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Five advantages of mobile marketing over online

Frank Powell

Frank Powell is president of Vis-Solutions

By Frank Powell

For the past few years, there has been strong growth in mobile marketing and this trend will continue.

As marketers engage customers on their mobile devices, it is important that they focus on the five advantages that mobile marketing has over traditional Web marketing. These advantages enable marketers to “hold conversations with fans,” but can also create relationship hazards if not addressed properly.

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When mobile marketers focus on these five advantages, they can provide the most value to their customers and engage at the deepest levels.

Most mobile phone users are within an arm’s reach of their devices over 90 percent of waking hours, including times when other media are not available. 

With mobile phone penetration near 90 percent for U.S. adults, conversations are possible all the time with everyone.

The concept of “mobile” literally means “not in one place.” Mobile devices become part of a person, not “part of one of their locations.” This is a powerful concept, for two opposing reasons:

• Customers can almost always be reached
• Customers can almost always be interrupted
Since mobile marketing can be an interruptive channel, increased marketing efforts in this channel may be disconcerting to many consumers who vividly remember the days of unregulated outbound telemarketing nationwide.

Thus, it is very important to let mobile consumers determine how and when to hold conversations.

Reduced targeting errors and improved data management
In comparison to other personalized messaging channels, having a unique ID – phone number – will dramatically improve CRM integrity for marketers who have historically relied on inexact transaction linking techniques such as:

• Using cookies which are periodically deleted by 20 percent to 50 percent of all PC users
• Using flash cookies (LSS) which are sometimes deleted and often considered a privacy invasion
• Using IP addresses which are often dynamically allocated by internal routers or Internet service providers
• Using postal addresses which require standardization, change-of-address management and special matching logic to achieve even 98 percent matching accuracy rates

Mobile phone numbers are the core delivery addresses used by wireless carriers for all information transmission thru them. 

By having this ID available during marketing conversations, the ability to reference prior interaction history can improve personalization and meet customers’ conversation expectations.

It is important to acknowledge that the growing use of WiFi with mobile devices will decrease the data linkage value of mobile phone numbers. 

In spite of this, the overall customer data integrity and quality of customer relationships will improve due to having phone numbers in many mobile interactions.

Improved time relevance
The always-on and always-aware nature of mobile devices provides more timely communications than any other channel. 

In addition, the use of mobile SMS/MMS and mobile micro-blogging tools enable informality, message brevity and spontaneity to support conversations that seldom existed in prior Web marketing. 

The average response time for SMS messages is dramatically less than that of email or postal mail.

This improved time relevancy is likely to enhance the quality of marketing conversations, though the marketing benefits may be reduced if consumers determine that message filters should be used to separate their personal and corporate conversations.

Location awareness
Knowing someone’s geographic location can be critical to engaging in a relevant conversation with them.

Location provides both proximity data and contextual information, and both of these must be considered when using location-based services (LBS) to converse with customers.

For example, when Joe is sitting in a downtown basketball arena, there are many restaurants and retail stores nearby that want to engage with Joe. 

Yet, the context of attending a basketball game may mean that Joe will not want marketing interruptions while the game is being played.

Combining both proximity and environmental context will be hard for many marketers to address, but consumers will grow to expect them together.

Location-awareness can be via broadcast services such as Bluetooth, or embedded within other transactions such as QRS codes.

Either way, it is important to remember that mobile is a permission-based medium, with customers proactively choosing (or not) to engage with functions such as LBS at any specific time.

Increased intimacy with the device and via the device
Sharing of mobile devices is not unheard of, but is less common than sharing of personal computers.

Mobile devices are often part of the intimate identity of their owners, who may personalize or accessorize their devices.

Mobile devices also allow people to seek private locations for personal communications. 

As a result, many consumers prefer to hold their most intimate conversations via mobile phones instead of landline phones.

Whether these conversations cover medical, financial, amorous or other sensitive concerns, a mobile device can become a primary channel for dealing with emotional issues.

All conversations on this “intimacy platform” require a further degree of trust. 

Wherever intimacy is involved, it is important that conversations are based upon trust and respect. 

Thus, mobile marketing conversations require a higher level of sensitivity and with less intrusiveness than found in other marketing channels. 

As Robert Stephens of Geek Squad puts it, “There is a big difference between spooky and creepy.” 

Consumers expect marketers to dazzle them with personalized oh-wow moments, yet offer no forgiveness if a marketer becomes too intimate.

These five advantages of mobile marketing are the key to holding conversations with customers via their mobile devices. When mobile marketers focus on the benefit and specific concerns of each, they will be more likely to turn customers into fans.

Frank Powell is president of Vis-Solutions, Minneapolis, MN. Reach him at .

Related content: Columns, Frank Powell, Vis Solutions, mobile conversations, SMS, mobile marketing, mobile

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Comments on "Five advantages of mobile marketing over online"

  1. Eir Ruby says:

    April 17, 2010 at 6:29am

    Mobile advertising has become more effective and is becoming a daily activity to many people. I know many people will benefit from it. You just have to look forward and see other capabilities of what mobile marketing has to offer. Anyway, thank you for sharing these 5 advantages of mobile marketing. http://www.dreamwalkmobile.com
  2. Andy Bovingdon says:

    March 1, 2010 at 11:30am

    Great article Frank, I only have 2 items I would like to add...

    Firstly, phone numbers (MSISDNs) - you are spot on with identity being a massive advantage in mobile marketing, but unfortunately many carriers do not provide direct access to a consumers phone number and when they do they require the user opt-in for marketing, send a text message or actually purchase something first. You can see their point, if you use the PC web as an analogy, it would be like passing your email address to the website owner when you just browse to their home page. So carriers use mobile identification numbers (MINs) as an alternative method of visitor ID in many cases, but these numbers take many different formats and are supplied in a variety of ways.

    The best approach is to accept all the different forms of identity, including MINs and MSISDNs and links them back to one single user ID, this is what the Bango User ID is. It also links in cookies, IP addresses and device information to make it more accurate for analytics.

    Secondly, I would add a sixth advantage to your list - payment. Mobile has an integrated, single click payment method - operator billing. While perception has payout rates that are low, the reality is that rates are pretty decent in most countries - the UK for example pays around 90% for higher priced items.

    But the key thing is the conversion rate - where credit card can return as low as 10% success rates, on-bill can deliver over 80% which more than makes up for a few percent on payouts. This makes it easy for content brands and publishers to sell their products to mobile customers without complex registration.


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