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MARKETING: Mobile Marketing
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altNot so many years ago, the PC used to be the centre of all online marketing activities, but with the rapid development of mobile technology, this has shifted, and the way for Mobile Marketing has been paved.

Mobile Marketing is communicating and interacting with customers via any mobile device, and it allows companies to target customers anywhere and at any time. It even allows companies to break through advertising noise and reach customers with targeted marketing messages. To many marketers, this is almost too good to be true.

Mobile Marketing benefits
There are several benefits of Mobile Marketing compared to other media choices. Immediacy: mobile campaigns are simple to create and implement, and messages are delivered within seconds. Mobility: messages are received anywhere and at any time. Reach: unlike emails that can be filtered out, almost all SMS messages get through to customers. Effectiveness: research shows that the average SMS response rate is much higher than for direct mail campaigns. Personalization: messages are only sent to those customers who have opted to receive them through opt-in methods. It is very important only to send content and messages to customers actually having permitted this. Spamming does not work and no serious brand wants to be associated with spam in any way.

When doing Mobile Marketing right
First, it is very important not to consider mobile media as a stand-alone media. All Mobile Marketing activities should be integrated with other marketing activities e.g. TV, print, and web. Your marketing strategy should include a specific plan and a specific set of goals and measures regarding Mobile Marketing activities, but these plans, goals, and measures should be aligned with the rest of your marketing strategy. This seems very simple, but still, some companies fall in love with the possibilities within Mobile Marketing and “go crazy” without considering consistent brand building over time – across media platforms.

With that said, it is very important to develop unique and specific Mobile Marketing tactics. The strategy is the same – the tactics are different. Do not just repurpose content from other media. Make sure to create experiences for those customers that are mobile specific. Mobile is a unique medium and these marketing activities should be created and designed with that in mind. The set of interactions and behaviours are very different from other media, because it is happening on-the-go.

Find a strong partner. Research is showing that the best-in-class companies have a close collaboration with peers in the IT industry. There is a wide array of devices and operating options, and many marketing departments do not know the technological side of this or the entire scale of it, and so, it is important to team up with someone having this knowledge; either in the IT industry or a mobile specific advertising agency.

As with any other media, tracking is very important. Implementing back-end processes to track, measure, and analyse Mobile Marketing results are crucial.
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Unique Mobile Marketing possibilities
As mentioned earlier, the tactics for doing Mobile Marketing should be specifically created and designed in order to leverage the full potential of mobile media. Different kinds of Mobile Marketing tactics could be:

- Video.
Integrating video content within Mobile Marketing activities is a leading tactic today. Delivering compelling content to the palm of the hand, whenever and wherever the customer wants it, represents a great possibility for many marketers. Video can be streamed from a hosted public service, downloaded to the device, or accessed from behind a private firewall.

- Mobile apps.
Different apps can roughly be categorized into four different categories:

1. Entertainment apps. Mobile gaming is the biggest one in this category, but also group buying apps that incorporate gaming elements such as time contention, teaming and scoring.
2. Engagement apps. An app where the users keep coming back for new information; e.g. Kraft Foods engagement app iFood where users come back for new recipes and coupons and in turn Kraft Food collects valuable insights into customer behaviour and preferences.
3. Mcommerce apps. Apps where the users can purchase and pay directly on the Mobile device.
4. Convenience apps. The best example to give here is from the airline industry. You can get a boarding pass on your mobile phone together with updated flight information, rebooking options, and share flight details with others.

- QR codes. QR stands for Quick Response. A QR code is a machine-readable “2D” barcode intended for consumer use. They typically contain website URLs or other web-centric content. They are “read” by scanning, and although they come in several formats, they all serve the same purpose, which is to serve as a link between the cyber and real worlds. As such, QR codes can ease the transition between mobile web, online and print media campaigns.
- Ads. Mobile ads are developed more like traditional ads of other media, but the design features and placement options are different. There are SMS ads, display ads, ads on search pages, ads on apps etc.

Which tactics you chose to use depends on the target group, the message, and the purpose of your marketing activity.

Chinese mobile behaviour
Like with anything else in China, the numbers are mind blowing. China is just about to reach 1 billion mobile connections. More than 40% of those make use of the internet with a mobile phone, and in the third quarter of 2011 alone, 23.9 million smartphones were sold in China. This makes China the biggest internet mobile market in the world.

Chinese consumers are just as mobile savvy as in the US and Western Europe and their mobile behaviour reflects this. Comparing the US and China, China has a higher proportion of people accessing the Internet through mobile phones, and China is also a step ahead when it comes to gaming and instant messaging through mobile devices.
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In China, there is a propensity for using social media during long commute times to catch up with digital friends which creates an environment of always socially connected syndrome.

Mcommerce is growing very quickly in China; however, compared to the US, mobile shopping is lower in China in general. A very successful Mcommerce example is Taobao’s mobile commerce site that is attaining sales of USD 6 million per day. Mcommerce users in China are mainly males in their twenties.

An example of Mobile Marketing in China
Starbucks is a pro when it comes to driving customer loyalty via Mobile Marketing, and recently they have done it in China as well. Starbucks partnered with Guohe Ad, China’s leading mobile ad management platform, to launch and create awareness for Starbuck’s Christmas promotion in China. Christmas in China? Well, if Starbuck’s and other western companies in China have anything to do with it, China will become one of the world’s greatest Christmas consumer markets, and why not?

The campaign idea: Customers who use the Sina Weibo social app to check-in at any Starbucks in Shanghai, Jiansu and Zhejing (Starbucks has more than 200 stores in the three provinces), announcing to their friends and followers that they are at Starbucks, are rewarded with a free drink size upgrade. The campaign is just one more way Starbucks is leading the way in converting all promotions and loyalty programs to smart phones.

Mobile Marketing going forward in China

Total spending on mobile advertisements in China doubled in 2011 and is now more than USD 400 million. This may sound like a big ambitious number, but this is only roughly 0.5% of the total spent on marketing in China. Research is showing that mobile as a medium has more reach, finer targeting and better ROI than all other media available, and therefore it is inevitable that Mobile Marketing will be playing a bigger role in the marketing plans in China going forward.

 

By Heidi Skovhus


 
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