Mobile marketing: The revolution will be mobilised
Martin Croft looks at some of the latest developments in mobile marketing
More than two-thirds of UK consumers are willing to share their location with marketers in return for being sent more relevant content to their mobile device, according to new research from location based ad serving company JiWire.
A third of UK shoppers say targeted promotions sent to their mobiles would encourage them to visit shops they had never been to before. The data underlines the growing importance of mobile as a marketing channel.
Kellogg’s, for example, has just launched its first mobile app, an iPhone and Android game supporting its Krave cereal for young adults, where players ‘hunt’ chocolate chunks by physically visiting the locations indicated on a Google Map. The implication is that retailers will be encouraged to run tailored Krave promotions in return for Kellogg’s driving traffic in store.
Fast-food restaurant chain Subway has signed up with the mGage platform run by mobile marketing and technology services supplier Velti. The deal means Subway consumers will be able to order meals from their phones for pick up at the nearest Subway restaurant in the 90 countries it currently has outlets in.
In addition, Velti will operate a new mobile app and mobile site for Subway which will allow customers to access information including menu, nutrition and store locations.
But there is more to location based mobile marketing than targeting individual consumers. Marketers also have the ability to reach large numbers of consumers in one place – for example, at a sporting event – and get feedback from them.
Earlier this year, UK mobile technology company Screenreach Interactive ran a demonstration of its Screach service at Newcastle United’s ground. Screach effectively allows mobiles to become remote control or input devices, so, for example, the crowd at a football match can be asked to vote on the player of the match, as happened at Newcastle United.
The Screach technology is now licensed to specialist sports marketing agency Sports Revolution for in-stadia use in the UK. Martin Copus, who heads mobile for SR, says that one possible use for Screach would be to run interactive games, with prizes being coupons for instadia restaurants.
SR also has the UK stadia license for ‘mobile fan channel’, Qustodian, which rewards users with cash for interacting with commercial messages. Developed by an Anglo- Spanish technology company of the same name, Qustodian was launched just over a year ago in Spain with its first corporate user being Athletico Madrid. It now has more than 100,000 members who get club-related messages, football news and relevant commercial communications.
“It’s profiled and extremely targeted,” says Copus. “It’s based around the whole game day experience, although the fans don’t have to be in the stadium necessarily – they can be in the pub as well.”
Russell Buckley, chief marketing officer of UK mobile couponing company Eagle Eye Technology, has reservations about whether mobile marketing is quite as advanced as some of its proponents believe, however.
Buckley was one of the founders of mobile ad network AdMobile, which was bought by Google in 2010. He worked for Google for a year, but now works for Eagle Eye, which runs mobile couponing campaigns and store ‘vouchers’ which are redeemed using retailers’ chip and pin terminals.
Buckley argues that there are still some major barriers before mobile devices can be used to deliver targeted coupons to consumers on the move and, more importantly in the shops – in particular, the challenge of interfacing with a huge range of different retailer EPOS systems. He says: “The issue is redemption. The reality is that for mobile couponing to go mainstream will require significant expenditure on and upgrading of retailers IT systems.”
Paul Childs, chief executive of mobile ad network company Adfonic, agrees that the mobile advertising industry is still “very much in the investment phase”.
At the moment, he says, with Adfonic, “I can see that you’re in London using an iPhone to look at a sports site, but I can’t really see exactly where you are yet. But I will soon be able to see that someone is within a mile of a Pizza Express and deliver relevant coupons.”