Mobile marketing is like the game Operation. If you’re spot-on, you make a vital connection with your consumer. If you miss, even by a little, the buzzer goes off, your customer lights up and you lose, not only for this transaction, but maybe for the life of the consumer.
While sitting at home for dinner recently, I got an alert on my phone from my American Express App telling me I’m right near an Italian restaurant in town. Naturally, I think, “why does American Express care? I’m already a loyal customer to their cards.” But I move on and decide to turn off that function. Well, after ten minutes of searching in notifications and other settings, I come to the conclusion that there is no way to turn off the notice. The difficulty in opting out coupled with the fact that I never said I wanted them to notify me could only lead to one thing: I deleted the app.
With mobile usage at an all time high, stories like this one are happening every day, making it a tricky channel for marketers and increasing the need to get it right when it comes to mobile engagement. Here are some questions to ask yourself while you’re developing your mobile strategy:
Did the customer ask to be notified? Whether it’s through an opt-in or an app download, make sure you’re reaching out to customers who are eager to hear from you.
Is my message relevant for that consumer/persona? Using data to drive your messaging will help you hit the target in a timely, meaningful way. A message about a nearby restaurant is less impactful when I’m at home than if I’m at a meeting across town just before lunchtime.
Is there a way within the notification or via text to turn off or limit notifications? If you’re successfully optimizing the mobile channel, it’s not likely customers will want to silence you but customers like to be in control, especially in a space as personal as mobile, so give them some freedom to decide how often they want to hear from you.
Are you creeping out your customers? Beware of automation! Does your offer make sense? Is it well-timed? Mobile is sacred ground for consumers. Tread lightly.
Marketers are scrambling to establish best practices for mobile, particularly when it comes to loyalty. This is a prominent channel but with high risk attached to it. That is, if you’re going to ping customers in the most present, targeted way to reach them, your messaging better be spot on and, most of all, of value to them. And moreover, the consumer needs to feel in control of the engagement process.
Without a carefully thought out strategy that is segmented based on the consumer type, lifestyle, and their technology adoption, more firms are going to find their apps being deleted. The result? Creating more distance between the consumer and the brand in a space that has the potential to greatly increase engagement.
There has never been a better time for businesses that engage in digital marketing to invest in the mobile marketing space. For those that wish that they implemented “opt-in” databases and SMS text message marketing campaigns last year, it is not too late. In fact, the percentage of Americans who own smartphones is steadily increasing and now is the time to develop a business strategy that includes mobile marketing campaigns.
Mobile marketing is evolving at a staggering rate. From a legal perspective, the “opt-in” nature of mobile marketing translates into the knowledge that consumers have already consented to receiving certain commercial marketing communications. For those businesses that wish to implement mobile marketing campaigns, an experienced mobile marketing lawyer should be consulted to explain how best to comply with the Federal Trade Commission, the Federal Communications Commission, and Mobile Marketing Association (“MMA”) guidelines.
The MMA offers best-practice guidelines for mobile content services. As a general rule, when promoting programs via mobile phones, content providers should ensure all material clearly indicates whether the service is a “subscription.” The program’s terms and conditions, the pricing information, additional fees, the subscription term and billing interval also must be clearly and conspicuously disclosed.
In August 2004, the FCC voted to amend the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 to outlaw all commercial e-mail messages to mobile phones and pagers, unless the device owner has given express prior authorization. The ban does not cover “transactional or relationship” messages, or notices to facilitate a transaction already entered into with a customer. All authorized transactional or relationship messages must still comply with CAN-SPAM requirements. Consumers must be allowed to “opt-out” of receiving future messages the same way they “opted-in” and senders have 10 days to honor opt-out requests. For programs charging a subscriber a standard rate for text messaging, only a single “opt-in” is required. This single “opt-in” only applies to the specific program to which a customer subscribed and may not be construed as approval to market other products or services to the customer. However, for ”premium rate” programs, a double “opt-in” verification and consent is required. Where the premium service is a subscription service, the double “opt-in” must include identification of the service as a subscription and the billing interval. In addition, prior to renewal of the service (or at least once a month) a renewal message must be sent to the subscriber.
Mobile marketing SMS and premium SMS sweepstakes promotions are also gaining in popularity. There are three elements to an illegal lottery: (1) consideration or entry fee, (2) prize, and (3) chance. In order to operate a valid sweepstakes in the United States, it is necessary to eliminate one of these elements. Generally, operators eliminate the consideration element. Where entry into a mobile sweepstakes is via premium SMS, you must allow for a free alternative method of entry. There are numerous legal issues that surround what a “free” method of entry truly is. Typically, this is accomplished by either providing a toll-free number for entry or by allowing free entry via a Web site. Individuals entering the sweepstakes via the designated “free” method must be given the same opportunities to win as those individuals who enter via premium SMS. In addition, marketers must provide the complete official contest rules prior to the potential entrant’s submission of an entry. Contest rules should be reviewed by an experienced online promotions attorney because once a sweepstakes is commenced, the rules for that contest may not be modified until the conclusion of the contest period. Regardless of the method of entry, states such as Florida, New York and Rhode Island require bonding or registration of the sweepstakes in the event that the aggregate prize value exceeds a particular threshold.
Experienced legal counsel can assist your progressive mobile marketing campaign(s) to comply with evolving local, state, and federal laws and regulations pertaining to legal disclosures, privacy, and data collection. The unprecedented financial benefits of implementing a mobile marketing campaign necessarily come with risks. Hinch Newman LLP is committed to ensuring the growth and vitality of your advertising and promotional endeavors. The firm will assist you to successfully navigate the legal landmines that could otherwise lead to government and regulatory investigations, or costly litigation.
Some industries absolutely must use mobile marketing to survive, but using it well can be difficult. There is so much to learn both on the marketing side and the technical side. Read on to learn how you can easily and effectively integrate mobile marketing into your business plan.
Older cellphones cannot properly display the same sites as newer smartphones or tablets, so your links need to lead to different sites for different phones. If you use a flash player on your website, only provide the cellular link.
Do not send too many offers on mobile platforms. Stick to the essential ones. With this you know that your customers will not tire from your messages and look for to see all you have to offer.
It is important to have your own dedicated short code. The price tag is higher, but this will help to protect your brand. Doing this will also protect you legally.
Every successful mobile campaign should have a home base. Your mobile presence should be about driving people to the home base, or keeping in touch with people who already visit your home base. Do not ever base everything completely on a mobile marketing campaign.
Remember who you are talking to if you are going to make phone calls, they are people whose lives you are interrupting. Realize that is an issue and act accordingly.
Check to verify that your mobile web site works on every popular mobile web browser in use. It’s important that your messages work no matter what type of phone your customer is using. It’s going to be a lot easier for you to use a simplified message, rather than trying to make a custom message work across all platforms. Mobile marketing and the KISS principle work well together.
Be sure to test mobile websites and ads on multiple mobile devices. Some mobile devices use special browsers, and others have limitations based on their screen size or resolution. Your website and content might look different on each device. Your mobile marketing campaign should be tested on all popular devices, to be sure that it looks right on each one.
Creating a mobile app with lots of helpful information for your target market is a great mobile marketing strategy. Any apps that give users helpful hints or useful information are wildly popular. You can use your app as a lead-generation tool for other products, or sell the app directly for profit.
Understanding how mobile marketing works is very important if you want to use it to help your business reach as many people as possible. The points in this article have hopefully given you a better understanding of how mobile marketing can work for your business. Use the pointers presented here as a starting point.
Mobile bar codes are increasingly gaining momentum and companies such as Toys R Us and Glamour are placing them on billboards and walls – providing consumers another way to shop their favorite products.
Although the technology is still emerging, it certainly has the opportunity to change the way consumers shop. Brands and marketers are beginning to see the potential of mobile bar codes and are using them in their marketing strategies.
“The immediacy of being able to purchase something you see advertised in a magazine or other out-of-home signage allows consumers to conveniently purchase the product on-the-spot, without having to search or step foot into a store,” said Nicole Skogg, CEO of SpyderLynk, New York .
“We believe that the use of mobile bar codes overall, especially mcommerce-enabled bar codes, will continue to grow as consumers become more familiar with the technology,” she said. “Adoption rates will also continue to grow as marketers think more strategically about the use of bar codes and become more focused on delivering value.
“Well-executed, mobile bar codes drive consumer consideration and help position a brand as relevant and enticing. Poorly executed mobile bar codes, at best, serve to frustrate consumers and, at worst, are ignored all together.”
On the go shopping
Last year, Toys R Us rolled out a virtual store that let consumers scan QR codes featured on billboards and shop the company’s 2011 Hot Toy List.
On-the-go commuters and travelers in the New York metro area were encouraged to take part in the initiative. The billboards were located in John F. Kennedy International Airport, LaGuardia Airport and nearly 40 NJ Transit Stations feature the showcased items (see story).
Most recently, Glamour unveiled its Apothecary Wall that features products from Unilever and Juicy Couture.
The Apothecary Wall has SpyderLynk Snaptags next to each product. Users are encouraged to download Glamour’s Friends & Fans iPhone app to scan the mobile bar code and buy the featured product right then and there.
“Placement is critical to success in adoption rates,” Ms. Skogg said. “One of our key messages to our clients is that the placement of a mobile bar code will drive usage.
“Engaged media such as magazines, email, online and street teams at events will drive higher response rates than passive media such as event displays and out-of-home signage like a billboard – which is typically passed by rather than viewed from a closer proximity while standing still, making it difficult for consumers to engage,” she said. “There are much more creative ways to deploy bar codes with the Apothecary Wall being an excellent example.
“Glamour’s innovative use of the Apothecary Wall allowed them to extend the reach of the magazine, while making it fun for consumers to shop on-the-spot. By recreating a shopping isle with a 2D design, the Apothecary Wall was intuitive, approachable and easy for consumers to interact with.”
There is an increase in the sophistication of mobile bar codes and their implementation compared to last year.
Brands and marketers are incorporating mobile bar codes across their entire marketing mix.
This comprehensive approach to mobile is giving marketers the ability to model, segment and better target consumers.
Mobile commerce-enabled mobile bar codes give retailers the opportunity to extend the reach of their bricks-and-mortar retail outlets.
“We are beginning to see mobile bar codes have an impact on the retail experience however, there is still much consumer education and awareness needed for mobile bar codes to really change the way consumers shop,” said Laura Marriott, CEO of NeoMedia Technologies, Boulder, CO.
“Many major global brands and retailers, such as Calvin Klein, McDonalds, Macy’s and Target, have helped to increase this awareness by taking advantage of the ability mobile bar codes provide to bring engagement and interactivity to a consumer’s experience with a brand,” she said.
“By simply scanning the mobile bar code, consumers can instantly access an unlimited amount of data on the brand and product of interest – from product information and reviews to special offers – but further integration with a brand or retailer’s existing loyalty, CRM or couponing implementations will also help to drive consumer uptake.”
According to Ms. Marriott, mobile bar codes provide an easy, instant means to connect with the brand.
“I believe we will see significant uptake of these services,” Ms. Marriott said. “Mobile bar codes still have a bit of the newness factor and are fun to engage with, which definitely also helps to drive interactions.
“And making the shopping experience even more accessible to consumers via mobile bar codes, is definitely a winning combination,” she said. “We do expect to see these types of initiatives becoming more commonplace in the next year, which will help consumers become more comfortable with using their mobile to scan and buy on the go.
“In 2012 we should expect to see a rise in mobile bar code scanning implementations resulting in greater consumer participation, expanded loyalty initiatives and an overall enhanced consumer experience when in-store – much more than a simple resolution to a Web URL. Coupled with this, we expect to see hardware solutions in retail support mobile bar code scanning on a much wider basis in 2012.”
Mobile bar codes make shoppers more intelligent wherever they may be.
Consumers access more relevant content based on what their specific interests.
Additionally, with mobile bar codes shoppers can now access product reviews and price comparisons via their mobile device. This allows them to make more informed decisions on the spot when making a purchase.
“We do see some customers getting more comfortable buying products on their mobile devices, but we are not at the mass adoption level yet,” said Mike Wehrs, CEO of Scanbuy, New York. “Thousands of people made purchases through our app over the holidays as they were scanning UPC codes from products, but there are many ways for retailers to harness that activity.
“Virtual shops are a growing phenomenon which can really enable someone to buy from anywhere,” he said.
Young people between the ages of 18 and 24 are even more connected to their mobile devices than you might think.
Nine in 10 young adults spend between one and five hours on their mobile devices daily. Nearly one in 10, meanwhile, are on their gadgets between five and ten hours each day. Just under a third would actually like for brands to send them promotions via smartphone and tablet, but more than half say that it’s “extremely important” to be able to opt out of such come-ons.
This is all according to a study by mobile interaction and payment agency mBlox, which commissioned a December study of more than 4,000 young mobile users in the United States and United Kingdom. According to mBlox’s chief marketing officer Michele Turner, the research provides important insight as advertising and marketing to people on the go continues to proliferate.
“With 2012 largely being seen as the advent of mobile commerce, this research helps validate the huge revenue potentials for brands and an appetite by consumers for mobile marketing,” Turner said in a statement.
In just one illustration of mobile’s importance to advertisers and marketers, Google reported that mobile devices accounted for 41% of searches for Super Bowl TV ads during the game earlier this month.
But brands need to be careful about how they target those mobile users and how much knowledge they reveal about them. While 30% of survey respondents said they want offers to be located nearby, two-thirds said they don’t want brands knowing their whereabouts. More than half worry about their credit card information being stolen, and nearly half fret the risk of signing up for fake websites.