MAPP, Consumer Data & the Cupboard Under the Stairs

It’s funny what you find when you are having a tidy up. The other day I decided to get rid of some old clutter and in a moment of optimistic fervor I targeted the cupboard under the stairs. I occasionally call it the ‘cupboard of infinite storage’ because any small item someone thinks they may possibly need at some point in the future seems to make its way in there. It’s rather like the back room of one of those high street catalogue shops that never seem large enough to hold all the stock promised in their 1000+ page literature, yet somehow they do. Not any more though I promised myself, today is the day the cupboard gets sorted.

The first box I moved dislodged a mail order catalogue from some years ago that had probably been put in ‘the cupboard’ in a frantic tidy session. It was from a quite well-known clothing brand, A5 and with a handful of pages. I vaguely wondered how it got into the cupboard and not the recycling but a quick flick through revealed the reason. At some point in the past, someone (possibly me) had carefully folded down the corner of the important pages and circled special offers of interest. There were even faded notes against some items of interest along the lines of ‘summer holiday’? And similar scribbling.

What struck me about it most was that despite all the effort put into the labeling and sifting of the information in the catalogue, no actual action was ever taken.

The catalogue was a relic of a time before the emerging innovative image recognition technologies facilitated the merging of direct marketing and mobile applications. Marketeers are increasingly recognising the opportunities presented by merging DM and mobile technologies in tandem with areas such as data gathering, traceability and focused customer offers

Of course, the traditional aim of gathering your customer intelligence and profiling is still very much a part of the new image scanning approach. However, the customer journey is now much more than that provided by, for example, a loyalty card swipe. Consider the technology in action in relation to our catalogue example.

The customer is invited to download an app. Something that is now common practice for most mobile users. Having done so, they then scan the traditional printed materials because they (as indeed someone had been in my catalogue) were motivated by the offers on the page. Each scan opens up a new offer and a new opportunity for personalisation of promotional materials. It offers a data capture opportunity, engages the customer in what is practically a virtual shopping mall where their choices guide their footfall through the process and crucially takes them to the purchase point. One of the most interesting facets of this process is that the nature of the experience. It is one of circular engagement for the customer because the mobile technology and the direct marketing form a singular closed loop experience, a sort meta-narrative if you like, that leads to a cross-media experience. The use of image recognition technology such as MAPP (mobile application for profiling print) gives a clear, manageable, measureable result that can then be tailored to produce an understanding of a range of information. This result will then facilitate everything from individual SMS or email campaigns to accurate prediction of print requirements for the next direct mail. For the customer of course, the experience is a seamless, high-quality journey through a shopping experience.

Far from being the dead medium that some people would have you believe, print is a very powerful tool when used in tandem with MAPP technologies.

So my unearthed and long forgotten catalogue may well be dead but the form is far from it when coupled with a cohesive data gathering system. As for ‘the cupboard,’ it is still there, and I am ashamed to say still untidy.

If you would like more information or want to see MAPP in action you can book a demonstration with us at