Face of a Mobile

Have we ever seen a mobile closely. Not really. Because we are all busy with our work. The device is just taken as a tool which helps us to be in touch with eachother on the move. But if we closely examine our mobile, it has a face. A face which has expression. A face which can be used to convey a number of things. A face which we can read. A face which can deliver not only an expression but talks to us as well.

Well I am talking about a mobile from the advertising and marketing perspective. To many it is still a device only used for talking or for SMSs or for downloading ringtones. But actually this face can be used to create a valuable exchange with the consumers. There has been a lot of talk about the potential of mobile marketing, but the reality of the medium has yet to be realized. The biggest question about mobile marketing is what it is good for. There are many applications, but in order to be successful, we need to ask ourselves what will be useful for both advertiser and consumer.

Recently when iPhone was launched it actually jolted our senses about the various possibilities a new form can bring across to us. Now is the time to start thinking about mobile marketing in a compelling and interesting way. But before we start planning campaigns, we have to look at what mobile marketing really is and what things can be created.

Mobile is a “be there at the right time and place” medium. It is more of a pull medium than a push medium. These little computer devices are getting much smarter and more useful, improving the design with better screens, better interfaces, cooler applications and more useful operating systems.

Once marketers understand the broad capabilities mobile advertising offers, the possibilities for reaching new consumers through exciting new ways are endless.

Consumers want instant gratification. Mobile as an ‘ on the go ‘ device can provide instant information which can be useful for the consumers at the right time and right place. After barcodes, QR codes ( Quick Response codes) is going to be the next wave in technology upgradation. Hyperlinks in the form of bar codes ( or QR codes) can now exist in the real world and consumers can get instant information. For example we can use QR codes which come imprinted on the wrapper of a burger. A person who wants to know the nutritional value and other ingredients of the same has to simply click a picture of the QR code through his or her mobile camera and send it to a number ( short codes). Instantly one gets the entire information on the phone. Now there can be many types of information which can be delivered on the face of our mobile be it product information, restaurant menus etc but the same has to be formatted for mobile.

 Widgets such as Weather, games, cams, radio, scoreboards, calendars, mood rings… just about anything you can imagine, are all brandable opportunities. In the days to come consumers can install these lifestyle applications on their mobile and in turn advertisers can innovate with their brands to reach out to these consumers in the most personalized manner.

 In the future mobiles will get even more personalized. They will act as our companions who will respond according to the environment also. What I mean is that a few location-aware applications can actually pick up information from the relevant environment and can remind things to the consumer.

RFID on a phone can create a link between a company and a consumer who wants more information. This same technology can also be used for coupons & discounts all of which can be redeemed at the consumer’s discretion.

As m-commerce gains momentum the mobile will become an ID and its electronic signature will be useful in making consumer lists and building affinity programs.

Apart from whatever technology upgradations are required to get the maximum advantage of our mobiles but as of today also we can use Voice as an excellent marketing opportunity. If   you enter a wine shop and you do not much about wines, how interesting it would be to dial a number from your mobile and you get some excellent suggestions on the types of wines and which wine to buy etc. The possibilities are endless.

I think with the number of mobile users increasing by the day and the target of 500 million by 2010, this medium is actually going to change the face of advertising and marketing in India.

I will leave you with two excellent examples of Mobile campaigns one for Coke in China and the other Orange in UK.
In China, Coke and McDonald’s wanted to innovate an interactive brand image and they tested the concept in the large market of Beijing. TV ads announced a contest in which participants had to guess the highest daily temperature in Beijing. Everyday a one-year free Coke supply and Siemens mobile phones were raffled among those who guessed correctly. Users could also download Coke’s advertising jingle and McDonald’s coupons. The results were that in 35 days, more than 4 million SMS messages were sent to Coca-Cola short code, and the Coke advertising jingle was downloaded nearly 50,000 times as were 19,500 McDonald’s coupons. So there was strong interaction between customers and brand and the results exceeded Coke’s expectations.

In Europe, the telecom giant Orange wanted to strengthen relationships with subscribers and collect more data about them. The company opted for a mobile campaign in which every Wednesday, Orange offered subscribers “two movie tickets for the price of one.” The subscribers were then able to send an SMS message and receive an M-coupon that contained a unique code for redemption. A follow-up SMS message each week was sent to remind subscribers of the ongoing offer and ensure continuous dialogue with customers. The results were that Orange strengthened its relationship by notoriously churning subscribers as they felt they received something personal and of real value. Orange received reports of redeemed coupons, indicating the number and type of movies watched, preferred location (cinema), et cetera. This is very valuable customer data. The theaters were able to build databases as well and participate in the cost of the Orange Wednesday campaign.

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