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Unlock the Mobile Data Treasure Chest

By: NMK Created on: May 31st, 2007
Bookmark this article with: Delicious Digg StumbleUpon

Lee Bowden of Piri details the stepping stones to making money from mobile marketing.

Lee Bowden of Piri details the stepping stones to making money from mobile marketing.

A number of researchers and practitioners have found that mobile marketing can be up to four times more effective than traditional direct marketing methods*. The key to unlock this treasure chest of encouraging customers to purchase mobile services and content is firstly the quality of data used to send them advertising and promotional SMS and MMS messages. Poor data leads to poor results, a loss of customer respect in your brand, no positive 'buzz' nor the right reaction and no required call-to-action.

Lee Bowden

The prerequisite for unlocking the mobile data treasure chest is therefore to develop data policies that customers can trust, putting them in control of their own personal data. This is particularly important when a third party is involved in communicating with them on your behalf. Do your customers agree with a third party handling your data, and have you told them who, how and why the data will be used? Have you initially said, "Hello!" to them in order to engage in a two-way conversation so that they get messages that they really want to receive?

Although mobile marketing is still quite young compared to the other channels, there is a fantastic opportunity to capture customer data in ways that have never been possible before, especially in the business-to-consumer (B2C) markets. In comparison to the more hesitant and cautious business-to-business (B2B) sector, they are more willing, experienced and enthusiastic about mobile marketing. B2B agencies remain fearful; they are being more cautious about engaging with it, and the B2B sector's expectations are much higher than those of most consumers. There is often some cross-over too, with business mobile phones doubling up as personal handsets and thereby causing some resistance.

B2B agencies primarily feel that mobile marketing could damage the customer relationships that are the lifeblood of their industry, but this doesn't have to be the case if a campaign is executed appropriately. Consumers are more willing to give companies data such as their mobile phone numbers. They are used to getting SMS messages that they've agreed to receive, and therefore it has become an acceptable medium through which to accept promotional messages. So how can things change in the B2B space? Educating B2B marketers to solve their fears and those of their customers about its use is perhaps the first step.

The proliferation of devices like the BlackBerry and smartphones continues, enabling richer content formats to be delivered, the potential for using mobile marketing as a data capture, lead generation and brand growth platform within the business-to-business community, whether for targeted advertising messages, the redemption of coupons, or competitions is set to increase. Currently SMS messages are being used in this sector to alert delegates to events at trade shows. Technology has moved on from the diabolical experience of WAP, and now the mobile internet is becoming more popular; this provides new opportunities to capture B2B and B2C customer data and to build a better brand experience.

Both sectors can take advantage of using SMS in conjunction with the mobile internet. In fact mobile marketing, and the process of capturing mobile customer data, isn't something that can just work on its own. It should be integrated into other forms of marketing like brochures, websites (where customers can download a voucher and then redeem them with their mobile phones), and in online and traditional media advertising (radio, TV, magazines and newspapers).

The capture of mobile customer data will lead to improved customer insight, campaign development (what worked and what didn't, and this may reflect upon data quality), and customer segmentation. The next major challenge is to measure the campaigns effectively by collating the right performance data, such as content downloads, direct responses either to a call centre, opt-in rates or SMS replies relating to the campaign for some other reason. All of this data is like gold coins in a treasure chest, when all together it's hard to visualise their true impact.

However, campaign performance granularity can be achieved by using a mobile marketing dashboard to assess and manage each and every process. Dashboards can also ensure compliance to current legislation and mobile marketing best practices. You can and will only be able to unlock the treasure chest with an effective customer data capture and management strategy. After all, there won't be a marketing buzz if you can't connect with your customers in the right way, with the right messaging at the right time. The look and feel is secondary to data.

*See the Aerodeon research paper 'How to develop a mobile marketing strategy - Integrating mobile into the mix to increase brand awareness, generate leads and win sales'.

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