Guest Blogger Michael Becker: The Time for Mobile Marketing Is Now

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A few years ago it became nearly cliché to say, "This is the year for mobile." That notion is now a reality. At the recent Internet Week New York, the Mobile Marketing Forum showcased the mobile channel's global reach and local relevance.

A few years ago it became nearly cliché to say, "This is the year for mobile." That notion is now a reality. At the recent Internet Week New York, the Mobile Marketing Forum (MMA Forum) showcased the mobile channel's global reach and local relevance.

Here are some examples of mobile marketing success happening today, cited during MMA Forum:
- In Turkey, 250,000 people signed up for Lipton Tea's mobile campaign, which featured ringback tones. Sales grew 47 percent.

- Several brands - from florist chains to detergents - reported 20 percent response rates for their mobile campaigns.

- In India, 33 percent of SMS traffic is media content and/or advertising.

- Rite Aid lets its loyalty card members register their mobile number as an alternate loyalty card. This frees customers from having to carry their card, and it creates the opportunity for Rite Aid to send relevant, targeted messages such as reminders that a prescription is running out.

- Blockbuster UK has delivered more than 1 million coupons for movies, drinks and other products to mobile phones, with a 10 percent redemption rate. The chain likes being able to validate both the coupon and the customer, something it can't do with paper coupons.

- The Chicago Blackhawks' mobile fan club tripled its user base to 75,000 in one year - and that was before a bandwagon-filling Stanley Cup championship.

- ESPN is a categorical leader in the United States, with more than 50 percent of their weekend web traffic delivered via mobile. It's serving more than 11 million unique mobile web users a month, sending more than 200 million mobile sports alerts and serving millions of application downloads and hundreds of live mobile television broadcasts.

- Brands and agencies are aggressively staffing up with mobile expertise. For example, Richard Ting, RG/A's vice president and executive creative director for mobile and emerging platforms, told attendees that two years ago his agency had only five dedicated mobile specialists. Today it's 85.

- In the United Kingdom, the Ariel detergent brand's campaign sent text messages to 400,000 housewives and achieved a 20 percent response rate, which generated store sales.

- Also in the United Kingdom, a TV ad for Whiskas cat food included a call to action where viewers could request more information by sending a text message to a short code. More than 100,000 requests were fulfilled and led to a 30 percent sales increase.

- The AXE Wake-Up Girls campaign in Japan increased deodorant sales 300 percent, a success that's been duplicated in countries such as Turkey, too.

- In India, a ringtone campaign designed to educate about contraception and AIDS increased condom awareness by 10 percent. It won CNN's award as best educational mobile campaign of the year.

- In Kenya, consumers can use SMS to pay insurance premiums.

- Citizens in Estonia and Norway can submit their tax return via SMS.

- In China, users downloaded the Puma F1 multiplayer racing advergame 200,000 times, increasing shoe sales 300 percent and prompting rival Nike to expand its mobile initiatives.

The fact is, mobile marketing is a global phenomenon, spanning developed and developing countries alike in every region. As evidenced by the examples above, integrating the mobile channel into your broader marketing campaign can result in direct customer engagement, enhanced brand loyalty and increased sales.

Now is the time to dial up your mobile marketing strategy. U.S. mobile advertising spending will reach nearly $600 million this year and will nearly double in just two year's time, according to projections by eMarketer in September 2009. So, what are you waiting for?

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About the Author: Michael Becker is the Mobile Marketing Association's Managing Director for North America

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION