Airship was founded in Portland, Oregon in 2009 and was the first company that delivered mobile push notifications for third-party apps.
Since then, we’ve expanded and now provide a complete software-as-a-service platform that allows our customers to reach consumers through a variety of channels, including in-app messaging, text messaging, mobile wallets, websites and emails. We help businesses acquire, retain and grow their audiences and customer lifetime value by automating highly contextual and relevant interactions.
Today, Airship is the recognised global leader in mobile marketing platforms and has introduced important new innovations. Last year, we acquired ReplyBuy and integrated its technology and expertise into our platform as Airship Live Chat, which enables brands to proactively start customer conversations. In August 2019, we bought Apptimize, the most adopted solution for testing and optimising mobile apps. And in January 2019, Airship acquired Accengage — the company I co-founded and managed for nine years — which tripled our staff in Europe, giving customers more access to technology, support and services in five languages.
How did you come up with the idea for Accengage?
Prior to creating Accengage, I had co-founded and run the French email marketing agency Directinet from 2000 to 2009. When it was time to launch a new venture, it became clear that the booming mobile economy and the emergence of mobile apps would require technologies to engage with these new mobile customers, retain them and maximise their value — although the focus in those early days was acquiring new app users.
Push notifications and in-app messages appeared to us as the inevitable channels to interact with app users in a direct and efficient way, just like emailing was the most natural channel to engage with web users. This led us to build a mobile engagement platform providing enterprises with the technology to communicate with their app users in a targeted, personalised and relevant way.
That’s how Accengage was born, but little did we know at the time how constant innovation in the industry would revolutionise the way brands interact with consumers.
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How has Airship evolved during the pandemic?
Mobile became a lifeline for both businesses and consumers throughout the pandemic, from faster purchasing to conveniences like contactless payments. As the world reopens, mobile will become an even bigger part of the customer experience.
As businesses rushed to meet a digital-only, mobile-led world, many forgot about the human-touch — specifically, the art of starting conversations to assist customers in closing sales, completing enrolments or following up on service experiences. So that was one area where we rapidly evolved, acquiring the conversational ecommerce pioneer ReplyBuy and quickly integrating their technology into our platform.
Marketers recognise that they compete primarily on customer experience; today, that experience is mostly digital and mobile. We spend a lot of time advising clients on how to inform, reassure, educate, and entertain customers, while above all else remaining empathetic and laser-focused on serving their needs.
What can we hope to see from Airship in the future?
Over more than a decade, Airship has powered digital interactions for some of the world’s largest and most admired brands.
We’ve enabled brands to build communities of hundreds of millions of customers, allowed hotel guests to skip check-in and unlock room doors with their phones, and eliminate anxiety for 300 million travellers every year with real-time day-of-travel alerts and mobile boarding passes.
Now we are packaging up this expertise, technology and integrations to enable even novice marketers to quickly and easily create compelling mobile-first consumer experiences.
Meanwhile, Apple’s recently announced changes to tracking users highlights how every brand needs to grow its zero and first-party data through direct and highly relevant customer interactions. This is an area where Airship will provide new capabilities so businesses can better understand mobile users’ preferences and more easily use this insight to optimise customer journeys and in-app experiences.