Mobile marketing is about engagement, not advertising: Girish Nair

The CEO of netCORE talks about aspects of mobile economy such as gaming phenomenon, trendy chat applications, and the thin line between mobile mktg & intrusion

e4m by Saloni Surti
Updated: Jul 31, 2013 8:41 AM
Mobile marketing is about engagement, not advertising: Girish Nair

Cellular phones emerged as a medium to reach out to consumers with the missed call and SMS feature. However, the arrival of applications, games and Big Data changed the mobile economy completely. Girish Nair, CEO, netCORE explained that consumption of data through mobile will increase phenomenally, thus creating ample space for marketers to enter the medium.

In conversation with exchange4media, Nair chats about various aspects of mobile economy such as the gaming phenomenon, trendy chat applications, email marketing and the thin line between mobile marketing and intrusion.

How has the increasing craze of chat applications changed the mobile economy?
Currently, these apps are mostly propagated as person to person apps. There is consumer growth in this area in the B2B segment, and they are currently working because it is a free-to-consumer medium. Whats App, for instance, may have a policy that after a year it shall charge its users. We need to see that how many people continue to use an app when they have fully adopted it for a year or over a year, and then go to a premium model which involves a fee. Or do they switch to another application that offers mobile messaging. From an advertising perspective, it is at a very nascent stage.

Do chat applications pose threat to other socialising options on mobile?
What we imagine a human being will consume in terms of media tends to increase year on year. If you compare the megabytes of information consumed today to five years ago, you will be surprised. Number of emails, text messages exchanged on daily basis is huge. Consumer behaviour itself is changing. It is a firehouse of consumption. Whether it is a Facebook or any other medium, each one will have its play. As targeting gets relevant and non intrusive – which is where the world is going – then it will be a threat.

Is mobile gaming leveraged at an optimum level by marketers?
I feel it is still early for advertising in gaming to really take off. But at the same time, consumption in gaming, especially among the youth, is quite high. But it is mostly in the urban area, where almost every kid has a cell phone. As in most marketing media, the first thing is adoption, which I think is happening on a fast rate in gaming. So it’s a bit too early to figure if advertising will be effective.

Mobile marketing and intrusion have a very thin line. How can marketers keep their mobile communication non-intrusive? 
Mobile marketing is all about creating customer engagement campaigns, and not advertising campaigns. One should focus on what kind of content will the consumer want and hence, we try and convert initially outbound campaign to a primarily inbound campaign. Then it’s the consumer calling in because she wants to relate to the brand in some way. Also, she may not be initially relating to the brand, but to the surrogate with which the brand is being advertised.

On the email marketing side, marketers need to be careful. A lot of e-commerce players use email marketing as a primary medium for communication. A lot of these emails are consumed through mobile. Thus, marketers need to be clear on how the email will be delivered and not be spammed, how to make viewership of email high, and what will enhance the viewer rate and click rate.

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