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#MMAF2011 Tweetchat: Is Transmedia Where Mobile Marketing Is Heading?

Topic: Mobile Marketing | Author: Peggy Anne Salz | Date: September 22, 2011

mma tweetchatMobile is global. Mobile must be aligned with our needs, not technology. Mobile sits at the center of a strategy to ‘engage at every stage.’ Mobile has caused and enabled irrevocable changes in our behavior. Effective mobile marketing requires a sharp focus on four mindsets: 1) I’m local. 2) I’m bored. 3) I’m multitasking. 4) I need it NOW.

These are some of the observations and opinions voiced by a few of the just over 100 professionals, practitioners and  passionates who made our first Tweetchat an invigorating exchange and a rousing success. Tweetreach, for example, reports we reached nearly 107,000 people via just under 600 tweets to achieve an exposure of a whopping 658,320. All this confirms our conviction that there is a huge requirement for a platform that allows us discuss what really works, and why.

Prompted by the overwhelming positive response to our inaugural Tweetchat, we will continue the conversation with a Tweetchat following the must-attend MMA Forum London (October 4-5). That’s when we will discuss what you told us you wanted most: real-life case studies and key learnings from the brands and agencies that lead by example. Watch MobileGroove and Twitter for details — and chime in!

Connect with me – NOW

paul berney_mma global cmo

Paul Berney, MMA CMO (@paulbmma)

Mobile marketing is similar but different in each country around the world. What is the common denominator? @paulbmma tells us people everywhere have a  growing expectation to engage with brands in real-time. (Spot-on observation and one confirmed by a raft of research including a recent Cone Consumer Media Study that found people develop “positive feelings” towards brands they felt they could interact with on new media channels and reported they felt “better served by a company or a brand if they can have a conversation with them in a new media environment.”)

This is what marketers should understand, but where is the evidence that mobile interaction delivers results. @tomiahonen, joining us live from Hong Kong, pointed out that we are seeing astonishing stats coming from Japan, where McDonalds has signed up 1 in 6 consumers to opt-in for mobile advertising messages, a success that @noahelkin wondered can’t also be replicated elsewhere (a great point we will pick up on in future Tweetchats).

Another data point from @tomiahonen drove home the point that people do indeed want to have interactions with brands: 31 percent of U.S. adults want to be reached by using SMS.

OS or SMS?

@Mobisoul suggested mobile-savvy operating systems (OS) may displace SMS. While several commented that smartphone may well win out in the end, many more argued that SMS has the reach and the all-important personal touch. As @noahelkin pointed out: “SMS remains an effective engagement mechanism, even for those with advanced devices.” @Ew4n agreed, adding that “a perfectly timed SMS can really sway the balance on most any transaction.” (A view that many others also amplified.)

A mobile optimized site can also clinch the deal. @paulbmma shocked us with the data point that few businesses in Europe have mobile web or app presence. In fact, the total is less than 19 percent in France and U.K. This shortchanges merchants and their customer as reports show consumers are ready and waiting to transact on mobile. @tomiahonen underlined this critical point with the case of Tiffany’s jewelers, a company that doubled its sales after launching a mobile-optimized mobile website.

tiffany's mobile case study

Permission marketing

Interaction is at the heart of mobile marketing, but messaging campaigns should abide by rules and etiquette. @nixxin reminded us that permission marketing is well suited to his native India, where consumer backlash against bulk SMS spam has forced the regulator to step in.

tomi ahonen


Indeed, spam in India and elsewhere makes it clear that “we as an industry need to move very strongly to opt-in,” @tomiahonen observed. (Even during the Tweetchat several participants in the U.K. and Africa complained they had just that moment received spam on their mobile phones.) @LisaCiangiulli brought her own example to strengthen the case for opt-in, revealing that permission marketing allowed mobile operator (and Optism customer) Mobinil to count 1+million opt-ins to its mobile marketing service in just two months. @tomiahonen added that Blyk has announced its client in India counts 1 million opted-in customers.

Others in the chat echoed the requirement for opt-in, agreeing that permission marketing matches with people’s requirement to “be in control” (as @Veluuria put it). The discussion prompted @paulbmma to state that permission marketing is “going to be essential.”

We’ll hear more about the pivotal place of position of permission in marketing at Permission-Based Marketing (October 3, London), organized by mobileSquared and in association with the MMA. The first-ever event will discuss how to build, monetize and grow opt-in customer databases.

Multi-channel, transmedia

We established and agreed that mobile sits at the center of increasingly cross-media campaigns. But what does that mean to marketers?

@paulbmma satisfied our requirement for real-life examples with a nod to Garanti Bank in Turkey, which successfully combines online, email and mobile. He also drew our attention to Mr Price Group in South Africa, which combines “every media channel to sign up new customers.

Connect the dots, as @MsMobileConverg did — and its clear that “transmedia will be tops.” As she put it marketers will finally crack the code when they “understand that each platform has it’s own voice.” SMS, she stressed, ROCKS in getting the message out. Not new, but very effective. @LisaCiangiulli took it a giant step further, picking up on the underlying theme of exchange: when we talk channels and formats we are still talking technology. “Understanding users’ needs and wants [are] often overlooked.”

Meantime, @MikeTV started a separate and stimulating discussion about mobile video. While we didn’t answer his question (will video dominate mobile marketing?) we did agree that video is moving up the agenda as brands use it to impress and engage.

I pointed people to this case study from @millennialmedia explaining how Pantagonia harnessed mobile video to drive app downloads and iTunes sales from the Patagonia Music Collective – a campaign that benefitted a wide range of environmental groups.

millennial media mobile video pantagonia

What will move video into the mainstream? Beyond issues around pricing and bandwidth @DuncanPringle and @shoobe01 indicated that we need to put people back into the equation, and look for ways to align video with our preference for pull on our mobile devices, not push.

But the lack of pull isn’t stopping us from watching video on our mobile devices. @paulbmma weighed in with a surprise from the joint MMA/Google research. Among the findings, many in Europe are already watching mobile video at high levels. Specifically, 64 percent in the U.K. — stats that spell opportunity for marketers.

QR codes

2D barcode debateNo surprise that a separate debate also raged around QR codes, one of the formats @paulbmma revealed is hot (along with coupons and search + LBS) in the U.S., Europe and parts of APAC.

@Ew4n, @mobileholly and others wondered if there aren’t easier alternatives than are less hassle. @shoobe01 zeroed in on the key question. Is QR code fragmentation is helping or hurting the industry?

The jury is out on that one. However, no matter the shortcomings around QR codes, @lizkmiller reminded us that there is lots of new investment in QR as a vehicle to “tie traditional spend to digital’s more measureable spend.”

We also heard from @noahelkin that QR codes are gaining traction as a pull mechanism “in-store and across traditional media.” @karimkhalifa told us that QR codes are also widespread in Egypt and the Middle East, where they are used to link physical (cars) with digital (information) at car shows, for example. Finally, I commented that the real impact of QR codes will be in the enterprise. Thinking here of pharmaceuticals and verticals where information about the product and demos (accessible via the linkage QR codes enable) are key.

Strategy trumps technology

But we have to think bigger than QR codes, apps or mobile video.

Marketing is not about technology.

@lizkmiller got us to focus when she commented: “the real issue is how to tie these innovations into a STRATEGY to engage at every stage — too many random acts of mobile marketing!” @mackmckelvey strengthened the argument. “Fundamentals in #mobilead cant be overlooked – get as fancy as u want, but if you haven’t planned right initially – #mobile falls flat.”

However, many campaigns depend on the capability of operators to understand and deliver essential subscriber data. @lizkmiller, who is also VP, Marketing Programs & Operations, CMO Council, quoted findings from a recent CMO Council study showing carriers – not marketers – have to get their head around mobile marketing. The majority (68 percent) of carriers in the study said that the traditional corporate mindset” they have is “out of sync with new forms of service delivery.” A solution to bandwidth issues can be found in truly understanding the customer and “delivering relevance based on data,” she continued. Narrowing down the audience saves on wastage all around.

Contextual relevance

How can the industry deliver relevance? @Veluuria suggests we start with empathy. We must put ourselves in the shoes of people and work with “four mobile mindsets: 1) I’m local. 2) I’m bored. 3) I’m multitasking. 4) I need it NOW.”

Search – us requesting what we want right out – is another way to arrive at more relevant results. In fact, @paulbmma pointed out that search is coming on strong,  increasing 236 percent since 2010 with local search – which also encourages social interaction) leading the growth. Quite correctly, @indigo102 asked why there appears to be a disconnect between the size of search (huge) and the number of mobile solution providers and organizations over looking the opportunity. @somoagency joined the debate, reporting that conversations from mobile search measures on transactional mobile websites are “proving that it is one of the strongest, most relevant channels.”

Inspired by my own interactions with cool startups (such as Primal, Goby, Expertmaker, Hipmunk) that are defining the future of mobile search, I started a discussion about how our requirement for personal relevance in marketing also marks a turning point in mobile search. We want what we want, not what Google’s PageRank says we do.

Prompted by @matthausk, I pointed out that precision and personalization is where the action (and the money) is in mobile search. Think Siri, virtual assistants, smart recommendations, and you know where this is going.

As if @robertphaslam could read my mind, he echoed that “contextual relevance” is where the market is going. “Give me what I want, when I want it, based on where I am.”

Kinda says it all.

More about mobile search megatrends in a review of mobile search I have written to be included in a must-read mobile anthology that GigaOM will publish and distribute during Mobilize (September 26-27, San Francisco).

* * *

mma forum london

Editor’s note: My guests and I were blown away (!) by the positive response to our first Tweetchat, and the string of requests from participants for an encore. We’ll be back with a Tweetchat to discuss some of the key learnings from MMA Forum London. And we’ll use our own learnings from this chat to develop a structure that will allow us to explore single topics (coupons, QR codes, permission marketing, mobile shopping) and speak directly with the brands leading the pack.

Read the complete Tweetchat here (and many thanks to Robert Haslam @ MiLiberty for culling over nearly 600 tweets!)

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