The concept of brands leveraging mobile phones to get their messages literally
into the hands of mobile consumers who would otherwise be beyond their reach is
not new. However, the effective use of such technology is largely misunderstood,
often leading to poor execution and poor results. To better understand the
potential of text messaging as a mobile marketing platform, we must sort through
the claims of many mobile marketing companies.
The promise of mobile marketing is that it enables a more targeted result than
traditional media. However, that is not necessarily true. Mobile marketers might
position their channel as “targeted” simply because the result of the call to action
will end up on a cell phone (undeniably a personal device). But in most mobile
marketing campaigns, the call to action is actually a broadcast message (e.g.
“Text WIN to the shortcode 55555”).
Over the past 10 years, the consumer has evolved from having a passive
relationship with traditional media to actively controlling the media around them.
The expectations of this new “Connected Class” (often tagged as “Mobile
Millenials” or “Digital Natives”) have been set by Google, Amazon, YouTube,
Facebook and other popular online destinations. As such, marketers can no
longer expect broadcast messages to have the same impact they once had.
Interactivity on the web and mobile devices is driving an impression-based media
industry towards expression-based models.
The result is that marketers cannot effectively target consumers without being
fundamentally connected to all three corners of the new media triad: web, mobile
and digital out-of-home. Campaigns that are not as measurable as the web will
attract less media dollars – and rightly so. If a marketing message is displayed on
out-of-home signage without further understanding of how and where the
Connected Class receive, control and spread that message, the marketer should
not be surprised if the result is anything more than an industry standard response
of 1-2%. Marketers must consider an integrated approach.
Web companies understand this. The rapid growth of social networks such as
MySpace and Facebook is just the first phase in what promises to give consumers
increasing control of the New Media Triad. As promising as social networks are,
they are not yet at the stage where consumers can easily move their profiles or
data from one site to another. When Open Social and Open ID and other
standards take root, social networks will spread even more wildly and become the
lingua franca of the Connected Class. When that happens (and it will happen
soon), devices and networks that are not connected and socially-aware will
quickly prove ineffective for advertisers – and irrelevant for consumers.
As far as social networks are concerned, the mobile phone remains an underutilized
networking device. There is evidence to suggest that it will take center
stage when social networks grow beyond the desk, but that certainly does not
mean that we should expect the web experience of social networks on the
handset. Even though many mobile social networking applications exist,
fragmented infrastructure and limited screen size will limit the user experience and utility of social networks on the handset, preventing them from attaining
As the mobile phone becomes more socially adept, it will come to be treated more
as an umbilical cord to the web. By serving as the connective tissue between
audiences on-line and audiences off-line (specifically by connecting social places
to social networks), marketers will be able to increase the effectiveness and
measurability of their campaigns. Evidence suggests that most consumer
decisions (what products to buy, what bars and restaurants to go to, what movies
to watch, and so on) are heavily influenced by online recommendations and
personal endorsements from within their social graph. Given that the average
social graph is 78 people, the persuasive power of social recommendations
cannot be ignored (Source: RapLeaf).