For Mobliss, Wireless Marketing Is About Branding

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Like their Internet counterparts, wireless marketers are measuring the success of their campaigns by brand interaction, rather than just click-through or call-through rates.

To that end, wireless marketer Mobliss, Seattle, has created personalized snow reports sent to cell phone users who opt for the service. Moguls, a ski and snowboard tour company in Boulder, CO, is sponsoring the reports. Skiers can create their profiles, including their favorite ski resorts, at or on their cell phones, and have the alerts sent to their wireless phones or e-mail addresses three times a day.

AT&T Wireless began offering the reports Dec. 10, while Nextel began the service Dec. 3. The carriers are promoting it on their wireless Web browsers, on their Web sites, in bill inserts and in press releases.

The sponsorship of Mogul, which is aimed at affluent men and women 24 to 40 years old, is mentioned in a link at the bottom of the wireless offer. Users who click on the link are taken to a wireless Web page, advertising a tour package from Mogul. By Dec. 11, 12 percent of those who chose the link were responding to the offer.

But the primary goal for Mobliss and Mogul executives is to reach Mogul's target demographic in an interactive way.

"Skiers tend to be of a very loyal mind-set and are perceived to be cool, hip, cutting edge," said Brian Levin, president of Mobliss. "Something that is overlooked is the branding value. If you can interact with the brand, that is pretty powerful."

Meanwhile, other marketers working with Mobliss to sponsor "advergames" have achieved both consumer interaction and response to their calls to action.

For example, 1-800-Contacts began sponsoring a brand-related Jumble game through Mobliss in the spring. The 100,000 Jumble players are sent scrambled words, some relating to 1-800-Contacts (such as "vision" or "blurry"), every 60 seconds. Players type in the correct version of the words as quickly as possible, competing with other wireless players.

After the players' response, and before the next word appears, users are served an interstitial advertisement for 1-800-Contacts. On the ad, users can press a button on their cell phone to be connected to the company's call center. An average of 6 percent of players have clicked to call 1-800-Contacts' call center. The promotion runs through the end of this year.

"When they get on and play Jumble, it allows them to have an interactive experience ... with a word or phrase associated with our name. It makes it very convenient to just push one more button and talk to a live person," said Jason Mathison, Internet market manager at 1-800-Contacts.

For customers who do not want to place an order when they call through to the call center, 1-800-Contacts will set up an account with their phone numbers, e-mail addresses and brand of contacts, allowing the company to contact them later with offers.

This is the first wireless marketing program 1-800-Contacts has participated in, because "this is the first we have encountered ... that allowed us to have direct, personal interaction with potential customers," Mathison said.

Meanwhile, a football-related wireless ad promotion has generated a 24 percent call-through rate to the advertiser's call center.

In Mobliss' Pro Football Pick 'Em game, users competed against other wireless users, predicting the scores of each National Football League game of this season.

When users of Internet-enabled cell phones pressed a button to play the game, included in the "entertainment" listings of Sprint PCS and Alltel's Web browsers, they were taken to a wireless Web site to play. Players were awarded points for correct picks and, depending on the wireless carrier, won prizes such as free cell phones and minutes.

After they played the Pro Football Pick 'Em Game, available from September through mid-November, a link titled "click here for a free T-shirt" from a credit card firm was displayed.

At the free T-shirt flash page, users could press a button on their phones to call to apply for the credit card in question.

"We had 25,000 users total playing the game, and a lot saw the ad," Levin said, declining to give more specifics. In addition, each user spent about 10 minutes interacting with the game.

About 65 percent of Mobliss' 200,000 users are early adopters of Internet-enabled cell phones, ages 21 to 44, skewed toward males, and have an average income of $45,000. The other 35 percent are new adopters, ages 15 to 24, and, as a group, are growing much faster than the early adopters, Levin said.


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