How many ways can Apple Wallet and push notifications work together?

I just finished having lunch with a good friend of mine, we worked together way back when the <blink> tag was a big deal, if that gives you any idea how long I’ve known him.

He runs a good sized mailing list, related to a fairly popular, if controversial topic, and is always looking for new ways to monetize his list.  We talked a few months ago about using our platform, but at the time we were missing a couple of key ingredients that he really wanted to test.

So today, he mentions that he just got a mailer from one of the popular online marketing powerhouses, who was offering a push notifications service for people like him – those with mailing lists.  Funny how that works, isn’t it?

This alone is not very interesting, unless you happen to be in the email marketing business and just received the same email, and are possibly contemplating the offer right now.   We’ll talk more about the offer in a bit, there are two stories that published this week that are inherently related to the logic behind the offer, and I’m going to run through them quickly before I finish my tale.

Sprint plays hard with push notifications and mobile wallet passes.

The first one is about Sprint.  Love them or hate them, they’re a big company with a big marketing budget and they are pretty tech forward so they signed on to use mobile wallet marketing to promote their sponsorship for the Copa América Centenario soccer series – 

The tournament, now in its centennial year and taking place June 3–26, is being held at 10 locations in the US — the first time outside South America.

There are daily sweepstakes prizes ranging from TAG Heuer Watches and Samsung electronics to Nike Soccer Gear and soccer memorabilia signed by star David Beckham. The grand prize is a VIP trip for two to the final game of the series, held at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.

To participate, a user registers at the tournament site and, after receiving a confirmation, can download the wallet pass to the phone. No purchase is required. (You can click here on mobile to register.)

So this is a big deal.  Every day users get a push notification via Apple Wallet or a compatible Android wallet app and they can also get scores for their favorite team pushed directly to their phone lock screen.

The reason it’s such a big deal?

After the sweepstakes is over, the user can delete the pass if so desired. If not deleted, it remains as an updatable channel into the user’s phone, forever.

Did we mention before that roughly 90% of those passes never get deleted?  Um, yeah.  That’s right.  So Sprint will be able to continue marketing directly to mobile lock screens, with all kinds of content and offers after the tournament concludes.

mobile wallet marketing demo

Politico uses push notifications for its EU Tracker on Apple Wallet.

Moving right along, our next FABULOUS example of hacking the mobile wallet pass and creating something that’s well done, easily distributed and incredibly effective – Politico.  That’s right – they’ve got a European strategy that’s brilliant. 

But in Europe, Politico has bypassed apps and taken another tack entirely: Apple Wallet, which has come pre-installed on iPhones since 2012, and works as a one-stop-shop to store digital coupons from brands or travel documents.

We certainly appreciate that the Digiday author we’re quoting hasn’t been brought up to speed on the many uses of mobile wallet marketing passes, and especially how effective their push notifications directly to the lock screen happen to be.  But that’s ok, we’re more than willing to forgive and forget.

One week before the EU referendum vote, Politico readers can now sign up to stay up to date with the debate through its EU Tracker on Apple Wallet. Readers follow a link to download and add the “pass” — the name of the cards that sit in Apple Wallet — which updates with information on the EU referendum debate. Throughout the day, as breaking news about the the debate comes in, readers with the Politico pass in their Apple Wallet will also receive push notifications that appear on their lock screen.

This means that not only are EU citizens being updated as the news breaks, after the referendum is over and the votes are counted, they’ll have an established link directly to the users mobile lock screen with their permission to continue sending them “stuff” until the passes are deleted.

Didn’t we mention already that 90% of the passes are not deleted?

Back to my lunch with my friend, and the mailer solicitation he got from Company D, offering him push notification services, and seemed like a great idea.  Which, of course, it is a great idea.  

But my friend has been around the internet for a long time, and on the marketing side of it the whole time.  He’s not buying from Company D, not today and probably not ever.  Why not, you ask?  Well, it turns out that Company D keeps – as in won’t release – the push data to him if he should decide to find another vendor to do his push notifications.

The moral of the article is that, without a doubt, push notifications and mobile wallet passes are being used for more and more applications, almost every day.

The moral of my friends story is that you will want to know just who owns your data before you sign up with a vendor.  Don’t assume, ask.

Company D might be a lot cheaper than we are, but in the end, that’s going to cost you.