Kahuna is thrilled to bring you the Mobile Innovators Series, an exclusive collection of curated conversations with industry leaders. We’ll highlight a range of unique perspectives into emerging issues in mobile marketing, delving deep into the most pressing challenges in the industry. Read these influencer posts to develop mobile marketing expertise and learn from some of the smartest minds in mobile.
This week, we’re excited to host a Q&A with Maud Pasturaud, the mobile guru who heads growth at Spring and previously led Gilt Groupe’s mobile and international expansion as well as customer acquisition at Jetsetter. In this interview, Maud tells us how product and marketing intersect, where push notifications fit into the important game of user retention, and what companies and teams are winning in the space.
How has mobile changed marketing?
Maud: First, I’d say there’s a lot of mobile marketing that’s about Product. It’s a bit contradictory, but as much as it’s hard to build efficient mobile experiences because of the small real estate of smartphone screens, it’s just as hard to design efficient marketing campaigns on those devices. Communicating the value of your app to first-time users, making the redemption of CRM offers and promo codes seamless at checkout, etc.—it’s a UX/UI question first. And not only is the weight of UI/UX far greater in mobile marketing, but it’s also such a recent area that there’s not yet a range of best practices/case studies mobile developers can learn from either. So, I’ve often seen the best mobile marketers being great product people.
Second, the mobile industry is fast-changing, with new mobile marketing platforms and partners emerging every month. It’s key to be on top of the latest trends and innovations in the space (often born out of Silicon Valley) and to be fast at adopting them. There’s a first-mover advantage in mobile marketing: for example, Poshmark was amongst the first developers to test Facebook’s mobile app install ads, and they quickly saw the efficiency of the ad unit and invested heavily in it, months before their competitors did, driving significant growth to the app. Mobile favors “entrepreneurial” marketers who are always learning, testing, and comfortable working with unproven solutions—they might be their next major lever for Growth.
Push notifications? Email? In-app messaging? SMS? What are the most effective communication channels for the mobile-focused company? How can they work together to create an integrated strategy?
Maud: Retention is the #1 challenge for mobile-focused brands; therefore, optimizing the channels that get users to come back into your app is absolutely critical and will have most impact. Tactics to optimize conversion of return traffic come second.
However, those inbound channels have individual challenges:
- Push notifications is the most efficient CRM channel on mobile: it drives significant traffic to apps. Because of its high efficiency, I have seen marketers make the same mistakes experienced in the early days of email: too many push notifications, too often, and with the wrong message. Push notifications are a powerful but sensitive medium. Users will unsubscribe easily, and once they do, it’s impossible to get them to re-opt-in. Don’t burn it.
- Email is the second most efficient outbound channel, and it’s been a challenging one for many reasons: 1. It’s relatively easy to personalize email formats for mobile, less so to personalize their content based on users’ mobile behaviors. 2. The “email to mobile” experience is broken. There’s the trade-off of sending email traffic to an m-site vs. deep linking it into the app, and deep linking can be a lagging, painful user experience.
- SMS is leveraged by large mobile developers such as Uber and Airbnb for time-sensitive, transactional-related messages and is best suited for those use cases. It is not a sustainable channel for broader marketing messages—you just have to look at millennial and teenagers’ (mobile’s “trendsetters”) perception of SMS marketing to realize that this medium is short-lived.
A successful CRM strategy lies in how you make those inbound and outbound channels work together: CRM is about delivering the right content, to the right user, at the right time, and through the right channel (mobile and non-mobile). It’s already a challenge to make mobile channels work individually—that’s why I have been a big fan of Kahuna—it’s the most comprehensive platform to help developers develop and implement an efficient mobile CRM strategy, quickly and seamlessly.
What companies are doing this well? What makes their approach so effective?
Maud: I’m obviously a bit biased but I believe Gilt is still ahead of the game on mobile CRM—from personalized, timely push notifications to in-app messaging and seamless promotion code redemption, Gilt’s lifecycle strategy has applied best practices of desktop CRM and adapted them to mobile successfully.
Pinterest and Airbnb have also developed some of the most efficient and innovative mobile marketing campaigns I have seen. Pinterest’s m-site landing page and push notification strategy are best in class, and so is Airbnb’s in-app experience for first-time users.
What are common mistakes companies make as they delve into mobile marketing?
Maud: The biggest mistake I have seen is mobile marketers not being bold enough and moving too slowly to test the latest innovations, platforms, tools, and partners on the market. If you’re not taking risks and waiting for those new solutions to be proven, you’ll never win in this channel.
Second, a lot of developers are still thinking about mobile marketing and desktop marketing in silos—think omni-channel!
How did you develop such expertise in mobile marketing? What advice would you give to others looking to do the same?
Maud: I “stumbled” upon mobile at Gilt Groupe three years ago. I always wanted to join Jason John’s team there (Gilt’s former head of customer acquisition, mobile and social marketing and one of the most respected e-commerce marketers in New York), and when he offered me to take on Gilt’s mobile marketing initiatives, I jumped on the opportunity. I quickly became fascinated by how deeply transformative this channel was going to be and have been a mobile “addict” since then.
As I mentioned earlier, mobile marketers have to adopt a curious and entrepreneurial mindset and understand Product very well.
Tools you can’t live without:
- Looker, extremely powerful and user-friendly business intelligence platform
- Sensor Tower for ASO optimization
- Adjust for mobile campaign attribution
What you’re reading now:
- Benedict Evans’ newsletter, tweets, blog posts, presentations, everything. He is the mobile guru.
- TechInAsia: With 559M mobile users, China has the largest mobile market in the world and is years ahead of us as far as mobile usage, products, advertising, and business models. There is so much to learn from the ecosystem there; I try to stay on top of it.
- Alex Shultz’ lecture about Growth at Stanford, one of the best I have seen on the matter (those principles definitely apply to mobile)
Growth expert for top global consumer brands, Maud Pasturaud is currently VP of Growth at the popular shopping and discovery app Spring. Prior to joining Spring, she led mobile and international growth at Gilt Groupe—the leading flash sales site—and customer acquisition at Jetsetter. Maud is an advisor to mobile and commerce startups in San Francisco and Paris, a board member Women in Wireless SF and a mentor at NewMe and MergeLane. She earned her MA in Entrepreneurship from the ESCP-EAP.