Marketing in a Handy kind of way!

Mobile marketing is the one niche in personalisation marketing strategies which remains to be tapped

The growth of mobile marketing is accelerating…..and fast. It is no surprise that Europe’s largest mobile-market lies in Germany, with companies like Lufthansa, BMW, Deutsche Post, Audi, Puma and Spiegel making full use of this groundbreaking technology. Studies by Mobile Marketer have revealed that on a ratio of population to mobile phone subscriptions, Germany has a market penetration greater than 130%. In real figures, that translates to 108 million mobile phone subscriptions in a country of just 82 million inhabitants. Compare that to a mobile-phone consumption of 90% for cell-phone subscriptions in the US and you realise how big a player Germany is in this technology space. It doesn’t end there, however: Mobi-Thinking, the ‘Mobile Marketing Experts’ are predicting that 2012 will bring yet a further increase of mobile phone sales in Germany at an astonishing 60% augmentation, a figure the mobile market has never known to be quite that high. Corporate mobile-marketing giants Upstream Systems who are at the forefront of this marketing channel emphasise that the challenge of consumer-personalisation marketing is to keep bulletins concise, precise and most of all relevant. They have also proven to be most effective through conventional mobile phone usage that is good old fashioned texting. Upstream offer a Marketing Communication Suite with the aim of tapping into the mobile market. The business application layer is currently split into five categories, mega- and mini-promotions, loyalty programmes, permission-based marketing and additional solutions. The suite does throw in some additional channels including USSD, WAP XHTML and Web and comes with a multi-impression feature, communicating via Top-ups, Account Balance proceedings, VAS Interactions and even Missed Calls: it is said to increase response rates by 300% whilst revealing up-selling and cross-selling opportunities.

In a client database building exercise, BMW needed a way to fast-track prospect buyers who would sign up to their test drive competition: one of their chosen channels was mobile-marketing. How did they do it? Upstream and Proximity Worldwide teamed up to create an SMS registration mechanism, gaining essential customer criteria in the process before selecting 15% of those hot leads that entered, through a data-mining process. In another marketing campaign, Opel used the SMS-channel to get its consumers to interact and enter into a competition to win the Opel TIGRA. There were also electronic prizes to be won in the run-up to this, including engine ringtones and MMS car logos. My favourite one was where participants could pose with their TIGRA and send their photos via MMS to Opel. All participants got to view each others’ photos on and users had the opportunity to vote for their favourite 10. One lucky winner won a weekend for two in the Cyclades with a complementary TIGRA to drive around this stunning location.

It is becoming clear, that SMS-marketing must be exciting, attractive and have a worthwhile outcome for the consumer for it to be in any way effective. But what is driving growth in the mobile/web domain in the first place? The answer to that is simple: improved data networks, unlimited data plans, wifi-connectivity and a decade I like to refer to as the apps-boom.

Not only does Germany hold the number one spot for mobile marketing in Europe, but in the broader sphere of digital marketing as a whole, e-marketer, the leader in digital intelligence, reveals that Germany ranks number 1 in having the largest online population of any country in the EU. E-marketer also boldly predicts that online ad spending in Germany is set to approach €3.7 billion ($5.2 billion) in 2011 and is estimated to pass €4.6 billion ($6.4 billion) in 2014. This strengthens the argument that Germany is indeed a major force in Europe for online advertising, ecommerce, social networking and a key player in so many digital activities.

There is, however, a double-edged sword that runs the risk of severing the mobile-channel before it has even really got going. Customers are wary of two things: an involuntary information overload, similar to that of e-mail-inbox overflow and secondly, invasion of privacy. Consumers should also be able to retain the right to opt out of mobile marketing if they so wish. The danger of über-personalisation in today’s Big-Brother Society is customer-intrusion and it is therefore essential that mobile marketers tread carefully in a world that is socially-aware of its own Überwachung.

Handy[1] to know…

[1] For those of you who hadn’t yet figured it out, ‘Handy’ is the German word for ‘mobile phone’.

© The Culture Cave 2011. All rights reserved

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