10 years after the advent of iPhone–there’s no question that mobile is a critical dimension of organizational strategy, brand and customer engagement.
In February, researcher eMarketer predicted that U.S. smartphone adoption will reach 70% in 2019, or roughly 232.8 million people. Mobile commerce continues to be an increasingly vital source of revenue for major industries—like banking, retail, and restaurants—but the saturation of smartphone use is changing how nearly every industry views interacting with their customers.
In 2018, 85% of consumers purchased a product through a mobile app and 63% of consumers used their phones for product research or pricing while they were in a brick-and-mortar store. Reaching customers where they are with the right offers and experience is a critical consideration for brands.
Still, to say that most businesses have figured out how to leverage this mobile audience remains a stretch.
Growth starts with mobile
Luckily, this entire experience starts in a company’s mobile app. With the right set of tools—the right growth stack— we can have a superior understanding of our users and thus create marketing plans that delight them in unexpected ways and lead to increased engagement and conversion.
A well-integrated growth stack will automate and optimize for the most major performance objectives: acquisition, retention, and conversion or monetization, as well as provide analytics and insights into behaviors. All of this helps any mobile and digital marketing strategy become more efficient and sophisticated over time.
What is a Growth Stack?
At the most basic level, a growth stack is a combination of tools that makes customer experience better for users and customer insights and behaviors more understandable for marketing teams. Ultimately, a growth stack drives new users to and engagement with great mobile apps or mobile / responsive websites.
A growth stack is a combination of software tools and platforms that, paired with a mobile app and other digital assets, ensures a stellar user experience across any channel or any device. A growth stack also provides the data and insights needed to improve user experience—and conversion rates, readership or engagement—over time.
The growth stack is what helps collect information about user’s actions, deliver offers that are most likely to resonate and ensure a uniform experience at every touchpoint. Basically, the keys to growing happy customers.
Technically, a good growth stack generally includes tools that provide: Attribution and Deeplinking: methods to track user’s actions in the app and across all other channels regardless of the acquisition channel Segmentation: A means to divide customers into distinct groups based on their demographics, behaviors, motivations, and needs. Analytics and Insights: Studying what people do, when, and why Automated Marketing and Content Optimization: Getting the right offers and information to the right people across the right channels, from push to email and advertising
The right set of tools converts the biggest buzzwords in digital marketing today (marketing automation, personalization, content optimization, analytics) into concrete sources of business value.
But when companies choose the wrong tools—or tools that don’t integrate with their customer relationship management database (CRM), content management system (CMS), and other backend systems—they just end up spending a lot of time and money on systems that don’t support their business goals.
Nobody wants their toolset to be redundant, slow, or “frankensteined” together in a way that doesn’t allow them to integrate, speak a common language, and deliver insights that are tied together.
Selecting the right tools for a growth stack
Companies live or die by their ability to market effectively, so it’s no surprise that the options for growth tools are vast. One report cataloged 6,829 martech tools to choose from in 2018. Start sweating.
Choosing the right growth stack involves weighing a number of complex factors related to the product you’re marketing. The vendors, digital partners, and consultants a product depends on and interacts with will play a large role in determining the best combination for marketing a digital product successfully. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to a growth stack, but the payoff is worth the investment in time and strategic planning.
At a minimum, in any environment, a successful growth stack needs to:
- Know who the product’s users are and what they are doing
- Make the conversion experience seamless
- Get users to the right place on the right device
- Deliver analytics that can be easily understood
Let’s look at some of these strategies and how to identify the best tool for the job in each:
Segmentation and Customer Data Platforms:
In order to build brand and product trust and ensure the right offers and content get in front of customers, a brand’s marketing strategy—from push notifications to emails—needs to consistently address those customers in a seemingly personalized way. Determining how best to segment customers—usually a combination of demographic factors, behaviors in the app and other information, like their motivation for using the product in the first place and their underlying views of themselves—is easier with the help of a tool like Segment or mParticle. They track users across integrated channels, like web, email and in the app, and help create a holistic view of customers by cohort or segment. They also help target customers by segment, cohort or behavior with multi-channel campaigns.
Automated marketing tools are powerful because they allow you to take static ideas and deploy them in personalized, user-centered ways. For instance, say a fitness brand want to reach their customers with push notifications and emails reminding them to sign up for classes. In a static environment, they might send the same email and push notification to everyone in a segment at the same time. That works OK, but in a growth-centered, automated marketing world, rather than send these communications all at one time, brands can optimize them to go to each user based on user behaviors—say, on the day and at the time they most frequently book their classes — often greatly accelerating the response received to these offers.
Attribution and Deeplinking:
We know customers don’t interact with brands through just one channel or device. Even their purchasing decisions are rarely linear. With the right set of tools, we can better understand how customers are moving from marketing offers, like email or social, through website and app ecosystems across devices, through to conversion — helping make sense of how customers are engaging with each channel on each device and making more strategic, data-informed decisions about where to spend advertising dollars, devote greater attention or improve the customer journey. These tools shed light on which channels are performing for each customer segment, and whether marketing efforts are moving the needle. For brands with a mobile app, deeplinking and attribution tools like Branch and Adobe Experience Manager makes it easier to remove friction in the customer journey from digital marketing offers to device, and track key performance indicators related to marketing ROI across mobile, web, and other payment gateways.
Analytics and Insights:
Choosing the right reporting tool makes or breaks how easily teams can draw analysis and insights about users, events, campaign performance, A/B testing, cohort trends and more. Choosing a tool that combines data and tracking across multiple channels and devices and presents that information in clear and compelling ways is the difference between business insights that move the needle and feeling lost in a slog of charts and data points that don’t mean anything.
There are additional tactics and analysis that need to happen to ensure successful, mobile-focused digital marketing and engagement. But the growth stack is the bedrock upon which all other marketing activities, advertising, and analysis rest.
As usual, feel free to reach out to talk through this or anything else.