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Personalization vs. Localization… Which Should Be Part of Your Mobile Strategy?

A few short years ago, we as marketers could do nothing more than throw a marketing offer against the wall and see what stuck. We were limited in what we knew about our customers, and so we used the scatter-shot approach and knew that any promotion would only have a limited conversion rate, and that much of our efforts would be wasted trying to reach the right people.

Thank goodness those days are long gone.

Now we have an unprecedented amount of data at our fingerprints that helps us target our customers to provide more value to them and increase our own ROI. Mobile is a great example of a tool where we can leverage this data to our benefit.

Is Personalization Localized? Localization Personalized?

You may have heard of both personalization and localization when it comes to mobile strategy, but been unsure of the difference or which you needed. Let’s first separate the two.

Personalization of offers refers to sending coupons or discounts via push notifications, SMS, MMS, or even mobile wallets based on consumer behavior at the granular level. You might increase a previous discount of 10% off a purchase to 20% off for any mobile subscriber who didn’t redeem the first offer within five days. You might send a free ice cream offer to anyone who bought ice cream within the past three months. Or you might send a buy one get one free promotion when a customer reorders a past purchase.

Because we have the data to tell us what our customers are doing, this provides the opportunity to personalize marketing campaigns on essentially a person-by-person basis. Basing promotions on behavior greatly increases the odds that someone will take you up on the offer.

Localization, on the other hand, is more geocentric in its efforts. The closer a shopper is to your location, the more likely she will be to respond to a push notification triggered by her proximity to you.

If she’s out shopping mid-afternoon and she gets a ping with an offer for $5 off of lunch at your restaurant, she’s primed to take advantage of the offer. If she’s shopping for shoes at your competitor’s store down the street, she might be swayed to make her purchase with you if she can save money. Or if she’s in your store to pick up toilet paper and gets an offer in her mobile wallet for 50% off of soda, she’s more likely to increase her purchase beyond what she came for.

Why Personalization Matters

Getting consumers to trust you is the hardest part of your job. The fact that 83% of consumers say loyalty to a brand is driven by trust tells you its importance to your customers. You build that trust by creating value.

Consider two scenarios:

  1. You send the same 15% off mobile offer to Sabrina that you send to all customers.
  2. You send Sabrina a 15% off mobile offer for a product your data tells you she buys regularly.

Which do you think Sabrina will find more useful? Which will prove to her that you are worthy of her trust? When you show that you’re paying attention to Sabrina, you’re building a relationship with her.

Why Localization Matters

Capturing shoppers’ attention at the right time and place can have a huge impact on your engagement success. By setting up offers to be activated when a shopper is within a small radius from your store, you provide value to them and increase redemption.

Even if they don’t choose to redeem that offer immediately, if they save it to their mobile wallets, you’re then connected, and can update that offer endlessly to continue to provide value.

So the question is: which do you need, personalization or localization, in your mobile strategy? Actually, there’s no reason you can’t offer both. Test out different types of promotions and offers and see which kinds resonate the most with your audience.