Monday, May 21, 2007

2007 Advertisers’ Dream: Mobile Marketing

Image courtesy of http://www.3g.co.uk/ All logos, graphics and trademarks are the property of their respective owners, and subject to copyright.

Why not? Almost everyone with purchasing power has a mobile phone that is on him/her 24/7 and unlike email (where there are spam filters, or can be reviewed by PAs) mobile users usually check all their messages.

Typically all brands want in on this new medium that seems ideal at face value, here are the top 10 reasons for mobile marketing:

  1. Telecom companies have the profile of most (if not all) their subscribers
  2. Most telecom companies can track the location of their users (allowing for location based advertising)
  3. Mobile phones are personal (used by one person only)
  4. Mobile phones are an interactive medium (allowing users to request more information and purchase products directly)
  5. It costs very little money to send mass messages to mobile phones
  6. Mobile phones are multimedia enabled (allowing for audio visual communications)
  7. Mobile phones have low quality screens (allowing for low cost production unlike TVCs)
  8. Mobile phones allow for viral distribution of advertising messages
  9. Mobile advertising is considered hip and innovative for brands
  10. Mobile phones allow advertisers to alert their audience instantly (with zero media lead time) 24/7

But why should consumers accept it? If I paid to buy a phone line and pay for usage, what gives companies the right to send me spam SMS, and why should I accept them?

I’m not an expert with mobile marketing but have been working in the telecom advertising field for a while, so here are a few thoughts on why I would accept receiving ads (otherwise I would simply change mobile provider, or harass customer service with complaints).

  1. I would be glad to receive ads provided the advertisers subsidize my phone bill – By charging a small fee to advertisers telecom companies can make profit while at the same time subsidize phone bills i.e. customers can get 20cents off their phone bill for every advertisement they receive by SMS or MMS, this would make advertisers want to send more relevant targeted messages to ensure ROI
  2. I would not mind receiving ads that are un-interruptive, i.e. product placement in mobile games or downloaded content
  3. Sometimes I want to receive specific ads, including Bluetooth messaging that I may request in certain locations or visit sites on the mobile internet through services like qode
  4. Receiving SMS ads from your service providers are always accepted usually because users feel that these are notifications from the network owners – these typically include SMS messages informing users of certain offers or discounts on call rates, content, or data services
  5. People interested in specific services/brands can subscribe to mobile content feeds which can be based on SMS, MMS, or location based services allowing users to receive messages informing them of interesting shops/restaurants/bars in their vicinity
  6. I don’t mind viewing ads that do not alert me as incoming SMS/MMS messages for example operators can have a certain section on their mobile portal labeled as “latest offers”
  7. If I like certain brands I would download their content (video, music, or images) to my mobile phone myself

Yes mobile advertising has a lot of potential but can result in very negative brand equity if it’s perceived as spam. Brands should definitely utilize this medium, but they should do so smartly and looking at it from a ‘what’s in it for the customer’ perspective more than any other medium because they are literally stepping into people’s personal space and ethically they cannot do so unprompted.


Thursday, May 3, 2007

CRM: Customer Repulsion Management

Let us abuse you in order to serve you better.



Long gone are the days when you walk into a shop, pick up an item, pay for it and leave. Not without giving a full biography with full name, email address, telephone number, address, country of residence, hobbies, and the occasional tick box of ‘would you like to receive information about us or from carefully selected third parties’ – all of this is followed by a confirmation email that includes a link which you have to click on to verify.

How many times did you have to fill forms to register, sign-up, or subscribe for things on the internet in the past six months? And how many different usernames, passwords and PIN codes do you currently have?

CRM or what was known as Customer Relationship Management was intended to enable better individual customer management and personalization. In order to jump on the bandwagon all companies started to collect data and ensure that all customers submit all their bio details before getting what they want. Most of these companies only use this data to send you a generic mass produced letter merely mentioning your name after ‘dear’ on the top, and of course with a scanned signature of the senior customer relations director. Not only that most companies are now providing loyalty cards that you need to carry on you all the time just in case you pass next to their store and want to buy something (as if our wallets are not big enough already).

Some companies are now trying to play smart, and fool the customer by showing a simple sign-up form on the page and only after you fill that and give you a few more detailed forms.

Why not have one large database that all companies tap into through their back end system and all you have is one username and password to identify you? If all websites on the internet can interact with each other why do we have to interact with everything separately?

Google, Oracle, SAP, Microsoft… please do something.