Although 79% of consumers find the idea of mobile ads annoying, early efforts at mobile marketing have revealed that consumers will happily engage in campaigns as long as marketers deliver valuable information or content, according to a report by Forrester Research Inc.
The report noted a growing number of consumers that are shifting from voice-only mobile services to other activities, creating a viable audience for mobile marketing. Over one-third (35%) of US households that own a mobile phone currently engage in text messaging and 11% access the mobile internet.
To combat preconditioned consumer scepticism, Forrester suggests that marketers should recognise that mobile marketing is all about offering value, rather than interrupting consumers with unmoving and irrelevant adverts.
"To avoid the perception of mobile spam, marketers must work with the unique elements of the mobile channel itself and the relevance of their message," explained Forrester Research principal analyst, and co-author of the report, Christine Spivey-Overby. "In contrast to other channels, mobile is highly integrated into people's daily activities and physical environment. This means that marketers can embrace the real-world connections with relevant location-based services and campaigns that tie mobile and on-premise advertising."
Forward-looking brands are already successfully employing multimedia messaging, mobile web browsers, and downloadable applications and content to reach consumers via mobile phones.
For example, to increase late-night visits, McDonald's placed mobile ads on mobile web sites (such as Match.com) that are frequented by young consumers. McDonald's saw higher-than-average click through rates due to a highly relevant offer: mobile coupons valid between 9pm and 4am for one night only.
Similarly, radio station WXKS (KISS 108 FM) in Boston offers a Text Club, through which listeners receive mobile alerts and promotions. They also use text messages to interact with disc jockeys during broadcasts. Nearly half (48%) of club members sent in text messages for a chance to win breakfast with Nick Lachey.
The innovative US grocer, Broadway Marketplace, last year replaced its card-based loyalty programme with one that uses a mobile phone to identify the member. This approach allowed Broadway Marketplace to deliver promotions based on each shopper's purchase history, directly to their mobile phone. The programme has a very high uptake, as 80% of its shoppers now belong to the programme, with 64% participating on a regular basis.
Subtle approach needed
According to the report's co-author, Charles S. Golvin, broader mobile data adoption is at last providing marketers with real opportunities to reach customers, particularly among the younger and more socially connected demographics. But, Golvin warned, marketers must also adopt a more subtle campaign approach to reach these consumers, due to the highly personal and intrusive nature of the mobile medium.
The report, entitled Is The US Ready For Mobile Marketing?, is available to Forrester WholeView 2 subscribers, and can also be purchased directly from Forrester's web site - click here.