Thursday, April 15, 2010

DDB Strategy: Making the Most of Mobile Marketing

I recently spoke on webinar covering Mobile Marketing. Given that marketing has moved from broadcast to engagement to involvement, mobile has a tremendous role to play. At DDB we are fond of saying, “speed is the new big” and since mobile is immediate it can position a brand in a very unique way.

And uniqueness is more critical than ever. We continue to be faced with staggering choices as consumers. There are roughly 450 new consumer products launched monthly, over 30,000 products in the average grocery store, and I recently counted 73 different “bars” (chocolate, granola, energy) in my local average convenience store. Another factor that requires brands to be unique is the increasingly frugal consumer who has been hit economically. A recent study from Booz & Co. of 2,000 consumers showed that 58% had reduced their spending on eating out and when good times return only 19% of those intend to go back to previous spending levels. So more choice and less volume are putting pressure on brands.

And of course we are seeing incredible changes in behavior in society due in significant part to technology. A recent study from AOL shows that teens and young adults spend $2200 per year with $864 of that going to mobile phones. This group now is occupied forty hours a week plugged into a combination of computer, tv, video games, and radio. This proves that media has shifted to “ME-dia” signaling that it is individuals who carry brand messages and marketers must know who those key players are to influence their brand positively. A study from Nielsen in July, 2009 shows that the most trusted source for consumers is now “recommendations from people I know”. These are all game changers.

As a consumer, I am playing a relatively new role in marketing. I am a big fan of reading and enjoy reviewing books on Amazon. Personally I am influenced more by my fellow reviewer’s opinions than The New York Times book reviews. I will not buy a book rated below three stars and I take pride in the quality of my own reviews as these are scrutinized. Reviewers are ranked based on how the helpfulness of their reviews. So in essence, I am contributing to the entire publishing industry and influencing choice – very heady stuff.

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In terms of mobile marketing, we at DDB are seeing significant changes in SMS, MMS, Bluetooth, Smartphone Apps, Interstitials, and iPad Publication ads. So much so that it is difficult to address the rapid changes and massive experimentation within these channels. Without a doubt the mobile advertising sector will grow. Studies show that mobile advertising will grow as evidenced by this one table from eMarketer:

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In terms of SMS, 87% of the U.S. now has a cell phone, 95% of those have SMS capabilities, and text messages are generally read within four minutes. Also 2009 was the first year on a global basis that mobile phones were used more for accessing data than they were to make calls. Technology is allowing marketers to do more and more. Bluetooth has the capability to monitor a specific business area waiting for a new possible customer and when this customer approaches, it will offer that person the opportunity to receive a video promotion, a photo or a business card.

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Of course applications for Smartphones has become an explosive cottage industry. Jeremy Lockhorn of Razorfish says, “Having an app is kind of the ultimate in pull marketing. We’re talking about probably the most intimate device in consumers’ lives. It’s always on. They carry it with them. When consumers put a branded app on their phone, they’re inviting you into an ongoing conversation and to have a presence on a device that’s so intimate. That’s one of the things that makes it attractive for any brand, whether you’re talking about a branded app or a sponsorship of an existing application. It’s a great way to stay connected with the audience and to carry on a longer conversation.”

And now we have the iPad. Even in its early days it is having significant impact:


* FedEx has bought advertising space on the iPad applications from Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek


* Chase Sapphire, a credit card for the high-end market, has bought out The New York Times’s iPad advertising units for 60 days after the introduction


* Advertisers including Unilever, Toyota Motor, Korean Air and Fidelity have booked space on Time’s iPad application


* The Wall Street Journal said a subscription to its app would cost $17.99 a month, and the first advertisers included Capital One, Buick, Oracle, iShares and FedEx


What everyone has to keep in mind when approaching mobile marketing is that it must be part of the larger campaign strategy. There cannot be the “digital” campaign and the “traditional”. It all must hang together and propel each other. I have also seen campaigns that clearly do not have clear and measurable goals. It is not enough to say we intend on growing brand awareness. The metrics have to include lead generation and actual sales to have real impact.

The best mobile campaigns involve the consumer and leverage influencers. They entertain, inform, offer value and incent people to engage with the brand. Like our program in Germany for Future Sports Gym. It was fun program that engaged people. We pasted over the red points of reference on public city maps with much bigger red dots. With their size, these dots covered numerous streets at once. And communicated our message impressively: "You are here. It's time to lose weight. With the fat burning courses at FUTURE SPORTS."

We then asked our target group to send "I am here" as a text message to a certain number. Anyone who did received a GPS-generated route description to the closest Future Sports gym. And anyone who followed the mobile instructions got a 20% discount on fitness courses. In the first two weeks of the campaign, all Future Sports fat burning courses were booked out completely. A simple idea that used the technology available along with on-the-street interaction.

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We are definitely in a new era of marketing. One that requires experimentation and patience but also demands action. “We’re all learning. It’s a moving target,” say Mark Ford, president of the Time Inc. News Group. So one cannot afford to sit on the sidelines and wait - our job is to grow the influence and strength of our brands and mobile marketing has a great role to play in making that happen.


Jeff Swystun, Chief Communications Officer, DDB Worldwide

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