Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Location Campaign: New Initiatives in Mobile Marketing

It was recently discovered that my old cell phone was consumed by a ravenous snow bank near my house. This, of course was found out after purchasing a brand new smart phone in the throes of my frustration and confusion. Even after finding my old cell (though battered and cold) still functioning, it was a lump of coal compared to the visions of bedazzlement and connectivity that my first ever smartphone offered.

I had notions of speed and success on my new phone as I texted, chatted, found directions, checked my Facebook and Twitter, responded asap to emails, and browsed the latest apps.
All from the palm of my hand-and isn’t that what we’ve wanted all along? The world at our fingertips?

Well soon enough we may be getting a lot more from that “world” than ever before. Mobile marketing is continuing to pick up speed as a lucrative and meaningful way of reaching consumers. A statistic from Borrell Associates Inc.’s Local Online Advertising Conference shows that while today mobile represents 15 percent of online advertising, by 2015 it will represent 64 percent of all digital ads. That is a huge growth that brands, retailers and publishers must be aware of-and ready for.

Mobile marketing is unique in that it provides customers with media that is both time and location sensitive, and highly personalized. According to Greg Stuart, the global CEO of the Mobile Marketing Association, “Mobile’s unique selling proposition is the fact that it is personal, pervasive, and leverages proximity.” These three things create incredible brand relevancy and convenience, and therefore a highly persuasive marketing campaign.

The allure of mobile marketing first and foremost lies in it’s personalized nature. Individuality is important to us, as well as our time. That is why this type of marketing can be very successful, as it is often consumer initiated and engages us in a conversation of action and awareness through our ongoing consent. Like Twitter accounts, Facebook friends and other networks, mobile marketing is consumer controlled. We have the very personal choice of letting a business into our everyday lives through the one device many of us carry at all times.

Even though I’m tickled pink by my new phone (quite literally, that’s the color of the case), you soon won’t need a smartphone to enjoy the fruits of mobile marketing initiatives. Now, wireless carrier AT&T is sending location-based mobile marketing messages to its wireless customers, eligible for any phone that receives text messaging.

This is the newest program to really capitalize on location as a form of personalization. AT&T announced this week that they are using a program called ShopAlerts for consenting consumers in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. The ShopAlerts by Placecast and AT&T service is designed to provide consumers with offers, rewards and coupons based on their specific geographic location. The messages are delivered to shoppers who approach a participating retailer’s store or a store selling a brand that is enrolled in the program. This space is called a geo-fence, and AT&T customers can register to receive messages via SMS or online.

This is the first time geofencing has gone mainstream with a carrier in America.

Patrick Moorhead, senior vice president and group management director of mobile platforms at Interpublic Group’s Draftfcb Chicago noted that, “Adding the location trigger to our clients’ messages starts to get us towards this Holy Grail of relevancy and one-to-one communication that has long been the promise of mobile as a marketing channel.”  Location-based promotions can let marketers increase the relevance and worth of their messages, which are indispensable qualities for any marketing campaign. Geo-fencing mobile marketing is likely to catch on like wildfire, and in the meantime hopefully melt all this hungry snow. I’ll keep my coat pockets zipped until then...

Ashley Haugen is a Gustavus Adolphus College alumna. She has had Marketing experience working with such organizations as the LOFT Literary Center, the Gustavus Marketing Department and the Ordway Center for Performing Arts.
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