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At Their Fingertips: Putting Your Ads in Their Hands

15 Jan, 2010 By: Pat Cauley Response


Harber contends that the mobile world has learned from the online world in that there is no spam E-mail-like translation to SMS/mobile web. “For SMS there are very strict guidelines and any mobile operator can turn off any advertiser or brand that’s trying to engage with customers or prospects if they don’t follow the rules,” he says.

As always, it’s key to know your customers. “Not everyone has an unlimited text messaging plan. And those who don’t and receive text messages as part of marketing pay for them, which is awful,” King says.

Mobile marketing has also evolved a long way from the practices of traditional direct mail. “Direct response marketers need to know right out of the gate that you just can’t go buy a list with mobile. It’s a permission-based channel. You must receive a consumer’s opt-in before initiating communication with them through the mobile phone,” says Becker.

Mobile Lessons Learned
Companies such as Chevy, HBO and Wiley Publishing have enjoyed immense success from their mobile efforts (see sidebar, page 43). However, as with all forms of marketing, you’re bound to also find some flops. “Since mobile is such a personal method of marketing, it is important that the customer sees the value in a mobile campaign. However, not all marketers understand that,” says Todes.

An example he gave was a restaurant owner client in Los Angeles. “We had difficulty convincing him to offer a substantial reward to individuals who opted in to receive SMS promotions from his restaurant,” he says. “Instead, he chose to offer a 5-percent discount off the recipient’s meal — and we’re talking a place where the average meal ticket was approximately $8, so that’s a savings of 40 cents. Not surprisingly, the campaign failed on all counts.”

Todes also stressed the importance of integrating mobile campaigns within other media channels. “We had a client who wanted to promote his SMS campaign only using little slips of paper handed out at the register,” he explains. “He ended up giving away discounts only to those customers that were already in there and were ready to pay full price. He didn’t see the benefit in promoting the SMS campaign in his local newspaper or on the door hangtags that he was already canvassing the neighborhood with. Had he integrated his mobile call-to-action with these other ads, I’m convinced the campaign would’ve been much more successful.”

The Mobile Preference or ‘Why Don’t You Just Text Me?’
As the mobile space continues to mature, marketers must keep a close eye. Communication habits are constantly changing. In fact, consumers are much more likely to text their friends now than place a phone call. “We’ve finally moved away from mobile marketing experimentation into the realm that brands and marketing agencies have come to understand that we now need to start leveraging the technology that customers are using to talk to themselves with,” explains Becker. “According to Nielsen Mobile, for instance, average users send 480 text messages but use just 187 voice minutes per month. So text messaging on average has become the primary communication on mobile phones, not voice.”

This shift could signify changes in consumers phone interactions across the board. Even while watching TV, consumers may or may not have their laptops readily available, but you can almost bet on the fact that their phones are within reaching distance. Have you incorporated a text code into the end of your TV spot so consumers can simply text for more info?

“We did an interactive TV campaign for a TV station in L.A. One of the things that we found with that was when given multiple ways to interact with that campaign, whether it be online, telephone or actually the mobile component of the telephone, the mobile component — just a simple text message of back and forth interaction — was, far and away, the preferred method,” says Harber.

From TiVo to iPods to the Internet, the rapid decline in consumer attentiveness toward traditional media hasn’t been an accident. To ensure your message isn’t tuned out, perhaps now it’s time to turn your attention to that little device that’s attached to your customer almost 24-7.

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