Get critical tips on how mobile marketing automation is giving forward-thinking companies the competitive edge in mobile. Join the CMO of RetailMeNot Marissa Tarelton and VB analyst Stewart Rogers as they crack into the seven deadly sins of mobile marketing automation.

Access the webinar on demand right here.

Mobile is the most transformative shift in marketing ever — a spiritual sea change that has savvy marketers singing hallelujah in praise of its tremendous potential to drive revenue.

Our recent webinar, “Mobile marketing fails,” draws from new, data-rich reports from VentureBeat Insight, plus vital learnings from Marissa Tarleton, CMO of RetailMeNot, and VentureBeat director of technology Stewart Rogers. Together, they offer deep insight into how you can harness the power of mobile marketing automation, and be canonized as a saint by your users and investors.

So how do you go straight to marketing heaven? Avoid these seven deadly sins of mobile marketing automation.


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  • Mobile User Acquisition – How top publishers get the best users for less money
  • Brands and Mobile advertising – how leading edge brands are engaging with users through mobile
  • Mobile Marketing Automation – How the most successful apps drive massive engagement and monetization

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1. Thou shalt not focus only on acquisition

A lot of brands rely on mobile to increase awareness, but that doesn’t translate into commerce.

“If we’re constantly chasing the advertising revenue,” Rogers says, “we’re probably missing out on a big chunk of [other] revenue that’s available.”

Companies need to stop focusing primarily on snagging brand-new customers, and start considering the revenue potential of customers who’ve already made the decision to do business in the first place. “The customers,” Rogers adds, “who are giving us all of that data about how they’re using apps and how they’re using websites.”

Mobile marketing automation gives you the power to leverage the data you already have access to in order to truly engage your customers and build a more robust relationship.

“It’s a more effective and efficient way to market,” says Tarleton, “and it also allows for more deep marketing tactics tied to personalization. From a RetailMeNot perspective, we’ve seen tremendous success using MMA, heavily oriented around engagement first and building relationships with customers over time.”

2. Thou shalt not forget your mobile-first mindset

It’s one of the biggest fails that marketers have, Tarleton says — they’re not approaching marketing with a mobile-first mindset. Prioritizing your spend in other categories ahead of mobile is a poor investment. More importantly, when mobile is not leading your strategy, you’re prone to fall back on less-effective traditional marketing methods throughout your entire marketing spend, hobbling your investment.

But remember that “mobile” doesn’t just mean “downloading an app.” Mobile offers so many channels with demonstrated ROI — email, push, geo alerts, in-app messaging — with email, Rogers points out, leading the pack.

And that’s where mobile marketing automation is your most powerful tool. MMA excels in sending in-app messages, push notifications, a/b split testing, building user profiles, real-time analysis, and more. You’re communicating in a deeply personal way with established users, which means you can give them what they want, when they want it, and where.

“Give them the right thing,” Rogers says, and “they’ll stick with us, give us their loyalty, and spend more money with us.”

3. Thou shalt not forget to scale

Lack of scale is one of the biggest failures tied to MMA. Geotargeting is a great way to enable a mobile strategy, but if there’s no scale and the batches are too small, you’re wasting its potential and your time and money.

To ensure you’re scaling to the market that’s actually out there, Tarleton urges marketers to make sure you’re leveraging different ways of testing in partnership with retail partners, in stores, and your commerce solutions.

4. Thou shalt not fail to capture relevant data

The power of MMA is being able to target and offer a relevant offer and message — something your users will actually enjoy getting and appreciate. That’s why behavioral data is essential to the success of MMA.

Tarleton listed the essential components to capture:

  • channel, or how your customers reach and communicate with your business;
  • behavior, or how their daily activities reveal essential demographic information both about them specifically and their cohort;
  • and lifecycle, or where in their customer journey, from initial opt-in to long-term customer, your user resides.

5. Thou shalt not rely on single points of data

MMA is all about data, but single points of data, Rogers says, “can be dangerous.” With, for instance, geolocation, you know exactly one thing about your customer: that they’re near certain shops or services. Any message you send pertains only to that single point in time.

And sometimes it works. But more often, you’re annoying your users the way one traveling VentureBeat analyst recently experienced. When he was traveling in Germany, he found himself fending off geolocated ads in German (which he doesn’t speak) for dental services and medical plans (which he doesn’t need).

In other words, if you’re only relying on one point of data, you’re wasting everyone’s time, and you’re wasting your money.

Instead, broaden your reach by broadening the scope of your data. Geohistory tied in with geolocation and fencing paints detailed portraits that reveal valuable personas, affinities, and behaviors.

6. Thou shalt not blast your users

Not truly being personal is a deadly mistake in mobile marketing. Customers will very quickly opt out and disengage if it’s not done right.

“If it’s not in the right place at the right time,” Tarleton says, “it could just be perceived as a blast. Over 60 percent of our users opt in to our email and push communications because they find value in the personalized element of it.”

Lack of personalization can be tied most directly to inadequate data capture during the onboarding process. Onboarding is a marketer’s opportunity to really learn and listen to the customer in order to capture what they’re looking for and what they need.

“You can’t be effective if you don’t have good access to what the customer is looking at,” Tarleton says. “Marketing is only as effective as onboarding.” But remember, Tarleton says, that there’s a very fine line between privacy breach and true personalization.

Onboarding is also where marketers tend to deliver what Rogers calls the vanilla experience and miss a greater opportunity. “Here’s what we’re giving you. But here’s what we could give you, if you let us have a little more info — for instance a location.”

7. Thou shalt not be greedy

A critical piece of any good engagement strategy is pull. Engagement and personalization can’t just be brand to consumer; a brand needs to offer value to its customers in return.

Starbucks is a company that does it right. They push relevant, interesting offers based on location and your feedback. But they’re also pulling you in with free song and app downloads. RetailMeNot, Tarleton says, does that with the free offers and sweepstakes they host.

Despite the clear advantages, VentureBeat Insight reports show that penetration of MMA is low at this point. Even the largest players, like Starbucks, Alaska Airlines, Walgreens, Hotel Tonight, Macy’s, and the San Francisco Giants, have only gotten into the space recently. There is plenty of growth left, so you have one hell of a competitive advantage.

Get the whole webinar for even more valuable tips and insights.

Access it here on demand.

In this webinar, you’ll:

  • Learn how to increase your effectiveness and your MMA ROI
  • Better target those whales with strategic focused actions via mobile
  • Avoid costly mistakes by buying a luxury solution that looks pretty on the shelf but doesn’t do a lot of good in the trenches.


Stewart Rogers, Director of Marketing Technology, VentureBeat

Marissa Tarleton, CMO, RetailMeNot


Wendy Schuchart, Analyst, VentureBeat

Check out VB Insight to access the latest research on Marketing Technology.

This webinar is sponsored by Leanplum.