Mobile has spurred the most transformative shift that retail and marketing have seen in some time. Marketers are now able to measure more directly what consumers are doing on smartphones as well as when and where they are engaging with a particular brand.

“Consumers today expect messages to be relevant and timely, otherwise they move on to the next thing”

However, with an overwhelming amount of data resources—and an extremely complex consumer journey—it can be challenging to know which consumer insights will be most effective in meeting business goals.

Enter, marketing automation.

There is a growing interest in marketing automation platforms among mobile retailers today. While only 5 percent of businesses are currently using marketing automation tools, the ones that are utilizing the technology are seeing strong returns.

According to VB Insight, 80 percent of users saw the number of leads increase, and 77 percent saw their conversions increase. Companies adopting these tools are generating stronger engagement and more revenue.

Here are three reasons why mobile marketing automation may be the answer to helping retailers scale and leverage data in order to better understand consumers across channels.

Better Marketing Balance

While marketing automation tools can not do all the work for you, they do allow companies to focus on what is increasingly important: balancing their marketing strategy between acquisition, loyalty, and retention.

Automating mobile marketing efforts can help marketing teams work more efficiently, freeing up more time from manual tasks. The focus can shift to strategy and creative, thereby empowering brands to become more connected to their audience—all while still driving results.

Beyond just automating time-consuming, repetitive marketing tasks, these tools can help marketing teams better balance and optimize which consumers they want to concentrate their efforts on.

Many brands, including RetailMeNot, rely on mobile to increase awareness, but this does not always directly translate to revenue. Marketing automation allows us to take it one-step further.

At RetailMeNot, we see over 18 million active mobile users each month; by automating the data from our audience’s mobile actions, we are able to better strategize how to turn casual users into brand loyalists. This also allows us more time to balance when and how to trigger our messages based on a deeper understanding of our users.

Automation as Personalization

It is no longer enough for marketers to make business decisions based on what they think their customers are doing or where they think their customers are going. Consumers today expect messages to be relevant and timely, otherwise they move on to the next thing.

Mobile no longer means just having an app. It means serving up messages on a variety of channels, including email, push notifications, geo-location alerts, messaging and more.

Marketing relationship tools can solve some of these issues by allowing for more deep marketing tactics tied to personalization. From a RetailMeNot perspective, we have seen tremendous success using automation, heavily oriented around engagement first and building one-on-one relationships with customers over time.

If a message is not sent to users on the right channel at the right time, it may be perceived as nothing more than a blast. Over 60 percent of RetailMeNot users opt in to our email and push communications because they find value in the personalized element of it.

Mobile excels in sending push notifications, in-app messaging and alerts, building user profiles, real-time analysis and more. Marketers are communicating in a deeply personal way with established users that means they can give consumers what they want, when and where they want it.

With Data Comes Power

Retail marketers are often looking for a better way to leverage data they already have. By employing the use of marketing automation platforms, they now have access to insights that truly engage customers and build a more robust relationship.

The power of this technology is being able to target and offer a relevant message or offer that users will enjoy receiving. There are several essential data and insights components for marketers to capture:

• Channel data: How your customers reach and communicate with your business?
• Behavioral insights: Who your customer is and what their day-to-day activities are? This can reveal essential demographic and action-based information about them specifically.
• Lifecycle: Where your customer is in their shopping journey? This allows marketers to see the user from initial opt-in to long-term loyal fan.

Another tactic we have found to be extremely powerful in terms of mobile is geo-targeted messages. They are a great way to enable a mobile strategy. However, if there is no scale and the batches are too small, the potential is wasted, along with time and money.

Pairing location data with other essential insights can drive valuable personas, affinities, and behaviors. One of the best ways that marketers can scale their data is to ensure that they are leveraging different ways of testing in partnership with retail stores and among your commerce solutions.

Of course, the most important thing to remember when collecting customer data is ensuring privacy and allowing the user to opt-in to which messages and information they would like to share. Having the consumer be a part of the relationship may be the most powerful aspect to winning loyalty.

As marketers try to focus more on retention and lifetime value, it becomes crucial to not only have the right data set up but to find the right relationship management tools that allow you to really scale.

Relationship management technology and tools can allow marketers to move quickly in areas like one-on-one relationship building and automated messaging based on triggers that would never be possible manually. There is plenty of opportunity for growth in these areas, and now is the time to jump ahead of the competition.