By Phil Eames, CEO of iome, a provider of location-based, digital lifestyle services. The company’s technology provides mobile and internet based services that link activities, interests, locations, information, routes and places so consumers can plan ahead, make bookings all based on their preferences and where they are.
As marketers, it is important to keep up to date with our audience’s preferred medium for consuming information, messages and content. With information available from many varying sources, from traditional print publications, radio or TV, through to the Internet, there is no doubt that the number of ‘touch points’ with the consumer has increased and this trend is set to continue as technology advances.
More recently, as handheld devices have become ever more sophisticated, people are becoming increasingly reliant on digesting more and more data via their mobile than ever before.
Recent research from AdMob has shown that iPhone users are now accessing the mobile web more regularly than they read print newspapers, with 58 per cent now opting to pick up their handheld rather than buy a paper. Just over 45 per cent also favour their smartphone over radio and 32 per cent prefer this more than watching TV. These statistics demonstrate that this important medium is changing traditional advertising models and should not be ignored.
The first element of any successful mobile marketing campaign, indeed any campaign, is targeting. The advent of location-based services and related technologies now offers marketers and brands a new ability to deliver content to someone with immediacy, via their mobile device.
Using Wi-Fi hotspots and other methods, we now have the ability to understand where people are located through their mobile phone. The net result of this technology means marketing via mobile devices becomes a highly targeted medium due to the ability to tailor campaigns based on the where-abouts of your audience.
In addition to having an understanding of your target audience’s location, I believe there is a second factor that will drive the success of your mobile campaign: personalisation. The key here is to ensure you offer your audience the ability to provide personal preference data, via an opt-in scheme.
That way, not only will you have an understanding of the individual’s location but you can tailor your campaigns to their personal likes and dislikes, therefore enabling much closer interaction.
By developing a marketing campaign that is underpinned by technology that can manage these two factors, your response rates, and therefore your ROI, will greatly increase as people will see you are delivering more of an individualised service rather than simply advertising a blanket message to them.
There is, however, a careful balance between delivering useful material and exploiting this technology so I would urge caution to anyone embarking on this form of marketing for the first time, as it may become potentially damaging to your brand if you are considered to be ‘spamming’ the recipient’s mobile phone with unnecessary or irrelevant information. After all, the mobile is still very ‘personal’ to people so it is important to get this balance right from the start.
From our own research at iome, we have found 63% of mobile phone users like to access the web via their mobile, with 36% accessing it on a daily basis. In addition, 84% of respondents feel that location-based services are a good idea and three quarters of respondents like the idea of receiving offers via their mobiles, which are linked to where they are.
We are working with BT and Westminster City Council to provide a location-based service that people can register with to receive personalised, relevant information regarding the West End of London. It is able to direct residents, tourists, commuters and business visitors to information that matches their preferences, from being able to view what’s on locally through to being able to make bookings and purchase ticket.
By inputting some personal data upfront, the BT MyPlace service can not only help people plan ahead, but can send information directly to their mobile phone as they travel around Westminster and beyond.
There is scope for this to be extended in future with new services that offer the ability to send discount vouchers to individuals based on both their preferences and location.
So, for example if someone has specified that they enjoy eating out at Italian restaurants, the technology behind the service would enable restaurateurs to send coupons to them as they approach the street where the establishment is located. This could then be redeemed when making a purchase on the day.
Finally, another point mentioning is the added benefit of being able to easily track the results of your mobile marketing campaign. Similar to internet marketing and advertising, data is easily accessible regarding response rates, click-throughs, purchases and visitor numbers if you are directing people to a dedicated mobile internet site.
Ultimately, you need to consider if mobile marketing is appropriate to your business and target demographic. In embarking on a campaign of this nature, it will certainly differentiate your brand from competitors and has the possibility of extending and deepening the relationship with your audience if conducted appropriately.
Today, mobile marketing and advertising is a very small percentage of any marketing budget, if at all, however I am convinced it will follow the same pattern as internet marketing and advertising, as consumers adapt their way of accessing information and the usability of mobile devices continue to improve.
If you are considerate and sensible at implementing a marketing campaign via mobile it could provide to be an extremely effective tool. The real power is when you have a big picture understanding of your audience, through personalisation and location.
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