Unlock the Mobile Data Treasure Chest

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

A number of researchers and practitioners have found thatmobile marketing can be up to four times more effective thantraditional direct marketing methods*. The key to unlock thistreasure chest of encouraging customers to purchase mobileservices and content is firstly the quality of data used to sendthem advertising and promotional SMS and MMS messages. Poor dataleads to poor results, a loss of customer respect in your brand,no positive 'buzz' nor the right reaction and norequired call-to-action.

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

Although mobile marketing is still quite young compared tothe other channels, there is a fantastic opportunity to capturecustomer data in ways that have never been possible before,especially in the business-to-consumer (B2C) markets. Incomparison to the more hesitant and cautiousbusiness-to-business (B2B) sector, they are more willing,experienced and enthusiastic about mobile marketing. B2Bagencies remain fearful; they are being more cautious aboutengaging with it, and the B2B sector's expectations are muchhigher than those of most consumers. There is often somecross-over too, with business mobile phones doubling up aspersonal handsets and thereby causing some resistance.

B2B agencies primarily feel that mobile marketing coulddamage the customer relationships that are the lifeblood oftheir industry, but this doesn't have to be the case if acampaign is executed appropriately. Consumers are more willingto give companies data such as their mobile phone numbers. Theyare used to getting SMS messages that they've agreed toreceive, and therefore it has become an acceptable mediumthrough which to accept promotional messages. So how can thingschange in the B2B space? Educating B2B marketers to solve theirfears and those of their customers about its use is perhaps thefirst step.

The proliferation of devices like the BlackBerry andsmartphones continues, enabling richer content formats to bedelivered, the potential for using mobile marketing as a datacapture, lead generation and brand growth platform within thebusiness-to-business community, whether for targeted advertisingmessages, the redemption of coupons, or competitions is set toincrease. Currently SMS messages are being used in this sectorto alert delegates to events at trade shows. Technology hasmoved on from the diabolical experience of WAP, and now themobile internet is becoming more popular; this provides newopportunities to capture B2B and B2C customer data and to builda better brand experience.

Both sectors can take advantage of using SMS in conjunctionwith the mobile internet. In fact mobile marketing, and theprocess of capturing mobile customer data, isn't somethingthat can just work on its own. It should be integrated intoother forms of marketing like brochures, websites (wherecustomers can download a voucher and then redeem them with theirmobile phones), and in online and traditional media advertising(radio, TV, magazines and newspapers).

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

However, campaign performance granularity can be achieved byusing a mobile marketing dashboard to assess and manage each andevery process. Dashboards can also ensure compliance to currentlegislation and mobile marketing best practices. You can andwill only be able to unlock the treasure chest with an effectivecustomer data capture and management strategy. After all, therewon't be a marketing buzz if you can't connect with yourcustomers in the right way, with the right messaging at theright time. The look and feel is secondary to data.

*See the Aerodeon research paper 'How to develop a mobilemarketing strategy – Integrating mobile into the mix to increasebrand awareness, generate leads and win sales'.

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