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Moblico expands in-app engagement capability

[KCNext] By this time, we all know that “There’s an app for that.” From shopping to fitness-tracking to time-killing games, if you can conjure it, chances are you can download it to your mobile device.

As the mobile applications industry has evolved–from something Steve Jobs wanted nothing to do with to a soon-to-be $77 billion industry–so too have mobile app development firms trying to keep pace.

In less than a decade, mobile app development firms have transitioned from fulfilling development demand to actively defining the next generation of the industry–an industry that, despite some early critics, isn’t going anywhere soon.

“Three years ago, people were just trying to get their apps out the door,” says Jim Barnes, CTO at Moblico. “Now, they’re focusing on ways to more effectively engage and retain their end-users.”

Moblico, a Kansas City mobile relationship management solutions firm in the Startup Village, has mirrored the mobile app industry in its own growth story, starting as a text-messaging company before getting into app development. Today, they’re shepherding marketers to mobile-app maturity by focusing on in-app marketing and user engagement.

In-app marketing isn’t just banner ads or third-party marketing anymore. Apps provide a rich context in which to communicate directly with users and market your product even as users are engaging with it in the app.

Earlier this year, Moblico launched new service offerings that allow users to segment their user groups and create “trigger” messaging targeted to those specific groups. The data collected on these segments can inform marketers in the creation of loyalty programs, push notifications, leaderboard services and more.

Moblico’s segmentation tool empowers marketers to identify users based on categories including demographic, behavior and location. So, for example, a user could identify a male customer, 24-35 years old, who used the app at Power & Light and spent $100.

“Marketers are beginning to realize that apps are a channel to market to users,” Barnes says. “The continued adoption rate of apps and the more sophisticated things you can do with the app are exciting.”

Trigger messages allow marketers to automate messaging to certain segments. For example, if a company wants to re-engage users who haven’t used the app in 30 days, a trigger can be established that will blast out a message to any user who crosses into that category. And within that category, messaging can be further tailored based on demographic, location, etc.

“That’s a pretty powerful combination, to be able to create ‘super segments,’” Barnes says. “And, based on those segments, to be able to automatically send them a message, give them points, send them a deal.”

That feature is further enhanced by the marketer’s ability to track which notifications are more successful than others based on user engagement.

With this capability, it’s not a stretch to imagine the impact of incorporating iBeacon technology. The iBeacon–which is a hardware product that sends messages to mobile devices via Bluetooth–will assist companies like Moblico with geonotification. With iBeacon, someone walking past The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange could be pinged with an offer that is redeemable by checking in via the app.

Moblico is already working with the KC Streetcar initiative to begin deploying iBeacons on the streetcar line.

Because mobile isn’t an exclusive industry, Barnes anticipates that Moblico can assist marketers across many industry verticals. Beyond the obvious retail implications, the financial industry is ripe for in-app marketing because of the variety of products and services it offers to various age groups and socioeconomic groups.

With an industry legacy founded on telecommunications giant Sprint, Kansas City has been a leader in mobile from the get-go. In fact, in 2011, KC was ranked as one of the highest Android app-producing cities in the nation. As apps continue to stake their hold on the mobile industry, companies like Moblico are ready to lead our region to the next level.


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