When discussing mobile marketing basics, we must consider the Mobile Marketing Association's (MMA's) "Consumer Best Practices (CBP) Guidelines" (PDF download). I initially wrote about the "CBP Guidelines" in May. The guidelines were updated in November, so let's review the areas of significant change.
"CBP Guidelines" has become the baseline for cross-carrier mobile marketing initiatives in the U.S. The document compiles accepted industry practices and wireless carrier policies and is based on regulatory guidance given to representative members of the off-network ecosystem. While the guidelines committee strives to implement policies that encourage off-net industry growth, its primary focus is on consumer protection and privacy, as industry growth without consumer satisfaction isn't sustainable. The guidelines have been integrated into carrier contractual agreements with aggregators and content providers and, as such, are enforced by all players. For those in mobile marketing, the "CBP Guidelines" are a must know.
According to David Oberholzer, associate director of content programming for Verizon Wireless and the guidelines committee chairman, "'The Consumer Best Practices Guidelines' continue to set the standard by which carriers, aggregators, and content providers offer services in our emerging mobile marketing industry. The MMA CBP Committee continues to stay abreast of issues that impact our industry and respond in a collaborative, consistent manner to ensure a positive consumer experience."
The Committee comprises leading mobile marketing providers, including wireless carriers, aggregators, content providers, and agencies.
The guidelines are published every six months and highlight important areas to ensure a sustainable mobile channel. Highlights from the recent update include the key areas below.
Advertising and Promotion
The most significant modifications to advertising and promotion regard terms and conditions (T&Cs) language and the provision of adequate information to subscribers about the services. Highlights include:
Language about marketing to children was added. The guidelines state that all marketing campaigns targeted at children must comply with all state and federal regulations, including COPPA regulations.
Also added was language around the use of "free" terminology in advertising and promotional materials. Of particular note in this section are the following:
The guidelines now also define viral, or word-of-mouth, marketing and set out permissible and non-permissible campaign types. Viral marketing is communication via text message or other mobile content, including ring tones, games, and wallpaper. Consumer A receives the message, identifies consumer B as someone interested in the message, and initiates a process (e.g., inputting a phone number) through which consumer B automatically receives the message.
All participants in the ecosystem must adhere to all the latest updates to the CBP Guidelines within 90 days of release (in this case, by February 2007).
Each year, the MMA hosts a Consumer Best Practices Industry Forum, where industry leaders discuss the issues, challenges, and opportunities in creating a professional, sustainable mobile marketing industry. The topics discussed are considered for integration in future revisions of the CBP Guidelines. The next forum will be in Denver on January 11. Topics to be covered include interactive voice response (IVR), WAP (define) off-deck, mobile sweepstakes, and iTV. If you're interested in helping define the guidelines for our mobile marketing industry, plan to attend.
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