TechBytes with Stephen Mello, VP Product Marketing, Localytics

TechBytes with Stephen Mello, VP Product Marketing, Localytics

Tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Localytics.

I am Vice President of Strategy, Product and Engineering. In this role, it is my job to ensure we understand the market, identify opportunities and seize these opportunities through the solutions we deliver to the market. In doing this, we prioritize design thinking to ensure that we have an “outside-in” customer focus to all we do at Localytics. Localytics started out 11 years ago as a Mobile Analytics company and since has expanded to include mobile engagement and intelligence/optimization into our solution.

We’re proud of where we started and we continue to think about analytics and data as it has allowed us to provide our clients with rich personalization capabilities that leverage profile, session and deep behavioral data, including historic behaviors and attributes associated with each behavior. We continue to love this market because digital and specifically mobile is becoming the point of engagement between brands and consumers.

How much has the Mobile Advertising Technology landscape evolved in the last two years?

Marketers today are faced with a challenging set of occurrences:

  1. Data critical to understanding and successfully engaging with customers and prospects is expanding at ever-increasing rates.
  2. End customers expect real-time marketing i.e. don’t market something to me that I bought two days ago, know me up-to-the-minute and market as such.
  3. Personalization is desired as long as it’s not creepy — a fine line.
  4. The number of channels and times during the day when someone can be marketed to is greater than ever before.

Technology has the ability to help brands with these challenges by providing in essence “an extra set of hands” and “additional brain power,” doing many of the more mundane items typically left for a human allowing the marketer to focus on more strategic items while feeling comfortable that they don’t miss an opportunity or correct an issue in a timely fashion.

How do you leverage your expertise in In-App Programmatic Technologies at Localytics?

We provide our clients with the ability to create and execute in-app messaging and find this type of messaging very useful for driving app users to specific content, reminders, and x-selling.

What makes Localytics different from other Mobile Engagement and Usage Analytics companies?

A few items really differentiate us from our competitors. First, we leverage our history as a Mobile Analytics company to allow our clients to truly understand and gain insights around both the performance of their apps as well as the performance of their mobile campaigns. Most of our competitors put less emphasis on analytics within their offering or outsource this requirement to a partner.  Second, we go deep in terms of behavioral targeting — the form of targeting that is truly the most revealing about any customer or prospect. Specifically, we allow clients to leverage past behavioral events in their targeting whereas our competitors only listen for events about to happen.

Localytics also collects event “attributes” such as color, size, price of the item viewed and not just stopping view the event, in this case, “item viewed.”  Lastly, the breadth of our out-of-box engagement capabilities are ahead of the market in general — Push, InApp, Inbox, Geo-Specific — along with our ability to personalize through concepts such as Dynamic Content via Liquid Templating. Combined these provide business users with an autonomous situation that’s not reliant on developer assistance.

Tell us more about your recent launch — Personalization Performance Calculator.

Although thought leaders in the marketing industry have been preaching the benefits of personalization for years — there’s surprisingly been very little in the way of how to operationalize personalization or hard data around how effective personalization can be. Localytics announced the launch of its Stages of Personalization Report and Personalization Performance Calculator to help brands better understand the sophistication level and impact of their mobile personalization efforts. With the Personalization Performance Calculator, enterprises can test how different combinations of personalization methods impact message performance and discover new techniques to deliver more effective mobile messages.

How can MarTech customers benefit from leveraging this tool?

Marketers can see tremendous business benefits by using the calculator to learn what stage of personalization they’re in today and what steps they should take to get to more advanced stages.  With each step forward, the results are amazing e.g. when customers move from Stage 1 to Stage 2 they experience an increase of 6% open rate and an increase of 48% conversion rate and when customers move from Stage 2 to Stage 3 they experience an increase of 43% open rate and an increase of 31% conversion rate.

What is your prediction on the disruptive application of mobile video apps on personalization and usage analytics?

We believe that video will be the most commonly used form of content as we move forward in the world.  There is a generation of people who have been raised with technologies such as YouTube and who much prefer video over long written forms of content.  To that end, we provide the ability to embed video into Push and InApp messages and will continue to look at ways to innovate in this area.

Which start-up ideas and companies are you keenly following?

We follow a set of 20+ start-ups to both keep up with potential competitors and to evaluate potential acquisition targets. Right now, we’re looking closely at companies focused on intelligent personalization and AI as we believe that  the combination of increased amounts of data, and expectations for real-time marketing and personalization set up the need for intelligent software to assist marketers in their desire to create more personalized engagements, ensuring that all aspects of personalization are accounted for — Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How.

Too often, the focus is just on the “Who” or the segment, but that is just one area where intelligence needs to be focused, it also needs to help determine what’s best in each of the other “Ws”, especially as you think about them in combination.

Stephen Mello is VP Strategy of Product Management and Product Marketing at Localytics. He started his career at some of the most well-regarded and successful advertising agencies in New York, leading accounts for market leaders such as Tide, Comet, Mercedes Benz and Sony Electronics. He spent the balance of his career in the technology space, specifically at IBM.

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Localytics is a leading mobile engagement platform. We give companies the insights and tools they need to improve their mobile app acquisition, engagement and retention efforts. Our secret sauce is in the data. We use all the data surrounding users to deliver highly targeted and personalized engagement campaigns, including push and in-app messages. We then use performance data to measure and optimize those efforts toward the metrics that drive businesses forward. Our platform is used in more than 37,000 apps on more than 2.7 billion devices by companies such as ESPN, Fox and The New York Times. We are headquartered in Boston, MA, with offices in San Francisco and London. Investors include Sapphire Ventures, Foundation Capital and Polaris Partners.