American Marketer


Brand marketers need to commit to mobile ad spend

November 8, 2013

Catherine Tabor is founder/CEO of Sparkfly



By Catherine Tabor

If you are a consumer brand, it is time to get over your fear of mobile.

That may seem easier said than done. But ask yourself this: What do you perceive as your brand’s biggest barrier to entry when it comes to mobile marketing? I would be willing to bet that it is absence of visibility – the lack of a consistent method for tracking what works and what does not.

Buyer aware

As a brand, you rightly want to know what your return on investment is going to be before you commit to a mobile ad spend.

Technology developments in mobile marketing are now lifting those barriers – specifically, technology that enables real-time, customer-specific insight into consumer behavior.

The solution lies at the point of sale, and in brands’ willingness to partner with retailers for a mutually beneficial outcome.

To make mobile worthwhile, brands need analytics, in the form of detailed data about buyer behavior: when and if offers were redeemed, at what different store locations and what different times of day, items purchased and dollar amount.

Armed with such intelligence, marketers can adjust their campaign strategy and timing to improve results.

Much to register

If more consumers redeemed coupons during lunch at one specific location, for example, they can more heavily target advertising to that location at those times. The result is more targeted mobile offers that boost consumer loyalty and increase purchase activity.

Much of that intelligence resides at the retail point of sale, and retailers traditionally have not wanted to share valuable data that would help brands optimize and target their offers. But a real-time solution integrated at the point of sale benefits the retailer as well.

Technology that lets retailers track what is working at the register means those retailers can start to leverage and benefit from the loyal following of the brands they carry in their stores.

For example, they might decide to invite consumers responding to an offer to join the store’s own loyalty program, creating a one-to-one relationship with consumers that did not exist before. All that in exchange for simply sharing some of their consumer data with brands.

With such a solution, marketers at both retailers and brands can track consumer responsiveness and purchases down to the item level, providing insight about consumer behavior throughout the path to purchase.

ARMED WITH SUCH in-depth data, brand marketers can optimize campaigns based on actual results and ensure that they are reaching the right audiences at the right places and times, and dramatically improving the conversion rate on mobile offers.

With that veil lifted, mobile marketing efforts are transformed from uncertain gambles to campaigns with measurable ROI.

Catherine Tabor is founder and CEO of Sparkfly, Atlanta. Reach her at