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3 campaigns that missed the mark on mobile

3 campaigns that missed the mark on mobile Michael Davis

Recently, I bought the URL iMarriedTheInternet.com. It sums up my life in a satirical way. Like so many of you, lately I've been drawn into an intimate experience with mobile. Brands that embrace the intimacy win my heart though loyalty and trust -- the basics for holding my interest. And the only thing brands need to do is find me, or the other way around. It's not that easy. Without the right media strategy, I may never see them. Oversimplified, but you get the metaphor.

In my last iMedia Connection entry, I wrote about "3 mobile marketing campaigns that broke the mold." They achieved success by curating more than just great content -- they reached out and made it personal. The more personal a brand's connection to real people, the more it stands out from those not doing it. The obvious linchpin is mobile -- but it's not just about the device.

Here are three examples of brands that could have turned their good campaigns into great ones through using a higher level personalization -- not to be confused with "programmatic creative."

Burt's Bees brightens days with calendar reminders

When Burt's Bees created an all-natural line of beauty products -- Brightening -- to brighten skin tone without harsh chemicals, consumers were skeptical. The brand is known for authentic and transparent brand presence, and Burt's needed to introduce the product line and share its story in a simple, natural way.

Using a first-of-its-kind campaign, Burt's Bees leveraged people's personal calendars. People who accepted Burt's calendar invites received quirky, fun meeting reminders to brighten their day. At the end of the campaign, Burt's reminded people they could have had brighter skin if they started the Brightening regimen (based on calendar reminders). It also included a coupon for their first purchase.

The strategy was to get personal: It had a low barrier to participation and wasn't an in-your-face brand message. From published reports, they achieved 37 times greater engagement than a typical Burt's Bees social post. These are undeniably great results -- but Burt's could have amplified the relationship with a different type of media buy. Big media buys aren't the typical Burt's strategy, but in this case, being ready for such a huge customer response would have been the right move to do something different. Go big or...

Here's another thought. Burt's had been invited in -- showing strong customer loyalty. It was the right time for a big cross-device media buy. The customers who opted in and those who never saw the campaign would have interacted further and easily purchased the new Brightening line well before the close of the eight-week campaign. Some clearly did, but when a movement is taking foot, that's the right time to amplify the engagement.

And finally, personalized messaging and dynamic coupons are a no-brainer -- shortening the purchase funnel. The foundation for a great campaign was undeniably executed (who doesn't want to brighten their day?), but I would have liked to see a brand I love break the mold now and again.

Postmates delivers holiday cheer -- in under an hour

Postmates, the on-demand delivery startup, wanted to let customers know it was extending its core business beyond food delivery into goods and services. Postmates rolled out "12 Days of Postmates" during the holidays. The company let users in five cities (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle) order specially curated products from more than 30 brands for $1.99. The company promised one-hour delivery on all items.

But consumers weren't the only ones to benefit from "12 Days of Postmates." The campaign also allowed retailers to enter new markets, as the company promised inventory from each of the brands (some of which were only available in one or two areas) in all five of the markets in the campaign.

Undeniably, this campaign had a good hook -- people are impatient. While the insight is true, the execution during holiday season skewed toward gift-giving. Once a gift was given, the consumer's relationship with the brand ended. The journey was broken. Even more so, if you were delivering a surprise gift in under an hour, the gift receiver wasn't alerted that it took only an hour to deliver -- thus negating the significance of one-hour delivery.

Postmates should have engaged both giver and receiver with a personalized experience instead of convenience experience. Through one-to-one messages, Postmates could have further discounted and promoted products their customers were interested in -- personalizing the entire experience.

Hyper-localized media could've helped supplement Postmates' presence into a new market. A "welcome new brand" announcement triggered by location data would have extended the relationship further by informing customers they had exclusive access to a hot new service. Overall, this campaign was on the right track, but roughly half the customers knew about it.

Seventh Generation reaches new customers with a celebrity endorsement

Seventh Generation, a company that once dominated the green product market, sells environmentally sustainable products. It recently lost market share and wanted to reach out to new customers who were interested in green products. The company also wanted to inform brand loyalists that Seventh Generation product distribution had extended past Whole Foods and was available at Amazon and Target (which it has been for years).

The brand hired "Saturday Night Live" star Maya Rudolph to spearhead their $15 million TV commercial, print, and digital ad campaign. Over three different commercial versions, Seventh Generation hoped to shatter the perceptions that these products were more expensive, didn't work as well, and were not widely available.

TV commercials are great, but this is 2016 -- brands must lead with mobility. Although Seventh Generation did have an extensive social and digital media spend, it seems it didn't use deep location data. It's really very simple now for a brand to notify consumers when they're near a store that carries its products. This would help in two ways: inform new customers where they can purchase Seventh Generation products, and re-engage existing customers who perceived Seventh Generation as a Whole Foods-only brand. The "ah ha" moment here -- brands don't take advantage of how personal their marketing and advertising can be when a potential customer is open to it. Anything from Maya Rudolph would make my day better.

This was a really difficult post to write. I see media buying strategies every day, so I often wonder why some brands don't take advantage of media personalization that is available. Personalization doesn't mean I get a message that says "Hey Michael." Rather, it means I only see content that I've truly shown an interest in. I love the inventiveness, creativity, and resourcefulness that some demonstrate to engage people on different platforms -- but "to have and to hold" especially applies to your mobile devices.

Michael Davis is a creative leader with more than 25 years of experience as an artist, strategist, technologist and agency business leader. As Head of Creative at Conversant, the leader in personalized digital media, he is responsible for directing...

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