6 Mobile Marketing FAQs Answered by Top UK Brands

Recently in London we gathered a group of leading mobile marketing experts together to talk about the latest challenges, opportunities, best practices and use cases that drive mobile growth.

Hosted by Urban Airship CEO Brett Caine and our own global strategy consultant Emily Buckman, we were joined by an all-star lineup of speakers from top UK brands Boots, E.ON, Ticketmaster UK, Shop Direct, Immediate Media, Starbucks, Nando’s, DigitasLBi and Somo.

Our audience provided some great commentary and questions! In this post we’ve provided highlights of the answers our expert panelists provided during the event. We hope you find something here you can put to work in your mobile strategy today!


1) What role do your customers have in your mobile development strategy?

“We develop everything based on what the customers say. We asked our customers and they said they wanted apps from us. So we developed apps and our shareholders agreed.” – Lesley Kettle, Mobile App Marketing and Affiliate Lead, Shop Direct

“We have a huge diversity of customers, so how do you serve such a varied group? We always challenge ourselves with this question before we implement changes or app updates.” – Stuart Jones, eCom and Mobile Product Manager, Nando’s

“Our vision is to create customer experiences with customer needs at the heart and allow them to interact with us effortlessly where they want to be. We keep in mind that it is the customer’s app, not ours.” Daniel Stevens, Digital Experience Manager, E.ON

“The first question we recommend our clients ask is ‘What purpose will your app have for your users?’ You’re fighting for real estate on someone’s device. Are you going to build an app for the sake of it or is it going to be something they can’t live without?” – Naomi Hands, Director of Commercial Partnerships, Somo

brett-caine-welcomes-attendees-to-urban-airship-mobile-growth-workshop-londonUrban Airship CEO Brett Caine welcomes London Mobile Growth Workshop guests.

2) How do you go about incorporating customer feedback and experiences into your decisions?

“We look at app usage data to see what features customers use or do not use. We use that info to drive what decisions we make when pushing app updates or changes. We also pay attention to the reviews. We want our app to be a convenient & seamless.” – Jad Rahme, Senior Marketing Specialist, Loyalty at Starbucks EMEA

“We think every customer should be able to have a unique interaction with the brand. To understand this, we started with a piece of paper and drew out all the possible touch points our customers could have with the app, all the decisions they could make and all the things we needed/wanted them to do such as social sharing or buying things within the app. We wanted to get a deep understanding of how the experience worked for them.” – Mark Summerton, Head of Apps and Digital Edition Marketing, Immediate Media

“When we made the decision to launch a new app, we went back to our customers to understand what they wanted and what features they liked. We then created a prototype and tested it in a customer testing lab where we could see the frustrations they had with it. We gained a lot of insight from that and were able to make improvements before the app was even launched.” – Jonathan Marris, Product Manager, Mobile App, Boots.


From left to right: Tom Newbury, Ticketmaster; Jad Rahme, Starbucks, Daniel Stevens, E.ON, Rafe Blandford, DigitasLBi, Emily Buckman, Urban Airship.

3) What is your brand’s approach to loyalty or rewards schemes on mobile?

“The Nando’s app allows you to see your points balance but there isn’t a digital integration between the app and the terminal in the restaurant yet. We are figuring out the best way to make this happen but we need to be careful because it can be difficult to change what path you are on whilst in a transition if the market suddenly shifts. You don’t want to cost your company millions of pounds in an attempt to make digital loyalty work only for your solution to become out-dated at the point of go live. We are trying to figure out the right way to implement this for our customers that will give us and them long term lasting happiness.” – Stuart Jones, eComm and Mobile Product Manager, Nando’s

“If the only value of your app is payments or loyalty schemes, then the app is in danger. There is a ton of innovation happening in both of these areas that you need to keep in mind. We have both a wallet pass and app and find our mobile users utilise both. While we have the loyalty card available in wallet, the messaging, rewards point tracking and mobile ordering are all still in the app — therefore it has a lot of value for our users.

We recently released the ability to sign up to My Starbucks Rewards through Apple Pay. When you download the app, you don’t have to fill in your info, because it’s pulled from Apple Pay. This was driven from customer feedback. People don't want to fill in all those fields. Now, all you need to do is scan your fingerprint and enter your password and that’s it.” – Jad Rahme, Senior Marketing Specialist, Loyalty at Starbucks EMEA

Learn more about integrating mobile loyalty programs with Apple Pay for one-touch loyalty signups.

“We know our customers want the Boots Advantage Card loyalty scheme to be in our app but this requires infrastructure updates in our stores that aren’t yet possible. We are looking at other possibilities that might allow us to make this happen whether that is through digital wallet or something else. For now you can link your Boots Advantage Card to the app and check your points balance.” – Jonathan Marris, Product Manager, Mobile App, Boots


From left to right: Mark Summerton, Immediate Media; Naomi Hands, Somo; Lesley Kettle, Shop Direct; Emily Buckman, Urban Airship.

4) How do you recommend overcoming data silos within businesses?

“This is such a common question. There are all different types of data and traditionally these are all owned by separate people within the organisation. My best tip is — get all of those people together, talking to each other and agreeing that it is important. Also, there are thousands of service providers that try to help with this, but it's critical to look for ones that offer connectors. Urban Airship Connect helps link to your other data services and that will lead to less silos.” – Rafe Blandford, Mobile Strategist, DigitasLBi

“Ticketmaster was started before the internet. We had data stored on individual computers in individual locations, so we have had silo’ed data from the beginning. We have data on app behavior, push notification preferences and ticket sales info but the challenge is bringing all of it together so we can have a single view of the customer. There is enormous potential in achieving this. We are part of Urban Airship’s beta program of an integration with Salesforce Marketing Cloud Journey Builder. It will allow us to send a push notification through Journey Builder. This is something that all of our marketers are using everyday and understand. It will mean greater personalisation and is something we are very excited about!” – Tom Newbury, CRM Manager, International, Ticketmaster UK.

5) Which KPIs are you focused on and how do you choose?

“We are mindful of drop-off rates. So retention and user churn is important to us. We have found that sending more push notifications improves our churn rates.” – Tom Newbury, CRM Manager, International, Ticketmaster UK.

“We look at a wide range of KPIs. We monitor our app store reviews and ratings, monthly active users and also how much revenue the app is generating. We also track the appointments that are being booked through the app and what offers are being redeemed.” – Jonathan Marris, Product Manager, Mobile App, Boots

“Select the KPIs that play a role in your general business goals and strategy. The mobile team needs to make sure it isn't a separate entity with separate goals and KPIs, it should link and have a stake in the overall business goals.” – Jad Rahme, Senior Marketing Specialist, Loyalty at Starbucks EMEA

“Our opt in rate is 50%. We are going to be testing Urban Airship’s Insight tool and for the first time we will download a list of the people who have not opted in and create a campaign to get them to opt-in.” – Mark Summerton, Head of Apps and Digital Edition Marketing, Immediate Media

“Data is the most valuable asset coming out of apps, and it is very rarely used to it’s full potential. Some things to think about are: How fast is the app operating? That is one of the main reasons users stop using your app. You also need to think about attribution and where the best users come from. But perhaps most importantly, understand what the high value behaviors are to your business and optimise around those. That will lead to all the other metrics in your app improving.” – Rafe Blandford, Mobile Strategist, DigitasLBi

6) What role will mobile and your mobile app play in the future of your business?

“We are learning more and more about our customers through mobile. As we start to move into other products and solutions, we are using that data. Everything we are doing with mobile engagement has been very successful, so now we are trying to take that success and replicate it in other areas of the business.” – Daniel Stevens, Digital Experience Manager, E.ON

“Our most loyal customers are the ones who use the app, they keep coming back, spend the most and engage with our brand most often. For us, the future is definitely apps.” – Lesley Kettle, Mobile App Marketing and Affiliate Lead, Shop Direct

“Great mobile development never stops. We want to keep improving our app and overall mobile presence to create a more seamless experience when it comes to shopping, filling a prescription or checking your loyalty card balance.” – Jonathan Marris, Product Manager, Mobile App, Boots

“Many of our clients are already thinking about what the next wow-factor might be. There is a lot of potential with things like voice search, personal assistants and bots such as Alexa or Google Home. There will be opportunities soon to create a seamless experience with those devices and your products. Maybe in 5 years time we will see some of these devices really changing our lives, and that is really exciting to think about.” – Naomi Hands, Director of Commercial Partnerships, Somo

Our next Mobile Growth Workshop is in Seattle. Register today or subscribe to our blog so you’ll be sure to see our recaps.