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Category — mw08

MW08 – Question#11 – Top reasons why clients aren’t buying mobile

Q: What are the Top 2 or 3 reasons clients that are being pitched say they do NOT want to spend media dollars on Mobile campaigns?

A: Over the last few years I’ve spent a fair amount of time pitching mobile to clients and potential clients as the principle mobile evangelist for the company I work for.

Here are the top reasons why clients haven’t bought mobile:

  • Too difficult to engage existing customers through mobile. Some believed that because they had a general opt-in policy for communication with their customers that they had the right to automatically start engaging customers through SMS. Mobile is a permission first, opt-in only medium and not following this rule will result in a program and short code being shut down by the CWTA. Running a campaign (like text to win) to get opt-ins has sometimes been a barrier to piloting a program in mobile because of time and costs associated with taking this initial step. Unlike email, you can’t buy a list of consumers to start marketing to – and you can’t use your own unless you re-qualify them with a mobile opt-in
  • Lack of metrics. Although we can speak to general engagement in mobile, we don’t yet have absolute demographic information on who / how Canadians are using mobile.  Although we have some convincing performance metrics from case studies and other campaigns, we don’t yet have the same level of details that media planners and marketers routinely reference for interweb campaigns. This makes mobile a harder sell sometimes
  • Fear of doing something different. Few people get fired for doing what has worked before. In today’s market, there is huge pressure to get good ROI on all marketing spend. For this reason, some are hesitant to put money into an emerging channel until it becomes easier to predict ROI.
  • Cost – even though some basic / common mobile campaigns end up costing less than an email campaign, some clients have still balked at the price. Some believe that because the medium is still emerging, costs should be close to zero. Developing for the mobile web for example is comparable to developing for the desktop web – yet some believe that because the screen is smaller, the price should be less
  • Belief that the market is still too small or that mobile marketing is only for kids. Although we have good data around how big the mobile audience is in Canada, some are looking at mobile the same way they’d look at another medium that can spray a message to the masses – like TV.  Mobile is not a one to many medium – it’s most effective as a one to few or one to one channel.

Although some of the reasons mentioned above have resulted in some initiatives being stalled, for the most part we are seeing healthy interest from Fortune 500 brands in mobile who are looking to extend their messages into mobile.

Are you a client or work for an agency that pitches mobile? What are your top reasons for not buying mobile?

November 14, 2008   1 Comment

MW08 – Question #10: Is the market large enough to justify building mobile widgets and applications for clients?

Q:Do you think there is enough saturation in the market from pdas that support them to make branded widgets/applications a viable option for clients? How do we position this in a world where everyone watches tv but only a small percentage use PDAs?

A:The first thing you need to do is not think of mobile as a one to many medium. Because relevance and context are key, there are very few widgets or applications that everybody would want or need.  The closet thing i’ve seen to a mass appeal widget are the weather widgets. The Weather Network now has both a blackberry and iphone widget and they are doing really well

The key to developing a mobile widget or application is to first understand your target audience and validate that you would be fulfilling a need by creating a widget.  If your target audience is not primarily on a smartphone / pda device, chances are you would have better success building out a mobile website or even an sms based application… or maybe even something on the old desktop interweb!

Having said that, last month the new 3g iphone was the top selling mobile device in the U.S. – outselling the Motorola Razr for the first time. This is significant because the iphone is more expensive – and it’s offers the richest user experience for mobile web, widgets, and applications. 

What does this mean? Soon we will not be distinguishing between smartphones and others as all phones will come feature rich no matter what shape / form they take.

In regards to the comment about television – keep in mind that consumers are multitaskers. Chances are they are watching tv and checking their email or sms on their mobile device at the same time. Many also have their laptop open too.

If you’re an agency lucky enough to control the entire marketing mix, be sure to include a call to action in your television commercial to drive them to web, mobile web, or sms. This will make an old medium like television more measurable – and you get to start or continue a conversation with a consumer beyond your 30 second spot.

November 13, 2008   2 Comments

MW08 – Question #9 – What demographics are most responsive to mobile marketing?

Q: Are there certain age groups or regions that have been more responsive to mobile marketing and how would you predict this to change?

A: Just like the interweb, the younger generations were the quickest to adopt SMS and are still the most likely to respond to a call to action via sms

Having said that, keep the following three things in mind:

  1. Parents and grand parents are fast growing segments for SMS because they’ve realized that in order to stay somewhat in touch with their kids and grand kids, they had to learn how to text. As a result, SMS adoption is penetrating all demographics and should no longer be considered a tween or teen obsession only
  2. How many of your friends have blackberries? Ever notice that they are emailing their co-workers & friends as often as the kids sending SMS back and forth? With RIM having around 40% market share in Canada, there are lots of people who are exhibiting the same behaviours and dependancies on mobile as those who are more SMS reliant.
  3. We’ve found that the “professional age” demographic is far more likely to go on to the mobile web than other demographics. The reason is that many of these folks are using PDAs (like blackberry) that come with nicer & larger screens and data plans that are paid for by their company.

Response rates for mobile marketing can be good or great across all demographics. It’s not unusual to get 6% on well targeted mobile campaigns for example.

The key is knowing your audience and understanding how to deliver your message in the most audience relevant context (sms, mobile web, bluetooth etc…) with a relevant message.

With 3.3 billion mobile devices in use worldwide today, mobile is already a mass medium and marketers who figure out how to integrate mobile into their marketing mix now will be at a huge advantage tomorrow when mobile goes from experimental to essential.

November 12, 2008   No Comments

MW08 – Question #8: When will carriers open up?

Q: When will the carriers start to let go of the grasp they have over what applications and content can be put out there on their network/deck?

A: The topic of carriers becoming less controlling & more open has been a very hot topic in the U.S. especially and even led to Google’s initial bid on the U.S. spectrum auction.

Although nearly all carriers say they are open to being open, they also say that without controls and checks built into the system, they fear losing all control of their devices – and therefore their ability to deliver a consistent and positive experience to their customers.

Whether or not you believe that, the reality is that few carriers want to open up their platforms to third party developers until they no longer have any choice – whether that be through legislation or to keep pace with a competitive force.

Having said that, “off-deck” mobile websites are growing every day and offering content and services not currently available through on-deck.  Mobile browsers are getting better and are now rendering richer and richer experiences – so the need to have a fully open carrier may become less important as most of what consumers want can be serviced through the mobile web.

November 11, 2008   4 Comments

MW08 – Question #7 – Why are qr codes slow to be adopted in Canada?

Q: Device and software adoption for qrcodes in Canada seems slow and far between. Do you see this changing? What else can be used?

A: QR or 2d codes are slowly appearing in Canada – but usually not in the way we have seen them internationally.

For example, many airlines will have a qr code printed on boarding passes printed from home – which are then scanned at the gate. This works because you are providing the code on a medium that is available to the masses – print and the scanners are independent of your mobile device.

In order for 2d codes to take off, one of the major carriers will need to decide there is value in including a 2d code decoder on their devices as a native app.  Expecting consumers to download a decoder first before reading a code is unrealistic unless you provide a massive incentive.

If Rogers for example started including a decoder on all their devices, they could re-merchandise all their stores to include qr codes and therefore create new customer value, differentiation from their competitors while increasing consumer perception of being cool or innovative.

Imagine clicking on a qr code on a dvd rental to download a video trailer, see reviews from other Rogers customers, or to add to a movie bookmark list for future reference. The possibilities are vast – but it all starts with one of the big three making the first move.

With new regional and national carriers rolling out in Canada next year, the competitive environment is bound to get tighter – which is a great opportunity for one of them to look at qr codes as a way to differentiate from the others.

November 10, 2008   10 Comments

MW08 – Question #6 – What mobile marketing tactics work best?

Q: As you said, you mobile device is very personal. As a marketer, what kind of mobile marketing tactics can you do that don’t annoy or invade consumer’s perceived personal space

A: Unlike some other marketing mediums, mobile is not an interruption medium – which means every tactic can be perceived as annoying or invading personal space… unless you get permission or an opt-in first.

In cases where you are leveraging bluetooth to engage a consumer directly, ensure the message is specifically relevant and in context to where they are receiving it, and ask for permission to continue the conversation before delivering the message.

For all other mobile channels (sms, mms, mobile web, widget etc…) it again starts with relevance and in the case of acquisition based initiatives, you need a strong call to action.

Mobile rarely works on its own – so don’t think of a mobile tactic as something to replace something else in your marketing mix that has worked before. Instead, think of mobile as an extension of your existing campaign.

For examples and case studies on effective mobile tactics, check out the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) website here.

November 9, 2008   4 Comments

MW08 – Question #4: What is the future of proximity marketing?

With retailer’s becoming more technologically advanced (RFID, Bluetooth, wifi) what is the future of “proximity marketing” through a mobile device?Ian Barnett, spider marketing.

With technology playing a larger role in the retail experience, we can expect traditional old in-store media to become very interactive. It’s happening now with LCD screens – but the ability to get additional product information or get drawn to products through bluetooth, SMS, mobile web, or qr codes represents real and near future opportunities

In some countries like South Africa for example, consumers are entering malls and downloading virtual coupon books through Bluetooth before starting their shopping. They download a widget or application to their device once, then simply update the content through bluetooth every time they enter a bluetooth zone in the mall.

Think of mobile technology as conversation enablers vs. interruption devices. Nobody wants to be bombarded with messages on their phone – so the successful retail experiences will incorporate opt-in first for any technology play that goes beyond signage.

When will this happen in Canada?

It’s already started. Several malls in Ottawa and out West have already started piloting bluetooth projects and other mobile related projects are also in play across the industry. RBC is piloting a mobile payments platform called mobex which could also roll out to the masses in the next 18 months.  You won’t see widespread qr codes until a carrier incorporates them on their device.

We have enough examples from around the world on the future of proximity marketing in Canada, the bigger question is when will proximity marketing really take off. My bet is 2010.

November 8, 2008   4 Comments

MW08 – Question #3: Pitfalls and process for testing SMS and mobile websites

Question from the audience this week: Could you speak about the multi-device testing process when building mobile sites? Any testing pitfalls with pushing SMS?

Actually that’s two questions, but good ones and easy to answer.

To test how ready your new mobile site is to function across all devices, simply input your test URL here at ready ready.mobi. Getting a 5 out of 5 on their score means you can confidently launch your site knowing it will work on all devices. I personally wouldn’t launch anything that scores less than 4

If you want to test or build for devices specific features or get more testing support, check out mobiforge.com. It’s a great resource.

SMS testing is a different story

Although SMS is a universal feature on mobile devices, testing your SMS programs requires a live shortcode bounded to a platform. Shortcodes are like URLs for mobile… but the process of acquiring them and maintaining them is far more complicated. Learn more at txt.ca.

Chances are you will be hiring a mobile company (or an agency that does mobile) for your SMS needs. They should do all testing and validation for SMS for you. This process requires testing of individual connections between all the carriers bounded to your shortcode.

Be sure to allow for plenty of time for testing – you can’t rush an SMS program out the door. It’s not unusual for it to take 3 months for new shortcodes or at least a few weeks if you are using a shared shortcode

November 7, 2008   No Comments

MW08 – Mobile Panel Question #2 – What % of devices can interact with the mobile web?

This is an excellent question posed by the panel audience earlier this week.

The short answer is – nearly 100% of mobile devices in Canada have a mobile browser.

Every new device comes with one and consumers are updating & replacing their devices faster than ever. It used to be that every 2-3 years a consumer would update their device. Now it’s about every 6-9 months. Also, thanks to Stephanie at Yiibu for this link which shows device market share by Country.

Having said that, keep in mind that the mobile web experience varies greatly from device to device. You can design and develop sites that will work just fine on every device if you follow the standards laid out by the W3c and dotmobi.

Unlike the interweb where we are often designing for the lowest common denominator, you can design for the highest common denominator for the mobile web.  We can auto-detect your device before serving content so that you can serve up a very rich experience for smartphones (i.e. bb bold, iphone) and a more basic experience for your standard clamshell device for example.

Data plans in Canada have come way down in the last year. You can get unlimited data plans for as low as $7 / month from Bell and Telus for your flip phone, and as low as $30 / month for your smartphone from Rogers.

Summary: The mobile web is a viable channel to extend your message.  Be sure to design for mobile and user context instead of trying to cram an interweb site into a smaller screen.

November 6, 2008   1 Comment

MW08 – Mobile Panel Question #1 – what mobile data is available to agencies in Canada?

Earlier this week I moderated the mobile panel on digital day at Marketing Week. We had an animated discussion and thanks to our friends at Magnet Mobile, we had a “txt your question” segment where we invited the audience to participate in the discussion.

We managed to answer many questions – but there were too many great questions left unanswered.

Over the next several days I’ll post & respond to all the great questions that we didn’t have time to get to. Feel free to comment & provide your own POV as well.

Q: What mobile data is available to agencies in Canada?

A: Unfortunately there isn’t a lot of data available to marketers and agencies in Canada yet. The CWTA publishes a quarterly report with high level SMS usage stats that include total peer to peer by month and YTD. It also reports on the % of unique users. You can get the details at http://www.cwta.ca. I also summarize & publish the highlights on this blog and you can search the archives for past data

To help fill the data gap, the company I work for has started collecting some behavioural /demographic data on SMS programs that we run in-house which we can anecdotally apply across the board. We also track usage patterns from our own mobile web programs.

For mobile advertising stats, be sure follow Admob -they’re a global leader in mobile advertising and frequently report on their own network usage broken out by country.

The leader in Mobile metrics (m:metrics) was recently bought out by Comscore; however, they don’t offer anything on the Canadian market. Hopefully this will change in the coming year as marketers are hungry for more data.

In summary -there is an opportunity for a data aggregator to develop relationships with Carriers and other ecosystem players in Canada to provide marketers and agencies some much needed insight.  We’re even willing to pay for it :)

November 5, 2008   10 Comments