Mobile marketing has been an emerging trend for a few years now, but what exactly is it and how to effectively create mobile marketing campaigns is a question many entrepreneurs will consider while creating and sustaining their business ventures.
Essentially, mobile marketing involves marketing on or with a mobile device, such as a cell phone or tablet. One definition comes from marketing professor Andreas Kaplan who defines mobile marketing as “any marketing activity conducted through a ubiquitous network to which consumers are constantly connected using a personal mobile device”. Within this definition, Kaplan uses two variables, i.e. the degree of consumer knowledge and the trigger of communication, to differentiate between four types of mobile marketing applications: Strangers, Victims, Groupies, and Patrons.
Mobile marketing can also be defined as “the use of the mobile medium as a means of marketing communication”, the “distribution of any kind of promotional or advertising messages to customer through wireless networks”. More specific definition is the following: “using interactive wireless media to provide customers with time and location sensitive, personalized information that promotes goods, services and ideas, thereby generating value for all stakeholders”.
So what are the different types of mobile marketing options available? They come in a wide variety and may be suitable for specific or more general cases. These include SMS, MMS, push notifications, in-game mobile marketing, mobile web marketing, QR codes, bluetooth, infrared, proximity systems, and location-based services among others.
SMS messages are the text messages we are all so used to seeing. SMS marketing became increasingly popular in the early 2000s when businesses started to collection mobile phone numbers to send requested (or unrequested) content to users. At first, many cell phone users around the world viewed this type of marketing as spam, although in recent years many nations have scripted laws and regulations regarding SMS messaging campaigns. This marketing type has recently emerged as a legitimate advertising channel in some parts of the world since carriers now police their own networks by having set guidelines and best practices for marketers.
SMS short codes are 5 or 6 digit numbers that have been assigned by all the mobile operators in a given country for the use of brand campaign and other consumer services. Due to the high price of short codes of $500-$1000 a month, many small businesses opt to share a short code in order to reduce monthly costs. Another alternative to sending messages by short code or email is to do so through one’s own dedicated phone number. Besides short codes, inbound SMS is very often based on long numbers (international number format, e.g. +44 7624 805000 or US number format, e.g. 757 772 8555), which can be used in place of short codes or premium-rated short messages for SMS reception in several applications, such as product promotions and campaigns. Long numbers are internationally available, as well as enabling businesses to have their own number, rather than short codes which are usually shared across a number of brands. Additionally, long numbers are non-premium inbound numbers.
One key criterion for provisioning is that the consumer opts in to the service. The mobile operators demand a double opt in from the consumer and the ability for the consumer to opt out of the service at any time by sending the word STOP via SMS. These guidelines are established in the MMA Consumer Best Practices Guidelines which are followed by all mobile marketers in the United States. In Canada, opt in will be mandatory once the Fighting Internet and Wireless Spam Act comes in force in mid 2012.
MMS, which stands for multimedia messaging service, is slightly newer than SMS and is one of the more popular mobile marketing tools in use today. MMS mobile marketing can contain a timed slide show of images, text, audio and video. Nearly all new phones produced with a color screen are capable of sending and receiving standard MMS message. Brands are able to both send (mobile terminated) and receive (mobile originated) rich content through MMS A2P (application-to-person) mobile networks to mobile subscribers. In some networks, brands are also able to sponsor messages that are sent P2P (person-to-person).
Good examples of mobile-originated MMS marketing campaigns are Motorola’s ongoing campaigns at House of Blues venues, where the brand allows the consumer to send their mobile photos to the LED board in real-time as well as blog their images online.
Push Notifications, currently my favorite form of mobile marketing, were first introduced to smartphones by Apple with the advent of the Iphone in 2007. They were later further popularized with the Android operational system, where the notifications are shown on the top of the screen. Windows Phone has integrated push notifications as well, allowing for messages to show at the top of the screen or on live tiles. It has helped application owners to communicate directly with their end users in a simple and effective way. If not used wisely it can quickly alienate users as it causes interruptions to their current activities on the phone. It can be much cheaper if compared to SMS Marketing for the long run, but it can become quite expensive on the short run, because the cost involved in application development. Once the application is download and installed provided the feature is not turned off It is practically free, because it uses internet bandwidth only. SMS and Push Notifications can be part of a well-developed Inbound Mobile Marketing Strategy.
In-Game Mobile Marketing
There are essentially four major trends in mobile gaming right now: interactive real-time 3D games, massive multi-player games and social networking games. This means a trend towards more complex and more sophisticated, richer game play. On the other side, there are the so-called casual games, i.e. games that are very simple and very easy to play. Most mobile games today are such casual games and this will probably stay so for quite a while to come. Brands are now delivering promotional messages within mobile games or sponsoring entire games to drive consumer engagement. This is known as mobile advergaming or Ad-funded mobile game.
Mobile Web Marketing
Advertising on web pages specifically meant for access by mobile devices is also an option. The Mobile Marketing Association provides a set of guidelines and standards that give the recommended format of ads, presentation, and metrics used in reporting. Google, Yahoo, and other major mobile content providers have been selling advertising placement on their properties for years using these techniques. Advertising networks focused on mobile properties and advertisers are also available. Additionally, web forms on web pages can be used to integrate with mobile texting sources for reminders about meetings, seminars and other important events that assume users are not always at their computers.
QR (or Quick Response) codes have been growing in popularity in Asia and Europe, but have until 2011 been slow to be adopted in North America. Originally approved as a ISS standard in 1997 Denso-Wave first developed the standard for tracking automobile parts in Japan.
Paralleling the rise in smart phone adoption, QR codes have become much more prevalent in marketing pieces both on and offline. Acting as a visual hyper-link to a page, QR codes make it easy to jump someone to a mobile optimized offer page and as such, represent a very powerful tool for initiating consumer engagement at the time when the marketing piece is likely triggering its most emotional response—the impulse moment.
Its potential for tracking offline sources and delivering the types of analytics previously reserved for online tracking makes another powerful reason that marketers are flocking to QR codes in droves. Some recent high-profile campaigns include Billboards by Calvin Klein in Times Square, Starbucks and Lady Gaga teaming up on a QR code driven scavenger hunt and the recent addition of QR codes for every SKU in Home Depot and Best Buy Stores.
Companies specifically offering integrated marketing solutions are typically merging code generation with tracking features and a variety of mobile landing page solutions to capture leads, make sales and provide more product information.
The rise of Bluetooth started around 2003 and a few companies in Europe have started establishing successful businesses. Most of these businesses offer “hotspot” systems which consist of some kind of content-management system with a Bluetooth distribution function. This technology has the advantages that it is permission-based, has higher transfer speeds and is also a radio-based technology and can therefore not be billed (i.e. is free of charge). The likely earliest device built for mobile marketing via Bluetooth was the context tag of the AmbieSense project (2001-2004). More recently Tata Motors conducted one of the biggest Bluetooth marketing campaigns in India for its brand the Sumo Grande and more of such activities have happened for brands like Walt Disney promoting their movie ‘High School Musical’
Infrared is the oldest and most limited form of mobile marketing. Some European companies have experimented with “shopping window marketing” via free Infrared waves in the late 90s. However, infrared has a very limited range (~ approx. 10 cm – 1 meter) and could never really establish itself as a leading Mobile Marketing technology.
Perhaps one of the most compelling mobile marking campaigns in use today is the use of Proximity Systems, also referred to as Proximity Marketing, relies on GSM 03.41 which defines the Short Message Service – Cell Broadcast. SMS-CB allows messages (such as advertising or public information) to be broadcast to all mobile users in a specified geographical area. In the Philippines, GSM-based proximity broadcast systems are used by select Government Agencies for information dissemination on Government-run community-based programs to take advantage of its reach and popularity (Philippines has the world’s highest traffic of SMS). It is also used for commercial service known as Proxima SMS. Bluewater, a super-regional shopping centre in the UK, has a GSM based system supplied by NTL to help its GSM coverage for calls, it also allows each customer with a mobile phone to be tracked though the centre which shops they go into and for how long. The system enables special offer texts to be sent to the phone. Shopping centers in the United States are beginning to pick up on this trend, and will offer targeted marketing for users within specific stores and by regional location in shopping centers.
Location-based services (LBS) are offered by some cell phone networks as a way to send custom advertising and other information to cell-phone subscribers based on their current location. The cell-phone service provider gets the location from a GPS chip built into the phone, or using radiolocation and trilateration based on the signal-strength of the closest cell-phone towers (for phones without GPS features). In the United Kingdom, which launched location-based services in 2003, networks do not use trilateration; LBS services use a single base station, with a ‘radius’ of inaccuracy, to determine a phone’s location. Some location-based services work without GPS tracking technique, instead transmitting content between devices peer-to-peer.
So we have examined a few popular types of mobile marketing campaigns and their uses. Often times, however, privacy concerns regulate the effectiveness of these campaigns more than their actual implementation. Some mobile advertising is sent without a required permission from the consumer causing privacy violations. It should be understood that irrespective of how well advertising messages are designed and how many additional possibilities they provide, if consumers do not have confidence that their privacy will be protected, this will hinder their widespread deployment.
The privacy issue became even more salient as it was before with the arrival of mobile data networks. A number of important new concerns emerged mainly stemming from the fact that mobile devices are intimately personal and are always with the user, and four major concerns can be identified: mobile spam, personal identification, location information and wireless security. Aggregate presence of mobile phone users could be tracked in a privacy-preserving fashion.
Overall, choosing the best mobile marketing campaign for your business involves doing research about how to best deliver your message to your target market. Staying within guidelines, regulations, and laws will guarantee that you are following requirements and will ultimately allow you to create an effective campaign.
I’ll leave you with a couple interesting facts that will convince you mobile marketing is one of the best options for any marketing campaign in the upcoming decade.
- A recent infograph my Mogreet concluded that 98% of SMS and MMS mobile marketing messages sent are opened.
- HIS reports that smartphones are to become the largest mobile marketing segment in 2013.
Note: Most of this information was referenced from Wikipedia, searching ‘Mobile Marketing’.
- Local Mobile Monopoly Develops New Avenue For Mobile Marketing (prweb.com)
- Smartphones To Become Largest Segment Of Mobile Phone Market In 2013 – HIS (misco.co.uk)
- Why Mobile Marketing Campaigns Reach More Customers (contently.com)
- Use Mobile Marketing to reach new and current customers anywhere (chaindrive.com)
- Itxtdeals Adds SMS Reminder service to their Products and Services (prweb.com)
- TXT180.com Launches QR Code Generator for Mobile Marketing Campaigns (prweb.com)
- Silicon Alley Insider: BII MOBILE INSIGHTS: Be Brilliant At The Mobile Marketing Basics (businessinsider.com)
- CPGs step up their mobile marketing game. (aaramshoppro.com)
- How to Sell More Pizzas Via SMS / Text Message / Mobile Marketing (theresabloginmysoup.com)