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It was another fabulous Friday in the Wanderful office, as CEO & Co-Founder of Kahuna, Adam Marchick joined us for an afternoon chat. Adam is a South Bay native, born in Palo Alto and he attended Stanford for his undergrad in Computer Science, as well as for his MBA.

He started coding at age 16, which led him to building mobile apps in 2001. Keep in mind, this was back when WAP browsers were still in vogue and the iPhone was still a well-kept secret in an Apple skunk works lab.

His “aha” moment came a few years later when the iPhone was introduced, the App Store was launched and wireless networks improved to offer bandwidth for a new class of mobile software. Thanks to his experience in sales, growth marketing at Facebook, and in a venture capital firm, he knew that mobile fundamentally busted existing marketing infrastructure.

He co-founded Kahuna to help tackle this opportunity. Kahuna was built because brands need a marketing solution that’s built from the ground up to engage users in the mobile era.

Adam shared insight and experience in mobile with us. He provided some great tips to consider when engaging users and measuring performance. Highlights include:

Mobile is a digital snack

What can you give the user quickly that will satisfy them? When it comes to your top users, session length isn’t always the most important metric. Think about a banking app or Uber: their most engaged users are happy and satisfied when they use the app quickly to achieve their goal.

Gathering data from your top active users is useful in the long run because it helps you track what user experience leads to happy experiences and high lifetime value. Adam discussed how you can use this data to design an experience that gets users further down the “engagement funnel.”

You should align the metrics you care about with the value you offer. In the Uber example above, that would mean focusing on number of sessions per month instead of session length. Ultimately, Adam believes that lifetime value should be the most important metric for brands of all sizes.

Inspire, engage, convert

To get a visitor to engage, they must first be inspired to take action. Once they are engaged, then they are likely to convert. Adam’s advice was to use your app as content. Let the individual gain inspiration from the content you provide.

From there, you can engage them with messaging. Whether it’s email, in-app messaging, push notification or social, make sure every message to the user is personalized. People are smart. They can see through mass messages blasted at everyone. Relevant messages that deliver value and are based on the individual’s actions and preferences are proven to drive more conversions.

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Make every message count

According to Adam, there is a difference between utilitarian messaging and promotional messaging. Utilitarian messaging congratulates a user for a specific behavior like an email receipt for a transaction. Promotional messaging inspires the user to take a specific action like a push notification compelling a user to complete a purchase of an item they previously put in their cart.

For the utilitarian messaging, it may not require a deep level of personalization beyond the user’s name and their action because the message itself delivers value. A ride-sharing app sending a push notification telling a user their car has arrived is a great example of that.

But with promotional messages in every channel, brands need to ensure that every message you’re sending matters. The best way to do this is to provide a high level of personalization, and the only way to do that is by tracking the individual’s behaviors and preferences, in real time.

This is impossible to do manually, especially as a brand scales. Thanks to its big data and machine learning infrastructure, Kahuna processes nearly 18 trillion behavior-based events a month. The Kahuna communication automation platform is then used to empower brands like Listia to embrace an intelligent messaging strategy that has boosted key KPIs by 50%.

Marin Perez contributed to this article.