February 22nd, 2011
First let me get this off of my chest: Mobile Marketing? When are we going to start calling a spade a spade? Isn’t it time that the pseudo-marketers a.k.a. techies start integrating these amazing new tools within the existing marketing lexicon. Location Based Services (LBS) actually comes closer to what this is all about, but it still ignores the fact that it represents the best promotional tool marketers have ever had for trial and continuity. The term also tends to identify it as a whole different effort than Social Media when in fact; it should be treated as an extension and complement to any social media effort you are currently implementing.
With that said, let’s put the opportunity into perspective, remember all the point of purchase (POP) merchandising widget offers in the 1990’s and early 00´s? The flat screen attached to your shopping cart that would broadcast an ad for a specific product as the consumer “drove by” that product in the aisle? Or the mini printer clipped to the shelf that would print a coupon on demand to motivate trial? These are all “ancient” forms of LBS.
The new smart phones augment the possibility of POP success by eliminating the high fixed costs of earlier technologies (flat screen on every shopping cart?). Imagine not only the investment necessary, but also the CPM (cost per thousand) charge to recoup it within 3 years. At which point the technology would be obsolete. With an Android phone, Blackberry or iPhone in-hand the consumer provides the hardware investment and the offer can be better targeted to the individual’s taste and needs.
While still nascent, already over 1 in 4 mobile phones are Smart Phones (i.e. have data capabilities) and network speeds continue to increase (6G anyone?). Similarly with Google and Facebook also intent in penetrating the location based space, the opportunities to find and test promotional efforts for your business will abound.
InformationWeek recently reported, according to a study by Jwire Mobile Audience Insights (http://tiny.cc/0x4s3), that:
- 17% of consumers actually spent money because of location-based ads
- 78% had location-based apps on their phone
- 29% use them daily
- 57% of respondents were more likely to engage with an ad that was relevant to their location
- 42% used apps to locate a store and to find points of interest
I recommend that in order to best identify the potential for your particular business, you test one or two of the existing services to familiarize yourself with their capabilities and read the potential benefits for your business.
Five Steps to a successful test:
1. Start with your marketing objectives: who’s your target, what strategy are you following. Awareness, trial or continuity of usage, e.g., I recently heard an anecdote regarding a hotel chain franchisee in Florida that monitors feedback on one of these services. After leaning that a customer was disgruntled (based on his feedback post), they sent a bottle of champagne to his room – how’s that for motivating continuity and loyalty?
2. Check out and start using existing location based applications that are relevant to your business (never select an app that you have not used yourself – it’s like trying to swim in the ocean, at night, with a blindfold).
- Restaurants or bars: Yelp, Foursquare, Loopt, Urbanspoon.
- Retail: Yelp, Foursquare, motivate your customers to use UPC reader applications like RedLaser (http://tiny.cc/n9qh6), but only if you are sure that you offer the best price/value or willing to match the best price and/or promotions available.
As an example, a client of mine started using foursquare and when comfortable with it used it to send messages (free) to customers as they checked into her establishment (foursquare window pops up as soon as someone checked-in) for a free trial of selected products. How’s that for a trial test?
3. Integrate: If you are using any other type of Social Media, make sure that you plan the best way to cross-promote your LBS effort and leverage all channels. Remember these are all complementary marketing tools – not standalone strategies.
4. Execute: self-explanatory
5. Measure: Like with any other successful strategy, understanding the results against your objectives is critical to identifying if you’ve moved the needle, and at was cost … if any. Oftentimes a small-scale test can be performed for free but for a larger scale you may need to invest. If you understand the revenue potential from the test, you will be in a better position to project the ROI, even if it costs you to expand.
The good news for many of my readers is that by starting now you will be way ahead of the curve and be more ready to expand and succeed as the existing services grow in capabilities or capitalize on the capabilities that mammoths like Google and facebook will have when they finalize their plans in this area. The not so good news is that I see that the opportunity is not that clear for B2B yet, but I maintain with my eyes and ears open to identify creative solutions in this area as they materialize.
As we move forward, I am keeping my quick survey open for one more week so that everyone has a chance to respond. The objective of the survey is to ensure that I keep writing about what you want to read about (and take some measure on who’s listening – practice what you preach, right)? Please take a minute or two to fill it out:
Stay tuned for my next blog. In the meantime, please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. You can also contact me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana
For more details on Pros and Cons of “Mobile Marketing:” http://tiny.cc/pm167
For a summary report on 2010 Digital trends (comScore presents the 2010 U.S. Digital Year in Review, its annual report on the prevailing digital trends of the past year and their implications for the future. The report looks across the digital landscape to highlight the industry’s leading stories of the year.) http://tiny.cc/qdn0x