Contributed by Saurabh Ohri, Senior Area Sales Director, Asia, Solutions and Services, Gemalto

Saurabh Ohri

The prevalence and convenience of mobile devices have made it an indispensable tool for end users’ in their daily lives, and possibly the most common computing device we have today. The latest IDC quarterly mobile phone tracker1 saw vendors ship a total of 432.1 million mobile phones in 2Q13, a 6 percent year-on-year growth, with smartphone shipments making up about 55 percent. The data shows that the mobile adoption trend continues to prevail, and with it comes also the opportunity to engage customers via their mobile device. Studies2 have shown that the average smartphone user tends to spend two hours per day on his or her device, and this number could skew higher for the younger user base. With such a huge amount of a user’s daily time spent engaging with the mobile device, this creates an opportunity for marketers and the brands to maximise customer loyalty and engagement with smart use of mobile marketing.

While mobile marketing is certainly not a new practice, the channels of message delivery have certainly evolved. In the past, SMS was the prevalent channel (and still is today) but with the rise of smartphone adoption, increasingly more tools such as in app advertising, mobile web advertising, location-based advertising, and more, are gaining traction. However, regardless of channel, the effectiveness of mobile marketing cannot be disputed. The Digital Marketing Association reports that 97% of messages sent via mobile text messages are read, compared to only 20% of emails3. It is the ideal platform for enabling interactive and personal dialogue with customers.

However, there are also certain conditions attached to mobile marketing. While it is a channel that can definitely elicit better response rates, a survey done by Gemalto earlier this year also found that end users will be more than happy to respond to brands whom they have given authorization to contact them via mobile. On the other hand, unsolicited advertising will create a negative impression of the marketer or brand. More than 70% of respondents in each market that was polled responded thus, simply because the mobile these days is a very personal device and such advertising will be seen as an intrusion of privacy.

The survey conducted by Gemalto also unveiled best practices which marketers can adopt that will enhance their mobile-based customer campaigns. The first is of course, to start with an opt-in campaign before starting with any kind of engagement with the target user, which will reduce the mental barrier from customers to receive any advertising messages. Second, treat each customer relationship as unique, and offer highly targeted and personalised messages that create a sense of relevancy. Most users polled revealed that the marketing messages they receive are not in line with their interests, which may in the long run cause them to opt-out of a programme. In addition, brands should remember to create tangible benefits for their customers. The end users polled revealed that they would love to receive discounts and/or gifts as well as have the option to accrue loyalty points by being part of an opt-in mobile marketing programme. Third, marketing messages have to be delivered in-context, leveraging the mobile device’s ability to not only track location, but also a user’s behavior. For example, if a user is searching for a particular product on his or her phone, a message from a relevant brand can be delivered. In this context, the audience receptivity to mobile marketing would be increased.

It’s also been proven that these best practices work very nicely in driving results. For example, Gemalto – as a provider of mobile marketing management solutions – is working with a major telecommunications operator in Asia with over 60 million subscribers to improve Value-Added-Services (VAS) revenues. The campaigns – run via Gemalto’s Smart Message solution – managed to achieve much greater response rates vis-à-vis SMS.

In summary, the key point to remember about mobile marketing is that it’s about customer engagement. Irrespective of the channel used for communication and type of engagement, permission, relevancy and context are key to create an effective mobile marketing mix.

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