It may take the use of other channels for marketers to reach people on their mobile phones. The Weather Channel Interactive, for example, has had a mobile presence for 18 months, but its recent multichannel campaign greatly increased its visibility.
From May 19 to June 20, the media firm ran a promotion called “Mobile Month,” which offered a giveaway of “A Blackberry a Day.” Using e-mail, direct mail, banner ads, TV, radio and the mobile Web, the giveaway raised awareness and increased traffic to the mobile Web, setting many records for the interactive brand.
“We’ve learned from research that there is a fundamental lack of awareness about the mobile Web and most people don’t know that they can get the weather on their phones,” said Derek Van Nostran, director of marketing, The Weather Channel Interactive. “We had to do some marketing that was a little bit ‘old school.’”
The ads ran across all The Weather Channel properties, as well as on partner sites such as Blackberry, AT&T and Sprint. The campaign included e-mail sent out to 1 million Weather Channel customers, as well as the partners’ e-mail lists.
The main goal of the campaign was to bring awareness to the multiple mobile products offered by The Weather Channel. The numbers suggest that this was accomplished. The promotion saw more than 700,000 sweepstakes entries, the highest number of registrants that The Weather Channel Interactive has received from any promotion.
The mobile Web site traffic during the promotion broke all site records and was 35% higher than usual traffic for the time period. Mobile download sales also exceeded The Weather Channel’s goals and hit record numbers for 2008 sales.
“You can’t rely on promoting mobile through mobile. So few people are deeply engaged in the mobile channel that you need to promote broadly,” said Julie Katz, analyst at Forrester Research. “It helps to promote a new product through a number of different channels, because different people respond in different ways.”
Despite the interest garnered from the various channels, more than two-thirds of the registrants came from the mobile Web. Katz added that it is important to acknowledge the mobile audience and thank them for helping the channel grow. “Just because you’re an early adopter, that doesn’t mean you should be punished.”
Still, the multichannel effort is the best way to get the word out. “The mobile audience is still pretty small,” noted Katz. “It’s growing, but it is still a small part of the market.”