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Yes, your smartphone is getting smarter

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Here are personal and true stories about the state of today’s digital marketing.

Over the past week, I noticed some seemingly intrusive messaging on my smartphone. I parked in front of a mattress store to eat at a nearby restaurant. An hour later, I received a Google message: “How was your mattress shopping experience…?” The search algorithm seemingly failed there. But later I received a request from the restaurant to rate the meal, even though I hadn’t given them contact information. This time, Google locator accurately informed the restaurant.

Another: Following up on an email message, I revisited a women’s clothing website I like a lot. Didn’t order anything but looked at a few items. This time, I received an email invitation to “come back and order the items and more, now with free shipping for you!” And finally, after I changed a prescription order from an in-store to mail order delivery, the vendor responded with a myriad of messages to change my other prescriptions.

These real examples indicate a rapid sea change in digital marketing trends. Just a few years back, digital advertising was tied into using videos on phones through social media and other formats as random messages to prospective but ill-defined customer bases. Despite being random, this approach was a costly process and buyers actually competed in an almost “auction block” type of media buy.

But now, user experiences are driving ad messaging with great timeliness and personalization. Brands are using metrics and data points to target individual customers, not groups, focusing on online behavior. Retail, banking, and real estate are leading the way.

This is likely to become so normalized that the intrusiveness will disappear.

Consumer behavior analysis

Today’s revised use of expansive digital analytics capabilities has added to the marketer’s tool belt. The effort often requires specialized agencies and expertise to tie down demonstrable “digital behavior” for maximum effectiveness.

This digital method is still an expensive form of advertising (not quite Super Bowl ad costs), but results are highly measurable and easily modified to deliver effective customer experiences.

Businesses that choose this somewhat “salesy” route are usually larger and more market-savvy and willing to have a determinant time and dollar commitment to achieve results.

According to Market Dive’s Peter Adams, “e-commerce has become the centerpiece of many marketer’s business strategies in 2019.” Plus, a recent survey by Kantar Consulting found that 76 percent of surveyed marketers plan to increase their budgeted e-commerce investments to bite into the $3.5 trillion (yes- trillion!) online retail market.

Since smartphones are used increasingly and predominantly by millennials and others to make their online purchases, use of analytical data on consumer behavior will continue to expand. Companies such as Phoenix- based Keo Marketing claim to offer its business-to-business digital clients improved return on investment, increased engagement with customers, audience specificity for a higher conversion to sales rate, and better market efficiency through behavioral marketing approaches.

Learning about this technology is an essential skill for anyone buying or promoting products and services at any level. Numerous professional organizations offer programs and classes on the approach, and select ad agencies are educating prospective clients on the cutting-edge capability to better reach targeted clients digitally.

The American Marketing Association, for example, just held a program called, “Marketing Masterclass — using insights and analytics to understand true digital behavior.”

Over time, personalized smartphone marketing approaches will continue to seem less intrusive and more relevant to busy retail consumers. My phone, and yours, are getting smarter.

Glenda LeGendre is principal of Strategic Marketing and Communications and can be reached at [email protected]

Glenda LeGendre is principal of Marketing & Strategic Communications and can be reached at [email protected]