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Mobile Marketing: What’s in it for Operators and Consumer-focused Enterprises?

Marketing and advertising has been an essential form of communication through which Consumer-focused enterprises educate and create awareness amongst their consumers. Traditionally, they had been using Print, Direct Mailers and Billboard displays until the dawn of Internet. The mass adoption of Internet and the Web 2.0 era resulted in these companies increasing the share of their Ad-spend on Online based Marketing & Advertising campaigns.

Today, mobile is the king! There is no other mass media like Mobile that has a ubiquitous presence amongst consumers. Consumer-focused enterprises have increased their focus on Mobile as a channel to reach out to their consumers through effective Marketing Campaigns. But Mobile Marketing still has not reached its tipping point due to various reasons.

Why hasn’t Mobile Marketing ticked yet with the Consumer-focused Companies? With the current economic climate, companies will want to make sure their marketing dollars yield the expected RoI with maximum reach. We see that they are sticking to their time-tested marketing channels. So far Mobile Marketing meant push-based SMS marketing or pull based Banner inserts into Applications and Mobile Sites (an imitation of the Online Marketing/Advertising strategy). This strategy, though may reach masses, may not really work for the Mobile channel. A mobile phone, being a personal device, is all about relevance and context. If the consumer receives a marketing message relating to what he wants to see, when he wants to see and where he wants to see, I am sure the consumer is going to respond to it.

Why is Mobile as a Marketing channel unique?
  • There is no other marketing channel than can be a direct response channel like the Mobile. The interactivity it can drive by enabling consumers to respond to the marketing messages is by far one of the biggest advantages of Mobile channel.
  • In these rough economic conditions, consumers are always looking for ways to save money and they always want to save time and be smart. Mobile as a marketing & advertising channel can easily enable companies to offer something of value and relevance to the consumers and provide it to them when they need it wherever they happen to be.
  • Mobile Marketing is simply beyond push-based information (thru Ad Banners and SMSes). It can be an effective tool to - Collect information about the consumers (Ex: Through Text to Win campaigns, marketers can collect information anything from Zip Code to Age); Provide simple (but relevant information) to the consumers (Ex: Mobile-optimized sites providing product information, Deal information etc); Drive Interactivity (Ex: Click to make a Call to the Care/Sales agent, Click to get the nearest location, click to download some goodies etc).
  • The Mobile Marketing channel offers a variety of delivery channels for the marketing communications and the marketers have the flexibility of choosing the channel (or a combination of channels) they want to use to reach out to the consumers on the basis of what is effective, relevant and that which makes economic-sense to them. Some mobile marketing delivery approaches like “proximity marketing” (Thanks to WiFi and Bluetooth!!) do not require the end user to spend a dime and hence they are even more likely to be adopted by your mobile audience.

What is in it for Operators? I believe Mobile Operators play a very vital role in making Mobile Marketing and Advertising a successful ecosystem which creates value not only for the Consumer-focused enterprises and their consumers but for themselves by means of a new revenue stream. The relevance (may be it user relevance, location relevance or context relevance) can be more effectively provided only by the Operator. The effectiveness of this relevance goes a long way in determining the success of a Mobile Marketing campaign for a marketer and also determines a consumer’s responsiveness to such a campaign. Mobile Marketing can become a new revenue generating tool for the Operators and enable them to offer a new enterprise service because most of the Operator’s customers are customers of those Enterprises too!

While a number of brands and companies have made investments in mobile as a marketing tool, they still remain an exception in this whole new ecosystem. I believe most of the enterprises and brands (not to mention the Operators themselves) are not yet convinced about the potential that mobile as a marketing channel holds.

What do you think are the major reason for why Mobile Marketing has not yet ticked?  

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