Too many mobile campaigns are one-off exercises that seem to be driven by no greater strategic insight than the idea that mobile marketing is a hot trend companies should be part of.
Mobile marketing can be a powerful way for companies to get closer to their customers, whether they are consumers or other businesses. They provide opportunities not only for exceptionally well-targeted data-gathering but also for learning from customers by listening to what they have to say.
Sadly, this hardly ever happens in practice. Waste of effort
This is, frankly, a gross waste of effort and cash. If mobile marketing is really going to be a worthwhile investment, it's essential to start with the strategy. What is the goal? Can a one-off campaign do it, or does it require something more long-term that will build relationships?
One of the most useful things any mobile campaign can deliver is information to drive the next one. This means it needs to gather relevant information. For example, we've seen scores of mobile competitions that ask customers to send product barcodes to enter. This is pointless, for two reasons: first, a barcode is pretty much useless as a proof of purchase. Second, it's a wasted opportunity to ask for much more useful information. A postal code will reveal where customers live; a year of birth gives their age; an ID number gives that and more.
Armed with this growing profile linked to the customer's cellphone number, it becomes possible to craft a much more rewarding, longer-term dialogue.Twenty percent response rate
One example is a recent campaign for a financial services company, which encouraged around 10 000 intermediaries on their database to enter a competition to win a newly-launched card and R10 000. The campaign garnered 2000 entries with only 200 unsubscribe requests - a remarkable 20% response rate that was only possible because the campaign was carefully targeted to the interests of a known audience.
Having actual conversations with customers is the next step, easy enough if campaigns enable responses to marketing messages. (Take care, however, that responses are charged at normal cellphone rates, not premium rates). Responses can be routed via email to a contact centre, where customer service agents can call or SMS customers to continue the conversation if necessary. A link to a good CRM system will add immensely to the power of this channel.Unparalleled insight
Companies that get this right will gain unparalleled insight into their end customers. And once that knowledge is gained, the opportunities are limitless. For one thing, it become possible to talk at customers BEFORE the point of purchase, while they are deciding what to buy.
A fast food franchise operator that knows where Customer X works, for example, can send a special offer code for the nearest branch half an hour before lunch.
This kind of imaginative, targeted marketing sends a powerful message to customers about how much companies truly care.