"Mobile media can turn consumers into brand ambassadors"

Mobile mktg offers high reach, segmented audience, location targeting, bringing consumers closest to purchase, besides covering media dark areas, say industry experts

e4m by Gunjan Verma
Published: Sep 9, 2013 8:46 AM  | 4 min read
"Mobile media can turn consumers into brand ambassadors"

Mobile marketing is being increasingly integrated into brands’ marketing plans. Be it for pushing forward the brand message, location-based targeting, reaching media dark areas or enhancing consumer engagements through apps, marketers are finding their own best media fit when it comes to adopting mobile marketing.

Coca Cola has integrated mobile marketing to convey its ‘Open happiness’ message across the world. Elaborating on this, Wasim Basir, Director – Integrated Marketing Communications, Coca-Cola India shared that starting with ‘Coke for play’, the campaign saw vending machines installed all over the city and once the user pushed his mobile into it, he could refill his phone with free data. This further strengthened the consumer’s bond with the brand.

Basir added, “Coke clearly wanted to be ‘free data providers’, because that is the need of every smartphone user these days. All the campaigns are directed towards this approach.”

While speaking on mobile carriers as marketing solution providers, Arun Sharma, VP – Marketing and Head of Media, Bharti Airtel, highlighted that there are opportunities that only mobile carriers can offer. These include high reach, segmented audience (which happened with Airtel along with Galaxy S3), covering media dark areas, location targeting, bringing consumers closest to purchase and building customer delight and loyalty.

Citing an example of how location-based targeting was done for clothing brand Van Heusen, Sharma said that Van Heusen provided unique coupons to people living near its stores. These coupons showed some discount that people could avail at the nearest store and also mentioned the nearest location of the store. This initiative saw RoI of about 40 per cent.

Sharma further said, “Mobile media can turn consumers into brand ambassadors by providing them with free SMS, calls and data, because customers are always on a lookout for such offers.”

According to Rajiv Mehta, Managing Director, Puma India, a brand can talk ‘relevance’ through apps and involve consumers directly and intimately with the brand. He added that Puma’s running app not only connected people, but also covered the social aspect of living in a community. One can create his profile on Puma Track and ask friends to join in for a run. Once the two profiles are synced, this app notes everything – the running time, the navigated path, who finished first and how much time they took, and all this even when the people were located in two different cities.

On a different note, Atit Mehta, Head - Media Services – South Asia, Hindustan Times said that marketers should not forget that many mobile users still do not own a smartphone. He further said that especially when a brand wants to reach people living in rural areas, it needs to keep in mind that solely depending on apps would not work. However, a mobile phone still offers a lot of options to be marketed with.

Mehta cited the example of Wheel, wherein the detergent brand carried out a research which revealed that its target audience mostly use pre-paid connections and are very frugal about spending money on calls and messages. Hence, the brand asked people to give a ‘missed call’. When a customer made a missed call, he could hear either a joke or the voice of Wheel’s brand ambassador Salman Khan. About 2.6 million consumers are said to have got involved, leading to a 300 per cent increase in sales, it was claimed. With this campaign, about 18 million calls were received.

At the same time, Mehta said, “It is always better to combine traditional media to create the buzz around the mobile marketing strategy.”

Meanwhile, according to Aditya Save, Head, Digital Marketing and Media, Marico, “Great brands become great storytellers.” He said that brands can engage consumers with stories – but consumers are not interested in listening to the story of the brand, but their own stories. “Engagements create imagination that further creates advocacy and then consumers become advocates of the brands,” he observed.

Using the same strategy, Marico launched a product based completely on experience and word of mouth. There were no written scripts and no predicted answers. The brand let the consumers talk and share their experiences with the product and talk about it to their friends. This created a huge wave of conversations, claimed Save, as consumers tend to believe other consumers more than the marketer.

The speakers shared their views on mobile marketing and its different opportunities and challenges at the MMA India Forum 2013, organised by the Mobile Marketing Association in Gurgaon on September 5, 2013.


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