A+ or F? How To Grade Your Rivals’ Mobile Marketing Strategy

Use this scoring system to see how they’re doing

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Curious what your competitors are doing with their mobile marketing, and how your strategy compares? In today’s mobile age, it’s actually very easy to seeand judgewhat the competition is doing, and take some pointers when they’re getting things right. Here’s a cheat sheet for scoring your competitors’ marketing message game on everything from onboarding to winning back lapsing customers. We’ll review what to look for, how to find it, and what you may not be able to find.

As you go through the lists below, give your rival five points for each question you answer in the affirmative. Given these parameters, they have the potential to receive a 110 points out of 100, or an A+. Anything below a 70 is failing, or falling short, in our gradebook. See how well they do (and gather competitive intel on the way)!

Onboarding

To get started, be sure to download your competitor’s app, sign up for an account, and sign up for their email newsletter. If you’ve already done this before, but didn’t keep close tabs on the process, it’ll be easier to start over fresh. Here’s how to rate their onboarding process:

 Do they send an onboarding-related push notification? Doing so can increase retention 71% over two months.

 Do they also send an onboarding-related message on other channels (email, in-app, or News Feed)? This can increase retention by 131% over two months.

 Do they have any custom opt-in prompts or do they bug you for push and location permissions with no context?

 Do they welcome you in real time? This generally leads to higher engagement rates.

 Do they educate you about the app with help content?

 Do they include a special offer or free shipping (if they’re commerce-related) with their welcome notification? Doing so can increase transaction rates.

Mutlichannel marketing

To see how well your rival is reaching you and their customers on all devices and channels, review this checklist:

 Are they using in-app messages? And if, so are they following best practices?

 What about push notifications? Do they send so many it’s annoying, or do they overlook this powerful channel?

 Are they sending you emails that follow mobile best practices?

 Is their brand voice consistent?

Personalization

Now that you’re engaging with your competitor across channels, it’s time to keep tabs on how they’re communicating with you. Do they really get you? Here’s a checklist to run through.

 Do they know your name and when to use it (and when to leave it out)?

 Is the way they personalize their messaging on point (not just plain creepy)? Subjective opinions matter a ton here, so you could even recruit a few friends to do this exercise with you and share their thoughts.

 Are they sending you notifications when you’re likely to read them and engage?

Are they deep linking? Doing so can increase conversions, retention, and engagement.

Extra credit

 If relevant, are they employing best practices with location-based marketing?

Re-engagement

If your competitor is an ecommerce or mobile commerce company, are they doing a good job of getting customers to commit to making purchases? Try adding an item to your web or mobile app shopping cart, and see just how your rival responds, if at all. Check for the tell-tale signs of a strong abandoned shopping cart notification:

 Do they create a sense of urgency?

 Is the notification personal and specific?

 Does the competition know your preferred send time?

 Is your rival reminding you what you’re missing out on?

For another test, try going inactive with your email engagement or app use (this may take time, say up to a few months of inactivity), and see what kind of re-engagement push notifications or email campaigns you receive. If your competitor knows what they’re doing, they’ll try to cater their marketing to your needs to get you back on board or gracefully let you go, if that’s what you as the customer want.

 Are they revealing tantalizing details about what you’re missing out on?

 And when all else fails, do they know when and how to say goodbye with good tact, leaving the door open to future engagement?

Extra extra credit

If the folks at the helm of your competitor’s company are real mobile masters, they’re likely innovating in other ways, so don’t forget to check out their web push strategy and efforts on new channels, like connected devices.

How’d your competition do?

Tally up their points, and see what grade they earn:

 100-110, A+

 90-99, A

 80-89, B

 70-80, C

 Below 70, F

Now that you have a clear understanding of where your rival stands, it’s time for some honest internal reflection. How would you rate in comparison? If you receive a lower grade, this should help you identify learning opportunities and areas for improvement. Even if you get a similar grade, are you failing (getting zero points) in certain categories? Consider rethinking your strategy in these areas. If you’re ahead, it’s not the time to get complacent. The best way to keep earning top marks is to continuously adapt as channels, business models, iOS and Android systems, and customers evolve.

What you won’t be able to see

Okay, so there is a catch to all this, of course. While you’re spying on how your competitor would treat you, there are of course a ton of other people out there, who might set different preferences, shop different categories, or prefer different devices than you do.

Here’s a list of things your competitor should be doing, but you may not be able to see, unless you really go all out to download their app, sign up for their email marketing, and create accounts on different devices with different usernames, engagement patterns, and different segmenting characteristics (age, gender, etc.). We’d be impressed if you did, though.

 If they’re segmenting to the degree that they could or should be.

 If they’re using testing.

And finally, aside from publically available data, you won’t be able to take a look at their retention rate, DAUs, MAUs, and other KPIs with any specificity. A Google alert can make sure you see any press they’re getting, and any numbers shared that way, of course.

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