Feature: Mobile Marketing

Bringing Mobile Marketing to the Table

By Diana LaGattuta, director of marketing for Enpocket.

After having been asked on numerous occasions by my 30-something friends how to send a picture message or how to download the Back in Black ring tone, I realized that discoverability is thwarting some serious revenue opportunities. These are intelligent people, and they happen to be part of the demographic that can afford to pay for premium content and services, yet they haven’t a clue how to find and use them. Why do the applications which seem so simple to you, me, and the average 16-year-old stump the masses?

We have offered up a smorgasbord of wireless enhanced services and content, but the average consumer can’t figure out how to get to the buffet. How did we arrive in the land of mobile content disarray? Carriers have loaded up on a wide array of content to meet the needs of any type of mobile customer, but there are a number of disconnects between the content, the applications, and the end user.

Disconnect #1: Content catalogs are a cornucopia of disorganized chaos. We have gone on an undisciplined content binge, adding more, more, more. Yes, we do need six different ways to get email! Three different ways to access AIM. Seven different access points to Reuters. We must have 12 different ring tone services and we will provide no logical way for a consumer to know which ring tone service has the song that he wants. It’s a free for all. Have at it!

Disconnect #2: We have failed to provide a compelling event. We have not shown consumers why they might want to use their phones for things other than talk. American Idol text voting, which taught Americans how to text message, is one important exception.

Disconnect #3: We have ignored the adults and many large niche markets. Ring tones have achieved wild success amongst the teen and young adult market. But having the latest Ludicris ring tone is not going to ring the bell of a typical Baby Boomer. A 40-year-old may be inspired to figure out how to download a ring tone if he could have his college fight song, the NFL theme song, or something nostalgic, such as the theme song from The Pink Panther.

There is a lot talk about segmentation, a lot of talk. In spite of the talk, we are still gunning after the mass market. But wireless consumers are not a homogenous blob. One in ten is gay, one in six people under 30 in the US is Hispanic, and so on. There is an untapped opportunity to move beyond the early-adopting teen market and offer compelling services to the remaining 90%. Niche marketing finally becomes relevant as we begin to identify large market segments and understand their drivers at an emotional level.

Disconnect #4: Content is displayed with little regard for relevance. The window of opportunity to capture the attention of a prospective content buyer is very small–literally it is about 1” by 1”. Chances are much higher that you will entice a customer to subscribe to soccer alerts if you target the offer to someone you know is a soccer fan. Some of the premier web retailers, such as Amazon, have mastered the art of personalizing the user experience by displaying content according to past purchasing behavior and prompting additional purchase with a recommendation engine.

Mobile marketing and carefully targeted CRM can help. Since customers may not know what they want to purchase next, we have to figure it out for them. There is simply too much content out there to leave the discovery in the hands of the average consumer. Effective mobile marketing begins with analyzing user behavior. Once we know where they have been, we can begin to predict where they are going.

The next step is to leverage the mobile channel to open a dialogue with customers. The native medium is not only the most natural means of communication but the most cost effective way of providing valuable information to subscribers at the right time. The key to success is ensuring that the information is indeed of value.

Recommendations for Mobile Marketing

Respect the permission and the privacy of the consumer. The mobile is a very personal medium. Therefore, an irrelevant text message or mobile internet banner will be perceived as intrusive. Give customers the opportunity to tell you what services are of interest and allow you to provide relevant information to them.

Provide incentives for opt-ins . Does anybody ever (knowingly) check the box that says “Would you like to receive promotional material from our partners?” Rather, think US Airways E Savers, circa 1997. US Air had people signing up in droves for their weekly e-mails offering great deals on last minute weekend air travel. When asking for the opt-in, dangle the carrot. The subscriber should know that he might miss out on a good deal if he opts out.

Make it relevant . The more personalized the touch point is, the more valuable it will be. Informing someone that they have just sent their 99th text message and may want to upgrade to the next messaging bundle will be better received than sending a blanket message informing all subscribers about the latest rates for text messaging bundles. A WAP banner indicating there is a new Coldplay ringback tone available will be much more relevant to someone who has downloaded a Coldplay ringtone in the past.

Master the message . Keep messages brief, simple, and in plain language. Do not over-message; more than two messages per month is probably too much. With multimedia messaging, the medium becomes much more conducive to micro-segmentation and targeting. In Europe, where carriers are using MMS to promote services, if the creative is clever and entertaining enough, subscribers not only find the message non-intrusive, but actually forward it on to friends.

Develop a long term approach to mobile marketing and CRM . A well-planned mobile CRM program, informed by usage data, can drive adoption and usage of enhanced services and content. And, if executed properly, it can improve the relationship between and the carrier and subscriber and improve loyalty.

At the wireless smorgasbord, the menu changes daily, as do the rules, the players, and the revenue splits. But in the end, the golden rule of marketing still applies: find out what your customers want and serve it to them. The catch is that many customers do not yet know that what they want. Then it is just a matter of delivering the goods to customers in a way that is simple to understand and won’t cause too much indigestion.

About the Author

Diana LaGattuta leads marketing for Enpocket, and works with clients to execute innovative and pioneering mobile marketing programs. Prior to joining Enpocket, she spent 10 years in the wireless industry working for Comverse and Cingular Wireless.



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