Mobile marketing has skyrocketed in value in recent years, mirroring the shift towards personalized, app-centric engagement and reflecting changing consumer expectations for hyper-personalization. This growth narrative isn't merely about technological evolution, but a response to modern consumer demands.
We called on CleverTap to discuss this shift, as this company offers a suite of innovative solutions to help brands navigate the digital landscape. Through data analytics and AI technology, CleverTap empowers marketers to create more engaging campaigns that maximize ROI and enhance customer lifetime value.
In the interview, DesignRush spoke with CleverTap's VP Jacob Joseph to unravel the company's most used strategies, share intriguing case studies, and discuss how the company is helping businesses stay ahead when it comes to customer retention and maximizing lifetime value.
Jacob is a seasoned professional and a distinguished data scientist with over two decades of experience in analytics, consulting, and portfolio management. Currently holding the position of Vice President of Data Science at CleverTap, a customer retention platform, Jacob leverages his knowledge to tackle intricate business challenges using cutting-edge data science solutions.
Spotlight: CleverTap was founded ten years ago. From your experience, how have customer engagement and demands changed over the last decade?
Jacob: There has been an increased focus on customer engagement over the past decade, which has occurred in tandem with the rise of mobile marketing. In 2011, mobile marketing spending was projected to hit a billion dollars, but today, this number is over $100 billion.
Consumer behavior has changed too. Where previously, generic and cookie-cutter messaging was considered acceptable (and even the norm), today users get frustrated when their high expectations of hyper-personalization are not met. Due to this, brands have resorted to increasingly consolidated solutions so they can maximize ROI while maintaining scalability and ease of use.
There has also been a shift in the way brands reach users; where previously the primary mode of outreach was via websites, today’s engagement landscape is predominantly reliant on apps. This means there are more opportunities than ever to reach users in a hyper-personalized manner on devices they already own.
Data and analytics are essential to provide an optimal customer experience, but curating big data can be a daunting task. How do you ensure companies get the information and results they need?
Through the TesseractDB, our purpose-built MarTech database, we can ensure marketers operate at the scale and speed necessary to keep up with the modern marketing landscape. It sifts through large volumes of data with ease and ensures marketers see the data required to create more engaging campaigns.
The database allows for 3 years of lookback that can be extended as desired, as opposed to other solutions that typically provide only 90 days of lookback. Marketers can then study these long-term patterns of behavior and develop a more in-depth understanding of the user. This can be used to create resonant campaigns, ultimately boosting the customer's lifetime value.
Automation, machine learning, and AI are all part of CleverTap’s solutions. Can you expand on how you leverage next-gen technology to improve customer engagement?
Campaign automation is a huge part of the MarTech puzzle in today’s marketing environment. Marketers often deal with several factors when setting up campaigns – these could be conditional on in-app behavior, time of day, and customer profile.
When extrapolated to a user base of even 100,000 users, it is easy to see how things could get out of control without integrated automation. Automated campaign management – where the marketer has predefined actions across various scenarios and situations can help ease this burden and let the marketing team focus on more pressing strategic matters during a campaign’s lifetime.
Clever.AI helps our customers unlock limitless Customer Lifetime Value. They can navigate, bridge, and discover insights across various touchpoints for more effective campaign management. Tools like cohorts, funnels, trends, pivots, and more, provide all the information required for customers to evaluate and make the most informed decision.
Recently, we launched Scribe, our very own OpenAI-powered content assistant. By assigning numerical values, and segregating campaign copies into 5 key emotions (Fear, Anticipation, Joy, Trust, and Surprise), it helps marketers identify how messages will be perceived. This knowledge can then be used to tweak certain words/phrases to align more with the target audience/theme of the campaign.
Marketers can leverage user engagement data based on this emotion analysis to develop hyper-personalized content that is consistent with the brand and resonates with the user. For digital-native businesses aiming to boost conversions with emotionally intelligent content, this will be a game-changer — driving increased visits, swipes, and spending.
Can you share a case study of a client that utilized your platform while experiencing massive growth?
With over 75% of transactions being driven through mobile, it was only fitting that BookMyShow decided to create a robust mobile marketing strategy to engage its users. It was important to work with an analytics and engagement platform that could effectively handle the increasing scale of BookMyShow’s marketing campaigns while providing a personalized app experience for each user. It required a solution that would give the team real-time insight into user behavior and the journey right from onboarding. The key areas of focus were personalized recommendations, engagement, and click-through rates.
We leveraged Live User Segments to increase the level of personalization. By defining certain users with key attributes – such as those who had watched a movie trailer, or purchased tickets to specific comedy shows, our platform could dynamically add users to the segments they belonged. This then helped BookMyShow users target certain segments with personalized messages in real time.
With Pivots, we were able to improve CTRs by 5x. The team had been previously sending notifications between 3-6 p.m. (under the assumption that’s when their app was most active) but saw low engagement rates. Using pivots, they were able to identify 12-4 p.m. as the most active time on the app. They were also able to increase user engagement by 2x using tailored messages. With increased visibility into user behavior, marketing blockbuster events were also made significantly easier.
Customer retention is a big challenge for most companies nowadays. What features does CleverTap offer to tackle this issue?
Our retention analysis feature allows businesses to visualize user retention rates over time and identify trends and patterns in user behavior. We can generate retention reports — a visual graph that breaks users into groups based on when they first completed a specific action like launching the app or when they returned. It’s a great way for marketers to track retention over time to discover trends and identify when most new users drop off.
Alongside tools to boost retention, our platform ensures marketers are actively engaging these retained users through hyper-personalized campaigns. We provide scalable and automated campaign management; meaning hyper-personalized campaigns can run with minimal manual intervention while marketers rest assured knowing everything is going as planned.
In today’s hyper-competitive marketing landscape, it’s important to always be top-of-mind to users. This is only possible through a concerted effort across all touchpoints. Therefore our solutions allow businesses to engage their users across multiple channels, including push notifications, email, WhatsApp, in-app messaging, web messaging, and SMS.
CleverTap includes a solution for subscriptions. Can you expand on this and provide tips on how companies can turn regular users into paying subscribers?
If users keep returning to the app but refuse to pay, that either means the paywalled features/content are not valuable enough or that the users are not aware of the value proposition itself. The former requires the brand to conduct thorough reconnaissance so that the market’s demands are clear and the brand can build with these preferences in mind. The latter requires brands to ensure the right and most valuable messages are being delivered to end users.
Brands must also leverage predictive AI analytics to identify users who are most likely to convert into premium users. Doing this early into the lifetime of the customer means marketers can allot resources more efficiently and dedicate efforts where they are most likely to bear fruit.
CleverTap recently announced a strategic redirection towards helping businesses maximize customer lifetime value (CLV). What is CLV, and how is CleverTap helping businesses maximize it?
Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) is a metric that calculates the total expected value a customer will generate throughout their relationship with a business. It takes into account the customer's initial purchase and their ongoing transactions, repeat purchases, referrals, and the overall revenue they contribute over time. Compared to a simpler metric like retention – which, regardless of the level of engagement, measures only the portion of users that stick around after a certain amount of time; CLV provides a lot more insight into the long-term value of a customer.
The key to a great app is both high retention and high customer lifetime value. However, the simplistic nature of retention can sometimes lead to inexperienced marketers overemphasizing the importance of retention while sidelining CLV. We recognize this and help marketers maximize CLV through AI-driven insights that help them go beyond the superficial layer and truly understand their users. This helps send messages that are way more valuable than those that could be conjured up using tools that lack AI/ML capabilities or those with a limited lookback period.
Looking ahead, how do you see customer engagement changing in the AI-powered future?
AI’s role in customer engagement has grown steadily in recent years. More and more brands are adopting predictive AI analytics to understand early into a user's journey whether they are a potential customer or not. With the introduction of emerging technologies like generative AI, the focus on synthetically generated campaign media/copies has increased. The technology is still in its infancy and is quite raw. But given the pace at which advancements have been made over the past year, this won’t be the case for too long. Soon, we may be seeing generative AI deployments that are meant for both execution and qualitative consultation.
If you liked this article, check out more of our interviews with industry experts!