As brands start launching mobile campaigns, marketers need to consider it as a strategy in overall planning.
Mobile can play various roles in a marketing campaign – from precise targeting to enhancing ROI. So when consumers go online through their mobile phones, brands will have the opportunity to reach their most desired audience by setting different targeting criteria, and provide them with mobile-friendly content and interactivity to keep them engaged.
But let's not forget, to most consumers, mobile is still a personal communication device first, rather than an emerging new media. And today's mobile devices are capable of anything - from making and receiving phone calls, texting SMS or MMS, taking photos, GPS navigating, or even completing payments.
Think about this, wherever consumers may be and whatever form of media they are exposed to (package, print ad, TVC, outdoors, Internet, etc.), they always have their mobile phones with them. This is the best opportunity to not only generate attention but also call-to-action – to make sure whoever is interested in the campaign will do something with it immediately! (Otherwise, trust me, when they go back to the office or get back home, they won't be able to remember what they just saw and search for it.)
Marketers should really understand this and take advantage of it. Get mobile involved in the whole campaign and have it leveraged and integrated with other media resources. To achieve this, below are some steps a marketer can follow:
1. Planning ahead.
This is what agencies typically do: finish work and allocate budget to what they are familiar with first and then brief the mobile team at the last minute with limited time and limited room to play. More and more brands are trying mobile, but unfortunately, in a wrong way. Because mobile can play more than just one role and it is one of the only media/devices that can be used for cross-media interaction, the mobile strategy and design need to be considered from the very beginning. It is a key ingredient and enabler as opposed to a 'nice to have'.
Once the mobile strategy and mechanism is confirmed at the early stages of the planning process, it can then be used to unleash the full potential of the campaign.
2. Choose the most suitable mobile interactive technology.
When it comes to mobile marketing, technology-savvy marketers get excited. They want to be the first to use a certain technology and to apply the newest applications they read about. They are hungry for innovative case studies. There is nothing inherently wrong with this. However, using cool and advanced technology doesn't necessarily equate to the most effective or successful campaign.
When Pepsi Canada won the MMA global awards last year, it was about SMS, IVR ,and ring back tones. Yeah, this sounds so old school. But it worked better than ever. Because the campaign was targeted to female shoppers who are often not tech-savvy, you can't have them download an app, scan a QR code, play a mobile game, and then watch a brand-sponsored TV program on mobile. Texting an SMS is all they are able (and required) to do to win the prize. Receiving IVR and ring back tones is even easier. Last year Pepsi in China also won a mobile award by running a battle of the bands campaign and had young fans download a mobile video player and then played a virtual band manager game on their mobile phones. Sounds complicated but it was well-received.
Innovation in mobile interaction is not necessarily high-tech. It's about what is suitable to the target audience.
3. Don't let mobile stand alone.
Another frustration some of the bigger brands faced is creative and media planning are handled by different agencies... sometimes more than a few. And they don't really talk to each other much. So marketers need to make sure other media vendors understand and support their strategy and the role that mobile will play. For example, in some of the mobile AR (augmented reality) campaign, consumers can download the app and use it to scan the image of the product package. However, only a tiny paragraph on the package or the not-so-easy-to-find button on that campaign site suggested you could do so. And none of the TVC, print ad, or outdoors ever mentioned it. You can imagine the number of participants didn't come to much. This was not necessarily because consumers were not interested, but sometimes because they were never made aware.
Make sure your other media resources will support your mobile efforts. Once the brand has a mobile website, a mobile app, or just a SMS interactive code, it should be printed on the package, in the poster, and on the TVCs to let more people know about it. It won't cost much, but it needs to be planned ahead and communicated widely, in order to make the biggest impact.
The future of mobile marketing has a lot of potential. Mobile is not only the most important personal device for users, it also changes the way brands reach and talk to consumers. When more and more people join the smartphone family, a new market sector will emerge: mobile apps and in-app advertising. And this will be the topic for our next column.
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Joshua Maa is founder and CEO of Madhouse, China's largest and most intelligent mobile ad network, with offices in Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou. Joshua is founding member and board director of Mobile Marketing Association, Asia-Pacific region, and co-chair of Global Mobile Advertising Committee. The committee developed mobile advertising guidelines that have been widely applied by most global mobile advertising players. Before founding Madhouse, Joshua Maa was EVP at TOM Online, where he managed the wireless business and operations, plus the international business evelopment teams. He ahelped TOM become the largest wireless value-added service provider by revenue in China in 2005. Before TOM Online, Joshua was founding CEO of Rock Mobile Corp., greater China's leading mobile music entertainment service provider. Joshua has over 18 years of managerial experience in greater China?s new media, entertainment, and consumer marketing industries.
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