In my last post, I discussed that although mobile devices cannot read minds, they can gather data.  And by aggregating contextual information, insights into what’s relevant to a mobile user at a given moment increase greatly.  Let’s now look at how mobile context can provide a meaningful, relevant mobile experience as well as three things that can be done now to take advantage of this new mobile marketing opportunity.


Real-time Relevance

For relevance to be meaningful, it must be as close as possible to real-time.  Just like breaking news, relevance has a short shelf-life and has its greatest value at the moment something occurs. Let’s look at a few mobile scenarios that use Adobe Test&Target to deliver real-time relevance

Outdoor E-tailer

Imagine an outdoor e-tailer mobile app that is being used by a customer while she is skiing. So in this scenario we not only want to push an offer related to skiing, but one that also contains items previously viewed by the customer, as well as items that are “liked” by her social network of friends.

Women using mobile phone while taking a break from skiing 

Hungry Business Traveler

A business professional is traveling and has yet to think about where to catch dinner.   Knowing the mobile user is outside of her home area during the work-week, suggest highly recommended, near-by restaurants that have open reservations.


Shopping on Vacation

A regular customer of a big box retailer is on vacation and by using the retailer’s app finds a near-by store he has never been in before.  When he walks in the door and launches the app instead of finding the traditional app landing page, he is welcomed to the store and is provided with an in-store map.


Competitive Shopping

A high-value customer of a big box retailer is getting a bit adventuresome and is price comparing while at a competitor’s store.  Furthermore she is using the big box retailer’s app to price-compare a Samsung 46” TV.   In the past, there was no way to help prevent loss of business by this highly valued customer.  However, now a time-sensitive offer can be pushed to the customer while competitively price comparing.


When I’ve shared examples like these at Adobe Conferences, the reactions tend to either be amazement or shock, depending if attendees are thinking from the perspective of businesses or customers. The customer-minded group often fear the Minority-Report type of reality, thinking “Big Brother” will know our every move and sinister purposes will prevail.

However, I have found the fear with most new technologies lies in the unknown and the uncontrolled (remember the days when people were scared to enter credit card information online despite a secure connection?). As customers we can acclimate ourselves to the beneficial possibilities of relevant experiences through mobile smartphones and vet businesses on merits of trust and their return of added value. As for businesses, be mindful of what you do with customer’s information and find ways to provide value-add as you earn consumers’ trust.


What now?

Given the potential to improve the value of the mobile experience for the customer, here are next-steps for businesses to consider in taking advantage of this new opportunity:

1)    Start gathering mobile contextual data (what-when-where-who type info) now, obviously with your customers’ approval.  Even if you don’t immediately use the gathered data, having it can still prove useful later on.

2)    Determine and utilize the customer activity types that are relevant to your business model.  If you need help in how to leverage contextual data to determine activity types, Adobe Consulting and Engineering Services can provide assistance.

3)    Look for opportunities to return value back to your customers and the valuable data with which they have entrusted you.  And remember, the more relevant and real-time time the information, the more valuable it will be to the customer.

Over the last decade mobile phones have migrated from simply being portable telephones to conduits of context. In fact, Julie Äsk of Forrester Research has said, “The future of mobile is user context.” (Emphasis added). With this opportunity at our doorstep, a richer world of relevant experiences and customer insights awaits, for those who are willing.