Marketing, even in today's multimedia, multi-channel, connected world, depends on the core four Ps: product, price, promotion and place. Mobile marketing has dramatically redefined the scope of the last P -- place.
Mobility is expanding rapidly beyond voice to include devices that can be used for communications, banking, gaming, entertainment, location tracking, health care and much more. The mobile device offers the marketer a wide variety of options to reach out to end users with personalised, engaging and relevant messages.
However, mobile marketing in its current form is hampered by:
• Irrelevant marketing or advertisements that turn off consumers
• Limited availability of applications traversing the virtual world and real world
• Telecommunications service providers with a limited operational perspective that fails to understand the holistic subscriber experience, intent or context.
The future of mobile marketing and its acceptance and adoption lies in four key areas, in my opinion.
*Targeted marketing: The capability of operators to identify subscriber preferences and serve their contextual needs effectively. Telecom operators need to invest in competencies that will help them gain and refine insights on each subscriber based on a variety of criteria including usage, purchases, top-ups, payments, customer care, and so on.
Subscriber micro-segments need to be actioned within a contextual time-period with ARPU inducing and loyalty creating campaigns, promotions and offers.
*Targeted advertisements: Apart from their own service specific promos and offers, operators have an unique opportunity to add value to the advertising eco-system. They can use precise subscriber insights to help the advertising ecosystem (for example, publishers or advertisement networks) serve relevant, targeted and engaging advertisements.
For example, usage profiles can detail the services used by the subscriber - such as voice, data, SMS, MMS, music downloads, VoIP, IPTV, online gaming, chat, social networking, and the like -- and the depth of use of each service, including data related to number of ad exposures, content genre viewed versus downloaded, favourites, broadband and 3G download preferences.
Correlating this with subscriber dimensions -- age, gender, region and other demographic data -- can deliver key insights and triangulating it further with recent and real time context can provide intelligence on top-of-mind issues for a subscriber and in framing his crucial interests and needs in the active time window.
*Two-sided business model: Mobile marketing also enables the telco to execute and realise a two-sided business model where they serve as the conduit to the customer for other business ecosystems such as banks, travel houses, logistic providers, hotels and utility stores.
The telecom operator's role in this case transforms from being a service provider to an intelligent matchmaker who can map explicit and implicit subscriber needs for their solution providers. The telco gathers a certain percentage of the sales revenue or subscription fee from its solution partners here.
*Location: Even though the use of location in realising mobile marketing has long been predicted, only recently have we witnessed a bevy of super-smart devices from Samsung, Google and BlackBerry with proximity-sensing NFC capabilities. This will enable application developers to stock app stores with innovative services that harness NFC connectivity.
It will also open an avenue for mobile marketing wherein contextual marketing impressions, mobile coupons, advertising and lifestyle enablers can be served to mobile in real-time from proximity systems.
In non-NFC devices, location based marketing dependent on GPS or other location technologies can create the required contextual relevancy.
Mobile marketing is on the cusp of a massive transformation catalysed by new customer analytics and targeting capabilities that enable both operators and brands to use customer data and real-time context to deliver personalised, meaningful and relevant campaigns.
Anandan Jayaraman is chief product and marketing officer at Connectiva Systems
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