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Mobile marketing reaches tech targets

For marketers of technology products and services, the mere fact that consumers can receive and respond to the latest mobile ad technology serves as a pre-qualifier. Our experts discuss strategies and tactics

David Javitch
VP of marketing, Scanbuy

Mobile marketing is quickly becoming a great way to increase the impact of traditional media and convert any marketing asset into a direct marketing tool.

The mobile device is one of the most personal of its kind, even more so than the PC. Though marketers are excited by the opportunities this personalization offers, it must be used carefully. Tools like direct mail, print advertising and even packaging can now all become interactive in seconds through the mobile device. What you need to do is start with specific business objectives in mind and execute effectively.

There are a number of ways consumers can “pull” dynamic and useful information using their mobile phone, and it’s important to consider all of the options. SMS is the most widely available, and it’s a great way to start a conversation or deliver periodic product updates, helpful tips and promotional offers. A newer technology is mobile barcodes, also known as quick response or QR codes. Consumers use the camera phone to automatically launch a Web site or initiate a phone call or text message. While the technology is still new, marketers like Intel and Microsoft are already using it to make virtually any media come to life. Just scan a code to watch a video, enter a sweepstakes, or even place an order — right from the phone.

Whatever you choose, follow a couple of basic rules. Make it easy for consumers and give them something of value in return. People are much more likely to offer an e-mail address than a cell phone number, but in either case you have to give them a reason to do so. That could be a promotional offer, a chance to win, exclusive content or just mobile-friendly information when they need it most. The overall experience is critical.

Test different tactics to learn what works for your specific business and target audience. Then use those learnings to get your consumer engaged in a whole new way.

The Takeaway
Use mobile’s personalization, to offer value and maintain customer engagement

David Brussin
Founder and CEO, Monetate

I think mobile marketing holds huge potential for technology marketers right now if they understand that most consumers, and particularly consumers of technology products, are treating mobile devices as an extension of the desktop or laptop browser, not as a separate mode. That means your mobile marketing must now live up to the same standards as your “traditional” online marketing, in all respects, including depth of information and user experience.

The practical implications start with the browsing and research phase of the buying process which is now extended onto the small screen. If you’re selling technology online you have to make sure mobile shoppers experience a full Web site with all of the rich content that you’ve been accumulating to close the non-mobile shopper. At the same time, you have to ensure that navigation, search and interaction with that content is mobile-friendly and mobile-native. It’s a tall order, but the companies that can deliver will grab market share.

However, mobile marketing is not just about the site experience. Many technology products are considered purchases with multiple phases in the buying process. This means you need to make sure that all of your touchpoints with the potential buyer, like follow-up e-mails and social media efforts, are designed to be consumed on mobile devices just as easily as on traditional devices.

It is clear that the sharp point of mobile marketing right now is the consumer checking out specific technology products while they are shopping. We know a lot of smartphone users are doing this and many of these folks are just “one bit” of data away from making a purchase; that could be anything from a detailed list of product specifications to user reviews or comparative pricing.

The challenge here is to make sure that when these shoppers hit your site, looking for that data, you serve it up in a compelling, mobile-friendly way, whether your goal is to sell them that specific product, or shift them to a better product that isn’t available at the store in which they’re currently shopping.

The Takeaway
Mobile is now an extension of the desktop and marketers should embrace this

Stephan Dietrich

President, Neolane

Most marketers understand that to be truly effective, mobile campaigns can’t exist in silos.

To maximize effectiveness, mobile messaging and offers must be tightly coordinated across all communications channels, including direct mail, e-mail and social media. In practice, personalization is mandatory, not only to improve response rates, but also to avoid customer fatigue. For technology marketers, mobile presents an opportunity to develop an ever-increasing, positive customer-relationship experience and encourage loyalty.

For those new to mobile, a good first step is to use the channel to deploy service messages, like providing useful information about recently purchased products. Next, marketers can evolve to executing marketing or promotional messages, including managing personalized communications with a user community, including loyalty programs, as well as initiate cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

Mobile can also be used as a call to action to evolve the channel even further, using the WAP push functionality. For example, WAP push messages can embed a personalized URL enabling the consumer to shift directly from the mobile channel to a Web (or WAP) site. A global electronics Neolane client is utilizing WAP push campaigns to support “fan clubs,” in which customers with special interests, such as soccer, can access relevant, targeted information about new products, services and downloads, while also gaining access to online activities such as sports-themed music, games and videos.

Mature marketers are now offering the mobile channel as a “preference” choice, which is a natural way to extend the channel as part of the marketing mix. For example, a smartphone developer can provide a Web page where users can choose which channel they would like to use to receive for specific communications, offering mobile as a choice along with e-mail, Twitter and Facebook.

The Takeaway
Begin using mobile as a delivery tool and evolve it toward a conversation platform

Lisa O’Reilly

Director, global brand & campaigns, SMB marketing, Dell

Referring to today’s average smartphone as a “phone” is a bit of a misnomer. Most of us have a level of computing power at our fingertips that far exceeds what the most powerful PC offered just a decade ago.

The potential to reach customers through mobile devices is tremendous. Dell had great success leveraging mobile media to reach small business owners with our “Take your own path” campaign in both developed markets like the US and UK and emerging ones like India. There were more than 15 billion Web searches via mobile phone in the UK alone in 2007 and that number continues to grow. According to a study done by a leading carrier, Orange Mobile, 81% of respondents access mobile media at least once a week. MMetrics data show that the more than 12 million UK consumers access the mobile internet per month, and that this audience is likely to have a college education and work full-time. And, in a recent global study of 1,500 people commissioned by Dell, 82% said they would not leave home without their smartphone. Reaching today’s customers requires mobile to be part of the mix.

This phenomenon isn’t limited to the most advanced uses of mobile Internet or to only the most developed markets. In India, middle class consumers’ use of mobile phones is extremely high as is their use of SMS text. In a market where Internet advertising will only reach a small slice of a target middle class market, an SMS text campaign gives marketers access to hundreds of millions of potential consumers.

Smart marketers can profit from these trends. High-value customers are “on-the-go” and increasingly comfortable accessing information on mobile devices. Effective use of mobile puts product and service information in the hands of potential customers where and when they want it.

The devices consumers carry with them everywhere will only get more powerful. Carriers are quickly building network capacity to handle the surge in data traffic they are already experiencing. It’s only natural they would use these devices to research and interact with products and companies before making buying decisions. l

The Takeaway
Consumer confidence and device sophistication will contribute to mobile’s ubiquity

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