One of the fastest-growing advertising segments these days is mobile media. It’s not surprising, given our collective, increasing reliance on cell phones and PDAs and the exploding choices in mobile marketing opportunities.
With mobile marketing you can market a business or product simply by sending a text message via cell phone or handheld device to consumers or by running an ad asking customers to send a text to receive information or promotions for a product.
In many parts of the world, including Spain, France, and Japan, a majority of mobile users are receiving ads on their mobile gadgets. In tech-loving Japan, a reported 44 percent of mobile users actually go one step further and respond to these ads. The research firm The Yankee Group reports that of the more than 350 billion text (or SMS) messages sent every month, more than 15 percent are marketing messages.
Estimates put the global mobile ad market at some $4 billion last year, with mobile devices outnumbering TV screens now by more than 2-to-1 and Internet users by nearly 3-to-1. According to the international trade group the Mobile Marketing Association, there are more than twice as many mobile phones in use worldwide (2.4 billion) than landlines.
Mobile marketing campaigns are used not only to raise brand awareness and drive business and revenue but to generate opt-in customer databases and boost customer loyalty. Many mobile campaigns use tie-ins with large, established electronic or print media in a particular market, such as a newspaper or TV or radio station, to maximize the effectiveness of their messages.
For example, Gannett Co.’s local TV station in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul market, KARE/Channel 11, has initiated a number of successful mobile campaigns on behalf of its clients. One such client for which it launched a recent mobile push is Hoigaard’s, a retailer in the Twin Cities area, specializing in outdoor sports and camping equipment.
For the retailer, KARE ran TV commercials for two days with a text message at the end, encouraging people to text “tent” to get a discount coupon coinciding with the retailer’s weekend tent sale.
Why did the client opt to use mobile as part of its marketing outreach to customers? Says KARE ad sales director Andrea Yoch, “They wanted to really give people an easy incentive to shop their two-day sale. They knew their customers are very active and busy,” hence the idea that the retailer would grab its hard-to-pin-down target on the go. The campaign targeted active adults ages 25 to 54.
Costs vary, of course, according to the size of the campaign, the size of the market it’s being initiated within, and the longevity of the campaign. “It can be as big or small as a client wants,” Yoch explains, noting that while the Hoigaard’s campaign only ran a couple of days, another of the station’s mobile campaigns, for the Science Museum of Minnesota, ran for a month. Typically, though, such campaigns have a duration of about 10 days, Yoch adds.
One thing that makes these campaigns easy and cost-effective to initiate is that clients can deal directly with the vendor. For example, all of the campaigns KARE has launched have been negotiated and planned directly with clients, without the middleman of an ad agency, as Yoch points out.
“The secret ingredient to a successful campaign seems to be a meaningful offer back to the consumer,” Yoch says. “If you are sending them a coupon or doing a register-to-win, it seems to have a much stronger response rate.”