Campaign Mobility

Mobile marketing may not yet be as popular or advanced in North America as it is in Europe, but we’re starting to see a trend develop that could shore up its use — fast. Mobile marketing is used in conjunction with more traditional initiatives to extend audience reach and connect with youth markets, wherever they go.

It used to be when marketers needed to engage America’s youth, all they had to do was look to the Web. A targeted Flash campaign or interactive game usually did the trick. These days, though, the key to getting attention is keeping it fresh. For many, that means looking to newer trends.

As noted by my colleague Pamela Parker in her recent column on mobile marketing, JupiterResearch reports 75 percent of Internet users aged 18 to 24 sent or received an SMS (text) message in December of last year. Meanwhile, a survey by youth destination Bolt found 7 out of 10 consumers aged 15 to 22 have broadband Internet access as of Q4 2004, with half spending more than 15 hours a week online (they also found more time online meant 55 percent were watching less TV than during the same period last year).

In other words, young consumers still use the Web, but they’re also texting like mad. Why not reach them wherever they are by utilizing both channels in tandem?

That’s surely what Nike and Frito-Lay North America were thinking when they launched their recent integrated advertising campaigns. You may have read my coverage of the Nike/Jordan brand initiative. To recap, the company used a combination online marketing, interactive gaming, desktop marketing and mobile marketing to generate buzz about its new Air Jordan XX product among consumers aged 16 to 20 — with great success.

Frito-Lay may not be promoting a new product, but its objective — to build excitement about a brand using mystery and multiple channels — is certainly familiar. The company recently introduced an enigmatic Doritos campaign urging its target market, consumers under 25, to solve clues and decipher the meaning of the acronym “inNw.”

Prompted by teaser billboards, participants can text “inNw” to a specified short code (a 5-digit phone number used by marketers for SMS messaging) or visit www.inNw.com or Doritos.com to receive the clues. Like Jordan’s offering, Doritos’ integrated campaign also incorporates online games. It’s expected to run all year.

In both instances, a mobile marketing campaign alone wouldn’t have gotten people talking. Text messages are by nature rather bland, and where would consumers find out about the promotion? Couple the messaging component with sticky, engaging sites and a high-profile media buy or a targeted in-store placement to help spread the word, and you’ve got a campaign with reach and style.

If you’re a marketer with a mandate to reach teens and young adults, start thinking about how you could supplement your media buys with a mobile marketing initiative. Are you running a campaign that would benefit from an instant consumer response, such as one that includes a contest, survey or poll? Are you having trouble reaching your target through other offline channels? Are you in need of a fresh marketing approach to differentiate your company from the competition? Mobile marketing, with its ability to complement and enhance a campaign, could be the solution you seek.

If you’re ready to give the medium a try but don’t know where to start, consider putting in a call to the experts to brainstorm some ideas. Companies like HipCricket, which created the mobile marketing component of the Doritos campaign, m-Qube, and Virtu Mobile, which developed Campbell Soup’s current “Soup at Hand” cell phone game, all specialize in creating customized mobile marketing efforts.

Get on board. Yours may just be the next one to generate buzz, press and product sales by supplementing a media campaign.

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