New Era, New Paradigm
By Malathy Devendra, Thu Mar 15 00:00:00 GMT 2001

Mobile marketing - understand your customer needs and keep it simple.


When it comes to advertising, the majority of us are inclined to say that conventional channels of advertising are best - television, radio, periodicals, newspaper, billboards. Why? Not because the advertisements are astonishingly creative or captivating (not implying otherwise) but because they are passive - "I am not forced to use any of my senses to notice them".

For advertisers, this might not be necessarily encouraging but the fact is an unhappy customer is highly unlikely to be a paying customer. When it comes to pushing wireless advertisements, it is evident for marketers that it runs a greater risk of irritating a potential customer than old economy media advertisments.

But in an age where mobility is overwhelmingly articulated, marketing professionals and advertising agencies are poised to enter the mobile marketing field to exploit the new spectrum of marketing opportunities. According to Ovum, the mobile advertising market will be worth over $16 billion by 2005. Similarly mobile telecom players believe that enabling technologies such as GPRS which allows always on connectivity will optimize the use of mobile phones for greater data services.

Is this good news for mobile marketers working on mCampaigns? Done in the right way - of course.

The 'billion dollar' question is...

Who has the best mobile marketing strategy that will nurture the infant mobile marketing field? One that does not aggravate a mobile phone subscriber and one that leads the subscriber to purchase the good or service - be it a wireless or wired medium of sale.

There are numerous mobile marketing piloting projects taking place but none of them have been deployed commercially - at least not on a large scale. It is apparent, however, that mobile marketers are generally adopting the 'learning by doing' attitude. No one seems to fully understand the scope of mAdvertising - not even companies.

"Companies (our customers) usually associate mobile marketing with push service or/and mobile spamming. Possibilities of effective direct marketing & CRM is not realized yet", says Kenneth Lindfors, mobile marketing manager at 360com.

Undoubtedly to achieve a fully executable strategy will require a good understanding of the consumer needs and lifestyle - an ongoing learning process. The challenge is not the small screen or the bandwidth but to create the kind of mobile ad campaign that people actually use and enjoy. In this case, the mobile marketers will also avoid wireless spamming and privacy intrusion suits.

"Key issues involved in launching a mobile marketing campaign is KIS(S) - keep it simple. Mobile marketing campaigns must have solutions and tools with measurable effects to improve the business success, brand and customer equity of marketers", adds Kenneth Lindfors.

The reality of the wireless world is that mobile consumers today do not mind receiving a personalized location based commercial advertisement pushed to them if it generates value; Mobile marketing must be anticipated, personal, and relevant, say many industry experts.

The mobile consumer is interacting with the business because they know what they want to buy, and time or location is critical to the transaction.

And the winner is....

Helsinki-based media Agency 360com Oy organized a Mobile & Marketing competition (the first of its kind in Finland) for Finnish marketers and advertising agencies from Feb 23rd to 9th of March in an attempt to enhance the uptake of mobile marketing as a part of the marketing communication solutions. By getting the industry players involved, the mobile marketing competition aims to bring forth innovative, feasible mobile advertisement ideas.

The participants cast their vote through SMS or the company's Web site. Either way, the entries are limited to 160 characters or less, to conform to the current standard of character limit for a single SMS.

360com attracted more than 4200 visitors at campaign pages, 115 proven campaign proposals and more than 1600 votes. The results were published on the 13th of March in Helsinki.

The winner was a proof-of-purchase system for a fast food chain. The concept was to send an SMS code found in hamburger wrapping after each meal purchased. After the consumer has purchased enough meals, the marketer sends an SMS with a mobile coupon, with which the consumer can get the next meal for free.

The second prize was won by a department store promotion campaign based on mobile discount coupons.

A mobile charity program with mobile payments was on the third place.

The three best ideas were awarded with mobile marketing planning and implementation services worth 100 000 FIM (appx. 17000 euro) altogether.

"Results from implemented campaigns are positive. By providing campaign information and measurable results, we will aid development of mobile media", says Kenneth Lindfors

He further comments that in the future, the main challenge will be the quality of mCampaigns. If consumers are disappointed with poor quality, privacy issues or misleading content by any marketer, it will effect on entire media - something that the media cannot afford.

The rapidly changing mobile Internet world is keeping Malathy Devendra on her toes looking for innovative business articles for TheFeature.com.