Monday, June 01, 2009

Mobile Marketing - Putting Power in hands of consumer

With more then 410 Million mobile subscribers in the country, India is riding on the wave of telecom revolution. After television, mobile has become most promising and potential tool to reach roots of Indian market. Mobile screen has attracted attention of marketers and everybody is now targeting mobile screen as potential marketing vehicle. Potential is tremendous and opportunities are unlimited; what is required now is knowledge of medium and strategy for success.

Let us understand what mobile marketing exactly means and how this new medium is becoming so promising. If you ask me what mobile marketing is, I would say: ‘mobile marketing is utilizing wireless media to provide highly targeted and personalized product information to consumer on their mobile handset which results in generating value for both consumer and marketer’. I call it highly targeted and personalized medium because of the characteristics which mobile as a vehicle offers. Mobile is very important as a marketing tool because of its capability of generating value for both consumer and marketer. Let’s see how:

Mobile provides potential for personalization, because it carries the user’s assigned identity. If marketers employ mobile devices for their advertising activities, they can use consumer feedback to customize their messages and offerings and collect information about consumers’ preferences to improve future products and services. This provides an exceptional advantage for marketers, since it enables them to reach their potential customers in a very individual way and thus increase the relationship with the user. Users are receptive to advertising that is personalized and relevant to their lifestyle.

Interactions between consumer and marketer are most important for any marketing communication exercise. Mobile as a medium provides cheap, handy and personal tool for feedback and interactions. Consumers are more receptive towards communication which values their opinion. Also, mobile advertising can react very fast to customers’ feedback just like internet advertising.

Mobile is not like TV, where you have basically fixed time slots, neither is it a print medium were there are limited space selling options. The breadth of data services is remarkable and growing almost daily. Here are the biggies, and a few options of how mobile advertising can be used:

Texting is by far the most popular non-voice usage of cell phones, and for this reason many companies have started their mobile efforts there. You can use SMS in a variety of ways. Customer relationship management, Promotional offers, interactive SMS are some of these. Apart from these, marketers also use SMS to increase customer involvement by contests, votes and polls.
The possibilities are tremendous but marketers have to be sensible about it. An SMS is very intrusive. If your messages are incessant, you’ll tick people off quickly.

Ringtones, Wallpaper, and other mobile games
Ringtones and Wallpapers are very efficient tools. These options are likely to interest most of consumers as they are actively seeking for such services. It gives a platform for brand experience for the product or services you are marketing.
Games can also be very profitable, though a key challenge here is developing a game that works on a broad swath of handsets. Mobile games appear to be an excellent tool for targeting youngsters.

Mobile Search
Mobile search works much the same way as web search, placing prominent paid search listings. Mobile search is an ideal option for retailers because targeted mobile search campaign will surely give more return on marketing investments as mobile searchers are more likely to be ready to buy than someone using a PC. They are out and ready to walk in your door.

Mobile Banners
Mobile banners are graphical ads, just like web banners. They are usually purchased by CPM or CPC. There are many mobile ad networks out there which provide effective targeting options. Targeting on mobile world includes: Contextual targeting, Demographic targeting, Behavioral targeting and Geographic targeting.
Another thing to think about when you consider banners is what action you are trying to drive. Actions that you can drive are more promising and effective than those on webs banner. Some of the key options are:

1. Click through to a mobile site
2. Click to call, i.e. when the user clicks on the banner, they automatically initiate a voice call from their device to the number. This will likely improve response rates versus communicating a telephone number that the user will have to enter into their phone
3. Email capture
4. Ability to send an SMS (text) message or (less common) an MMS graphical message

Measurement metrics are impressions delivered, click through rates (CTR), click to call rates, Email capture rates, and the like.

Full Screen Graphical Ads
With technological innovations, mobile now offers options for lots of add on games and applications. Sponsoring such applications and games can become another option for your brand.
Sponsored game or application will entitle you a full screen graphical presence on pre- or post-application usage. These within applications can drive users to other sponsored pages in the application, click to email capture, click to call, or click to send MMS or SMS.
Because phone sets have different screen sizes, such full page sponsorships will likely require you to make more than one creative size for your message.

Own Applications
With iPhone opening doors for application developers and Nokia jointly with Symbian working on doing the same in near future; days are not far when marketers will have easy access to application developers. A variety of developers will help you create an application specifically for your brand. Consumer receptivity to such an app will depend upon its utility.
One of the key marketing strengths of building an app is the opportunity to create a persistent consumer relationship versus fielding impressions. User can use a good app on his phone again and again and which will offer hundreds – even thousands of brand interactions which marketers can leverage to build your consumer connection.

Mobile Widgets
Widgets have grown tremendously in popularity, and a subgroup of mobile widgets is growing strongly as well. While widgets are applications, they deserve a separate discussion because they tend to be easier to develop and because new standards are making it still easier to create compelling mobile widget experiences. Some of widgets offered by service providers are:

1. Local Search
2. Email
3. Photos
4. News
5. Sports
6. Finance
7. Entertainment
8. Weather
9. Cell Phone Coupon

A detailed discussion on mobile widgets on some other day….