Mobile Marketing Trends 2009
Mobile marketing is one of those things always on top of mind of the neo-age marketer. Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) recently started their Asia chapter with the hiring of lone ranger Rohit Dadwal as Managing Director. I caught up with him the other day near the bungee at Clarke Quay in Singapore (symbolic to the economic and market conditions), by the river- and we discussed on the digital media industry, amongst other things.
Before leaving, I promised to cover MMA on Chasing The Storm blogzine. Two reasons for this- as a keen Digital Media industry trendwatcher since a decade, I’ve been following the Growth of mobile marketing curiously. The second reason being that- I think in 2009, many start-ups will enter this space as service providers or use this space for marketing and business purposes.
CTS (chasingthestorm.com) asked some questions (crude as ever) to Rohit, and he came back with well crafted answers with the help of his media department (professional as ever). Here is the discussion-
Shalabh Pandey:What are the exciting things to look forward to in 2009 as far as mobile marketing is concerned?
Rohit Dadwal:SMS will enjoy steady growth in 2009. The simplicity, ubiquity of handset support and continued growth in user adoption globally means that SMS will continue to be a key part of mobile marketing campaigns.
The global economic downturn may cause brands to rethink their advertising strategies and place spend in mediums where they have had proven and quantifiable successes. With this is mind, we can expect to continue to see adoption by brands who have already engaged with the mobile channel. In 2009, the brands who have established initial interaction with consumers need to maintain this dialogue and continue to interact with their consumer base.
Other key trends that we expect to see develop in 2009 are:
· The growing use of mobile social networking applications as consumers stay in touch with friends while on the go
· The development of unique ad formats that play to mobile’s strengths (“made for mobile”), rather than borrowing or repurposing concepts from the PC
· Mobile search marketing will continue to increase in importance
· More consistency in metrics and measurement
· Location-based services (LBS) will form an increasingly important part in mobile marketing campaigns
· Augmented reality based on visual codes
Shalabh Pandey: In true ‘list style’ blogging, can you list 3 important applications on mobile marketing that are promising?
Rohit Dadwal:Results from our MMA Annual Global Attitude and Usage Study highlight the top three applications of mobile marketing in Asia Pacific as being:
· Mobile couponing
· Status alerts regarding current accounts or products owned
· Alerts for special sales and discounts
Shalabh Pandey: How does MMA make money? And what does it aim to achieve?
Rohit Dadwal:The MMA drives the majority of its revenue from membership dues but also looks to events and sponsorships to round out the revenue opportunities. The MMA is the association for mobile marketing and media and focuses on educating and evangelizing the use of the mobile channel as well as establishing guidelines and best practices for sustainable market development.
Shalabh Pandey:Why this shift to mobile and why now? (People have been predicting a breakout year for mobile marketing for several years now) What are the recent changes that you think will make it different anytime soon?
Rohit Dadwal:Mobile offers brands a way to create a dialogue of interaction with their consumer that is personal, relevant and targeted, and the results of mobile campaigns are more tangible and measurable than those from other mediums. The take-up of fast 3G services and vastly improved device interfaces have improved the user experience for millions of mobile subscribers, and as the technology reaches a point of maturity, it is only natural that the next phase of mobile is all about content, rich media, and the convenience of converged services.
The convergence of content such as music, applications, games and growth of the mobile internet is attracting brands to mobile as a viable marketing platform. In the next five years, it will be unusual for a brand not to have a mobile presence, integrated into their existing digital and traditional media initiatives; mobile will become a dominant force in both the technology and media landscape.
Also when I look around I do not see anything that can replace a mobile phone as a preferred device capable of so many functions – camera, music player, internet device apart from just being a phone in years /decades to come.
Shalabh Pandey: We have seen many different ‘personalized’ marketing techniques over the years– from email to behavioral targeting to CRM. All promise advertisers that elusive one-to-one relationship with their customers. Why should mobile fare any better?
Rohit Dadwal:Mobile enables brands to directly target their customers anytime and anywhere, via their customers’ most personal device, their mobile phone. We’ve seen that mobile marketing has genuinely enabled brands to develop a conversation and build engagement with their customers, and the mobile channel continues to be one of the most powerful tools available for brands. Results from the recent MMA’s Mobile Attitude and Usage Study highlighted that nearly half of respondents (48%) in the Asia Pacific region are moderately/highly interested in mobile marketing and more than half are somewhat or highly likely to opt-in to mobile marketing efforts. The findings confirm that interest in mobile marketing remains high and the number of consumers who have experienced mobile marketing continues to grow.
It also goes beyond the same set of audience which is reached by other digital media but with in a limited reach. The numbers we are looking at on Mobile are far bigger than any other medium and therefore the possibility to have a relationship with the mass audience whom you can also identify is a marketers dream coming true.
Shalabh Pandey:It is usually thought that mobile marketing is for big businesses. In what ways can small businesses utilise mobile medium for marketing?
Rohit Dadwal:Over the last year, we have seen businesses of all sizes deploying mobile marketing campaigns. Through mobile marketing, businesses of all sizes are able to provide relevant, timely information to their target consumers, whenever and wherever they are.
The benefit of mobile over another medium for a small business is its precise targeting ability. Mobile enables a conversation between a company and its customers, be this a multinational brand or small business. This conversation is one where the customer is in control and can elect how and when they want to receive key and relevant information. With a relevant and worthwhile call to action as part of any mobile campaign, small businesses can reach their customers at the right time with the right message.
Mobile can also be an extremely cost effective communication channel as well as an efficient way of delivering a marketing message. However, for mobile to be truly successful, marketers must ensure relevance, perceived consumer benefit, engagement, interaction and most importantly, respect for the consumer.
Shalabh Pandey:What are some unique challenges that Asia faces in embracing mobile marketing? What are some unique positives (apart from volume of mobile phones in use)?
Rohit Dadwal:Asia Pacific remains one of the strongest regions for mobile marketing, with mobile penetration higher than any other region globally. With the exponential growth of both mobile users and advertisers in Asia, mobile presents the best opportunity to go mass market— beyond the reach of TV, print and other traditional media. Currently Asia is seeing a large increase in mobile messaging, thanks to the 2008 Olympic Games which demonstrated mobile’s ability to connect with consumers and a crackdown on SMS spam from China Mobile. Brands are now finding new ways to use messaging as a genuine marketing medium.
Asia also has its uniqueness in terms of different communities of mobile e.g. Japan on imode , Korea on Brew and China & India on GSM networks. I call this out coz if you see mobile marketing is happening across the boundaries and networks and that tells us that the audience and the markets are ready to adopt within the challenges of the disparity
Shalabh Pandey:How can one become a member of MMA? Is there any way that small businesses can make use of the association?
Rohit Dadwal:Any company, from large multi-national to small local business, focused on the potential of marketing via mobile devices can join the MMA, including agencies, advertisers, carriers, handset manufacturers, retailers and software providers, amongst others. The MMA offers membership in a variety of categories based on member size as well as geography. Companies can join on an individual, academic, local, regional or global level, and fees are tiered accordingly.
To apply for membership, companies simply need to fill out an application form, available at http://www.mmaglobal.com/memberships/member-application. Once membership has been approved, members can benefit from advantages such as participation in MMA committees and networking opportunities, access to MMA resources and research and member discounts and offers on MMA events and third party events and research. The MMA brings together industry-wide, global and regional work groups that focus on industry initiatives and share perspectives on mobile marketing across the globe.
In the end, here is an elevator pitch on the Mobile Marketing Association:
The Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) is the premier global non-profit trade association established to enable the growth of mobile marketing. The MMA is an action-oriented organization designed to clear obstacles to market development, establish mobile media guidelines and best practices for sustainable growth, and evangelize the use of the mobile channel. There are more than 700 MMA member companies, which represent over forty countries around the globe, and include all members of the mobile media ecosystem. The Mobile Marketing Association’s global headquarters are located in the United States and there are regional chapters in North America (NA), Europe (EUR), Latin America (LATAM), Middle East & Africa (MEA) and Asia Pacific (APAC).
We wanted to ask many more questions- but these questions do succinctly cover the intentions and scope of the MMA in Asia and how can small businesses leverage mobile marketing. I will be in touch with them, and in case something interesting comes up- will post. Please subscribe to the Feed to be updated.
The MMA site (currently in Beta) has various resources to help understand and leverage on the fast growing mobile marketing industry. You can either click on the MMA logo above or use this link to access some APAC specific information: http://www.mmaglobal.com/region/apac
Meanwhile, you can also post your comments or discuss here.
You can also choose to follow me on twitter.
Interview conducted and drafted with the help of Pulsopinion