Is 2011 really the year of Mobile Marketing?

Mobile technology has come a long way since the day my father brought home the brick – Nokia 1100.

I wasn’t allowed a mobile for a long time, due to all the health warnings etc, but in the last seven years, I’ve managed to go through seven phones with another upgrade due next month. Starting with the Samsung S100; Motorola V220; Motorola V545; Samsung E900; Motorola W377; Samsung G600;

To now having the Blackberry Curve 8900:

The blackberry...

..My entire life at my fingertips. Remember the days of carrying a filofax? Not any more... all you need is one mobile phone now. With a fully working calendar with alerts, push emails, camera, internet, applications and not to mention all the basic communication needs of phoning and texting, why would you need anything more? Approximately thirteen million people in the UK now use smartphones.

As Balasubramanian, Peterson and Javenpaa (2002) stated, the mobile phone is a form of ‘Always on’ media. It offers more opportunities for communication when other methods are not available. My phone is literally always on and has woken me up in the middle of the night before, if anybody needed to communicate with me outside the normal hours; mobile technology is the way forward.

So what is mobile marketing?

Mobile Marketing is a set of practices that enables organizations to communicate and engage with their audience in an interactive and relevant manner through any mobile device or network.
Mobile Marketing Association, 2010

Providing access to most forms of media as and when you need it, Apple took the market by storm with smartphone, the iPhone, introducing an entire new level of mobile technology, launching “apps” which many other companies have brought to their smart phones now. Applications linking you to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for social media use. For shopping use, the Tesco app. For banking, Natwest. There are gaming apps - anything and everything you could think of, there’s probably an application for it and we’ve all heard the overused but most likely true phrase, “there’s an app for that”.

The idea of Foursquare worries me though. Allowing you to check in to places all over the world from your phone. Allowing everyone else to see it.. similarly to Facebook “places” app.. I’m not convinced I’d like the world and his dog to know where I am at what time; it seems to provide yet another opportunity for crime and invasion of privacy. Evidently I am in the minority with that view as of December 2010, Foursquare reported they had over 6 million users.

I can’t count the number of times Orange have called me to ask me what I use my blackberry for the most? And as a phone, you’d assume phonecalls or being a student, you may assume SMS messaging. According to Marketing Week (2010) the most popular way to communicate with smartphone users is still SMS messaging rather than social networking.

In fact, the only negative I have for mobile technology is that it doesn’t help should you ever want a day off – you are always contactable; there’s always emails and texts waiting, people that need responding too. It’s easier to switch your computer off than phone.

So how can you take advantage of this “always on” media in Marketing and PR?

According to Dentsu in 2009, Mobile Marketing is worth $1.14 Billion. It’s not just about sending offers out via SMS, new technologies now allow consumers to be targeted by their preferences, their social circle and their location – a unique personal experience.

Alex Kozloff, Mobile Manager at the Internet Advertising Bureau explains that mobile marketing can completely outperform online; click through rates and conversions are generally greater.

The Pros
· Personal
· Very targeted
· Up to date
· Useful
· Trackable

The Cons
· Personal
· Strategy?
· Works with Media Mix?
· Difficult to buy
· Still in its infancy

“In the UK, 88% of consumers ignore adverts they receive on their mobiles and 36% automatically delete them. Just 9% of UK consumers take any further action once they view a mobile ad.” (Marketing Week, 2010)

A report from Deloitte claims that Mobile Marketing may be too intrusive for some consumers and therefore be counter-productive - something we all want to avoid. Like a lot of other strategies, a more popular way to reach your consumer and encourage responses is to use coupons, offers and free usage off an app or game.
From mobile sites, to location marketing, the possibilities are endless. Yet no-one seems to be maximising the opportunities. Only one in five of the UK’s top retailers have a mobile-optimised version of their website (One iota, cited in Marketing Week 2011).

So how do brands and organisations use it?

Rob Unsworth, head of trading finance and commercial insight at Debenhams “We defined our mobile marketing requirement, enabled and tested the mobile component in just four weeks, enabling us to launch our first campaigns in October 2010 - perfect timing for the Christmas season.”

L’Oréal have become increasingly more involved with the Mobile Marketing scene. They developed two MMS campaigns in France to create brand awareness. The first of the two was for "Combleur Collagène Lèvres," the collagen and hydraulic acid lip treatment. The campaign targeted women aged between 35 – 49 year olds by sending an MMS to 105,000 women of supermodel, Linda Evangelista. The second was targeting men between 18 and 35. An MMS was sent to 45,000 men who had a smartphone. It displayed Patrick Dempsey, best known for his role in Grey’s Anatomy. He invited mobile consumers to connect on the website to print a coupon providing discount on any product from the L'Oréal MineralFx range.

L'Oréal wanted to promote brands Garnier Pure Active and Ambre Solaire via the mobile marketing. They launched a “Spotman” game for Garnier which encouraged users to learn about the Pure Active products.
For Ambre Solaire, two mini-sites were created to offer information to help visitors understand which products were right for them and a third site for customers to discuss and rate Ambre Solaire products.
“L'Oréal wanted to provide consumers with brand expertise anytime and anywhere and extend their proximity marketing to hard-to-target markets,” said Kevin McGuire, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Technology Officer at Adenyo, the company responsible for the scheme. "The brand also wanted to be associated with a new, state of the art media.”
As a part of this campaign, L'Oréal bought a $300,000 mobile banner to run on sites within the Nokia Media Network in Europe. The banners promoted different aspects of their websites, for example chances to win prizes. They wanted to drive people to the mobile-optimised sites. The site also offered consumers’ questionnaires, advice, make up choices tailored to them through their user profiles and a beauty myth-buster section. Consumers with smartphones were also offered application downloads, wallpapers and screen savers.
Also encouraging consumers to give their mobile phone numbers to opt into a mobile loyalty club, L'Oréal encouraged ongoing communication with interested people.
In October last year announced that they had signed up for a six month trial with O2’s location-based mobile marketing. This service reaches out to one million plus O2 customers who have opted in for the O2 More option. The service allows their customers to store personal information about their interests for example, beauty. So if an O2 customer has listed beauty as an interest, when they enter a L’Oréal-owned area, they will receive an SMS with a buy one get one free offer on L'Oréal Elvive hair care products at Superdrug. To prevent annoying their audience, O2 have limited each user to only receiving one SMS per day.

It seems to me that mobile marketing is all about balance. As with any other campaign strategy, you need to find the happy medium of too much and too little. Companies not currently involved are missing out on many opportunities that their competition may well pick up. Britain has a long way to go with mobile marketing, but maybe 2011 really is the year of mobile marketing.

Jessica North

Author & Editor

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