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Direct Response Marketing

DR Gets Smart About Mobile

1 Jan, 2011 By: Nicole Urso Reed Response

Multi-channel advertising becomes a real life, sci-fi adventure thanks to the explosion of smartphones, with Apple, Android and Blackberry leading the way.

Tom Cruise fans will recall the classic scene in Steven Spielberg’s futuristic thriller “Minority Report” when lead character John Anderton walks through a shopping mall and a barrage of interactive, three-dimensional LED displays recognize and target him with personalized advertisements for Lexus, Guinness and American Express. When the movie was released in 2002, the notion of intelligent, individualized marketing seemed like a figment of Hollywood. Today, that scene is an uncanny glimpse of a future not too far from what mobile marketing technology — especially utilizing the booming smartphone market — has already achieved.

iSign Media, headquartered in Toronto, describes itself as a pioneer in interactive Bluetooth marketing. Its kiosks deliver marketing messages to Bluetooth-enabled mobile devices anywhere from three to 300 feet away. Unsolicited prompts are delivered to users who opt in to view the ad. Privacy issues are tempered by the fact that these Bluetooth prompts use a smartphone’s unique address to deliver the message for free, not the user’s phone number or email address.

With each message, they can choose to ignore, accept or decline the ad, giving them the flexibility to control who, when and how they receive messages,” says Alex Romanov, iSign Media president and CEO. “After making a selection, our system can capture the response and logs it for future analysis.”

Consumers specify the types of products they like and enroll in loyalty programs with preferred retailers to customize the ads they receive. “If the consumer becomes a loyalty member to that store, ads can be customized to their shopping needs,” says Romanov. “Logic can be put into place to build profiles and have ads aligning to these profiles, such as sporting goods, makeup, etc. If a phone user accepts more ads that fit a given profile, then ads within this profile can be targeted to that individual phone user.”

iSign has received more than 2,500 orders for software licenses, and half will be integrated into kiosks owned by partners, including IBM, BlueStar and AOpen. There’s a pilot project currently running in Hawaii as the company plans to introduce Bluetooth marketing to several (undisclosed) U.S. cities in the near future.

Romanov also plans to bring his mobile technology to the television. “We are working on a solution to advertise from TV set top boxes and IPTV [Internet-enabled television], which will make TV advertising more measurable and accountable. Our goal is to be both an out-of-home and in-home advertising and data gathering solution to mobile devices with our patent pending solutions.”

It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Mobile

The 2010 holiday season may finally put an end to the debate over whether mobile marketing has arrived. According to the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA), 59 percent of mobile users surveyed said they would use their mobile phone for holiday shopping. Several of the nation’s largest retailers, including Target and JCPenney, sent special offers and mobile coupons to their customers, and the National Retail Federation (NRF) cited mobile shopping as one of the top 10 holiday trends of the year.

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