The more than 100 million U.S. mobile phone users who access the mobile web from their devices are a significant – yet largely untapped – opportunity for marketers looking to leverage their advertising dollars across new mediums. Whether the mission is sell more products, increase brand awareness or beef up an existing customer database, mobile marketing is proving itself as a viable option for companies of all sizes and across all industries.
Unfortunately, many companies are still stuck in the “text messaging” mindset. They assume that SMS (Short Message Service) ads sent out to prospects’ cell phones are the only mobile technique that works. These marketers are missing the boat – text messaging is the foundation of mobile marketing, but it’s certainly not the only option.
Here are four mobile marketing 2.0 options that you can add to your company’s portfolio right now:
1. Mobile Advertising: Incorporate a call to action or brand banner ad into a mobile application and you’re using mobile advertising. You can get started by embedding text links into your display ads and graphical banners. Typically sold on a CPC (cost per click) system, these ads allow for easy campaign ROI measurement and introduce a young, mobile generation to your company and products. According to digital marketing research firm InsightExpress, these mobile ads perform about five times better than Internet ad placements do, making them especially attractive for companies looking for better response rates from their mobile efforts. Adidas is using a mobile ad campaigns to build brand awareness for its basketball shoe Superstar. Adidas developed graphical banner ads and text link ads aimed at college students and users of its mobile service provider’s network. The company reports that the single campaign drove over 200,000 visitors to its mobile website, where each visitor posted about three page views (and also downloaded more than 100,000 ringtones).
2. Location-Based Mobile Media: Foursquare is one of several companies that are making inroads in the location-based mobile media field. Foursquare allows users to collect points, prize “badges” and coupons for going about their everyday business and for letting other people know exactly what they’re up to. Users link those activities to Twitter, Facebook and other social media outlets, but location-based mobile is also applicable for businesses. Companies use the service to offer promotions, build brand awareness, attract new customers and reward their top clients. Cable network Bravo TV recently used this mobile strategy successfully with a campaign that encouraged users to follow the network on Foursquare, and to check in on New Year’s Eve and have their names and faces appear on-screen during the show.
3. QR Codes: Those odd-looking barcodes that are made up of spots instead of traditional bars are beginning to attract the attention of curious consumers. Also called 2D barcodes, QR codes contain data that can be read or scanned by smart phones. Once scanned, the codes whisk customers off to a website, landing page, mobile website or other destination. Real estate firms are using QR codes to advertise their for-sale listings and retailers are using them to offer mobile coupons. Home Shopping Network (HSN) recently started using this mobile marketing technique by placing QR codes in the corner of the television screen during its sales pitches. Customers who used their phones to scan the codes were delivered to a product page on HSN’s mobile website, and were able to link to a checkout page, enter their credit card numbers and close the deal.
4. Proximity Marketing: If you’ve ever punched a phrase into your mobile web browser and generated a pop-up ad from a local car dealership along with the search results, then you’ve been exposed to the concept of proximity marketing. Also known as “bluecasting” or “Bluetooth marketing,” proximity marketing works well for marketers looking to target current, past and prospective customers in specific geographical locations. One of the newer mobile marketing options, proximity marketing relies on transmitters that are installed in select public locations and target the exact spot where the customer is standing. Sent to the user’s phone, the marketing message includes a request for permission for content to be delivered to the device. A longtime entry on every marketer’s “wish list,” proximity marketing is expected to gain ground over the next few years as users become accustomed to being marketed to via cell phone and mobile device.
As mobile marketing continues to mature, expect to see more ideas and approaches proliferating. Considered affordable and fairly easy to implement, mobile marketing serves as yet another viable option for companies looking to squeeze the most ROI from their advertising dollars.