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Getting Started in Mobile Marketing

  |  March 8, 2007   |  Comments

How do I start? What's the opportunity? Answers from marketers who were newbies once, too.

The mobile channel is made for consumer engagement. It's immediate, intimate, and everywhere. Although we've already discussed how to get started in mobile, it remains the number one question I'm asked by people looking to add mobile to their marketing initiatives. How do I start? What's the opportunity?

At Mobile Advertising USA conference in New York this week, keynote speaker Tom Daly from Coca-Cola shared case studies from France, Germany, the U.K., and Mexico. He discussed the objectives for each campaign, initial goals and brand relative to the market, and how mobile was leveraged to create an experience for consumers. The ease of interaction with the campaign to drive consumer volume was key to the campaigns' success. As Daly cautioned, what works in one market may not apply to all markets. Objectives, mobile data penetration, and brand goals all vary. The goal is to test, learn, and share best practices across the brand.

Judith Ricker of Harris Interactive suggested that marketers should "use marketing communications to a build bond with consumer integrated across media in order to succeed." The goal is to connect with the consumer cognition, emotionally, inspirationally, and behaviorally.

These are all things we know and have heard before in regard to this channel. How do we get started?

Engage Clients With Mobile

I spent some time with Kristen Fox, formerly of ESPN, now VP of professional services at Soapbox Mobile, to discuss how to engage their clients with the mobile channel. What works? What doesn't? Fox has a particularly interesting perspective, given she's been on both the buy and sell sides of the industry. According to Fox, the steps to engage include:

  1. Develop strategic goals and objectives for the campaign:

    • What's the target demographic?

    • What's the brand trying to achieve: Target a new market? Product launch? Something else?

    • What are the success metrics?

  2. Once goals are established, determine the creative approach. The key is to first focus on creative, not technology. Allow the creative to guide the technology utilization, not the other way around:

    • The creative approach is driven, in part, by understanding the demographic, objectives, and the brand's voice behind the campaign. As Fox put it, the brand exchange is a community exchange with the consumer.

    • What approach will speak to the consumer?

  3. Apply the platform to the campaign. The next step is to work with your partner to focus on the campaign variables based on customer requests and requirements.

Mobile provides an opportunity for a brand to have a one-to-one conversation with the consumer. It's a live, personal experience. What's the reaction to Soapbox's approach been with marketers? According to Fox, brand response has been positive because the message and approach are familiar to marketers. It doesn't require them to learn mobile technology and terminology right out of the gate. It's an approach that sets the stage for the future.

Let the Client Own the Short Code

Fox says the most interesting change in moving from the buy side to the sell side is a greater understanding of mobile's benefits and more transparency around how it works. She believe it's important for the client to have ownership and control over their short code (define) rather than relinquish it to a mobile marketing partner. A brand builds equity in its short code every time it's utilized. If that brand changes vendors, contractual agreements may cause the short code to be tied to the old vendor for a fixed duration. This could hinder the brand's ability to manage initiatives. This is particularly a cause for concern when it comes to vanity codes.

Courtney Acuff, from Denuo, agrees it's important for the brand team, client, and agency to understand how a short code benefits them, and how it can be integrated, before they can own and control it.

Learning From Coca-Cola

Educating for brand clients is key, says R/GA's Richard Ting. Clients generally come from a base of online expertise that's very different from mobile, and understanding the differences within the process with something as simple as securing a short code or mobile Web site has been a learning process.

Some of Coca-Cola's conclusions from its experiences with the mobile channel:

  • Feed lessons into future activities.

  • Innovate through approach and execution.

  • The message is more important than the medium (relevance).

  • Think in an integrated way.

  • Concept to a use case.

  • Follow the rules!

Remember, there are 2.2 billion mobile users worldwide, twice the number of those using the Internet. According to Harris Interactive's Joseph Porus, mobile is the most personal device in history. Mobile is a reflection of who we are, and handset churn allows a 24-month renewable self-image cycle. Mobile will become the new remote control for our lives.

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Laura Marriott Laura Marriott is executive director of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), which works to clear obstacles to market development, to establish standards and best practices for sustainable growth, and to evangelize the mobile channel for use by brands and third-party content providers. The MMA has over 250 members worldwide, representing over 16 countries. Laura has over 14 years' experience in the high-tech industry. Prior to joining the MMA, she served as Intrado's director of marketing, where she was responsible for the development and delivery of Intrado's mobility products and service. Laura previously served as director of business development at Cyneta Networks and Cell-Loc Inc.

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