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Guest Article: Winning on Mobile - Kanika Mathur

25-July-2011
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Guest Article: Winning on Mobile - Kanika Mathur

With consumers taking control of when, where and how they want to consume media, the ubiquitous mobile has immense potential to bring to life the power of digital marketing. Mobile devices are always on and accessed everywhere, and portability alone makes mobile unlike any other form of media. For marketers this medium offers tremendous opportunities to engage the consumer with rich media, applications, in-game advertising or even mobile couponing.

However marketers have to be careful to not treat this emerging media like the other traditional marketing media channels. The three caveats that every marketer should take into consideration while building a mobile marketing strategy are:-

Technology should be an enabler not a deterrent
India is leading the race in the adoption of smartphones. However the smart phone market only constitutes about 12-15% of the market, with a majority of people using feature phones. By building campaigns on advanced technologies, brands stand the risk of alienating over 500 mn people who are comfortable with voice & texting. The focus of a mobile marketing campaign should be the marketing objective, rather than the technology being used to execute it.

For example Pepsi used mobile to empower its distributor and sales workforce to win the streets in brand stocking and visibility by literally having the top Pepsi leadership motivate the workforce everyday through a voice enabled mobile campaign. This channel program successfully used SMS along with voice integration to manage a two way feedback process with thousands of retailers spread across the country. In a nutshell, marketers should have a people-centric approach to developing a mobile strategy rather than a handset–centric approach to create successful mobile campaigns with the necessary scale.

Mobile consumer is different
The mobile audience is different. Mobile audiences want brands to be instant, portable & personalized. Marketers should ensure that marketing programs are designed for the media and are not just stripped down versions of traditional advertising. A smaller screen demands different treatment with more focus on calls to action. The content should be tailored to strike the right brand engagement.

A lot of brands in the restaurant business know that a mobile consumer is closer to the point of purchase than a PC user and have accordingly designed their mobile sites by keeping the content focused around a user’s location. For example the KFC mobile site lets consumers opt in for their exclusive mobile deals club along with being able to find out information about restaurant locations & nutritional facts about their food.

Integration is Key
Mobile marketing has near limitless potential to contribute to and build on other marketing programs. To fully exploit the potential of mobile, it should be integrated with as many other kinds of media such as online, TV, radio, print and out of home.

For example the simple addition of a common short code or a keyword pointing to a call-to-action can transform the offline campaign by activating the brand. Like in the case of Nestle’s Kit Kat ‘Break Banta Hai’ campaign, we integrated mobile with the ATL communication and saw a tremendous response to the SMS & IVR based brand interactions. Marketer’s must incorporate the mobile into a campaign right at the beginning when brand objectives are being defined rather than add it later to ensure consistency in the overall content A case in point is Starbucks that has truly integrated mobile into the brand by developing custom applications for various handsets that allow consumers to even order and pay through mobile.

Mobile marketing comes with its fair share of challenges, from fragmented handsets and operating systems to evolving metrics for measurement and pricing. However all of these challenges can and will be overcome as marketers progress ahead on the learning curve by understanding audiences’ motivations in mobile and aligning strategies to these new and changing behaviors.

(Kanika Mathur is President of Digitas India.)

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