provide some key insights for mobile marketers who want to be successful on the sales, loyalty and customer satisfaction fronts this holiday season.

A few tips for retail mobile marketers include:

Embrace The Holidays

Even though they can be busy, hectic and trying at times, the holidays resonate with shoppers because of the personal feelings that are part and parcel of the season. Ideally, holidays are about family and friends, personalized gift-giving, shared meals, heartfelt greetings and goodwill. And marketers should take a hint by making their mobile messages just as personal and relevant as the holidays themselves.

In our study, we found that holiday-related content, for example, boosted engagement with customers. In one test, sending mobile messages that enabled shoppers to pre-order holiday items by tapping a smartphone banner created an 11% increase in lift. Shoppers also responded more actively to reminders to purchase favorite holiday foods or holiday-specific ingredients for traditional holiday recipes. Holiday-contextual content can help retailers and brands feel like familiar, helpful shopping companions, and marketers should keep that in mind as they determine what types of mobile offers and promotions to launch during the busy holiday season.

Respect The Holidays

The frequency with which marketers send messages can also influence customers’ depth of engagement and purchases, and the general rule from our study is that message frequency can influence engagement and lift by 20% or more. But the holidays are also busy times, and if every retailer is bombarding a customer’s smartphone with text messages, reminders and promotions, shoppers might just turn off or tune out altogether.

Best advice: adopt a frequency schedule that makes sense during the busy holidays by respecting customers’ time and interest. Use data and analytics from the app environment to send messages when shoppers are likely to be searching, shopping or browsing, not during off-hours or at inconvenient times. Use app data to understand which customers are engaging and reacting to messages, and then target and re-target messages to build on and deepen their activity levels and interest.

Use Loyalty Status As A Holiday Marketing Opportunity

A retailer’s or brand’s loyalty program members have already made a personal commitment by signing up, so build on that commitment to not only boost sales and engagement levels but also to deepen their loyalty. In our 2015 study, for example, the client’s loyalty program experienced a 6.2% lift from members-only promotions.

Shoppers liked being singled out for specials and promotions that were based solely on their existing loyalty to the brand, and loyalty programs already house plenty of data on which to shape, inform, target and re-target content, promotions and offers. Take advantage of information about members’ preferences, purchase histories and loyalty status to send messages that are personal, holiday-specific and satisfying

Like any solid marketing program, a mobile campaign must begin and maintain a conversation between the retailer and the customer. And in the mobile environment, the content and messages delivered to a customer’s very-personal, always-at-the-side smartphone should do more than deliver a little holiday cheer.

Messages should connect by delivering content that’s relevant to the season, timely and respectful during a busy time of year. Messages should be satisfyingly simple for customers who want shopping to be fruitful, fun and heartfelt. And they should be timed to be helpful, not heavy-handed.

Marketers who understand their customers’ changing holiday habits are poised to deliver results during the busy holiday season, and they’re building a bridge to customer loyalty that will last all year long.


Ramsey Masri is the CEO of OtherLevels, an enterprise digital messaging platform with offices in London, San Francisco, Brisbane and Melbourne. OtherLevels is at the forefront of the enterprise marketing transformation being driven by the massive shift to mobile.

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