• January 4, 2007
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Texting to Profits

Seventy-nine percent of consumers find mobile ads annoying, but early efforts at mobile marketing reveal that consumers will happily engage in campaigns if the information is relevant and valuable. According to a new report released by Forrester Research, "Is the US Ready for Mobile Marketing?," a growing number of consumers are shifting from voice-only mobile services to other activities, creating an audience for mobile marketing. Thirty-five percent of U.S. households that own a mobile phone currently engage in text messaging and 11 percent access the mobile Internet, according to the report. To combat the preconditioned skepticism surrounding phone-based marketing, marketers must recognize that mobile marketing is about offering value, not interrupting consumers with unmoving and irrelevant ads, or bombarding them with mass advertising. "To avoid the perception of mobile spam, marketers must work with the unique elements of the mobile channel itself and the relevance of their message," says Christine Overby, principal analyst at Forrester Research and coauthor of the report. In contrast to other channels, mobile phones are highly integrated into people's daily activities and physical environment, she says. "This means that marketers can embrace the real-world connections with relevant location-based services and campaigns that tie mobile and on-premise advertising." Overby says a number of forward-looking brands have already successfully employed multimedia messaging, mobile Web browsers, and downloadable applications and content to reach consumers via mobile phones. McDonald's placed mobile ads on Web sites like Match.com, and saw higher-than-average click-through rates due to a highly relevant offer: mobile coupons valid between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. Overby also points to Broadway Marketplace, a small Cambridge, MA, grocer, that replaced its card-based loyalty program with one that uses mobile phones to identify the shopper. This approach allows Broadway Marketplace to deliver promotions based on a shopper's purchase history directly to that shopper's mobile phone. Eighty-two percent of Broadway's shoppers now belong to this program, with 64 percent taking part on a regular basis. "Broader data adoption is finally providing marketers with a real opportunity to reach customers, particularly the young and socially connected," Overby says. "But marketers must adopt to a more nuanced campaign approach in order to reach these consumers due to the highly personal and intrusive nature of the mobile medium." Related articles: A New Marketing Medium
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