Growth MarketingStrategy and Innovation

Mobile Push Notifications are Valuable, but Organizations are Struggling to Do Push Well

Virtually every marketing survey, research study, and industry expert on the planet will agree: Email is one of the most proven tactics to increase customer engagement and drive higher revenue. Email marketing is tried and true, benchmarked to death across industries, and predictable in its ROI. Greater than 59% of marketers say email drives their greatest ROI. A similar percentage of consumers surveyed say that email influences their purchasing decisions.

The point is, email works. And most B2B and B2C companies — 80-93 percent — have woven email into the fabric of their strategy.

The level of adoption and acceptance with email actually makes the fact that so relatively few organizations are doing push notifications and other in-app marketing, like alerts and badges, even more baffling. In practice, push and email share similarities. But when it comes to response, mobile push outperforms email in nearly every key performance indicator.

Push is the most effective marketing channel available today, yet only about 40% of companies with a mobile app are currently taking advantage of push notifications. Unlike email, which might sit in your customer’s inbox for a day or more before they open it — if they even open it — push notifications show up on a customer’s phone the moment you want them to appear. It’s immediate engagement. Like email, push is easy to customize based on customer geography, demographics, behavior, or the last action they took.

Mobile push drives impressive growth statistics. As a single channel, mobile communication is really powerful.

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Push fuels engagement and retention. Firms with a mobile app have the potential for audiences are 20 times more engaged than mobile web audiences. Retention of app users is 10 times higher across all channels when push is introduced.

Push is one of the most impressive tactics for driving conversion. Mobile app users convert, on average, 3 times more in an app than in the mobile web. This improved conversion leads to a 15-30% improvement in customer’s annual spend over the course of a year.

Given its effectiveness at improving conversion and engagement, push is a proven tactic to increase the long-term value of customers. Mobile influence on purchase behavior — among customers who opt in for push — increases customer lifetime value by 20%.

Having a push strategy is one of the most effective ways for companies to harness the full value of their app, engage customers, retain them longer and drive larger, more frequent conversions.

Not every organization is devoting the same resources to push as they are to email — and here’s why

I hear two main reasons most often:

First, some clients fear that the push notifications they send won’t be of high enough quality to drive results and make customers happy. After spending hundreds of thousand of dollars on customer acquisition and product development, many organizations worry that a mediocre push strategy will drive customers away with a poor user experience or ruin the company’s chance for a great first impression. These concerns are absolutely valid. Customers have a low tolerance for a poor user experience.

Second — and this is perhaps more endemic — we talk to leaders who are concerned about the ways their organization’s structure is actually preventing them from bringing the right people, with the right talents, together to do push effectively and sustainably with the current tools available.

How to build a great marketing team

Sure, most companies have a marketing department. But the functional tasks and responsibilities of marketing tend to be spread out across multiple departments, groups, vendors, and external agencies by tactic, so one team might run an organization’s social channels while another is focused on advertising, another on business intelligence and another on analytics. Basically, customer experience ends up split across various teams that may not naturally and regularly interact with each other. This distance can make it hard to have a holistic view of your customer experience, understand omnichannel data and make customer experiences based on user behaviors.

In push, in particular, the secret to greatness relies on teams that are close to the development of their digital products and the customer experience. When companies have lots of people working on lots of tactics in silos and they are far from each other physically, geographically and socially and none of them are close to the code of your product, that can hinder growth-strategies that require deep understanding of your user data, your communication channels and your product code.

The way to achieve 3 times conversion or 20 times engagement-marketing-driven growth is to have a team that is cross-functional. Your team should be tied in to all your digital products, responsible for customer experience, and have the power to build marketing functionality into your app and native web products.

What great push marketing looks like

The best mobile messaging teams create marketing plans that understand all their customers and their journey across every touchpoint, channel and experience.

The big challenge isn’t how to draft a single great push message. The challenge is how to send consistently great push messages and do so sustainably.

To do push effectively, it’s a combination of the right content, data insights, testing, product optimization and connectivity across an omnichannel landscape.

In most organizations, the employees with these areas of expertise rarely sit on the same team. Sometimes they don’t talk at all. They rarely have shared key performance indicators, work on the same software tools or spend time looking at shared dashboards.

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Great push requires the right integrated marketing stack of tools and cross-functional teams of people to deploy consistent and engaging multi-channel messages.

In addition to the need for common insights, the best push teams have a short distance between critical learnings, content and mobile code.

The reality is, great push marketing isn’t just one person’s job. To be successful, leaders need to bring cross-functional teams together, and give them the tools to shorten the marketing cycle and tighten product offers to their needs.

Developing a push strategy at your company

The best time to develop a push strategy is during product development. That’s when growth goals can be built into the product functionality and existing data structures. This is also the easiest time to build a team around the mobile marketing best practices that can and should inform the strategy for every other marketing channel.

However, it’s never too late to launch push. It’s a proven tactic that will result in greater revenue, higher retention and a more valuable app overall. Plus, push has similar best practices to email.

WillowTree Growth

If you are interested in learning more about how our Growth teams can help you achieve the full value of your app through better acquisition, retention, engagement, and conversion strategies, or if you’d like to share more about your push notification hurdles, please reach out to me. Our mobile marketing team would love to help!

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