What Does It Really Take To Personalize Mobile Marketing?

Partner Post - Kahuna Intelligent Marketing for the Mobile Era

Posted: March 24, 2016

Julie Ginches joined Kahuna in May 2015 as the Chief Marketing Officer. Prior to Kahuna, she was the CMO at eXelate and Rubicon Project. Julie’s background also includes executive roles at DataXu, Jumptap, Autonomy, and Fast Search Transfer. She received both her Bachelor’s degree and MBA in Marketing from Suffolk University.

Julie is an authority on marketing and communications with a keen understanding of what it takes to translate a product value proposition into personalized language and deliver it to highly targeted audiences at the most impactful time. Whether building communities, social media programs, unique conferences and events, websites, viral marketing, public relations, or lead generation, her reputation is for “doing the hard things, and doing them right.”

Julie is also recognized as an innovative digital change agent with a proven track for creating world class marketing organizations and received recognition by Venture Beat as a “Top 20 CMO” in the New England region. 

Most recently, Julie led the announcement of Kahuna’s $45 million Series B funding round and the strategy behind the company’s new platform launch. Her leadership helped Kahuna achieve great success with the announcement, garnering attention from The Wall Street Journal,AdWeek, Digiday, and CMSWire, and many other outlets. 

Julie Ginches

As a CMO, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some of the most innovative tech companies. But rare is the opportunity to join a company at just the right time. I feel that way about my new company — a Silicon Valley pioneer in multi-channel marketing automation — for a variety of reasons. Most notably, that the time has arrived for true personalized marketing, and the competitive landscape may soon be disrupted.

A smartphone and smartwatch as channels for personalized marketing

Kahuna Mobile Marketing Automation


From where I sit, there are at least three requirements that vendors in this space (including companies like ExactTarget (Salesforce) and Responsys (Oracle)) will need to meet in order to remain competitive.

The first is the need for real-time. Older systems were architected with an email-based model which inherently is asynchronous. With that model, it’s ok if my email is delivered to me a few hours from now and it’s ok if I read it later. But personalization means looking for opportunities to connect with a specific user at just the right moment. It’s only possible to do that if the system is architected to do so. Mobile-first platforms, which enable marketers to glean special insight into user behavior, can help make that happen.


A related requirement: the integration of the different channels that provide for the kind of personalized experiences that the best marketers are looking to design. Again, this is a challenge for older systems, which by and large are patchworks of disparate products. At the so-called “checkbox level,” the vendors of these systems can claim they support not just email but also mobile in-app, push, social, etc., but they aren’t truly integrated where the system decides the most relevant message, through which channel and at what time will best engage the customer to help create the desired action.

This can create all sorts of problems. For example, if a user opts out of email, the system may not know what to do with in-app or push. If a user responds to an email at 8pm on mobile, the system won’t know not to send the user an email in the morning.

A New Data Layer

In other words, without a system that provides true integration, marketers are not only incapable of delivering personalized experiences, but are very likely to become accidental spammers.

Why? Because without the ability to understand the customer across every channel, the channels will automatically turn against the user. That’s the risk of automation, where the machine fails to cooperate and turns against the marketer. What’s required: a real time data layer on top of the entire system that enables the marketer to engage the user with the right message, on the right device, and, yes, at the right time.

How would that look? Imagine your customer, a 35-year old advertising executive who takes the train each morning from her home in Palo Alto to San Francisco at 8AM. You are a digital marketer for a major international news organization, and you have learned a number of other things about her. You know that in the evening, she likes to scan news from Latin America in Spanish (she immigrated from Peru five years ago) on her iPhone. You know that during the commute she likes to scan business stories on her iPad. You also know that she hardly ever checks her email before or after office hours, or weekends. Over time — with the support of a mobile-first, language-sensitive, multichannel marketing automation platform — you have learned to provide her two surprisingly delightful experiences each day: a personalized menu of stories in Spanish from her homeland delivered to her iPhone before she goes to sleep, and a personalized menu of stories about her industry delivered to her on her iPad for her morning ride to work. Not only does she become a loyal reader, but she soon signs up to become a paid subscriber.

Soon she refers your service to friends (in her industry) and family (in Peru) and becomes the ultimate subscriber — the one that “sells” on your behalf.

Sound far-fetched? It’s not. It’s how the savviest marketers are beginning to engage their customers, to drive more value – both from increased revenue, loyalty and advocacy. This will put pressure on all marketers to meet the new standards for personalized marketing experiences. In the meantime, the pressure will mount on vendors to help meet the tech challenges behind delivering the experience. To achieve true multi channel marketing, we must move away from traditional marketing solutions to real-time, event triggered, inbound, multi-stage, multi-channel capabilities.

Visit Kahuna website to know more about the company and how it helps businesses automate their mobile marketing needs.

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