Thursday, 13 August 2009
USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data)
Following on from Part ONE and messaging, USSD is a form of messaging that can be utilised across all handsets and is a solid tool for engaging with users. Practical application of utilisation of USSD is topping up of pre-paid airtime, setting up of one’s phone for WAP or Multimedia i.e. *123# (MTN) or *111# (Vodacom) and many other applications. The only problem I have with USSD is that it can be relatively clumsy for the user in the sense that one needs to have a form of reference to remember the USSD string which can be relatively long and if not used regularly by the users it’s sure to be forgotten.
Content has always been at the forefront in the multimedia space with the likes of ringtones, wallpapers and games and is commonly associated with a premium rated SMS SHORT-CODE which is used to manage the authorisation of the premium for the content you wish to download. In the Mobile Marketing space it is crucial to identify what sort of content you are providing i.e. an advert, instructional video, music, music video, wall papers etc.. And then make sure you provide it for free. The content element within mobile marketing generally forms part of the value add to users and with the success of social networks mobile offers a perfect platform to users to submit their own content.
Applications are the talk of the town at the moment particularly with specific regard to the iPhone and Android based phones. There is a debate going round as to whether one should deploy applications or focus on mobile web however I’m not going to enter into that discussion here. Applications provide quick access to the online environment and as examples one can look at Facebook, The Grid, MxIt, FireID, Pocit, Fring, Nimbuzz, Google Maps, Vufone, and Gravity as classic examples. The only comment I have to make about an application is that although it is designed to operate 24/7 they generally use massive battery resource and if you have a couple of them running at the same time you’ll be charging your phone every hour or so. Applications are utilised (in my opinion) as glorified book marks based on what I have just mentioned above and as such ask yourself whether the money you are about to spend on application development, is justified – when in fact you could have a widget which fulfils the same or a similar role.
LOCATION BASED SERVICES
LBS although defined as a product should be viewed more as an extension of a service where location is relevant. I personally believe that this is the future for mobile services particularly in the tourism and events space however there is one complexity that is holding the uptake back a little – and that is the cost of the location look-up. What this translates to is an undefined cost to any brand or service provider... However I do believe that this will change in time to come.
Probably one of the most powerful mediums within the mobile marketing space is the ability to deliver a voucher to a user’s handset. A Voucher is a tool that can be used to encouraging users to fulfil a very specific call to action which means that it can be used to help drive impulse buying, and or provide value in the form of discounts. There are various types of Vouchers that can be utilised, SMS, MMS, Bar-Code) however the one element that has been prohibitive in this form of element truly taking wings is the ability of the retail outlet to redeem the voucher – securely without giving any margin for pilferation. I believe if the retail outlets get behind this form of medium and train their staff on the redemption processes we’ll see an upsurge in the utilisation of vouchers.
This is another fascinating element in the mobile space and exceptionally powerful in that you have the ability to set up panels who in turn have the ability to set up their own networks or user groups. Considering the size of the mobile market it boggles my mind as to why Research companies have not adopted mobile research platforms fully as this environment can yield outstanding results in exceptionally quick periods of time. The mechanisms that can be used in this environment are; Mobile Online, SMS and USSD.
CRM/Profiling is a tool utilised for effectively engaging with customers and allows the brand to manage and track all levels of engagement. This tool provides for real-time information giving brands the ability to track and manage the success of the campaign. You are able to profile users in the mobile environment and understand their behaviour and trends allowing you to engage in a relevant manner with customers. It is important to note as with SMS that although you are able to profile your user - your level of engagement should always be non intrusive and at the same time relevant.
In this day and age it is hard to believe that there are people out there without a Gmail, Yahoo or Hotmail address. The portal element is a handy mechanism that facilitates a mobile intranet type of environment allowing business or social groups/committees to communicate directly with each other without any other clutter.
Mobile banner ad placement is generally used for acquisition of new customers by placing banner adverts on various platforms such as Admob, Buzz City, Vodafone Live, The Grid, MxIt etc. to encourage users to click through to the Online environment. This is one of the most important elements to any form of mobile marketing as this is the tool that gets users into your online environment. In Part 3 I’ll demonstrate how to effectively use this element within your mobile campaigns but now I am going to point out that not only are banner adverts used for acquisition but also within your own mobile environment if applied effectively they can be used to advertise a competition, highlight a news feed or drive traffic to specific areas within your Mobi-site (in essence becoming your own call to action element).
If you are intent on becoming a publisher and have 50,000 unique visitors a month then the banner advert within your Mobi-site could be used to derive additional revenues for you similarly to the online environment where you become a mobile online publisher. My only word of advice would be if you were to do that, please ensure that the adverts served are relevant to the content within your environment.
As you can see there are a number of elements one can use, either on their own or wrapped up to bolster the mobile campaign. There are a lot more elements and I could go into more detail but my objective is to provide an overview of what I do... and this has to be one of the longest elevator pitches I have ever delivered... look out for Part 3 - wrapping it all up.