Thursday, 6 August 2009

What is Mobile Marketing - Actually?

When asked what I do for a living, and I respond; 'Mobile Media..... Mobile Marketing' which is generally followed by; 'you advertise on trailers? or ah.. bulk sms provider'. Sometimes I dive in headfirst to explain what Mobile is all about and other times I just nod... but today I've decided I'm going to break it down for those that are not in the know.

This piece will be delivered in 3 parts - as the mobile environment is quite complex as one has the ability to engage with over 20 different variables.

I'm going to cover most of the variables that are commercially available and utilised by both users and brands;

Part ONE

Mobile Online
If you have a website and not invested in a Mobi-site I have to ask why not? With the current activity of users in the mobile space it is crucial that you have a mobile version of your online space available to mobile users. The mobile online environment is a little more complex than the traditional online space in that there are 1000's more variances one needs to take into consideration (handset screen size, handset type, operating system, browser type and codec). You also should be aware that because of these variances your provider must be able to demonstrate how they handle device detection, trans-coding and image manipulation – on the fly - which ensures that regardless of who browses your mobile site, everyone will receive the site optimised to the handset with which they are browsing.

You also need to consider what your Mobile environment is going to offer to the user as the browsing habits off a mobile device are very different to those of a traditional online browser.
Keep it succinct and relevant to ensure a quick and easy browsing experience.

Within this environment you can incorporate anything your heart desires; content downloads (video and pictures), competitions, Viral campaigns, SMS (engagement), Mail, Competitions, Research, Vouchers, Portal's, Banner Adverts, Media, applications, CRM, Profiling, Catalogues, Information, and Location Based Services... a mechanism to truly engage with users that at the same time allows you to understand a bit about them.

Your mobile online environment should also be able to plug into your online environment in that if you are facilitating user generated content the mobile and online are asynchronous meaning; that content uploaded on the mobile platform is updated to the online platform and vice versa.

There are various types of messaging that are available to be utilised in the mobile marketing space however the key factor here is the relevance of the message.

SPAM is an absolute no no and I would not recommend trying to use SMS as a medium to advertise with. Utilised effectively SMS is one of the most powerful mechanisms mobile has to offer. I'll give you an example; if you have taken your car in for a service, effective utilisation of this medium would be if you received a message confirming the car will be ready at a specific time together with the cost for the service and who to see when you arrive to pick your vehicle up.
Although there is no advertising per say, this type of engagement enforces a positive experience and indirectly builds brand perception.
SMS can be used to deliver notifications, direct engagement with customers and deliver the URL (link) to your Mobi-site.
Additional commonly utilised applications are premium rated SMS, which are utilised for entry into competitions, participation in events (Idols) for voting, and or contribution/subscription for a specific service.

This form of media is supposedly superior to SMS however I have my reservations as it is costly by comparison. The medium has the potential to deliver audio, graphics and text which means that you can deliver a high quality, informative bit of media to users. Although we have sent out lots of MMS' for and on behalf of various brands the response is never what we anticipate, the cost is expensive and almost in all cases the MMS is followed up by an SMS. I personally think that more effective utilisation can be delivered by sending the link to your Mobi-site where the user has the choice of engaging and the ability to access far more than an MMS can deliver, at a fraction of the cost. MMS is primarily also user generated so by providing branded MMS type postcards that could be personalised by users would be a relevant way of utilising MMS in the mobile space.

The SHORT CODE is an extension of the SMS family and is utilised primarily in the delivery of information as well as for competition participation.
Delivery of information;
By sending a [key word] + [your name] + [your email address] will result in content you wish to receive being delivered to your email address
By sending a [key word] you get access to content i.e. games, ringtones, wall papers etc.
By sending a [key word] you will receive a return SMS which contains a link to a Mobi-site
By sending a [key word] automatically enters the user into a competition

IM is an interesting element as it is relatively difficult to apply in the mobile online environment however if you have experienced Skype, Gtalk, ICQ, Twitter, Facebook etc and have utilised this from your handset you will know it is possible. The most effective mechanism of delivery is currently through running an application and a few that come to mind are The Grid, Nimbuzz, MxIt and Fring however there are a multitude of companies that offer this. Some companies have the ability to build IM into your Mobi-site which eliminates the need for development of an application and then the cost of marketing that application. IM is a great tool if you have a large user base and would like to afford them the opportunity of communicating with each other off your platform. Running applications and your mobile online environment continually eats significantly into battery time, users generally will revert to SMS unless they have scheduled time to meet up online.

The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Push Mail has to be Blackberry as they have successfully captured the business market with this service and their devices however this service is not limited to or restricted to Blackberry users. Push mail can be a standalone service one provides to mobile users where you can brand the mail address and synchronise with existing mail addresses.
One can also include this service within your mobile strategy and allow users engaging with the brand to have access to this and other services delivered through the Mobi-site.

In this edition of I've covered the online and messaging components - of which I am convinced you are well aware however at the end of the 3rd part I'll demonstrate how these elements can be utilised either stand alone or packaged together to deliver mobile marketing.


Anonymous said...

Plural of MMS is MMSes. Same with SMS. No need to get all creative-like with apostrophes.

Hans said...

Ahem - thanks for that, I'll take that on board for Part 2 and any further reference I make of SMSes and MMSes.

K.lyl said...

Very interesting article mate!!! Good to make it clear!!!!

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