Interactive Marketing

Top 10 Things You Should Know About Mobile Marketing

The industry is buzzing about mobile again; your team is open to try the new channel. And you are wondering if it is worthwhile “to go mobile or not to go”. However, before you embark on a mobile marketing journey, here are top 10 things you should check against to make a better decision whether to add a mobile campaign to your marketing mix or develop a mobile app store.

 1. Is your audience mobile-savvy?  Does your customer actually use mobile beyond making phone calls? Does your research support the fact that your customers interact with any other brands, using their phones? If your audience is there, and savvy enough to have access to mobile web and is used to some opt-in interaction, you have a first pass checkmark. Alternatively, if your customer is also open to education in this area and does have mobile phones with data plans in possession most of the time; you can still have a chance of introducing this method of engagement.

 2.  What is the context/potential use case scenario for your customers to want to consume information or make a buy via mobile?  You know your customers and how they interact with your product (or might interact if it is new), when they buy and how they arrive at those purchasing decisions. Is mobile a good way to speed up their buyer cycle? Can your customer make a decision based on very limited information at that point while on the go? This is a very important step that has to do with a mobile user experience that differs from the desktop due to limitations of the small screen and the amount of information that can be communicated and perhaps customer’s ability to engage with the device using only one hand, while doing something else (telecommuting and drinking coffee, holding a bag and moving elsewhere, sitting in the wait room and so on). Also, considering that people’s behavior on mobile web is different from the desktop: no one is spending hours searching and surfing (as there is not a whole a lot to see and not so much fun clicking on and on). When it comes to mobile, people are at the “buy point” already and they need the info now and ability to make a transaction preferably within 1 or 2 clicks. This, in its turn, makes mobile the perfect channel to interact with the existing customers!

3. What is the value you can provide to your customers? You cannot simply throw your message at your customers. Mobile is a very personal channel as your audience is virtually available to you most of the time. People carry their phones and devices everywhere and accessible to them at times when other channels like desktop/web is out of the picture. And any message that you decide to communicate to your audience, must be within the context of mobile device and your product usage. It must be either of each:

a) location-based (it provides an address and a phone number to your business);
b) time-sensitive information (a new item in stock arrived that a customer was waiting for, or a limited duration sale is up);
c) making life/usage of your product/service easier information (ability for your customers to check-in into the flight while in route to the airport);
d) financial incentive (a free latte on Mondays);
e) affiliation/community/social popularity aspect (ability for your customers to share their product experience with like-minded people and being part of a bigger circle);
f) or at last, deliver some entertainment value (to kill the time on a commute, in line).

4. What are the legal implications, conditions that I should be aware of?  The U.S. CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 very much applies to sending unsolicited messages to people’s phones. This also logically leads to point 5 below. Other precautions include all other familiar suspects: copyright, trademark, right of publicity and privacy, misleading advertising, cases of what is “free” and “disclosed only in fine print.” Plus, all network carriers are very protective of their customers and have full control over the livelihood of your campaigns.

5. You cannot buy mobile phone lists and start marketing. Particularly, due to the anti spam law above and the issue of privacy. Thus, you will have to build those from scratch and invite your customers to participate via other channels, gradually but surely.

6. You will have no benchmarks. Mobile marketing is still emerging and only a few players already tasted its benefits and pitfalls. In addition, there are a lot of variables to make those benchmarks comparable if they were to exist (a.k.a variations in industry, consumer behavior, devices, networks).

7. You must integrate your mobile advertising or commerce into other channels for it to succeed. Yes, you need to promote this new channel and tell your customers about this option elsewhere: on the web, on your social networking apps, your billboards, TV, online videos, etc.

8. How to be seen/presented on mobile web? If you are a brand manufacturer, or a local small-business you might think of mobile site creation to represent your products, which implies deciding on whether and/how to build your mobile site, how to name it, or re-use (miniaturize) your current site. If you are an online merchant, you might think of creating an application for the most popular smart phones (iPhone and Android, for at least today’s date). Plenty of decisions here, since no matter where you go, the experience might not be the same for all users due to differences in how various devices and carriers render the code. 

9. Mobile search experience is different from the desktop. Mostly due to differences in what users choose to use to do the search: the pre-installed carrier cataloged pages or mobile search tools from Google and Yahoo. Even, if your audience decides to use Google, the results displayed are not the same and as controlled as the ones on the desktop. Different SEO and SEM strategies apply here.  More coverage on mobile SEO can be found here.

10. What is the right mobile marketing/commerce tool to use? The new channel comes with a pleasant assortment of tools that you can consider: voice, text, mobile search, mobile widget (entertainment, commerce, information or social network-based). The process of choosing the best or a mix of those requires a closer look at pros and cons of each kind. Once you discover what works for your product, do not forget to integrate your mobile marketing into other channels to start enjoy its benefits!

Craving more mobile? Check the insights from Kim Dushinski on her mobile marketing blog; she even has a handbook on that to expand on all the 10 points in extensive detail and more. Or review some of the best practices shared by Cindi Krum in her freshly released mobile marketing book (I got my copy today!). Also, if you are more inclined to consume the latest developments in mobile anything from the technical perspective, there is mobiForge for that too!

Come to Portland to Attend InVerge 2007 – The 1st Interactive Convergence Conference

Inverge 2007? Portland, OR? Next week, Thursday and Friday of September 6-7, a new conference is launched by one of the internet industry evangelists – Steve Gehlen. Inspired by the ideas of Convergence Culture and Wikinomics, “Inverge”, “invergence” is a newly coined term that took its roots from the concept of convergence of digital marketing and human interaction. In other words, it represents “interactive convergence”, thus “invergence”.

Why attend InVerge 2007? Inverge 2007 is a multi-disciplinary interactive marketing conference, happening in the Pearl District of Portland, OR (which has the best restaurants in the city on every corner, charming with its urban style and bringing lively crowds of urban professionals to mingle). Join your fellow marketers and advertisers for a 2 day experience of sharing ideas and expertise. Check the list of the attendees and plan your networking opportunities. Review the event schedule and choose the topics you would like to brush up on. Browse through the speakers bios and see who you would like to connect to.

Myself, I think I would definitely check out the panel on a new Nike ZOOM footwear interactive television campaign featuring panelists from Nike, Wieden+Kennedy and Ensequence with Stephanie Otto moderating the session.

The main presenters featured:
– Joshua Green, Research Manager, Convergence Culture Consortium, MIT talking about Convergence Culture and New Media Logics
– Jeff Yapp, Executive Vice President, MTV Networks
– Chris Van Dyke, President & CEO, Nau (see recent Fast Company feature) highlighting his groundbreaking “webfront” concept that integrates the best of e-commerce with traditional bricks and mortar shopping and Nau’s digitally centric approach to storytelling and brand building.
– Slate Olson, Senior Brand Connections Manager, Nike
– Renny Gleeson, Global Director of Digital Strategies, Wieden+Kennedy
– Lori H. Schwartz, SVP & Director, Interpublic Emerging Media Lab, Interpublic Group
– Catherine Ogilvie, EVP & General Manager of the San Francisco Office, Edelman sharing her insights on brand development and who actually does contribute to its value
– Stephanie Otto, CEO / Principal, Brainstorm Communications, Inc. (interactive TV pioneer)
– Dalen Harrison, CEO, Ensequence (interactive TV platform) talking about interactive TV and its future
– Adam Richardson, Strategy Director, frog design sharing his insights on product management and its shaping into managing complex systems
– Ken Papagan, President & Chief Strategy Officer, Rentrak talking about the need for behavioral measurement of media consumption by platform
– Jason Stoddard (Managing Partner) and Ken Brady (VP, Asia), Centric, Agency of Change
– Marcelino Alvarez, Senior Interactive Producer, Wieden+Kennedy (panel)
– Bill Barnett, General Manager, Entertainment Media Works expressing his insights on how to squeeze your advertising budget
– Mark Deuze, Professor, Journalism and New Media, Leiden University (The Netherlands) sharing his thoughts on consumer generated media
– Aimee Viles, Director of Creative Services, Ensequence (panel)

The best part – the conference was timed to coincide with a number of cultural events happening in Portland during the same week to make it a fully enjoyable experience of professional networking and cultural exploration. A paid Full Conference Pass to Inverge 2007 provides you with a full access to MusicFestNW and vouchers to 3 Time-Based Art Festival events, while the First Thursday Gallery Walk is complimentary already!

To register, visit InVerge 2007 site. Have Fun! I know I will.

Interactivity and Engagement Grab Attention, Build Connection and Make Us Buy

People do not like to be sold, but we like to buy. Thus, it just makes sense that conventional commercials bombarding, be it a TV ad or a sales speech, does not work very well. Interactivity aspect became the key ingredient for making a connection to customers’ hearts and wallets. Touching customers at the moments of their experience while enjoying their passion, hobby or interest works wonders. It creates a connection that is weaved into already positive experience. That is why ad placements work best: be it traditional movies or games or mobile communications. According to the e-marketers recent article, “Advergames like the 3.2 million units sold at Burger King over the holidays have been a success, and in-game placements have music labels competing for exposure in the latest sports games. But it is online gaming that holds the best promise for targeting during specific time slots, as is possible through XBox Live and other game ad networks.”

Another way to look at it is through the lenses of experience design field, where cognitive psychology and consumer behavior are taken into the account. David Armano shares a very compact foil set, illustrating this concept on his blog. Experience design requires more “thinking” energy and planning though. With product placements, you are simply rewarded by doing your homework and using the info on where your customers “hang out, lounge and mingle”. With experience design applications, be it an event or a product, it has to do more with a new creation where prior knowledge is practiced. It could be more challenging and time-consuming as production and testing takes time. At the same time, what can be more rewarding than creating a new experience that your audience will definitely engage into and be able to enjoy the connections it builds with your product? The greatest part here is not about the product, but a user, consumer, as he/she is thought of, cared for and catered to!

RFID and Creative Marketing

Wow, now we are talking about great marketing.  Using RFID, Mini Couper marketers talk to Mini Couper drivers and deliver customized messages. See the whole article by NYT. Can you imagine the first reaction of a driver that has not read this article or somehow forgot to remember what he/she signed on for? Creepy feeling of talking objects! Actually, I see the privacy issue come up, but it is nice to get personalized service from your favorite brands, talking to you, checking in with you and reinforcing your loyalty. Interesting aspect of interactive brand “romancing”.

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