Patrick Mareuil of Airship on mobile customer engagement strategies: “third-party data will only become scarce”

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Patrick Mareuil is General Manager EMEA at Airship. We chat with him about privacy, how to optimize app experiences, and what marketers need to do differently in the coming months.

How have the latest privacy updates (led by Apple) impact consumers and, therefore, customer engagement strategies for brand marketers?

The changes recently announced by Apple are a huge victory for consumer privacy. Along with Apple’s nutritional privacy labels for iOS apps, the new tracking permissions introduced in iOS 14, consumers now have even more transparency and control over how their data is used with iOS 15.

It’s a critical time to re-evaluate customer engagement strategies and get even smarter to know your customers better through direct interactions between apps, websites, and messaging channels. To state the obvious, more user-centric iPhone controls mean more opportunities for customers to shut down brands that don’t meet their needs.

Tracking Changes Highlight the Importance of Marketers Being Even More Sophisticated to Ensure They Send Timely, Relevant Messages and Harness First Party and Zero-Party Data as Smartly as Possible – third-party data will only become scarce. Marketers also shouldn’t forget about transactional messaging opportunities that streamline and improve customer experiences.

It’s also crucial to re-evaluate in-app messaging strategies for engagement while ensuring preference centers are in place to allow customers to choose what information they want to receive. Marketers can best prepare for this new era of customer-centric marketing by continually optimizing app integrations, enrollment prompts, customer journeys, and messages themselves, fine-tuning executions. with continuous A / B or multivariate testing.

Mobile app usage has skyrocketed during the lockdown – what strategies can brands use to maintain and build engagement after the pandemic?

Indeed, we have seen usage skyrocket and it is expected to continue after lockdown. The pandemic has increased the global audience for mobile apps by 31% – nearly double the growth from the previous year – as more customers than ever now rely on their mobiles for shopping or making their lives easier. This “mobile advantage” that consumers embrace is easily lost if brands don’t invest in user retention. Our data across thousands of apps shows that 78% of users will be unsubscribed within the first week after installing an app if brands don’t have an engagement strategy. And that just means that they will go to the competition.

Airship provides a SaaS platform to help businesses more easily engage mobile audiences by responding to their latest context and behaviors with highly relevant and instant experiences orchestrated through push notifications, embedded messages, SMS, e- mails, etc. An appropriate retention strategy requires brands to heavily rely on optimizing onboarding experiences, app visits, enrollment prompts, and critical customer journeys to increase conversions and lifelong value. .

Sending a customer the right offer at the right time and through their preferred channel is the holy grail, as it brings them back into the app where subsequent behaviors and automation fuels a virtuous cycle of ongoing individualized engagement. And if you’re not sure about the right time, offer, or channel – and you don’t have analytics or machine learning to tell you – the most important thing to do is to ask your customers what they want and tailor your communications and offers accordingly.

I would also add that brands must welcome customers who combine mobile activities and in-store experience to make them their essential shopping companion. Home Depot is a prime example of a brand focused on a mobile-first approach to in-store shopping. Its app includes key features such as an in-store mode offering shoppers a store map that specifies aisle and bay number, as well as inventory status, items from a shopping list or store. a search result. It’s a great example of how using mobile can help eliminate friction and streamline customer experiences in-store.

How should brands adapt their customer engagement strategy for the rest of the year and through 2022? What trends do you see coming to the fore?

One trend to be aware of is that the rollout of 5G and increased bandwidth will make the experience of mobile services even richer for users.

Previous increases in connection speed have led to an increase in the use of digital. The difference between 4G and 5G may not be as dramatic as 3G to 4G or PSTN to broadband, but it will have an effect and brands need to prepare for it. The mobile experience must become the priority for brands, as it will increasingly be the first point of contact between consumers and a brand.

So how do you improve the mobile experience? We can invest more to optimize mobile apps and mobile websites and innovate features that are still lacking. I am also a big supporter of artificial intelligence. AI can improve the mobile browsing experience through suggestions, better messaging, and contextual quality of life improvements.

Tell us about a typical working day for you …

I get up early at 6.30am – although since the first lockdown it sometimes drops back to 7am. I always start the day with exercise; I recently adopted Tabata training, a form of high intensity aerobic exercise, which I have been doing daily since March 2020. Then I will spend 15-20 minutes in mindful reflection. It is not necessarily meditation, but rather a chance to reflect on my goals and what I want to accomplish.

When I start working, I will review my schedule, company goals, and our annual goals to set my priorities. Then I’ll check my Slack emails and notifications. This is especially important, because being part of a global company means that new information often comes in overnight.

I am more productive in the morning, so I keep this free time to focus on specific tasks. The afternoon is usually spent in internal meetings or in discussions with clients. Afternoons are often busy – due to the time difference between the United States and France, a lot of new information arrives from around 4 p.m. when the American team begins work.

I usually work long hours and it’s hard to predict when my day will end. Having started my career in investment banking, where people usually work very long days, and having co-founded and run my own businesses since 2000, I have made a habit of working late at night.

What is your take on managing a healthy work-life balance?

For me, the barrier between work and life has always been blurred. I have been an entrepreneur for 20 years and have started businesses with my closest friends. I have always felt a great commitment to working the best I can for the good of my businesses and my employees. Sometimes working hard felt like a moral commitment, and I struggled mentally to separate work and life.

As a company, we recognize the importance of balancing work and private life. Global teams are very considerate of our employees in different time zones. We also have policies in place, such as non-meeting days, where staff can fully concentrate on their work. This has had a positive effect in reducing the overall number of meetings as people now take the time to determine if a meeting is really necessary.

One tip I have is to set a personal goal in addition to your job. Mine has been to exercise more, which has encouraged me to exercise more, take walks on some calls, and switch to a standing desk.

Your company Accengage was acquired by Airship in 2019 – what advice would you give to business leaders in the face of an acquisition?

The most important tip is to do your due diligence with buyers. Evaluate and discuss in depth with the people you will be working with.

Before Airship, I was involved in another acquisition with another company, and this experience did not go so well. Without going into detail, the acquirer’s performance “surprisingly” collapsed shortly after our acquisition. In contrast, Airship is still performing well, is very transparent about its goals and challenges, and the management team was experienced and considerate.

It is crucial that you do your research to have confidence in the acquisition management team and understand the expectations on both sides. Having a clear understanding of your individual and collective goals is the key to success as the influx of information can be quite overwhelming, and you need to keep track of the direction you want to be able to arbitrate between this or that meeting.

Once the agreement has been reached, communication aside, it is important to quickly set up training and integration processes so that the merger goes smoothly. In some cases, it may be good to facilitate the integration with outside help if you think there might be friction. We didn’t see the need for it, as there was a strong excitement about merging with Airship.

After the merger was announced, the entire European team went to visit Airship in Portland, Oregon. Events were organized so that the teams could mingle and build personal relationships. This experience made a huge difference as people understood who they were going to work with, who they were going to report to and how to get relevant information and it created an amazing atmosphere overall, with effects that we are still seeing. to this day, more than two years later.

User experience and interaction design for mobile and web


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