26 October 2008

Mobile Marketing Mess

I have visited Communication Wednesday conference in the Prague about two weeks ago. It was organized by Tuesday business Network, where Wirenode is a member.

The topic was targeted mobile marketing and there were people from marketing & advertising agencies, mobile operators and mobile technology companies present (more than 100 people). Most people at the conference were talking about bright future of mobile marketing. On other hand, people from companies who already invested in it and tried it on their own skin were less optimistic about how it helped them. It looks like we have still a lot of work to do.

The biggest problem, which I think we have in mobile marketing, is its fragmentation. I will try to illustrate it on this picture (feedback is welcomed). Traditional media usually have one form of advertisement. It can be print advertisement in magazines, sound clip in the radio or TV commercial in TV. It’s easy to explain how it works to potential person interested in it. Also it is clear how much does it costs and how many people will see it. Some of those advertisements are evolving for some time already.

In mobile marketing, we have so many different types of it and all ends in the phone, that it’s almost impossible to explain. For example on our Czech market, the situation is like this:

Mobile operators are offering mobile banners on their mobile portals (Vodafone live!, O2 Active and t-zones). They are offering it to companies, who usually don’t have their own mobile websites, but we can fix this problem for them. Nostromo is offering branded games and in-game advertisement. CrazyTomato is offering Bluetooth marketing. Tagg is offering QR codes, ATS is offering SMS and MMS, O2 is offering sponsored calls and Wirenode together with Micromedia are offering mobile landing pages.

All those companies including ours are talking to marketing agencies (to the same one) about their offer and how it can be useful for their clients. I myself have visited more than five of those agencies in last month and I am only talking about the possibilities of the mobile web with them.

People from marketing must be totally confused about our offerings. I myself strongly believe in the future of mobile marketing, but I think it will be something else than what we see today.

Some of companies named in this article are offering more than one technology. On a 60 minute meeting with a marketing person, it not possible to explain more than one of those very tech ideas. If a marketing person hears about all of them during one month, he would better spend the client budget in TV.

The main reason I think that mobile marketing will evolve slower than we all would like it because this fragmentation. I understand that it is necessary to try everything and find out what is working and what is not, but it will be a long run for this industry.

Only one person at the conference had an idea, that we first should ask the client what is his goal and what he wants to achieve. When we know it, it should not matter for the client, which form of advertising it is (sms, mms, etc…) but only if he got results he need.

So next time you will be explaining to somebody why the mobile marketing is cool and all its possibilities, ask what is the client goal.


Giorgos Saslis said...

Great article and I like your diagram as well! I appreciate your insight, and I am afraid, that, though I am also enthusiastic about the mobile marketing future, I also share your concerns, and it is a bet to be won whether it will expand as quickly as we would like it.

From my point of view, however, the problem is not fragmentation so much, rather the market itself. As you have pointed out, a lot of our potential customers do not understand what it is we are offering, and why it can benefit them.

There are also businesses that have tried out mobile marketing, but not necessarily used the best approach.

There is fragmentation and endless options in all of the other marketing approaches, it is just that clients do not yet understand what mobile marketing is, what it can do, and how and why it differs from other approaches. And it is a marketer's job to inform them, by first asking them, like you say, what their goal is!

Zec said...

Mobile marketing will be doable when real mobile internet content emerge