Consumers Accept, Welcome Mobile Marketing

A new study funded by mobile phone manufacturer Nokia and conducted by HPI Research found that an overwhelming majority of mobile phone users surveyed (88 percent) would be receptive to receiving electronic coupons for bricks-and-mortar stores on their cellular phones.

In fact, the study found that nearly a third (31 percent) would actually welcome such marketing.

The findings arise out of a survey undertaken by HPI Research in June 2001, when 3300 people in eleven different global markets were questioned. The markets covered were Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the U.S.

Consumer acceptance of mobile marketing messages has been one of the greatest fears of the nascent industry, but, despite numerous studies documenting people’s willingness to receive such messages, mobile marketing has thus far failed to take off in any meaningful way. So, as the industry remains in a testing — rather than an implementation — stage, the Nokia study, though obviously funded by a party with a stake in expanding the uses of cellular technology, sheds more light on the factors that need to be in place for consumers to accept such messages.

In a move that reflects the mobile phone industry’s interest in developing higher bandwidth networks — and offerings that would take advantage of those networks — the study also asked users about mobile visual entertainment. Start-up companies like PacketVideo, as well as more established firms like Real Networks, Macromedia, and Microsoft, have been developing technologies that would allow people to watch video or animation on their mobile phones. Actually deploying these services, though, would likely require the widespread deployment of high-bandwidth 3G wireless networks.

Of the consumers that expressed an interest in visual entertainment capabilities, 76 percent said they wouldn’t mind if the programming was interrupted by very short advertisements. Fifty-one percent said they wouldn’t see advertising as intrusive if it resembled the way ads are presented on television.

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