Making, and Marketing, a Mobile Campaign

As more companies create content and marketing campaigns for mobile consumption, best practices are beginning to emerge. More often than not, they’re similar to practices learned on the Web.

The discussion around mobile marketing tactics arose this week at Bango Nexus, an event hosted by wireless technology provider Bango. At the seminar, clients and other interested parties gathered to learn about direct-to-consumer opportunities in wireless.

Reflecting a common view of mobile experts at the event, Graham Darracott, strategic partner at Graphico, a U.K. based digital agency with represents Pepsi, the BBC, BMW and Universal Music, said accessing the Internet on mobile phones is simply “Another way of serving the Internet.” Some of the same rules for building a Web site apply for mobile content. It’s key to use text navigation, Darracott warned, because phones have trouble with graphic-based links. “People want to make complicated sites that take too long to load,” he said.

Apart from usability, it’s important to keep content fresh to foster regular visitation of the mobile site.

As for SMS or other “push” communications, the same double opt-in procedures used to build email lists should apply when a mobile offering will require repeat communications. “Consumers must know what they’re signing up for, and know about any charges that apply,” said Darracott.

Experts also agreed upon the importance of including mobile short codes, or the text term associated with a mobile promotional program or content site, on advertising or marketing communications in other media. Darracott said one client has begun stuffing music CDs with short codes that let users download songs and ringtones for artists featured on the mobile site.

Once a user responds to such an offer, potential upsells are up to the content creator. “Once you have the user in the site, give him a site list. It’s easy to do,” said Darracott.

Viral elements are also easily added to mobile sites. “If you’ve got a consumer who likes your content or site, he is more likely to tell a friend or recommend it,” said Martin Harris, SVP of sales at Bango. If sites contain a form to provide friends’ cell phone numbers, “You’ve got your consumers doing the work for you. They’re filling in the details of someone they know. It doesn’t cost you anything,” he said.

Harris treats the marketing of mobile content like guerrilla marketing. “If you’ve got guerrillas out there or are using their techniques, you can be almost unstoppable,” he said.

Usage of mobile devices for accessing the Internet is on the rise, and marketers are already realizing the potential the channel provides. Adoption of data services on mobile phones took time to gain momentum. Initially, early adopters used it for more utilitarian functions. Now, entertainment applications are gaining traction. Thomas Burgess, CEO of Third Screen Media said 58 percent of subscribers to cellular service use their phones for more than voice calls. By 2007, revenues for mobile content are expected to reach $78 billion.

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